Discover with me the best way to explore this unique city with your family
Venice is well known to be the most romantic city in the world but what many people don’t know is that you can enjoy this wonderful city even if you are traveling alone, with your family or with friends.
Venice is the main city of Veneto region, located in the north-east area of Italy. This city is unique in the world as it is built literally on the lagoon water and the only ways to discover it are by boat and on foot.
How to reach Venice
Venice is really well connected with the rest of Italy, Europe and the world.
If you are reaching Venice by air, there are two main airports: Venezia Marco Polo (VCE) and Antonio Canova (TSF) in Treviso, a small city 30 kms away from Venice.
The first one serves all the main intercontinental routes and many other vectors that fly around Europe. The second serves all the main low cost companies: if you are flying Ryanair that is where you will land. However, both of them are well connected by bus to the city and if you are coming from the right direction you will be able to see the fish shape of Venice island from above.
There are many train lines arriving in Venice, both national and international ones. The train station is called Venezia Santa Lucia and doesn’t have to be confused with Venezia Mestre, which is the one before, but more than 10 kms away from the city centre.
You can book trains online in the national railway website: http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en
There are many bus companies operating in Venice. Lately Flixbus (https://www.flixbus.com ) covers many routes with other Italian cities and European capitals. Prices are also very competitive. You will reach Venezia Tronchetto, which is 10 minutes away from the train station.
If you reach Venice by car you need to know that you will need to find a parking space during your whole stay. The city is not made for cars, but the SR 11 reaches Piazzale Roma and Venezia Tronchetto, which are very close to the railway stations. There are many parking lots where you can leave the car for around 15 euros per day.
Best time to visit Venice
My favourite time of the year to visit Venice is spring, more precisely end of April, beginning of May. The reason is that there are not so many tourists as during Carnival time and it is not so hot and crowded as in summer. However, I have to admit that, Venice is magic any time of the year and wheter you like cold r warm weather there is a right season for you.
Let’s get deep in the planning! Here a weekend itinerary sample of activities that you can do with your family.
Day 1/Friday: S. Mark Square, Rialto Bridge
On a day 1 in Venice there is only one thing to do: getting lost in the narrow streets, named “Calli” and follow the yellow signs that will direct you to S. Mark Square. Venice is an island, consequently there is no need to worry about losing your way and you can enjoy all the beautiful buildings, churches and views on the channels. I suggest you to start your walking tour from the station and follow the Grand Canal until you reach one of the most famous sights of the city: Rialto Bridge that is one of the only three bridges crossing Venice biggest channel. The view from this bridge is astonishing and there are many souvenir shops on top of it.
If you keep following the yellow signs on the old buildings’ walls you will soon reach the beautiful S. Mark Square. Here you can enjoy the view from the top of S. Mark Tower, which is 99 m tall. Ticket for adults is 8,00 euros, while under 18 kids just 4,00 euros. It is worth planning to go inside the Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark, a magnificent example of the Italo-Byzantine architecture, famous for its gold ground mosaics that granted it the nickname Church of Gold.
In the late afternoon I recommend having a Gondola tour, an unmissable experience if it is your first time on the island. Be careful, the correct price is around 70/80 euros for one-hour ride, but the gondola drivers will try to make it more expensive. Don’t be shy and get your good bargain.
Day 2/Saturday: Island tour – Murano, Burano, Torcello
On day 2 you will be able to explore the three most famous islands of the Venetian Lagoon. There are many organized tours that last half a day. I suggest the one from Alilaguna (http://www.alilaguna.it/panoramic-city-tour-murano-burano-torcello) which offers a family discounted price (50 euros) and it is held in five different languages – Italian, English, Spanish, German and French – and starts every hour from the station or from S. Mark Square.
The first stop is Murano, famous for his glass crafters where you will be able to see one of them at work, afterwards you will head to Burano, world famous for laces and for his wonderful colourful houses. The last stop is Torcello, where the first venetians settled.
In the afternoon, you can reach the Jewish neighbourhood to explore the old synagogues and walk around this wonderful area. After that you can reach the most incredible library you will see in your life: Library Acqua Alta (which means “high water”, referring to the fact that when it rains sometimes the level of the water of the channels gets higher up to a metre on the sea level”) The library has a little terrace where there are some stairs made of books that you can walk.
I suggest to enjoy an Italian three course meal at Vini da Pinto restaurant. They are located very close to the fish market and for this reason they get the best fish in town.
This is just an example of what you can get in this restaurant. Don’t forget to combine a delicious Prosecco wine, typical of the area.
Day 3/Sunday: Arsenale gardens, Peggy Guggenheim Museum and Fondaco dei Tedeschi
The last day you can enjoy a relaxing Sunday morning at the Arsenale Gardens, where there is a wonderful park and you can leave your kids enjoying the kids area while you chill as a real Venetian would do.
In the afternoon you will explore the other side of the Grand Canal and reach the world famous Peggy Guggenheim Museum where they hold kids’ activities on Sundays to introduce them to the art world. Kids from 4 to 10 years old are welcome to come at 15.00 and at the same time parents can enjoy the beautiful collection of the museum. You need to book at their phone number. Check out their website: http://www.guggenheim-venice.it/inglese/default.html.
To conclude a perfect weekend, at sunset time you can go on top of the shopping mall called Fondaco dei Tedeschi (https://www.dfs.com/en/venice/stores/t-fondaco-dei-tedeschi-by-dfs), where there is a free terrace with an astonishing view of the city. Be careful because only a small number of people can go on the terrace at the same time so you could wait a little, but the view will be worth it.
Venice is well known to be very expensive and it is a truth, especially when it comes to choose accommodation. Hotels in the city centre are quite expensive (at least 200 euros for a family room), however you can decide to book accommodation in Mestre, a town nearby Venice, well connected by train and bus.
If you want to travel on a budget, you could consider around 1000/1200 euros for 2-night accommodation, food, daily activities and transport from Europe.