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How to Spend 1 Day in Venice with Kids

How to Spend 1 Day in Venice with Kids

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Planning a trip to Venice with kids and want a totally doable itinerary? Keep scrolling to check out my kid-friendly 1 day in Venice itinerary from my last trip to Italy!
This kid-friendly 1 day in Venice itinerary was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

When my kids told me that Venice was on their travel bucket list, it took me all of 2 seconds to start looking at flights!

I visited Venice when I was in high school and it was sort of a wonky experience and I didn’t even get to ride in a gondola.

So, I was eager for a re-do and couldn’t wait to see how much we could pack into one full day in Venice, Italy! Keep scrolling to see exactly what we did!

Don’t have time to read a bunch of Venice blog posts and reviews? Here are some of our top picks for visiting Venice with kids.

Popular Venice Tours/Activities

Kid-Friendly Venice Hotels

How to Get to Venice from Marco Polo Airport

One of the things that is unique about visiting Venice is that is a floating city. So, there are some interesting ways to get there, especially if you’re staying in a hotel on a Venetian canal.

Water Buses

The most economical way to get to Venice from the airport is to take a water bus. There is a station right by the airport and it will take you to the main areas of Venice.

Image of two boys scanning tickets for the water bus in Venice Italy
My kids liked scanning the water bus tickets in Venice. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

These water buses are pretty large and there are places to put your luggage. But, you’re sort of on your own for storing your luggage and you’ll probably need to walk awhile to get from the water bus station to your hotel.

Water Taxi

A more expensive way to go is to take a private water taxi. We ended up doing this and it cost 140 Euro to get to our hotel in the Castello area. It’s faster to take a water taxi.

Image of two boys in a water taxi in Venice Italy
My kids thought the water taxi was the coolest way we’re ever gotten to a hotel from an airport! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

It was actually a lot of fun and we got to go down small canals to get just a few steps from our hotel. Our kids thought this was a highlight of our trip to Venice!

How to Get to Venice from the Train Station

If you are getting to/from Venice by train, you’ll have the same options as above. We did the water bus to the train station and it cost us 38 Euro total (for our family of 4) to get from the Castello area to the train station.

Where to Stay in Venice with Kids

While there are lots of kid-friendly Venice hotels, we opted to stay at Hotel Bisanzio. It’s tucked away about a block from the busy waterfront area where the boat tours leave.

Image of bunk beds in a 2-story hotel room in Venice Italy
We loved the room set up at the Hotel Bisanzio. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

We had a 2-story hotel room, which was awesome for our family. The kids had bunk beds downstairs while my husband and I shared a bed up in the loft. It also had 2 bathrooms, which came in handy!

Another perk of staying here is that they offer a free boat trip to Murano with an artist. We already booked our own tour, but if we hadn’t, we totally would have taken advantage of this! Check the latest room rates and availability.

1 Day in Venice with Kids

Before I really get into the Venice in 1-day itinerary, I wanted to note that we technically spent about 36 hours in Venice.

This was our first stop on our 10-day Italy itinerary and we were pretty jet-lagged.

Image of a boy learning how to be a gondolier in Venice Italy
Can you even tell he started his day at school in Seattle? Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

We arrived in Venice in the late afternoon, did a gondola ride, ate some gelato, and then went right to bed. This itinerary starts the very next day.

MORNING: Photo Shoot & Kid-Friendly Venice Tour

Since we were pretty jet-lagged, it was easy to wake up early for our 7 am Venice photo shoot. It’s the best time to avoid most tourists.

In fact, my husband was up early enough to walk around and get sunrise photos of Venice.

Flytographer Photo Shoot in Venice

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know that I’m pretty obsessed with doing family photo shoots when we travel. I pretty much booked this photo shoot as soon as we confirmed our trip to Venice.

Image of a family posing in front of the Rialto Bridge for a Venice photography session
Photo credit: Marta with Flytographer

We met up with Marta at the Rialto Bridge and we walked around for about an hour getting some awesome family photos around Venice.

I love doing vacation photography with Flytographer because it’s fairly affordable and it takes the pressure off me to get “good” photos. Plus, I’m actually the photos! Check out all my Venice photography session tips.

Book a Family Photo Shoot

Whenever we travel, we almost always book a family photo shoot with Flytographer. They are super easy, affordable, AND guarantee that I’ll be in some photos. You can get $25 off if you book through this link or use the code HAWAIITRAVEL.

Breakfast

After our photo shoot, our photographer Marta recommended that we have breakfast at Patiscceria Rio Marin.

Image of a boy eating pastries at a cafe in Venice Italy
My 6-year-old couldn’t wait to dive into the pastries! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

It’s a cute coffee shop right alongside a canal. The coffee was excellent and the pastries were really amazing! They had 4 small tables outside or you could get your items to go.

A word of warning: the seagulls there are pretty bold. One actually grabbed a pastry out of my 6-year-old’s hand and then knocked over his can of Fanta all over his shirt and shorts. Yes, we had to run back to the hotel to shower and do a quick change!

Family Friendly Venice City Tour with Romy

We scheduled a 10:30 am walking tour of Venice with Romy. She was really friendly and gave us tons of cool facts about Venice and the Venetian Republic.

Image of a lady tour guide with a family in Venice
Romy was such a fabulous tour guide in Venice! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

That’s how we found out that Venice is actually made up of more than 100 tiny islands and every time we crossed a bridge, we were technically entering another island.

She showed us the gondolas on the Grand Canal and explained what all the symbols were. And she pointed out how gondolas are actually asymmetrical and can only be steered from the left side.

We walked through the Rialto Market where we saw tons of locally grown fruits and vegetables. She also walked us through the Rialto Fish Market, which was pretty cool.

We also saw the iconic Rialto Bridge (where we started our photo shoot that morning), Piazza San Marco, and walked past lots of cute shops.

Image of a man giving chocolate samples to a boy in Venice
We loved the free samples at Nino! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

She also took us to a chocolate shop (Nino) where we got to sample some delicious pistachio and hazelnut chocolates.

And then she took us to her favorite gelato shop, “Gelato Fantasy” Gelateria. My kids thought the gelato here was fantastic!

Image of a boy with gelato in Venice Italy
This was such tasty gelato! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Throughout the tour, Romy would ask my kids questions about Venice and then give them treats. This was a total perk! We love doing walking tours with guides who know how to keep kids engaged!

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    AFTERNOON: Burano and Murano Islands

    We thought we’d be hungry for lunch, but we were pretty full of gelato and chocolate. Plus we were a bit tired from our busy morning.

    So, we decided to walk back to our hotel and soak in some air conditioning for a few minutes. Thankfully, our next tour was just a few minutes walk from our hotel.

    Tour to Burano and Murano

    When I first visited Venice back in high school, we spent some time exploring the islands of Murano and Burano and I promised myself that I’d return someday. I’m so glad I was able to do that!

    We were lucky enough to book a last-minute tour with The Tour Guy. I’ll explain why below.

    Image of a dad and two boys on a boat in Venice Italy
    The boat itself was very comfortable! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

    Our tour had about 24 people on it and everyone was super friendly and chatty. We took a nice boat ride to Murano where we got to experience a glass-blowing demonstration by a Venetian master glass blower.

    Image of a master glassblower in a studio in Murano
    It was mesmerizing to watch this glass blower in action! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

    We watched him make two pieces: a vase and a horse sculpture. Unfortunately, the vase shattered a few minutes after he made it.

    But it was nice to show the kids that these things happen and it’s just part of the process since those pieces get turned into the crushed glass for other artwork.

    Then, we got to explore the Murano Gallery, which was basically a 2-story glass museum filled with amazing artwork that was for sale.

    Then, we hopped back on the boat and went to Burano, which is famous for lace-making.

    Image of a lady making lace and a lady showing a framed lace piece in Burano Italy
    It was cool to see the traditional way of making lace. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

    We got to see a lady handmake some lace and learned how long it takes to handmake some of the traditional Burano lace pieces.

    Most of the lace people involve 5-7 ladies since each lady just does one signature stitch.

    Image of a boy with gelato in front of a wall of Venetian masks
    My son ordered and paid for this gelato himself, which was pretty cool! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

    Then we had free time to pick up some special cookies and grab gelato before heading back on the boat.

    Image of a woman wearing a blue dress on a bridge in Burano Italy
    This is such a pretty photo spot in Burano! Photo credit: Owen Cheung

    The real memorable moment for me was getting to take a photo on the same bridge that I did when I was 17 years old. And I got to take a photo of my 9-year-old, too! Check the latest rates and availability.

    I don’t recommend booking anything through Under the Tuscan Sun Tours. We previously pre-paid for a private tour at 2 pm. A few days before the tour, they emailed me to say they couldn’t do it at that time and re-scheduled me for 10 am. When I told them I had another tour at that time, they were really aggressive on email and WhatsApp and then ghosted me after refusing to refund us. It was a hot mess.

    EVENING

    When we got off the boat trip back to Venice, we didn’t have anything scheduled.

    Image of 4 packs of Italian Pokemon cards
    My boys were giddy when we finally found Pokemon cards in Italian! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

    My kids really, really wanted to find Italian Pokemon cards, so we visited a bunch of Tabaccheria shops to find some.

    Libreria Acqua Alta

    Something on our Venice bucket list was to visit the Libreria Acqua Alta (aka the Cat Library). It’s a really cool used book store in Venice that has all sorts of hidden treasures.

    Image of two boys sitting in a chair at the Alta Acqua Libreria in Venice
    The Alta Acqua Libreria is such a hidden gem! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

    There are some really awesome photo ops set up throughout the store and tons of old books and artwork.

    But my kids were on a mission to see the cats. Yes, there are 4 cats that roam the store. We only found one, but we took that as a win.

    Dinner at Rosso Pomodoro

    Romy recommended that we have traditional Napoli-style pizza at Rosso Pomodoro. They have a pretty extensive menu that includes pizza, pasta, salads, and desserts.

    Image of Spaghetti Carbonara at Rosso Pomodoro in Venice
    Spaghetti Carbonara at Rosso Pomodoro in Venice. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

    We had a really amazing melon with prosciutto and mozzarella as an appetizer and pasta dishes for our main course.

    My kids split a cheese pizza, but it had a very strong flavor that neither kid liked. I tried it and it was a very unique flavor and I totally understand why they didn’t want to eat much.

    Bonus Dinner at Creperia Artigianale Casteo

    Since the kids were still pretty hungry, we decided to do a bonus dinner at a little crepe shop on our way home.

    Image of a boy with a crepe in Venice Italy
    This bonus stop was a hit! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

    They had pizza that was a bit more “American-style” and it was perfect for our kids. And they also got crepes with Nutella and fresh strawberries. They were very satisfied.

    Tips for Visiting Venice with Kids

    Stay Near Venice Attractions You Want to Visit

    Venice is a very walkable city, but it’s a LOT of walking. We ended up walking 8 miles with our kids and that included a lot of boat rides.

    Image of a boy with suitcases in front of the Hotel Bisanzio in Venice Italy
    We loved staying at the Hotel Bisanzio! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

    We stayed at Hotel Bisanzio, which was just steps away from the main waterfront area where all the boat tours depart. We chose this location because we knew we wanted to do a boat trip to the islands.

    Our hotel was also fairly close to San Marco and there were tons of restaurants and shops nearby.

    Ask Your Kids What THEY Want to Do

    We chatted a lot with our kids about what they wanted to do in Venice. They were really excited about the idea of taking a water taxi to our hotel. It was a huge hit and my 9-year-old even said “I could get used to this!”

    Image of a boy looking out the back of a water taxi in Venice
    The water taxi ride back to the hotel was worth every Euro! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

    So, we shouldn’t have been surprised when the kids asked to do another water taxi when we needed to rush back to the hotel after the seagull incident. It was a great way to make lemonade out of lemons!

    Do a Gondola Ride

    I knew that our day in Venice was going to be pretty packed, so I had my fingers crossed that we’d have enough energy to do a gondola ride on our arrival day.

    Image of a boy dressed as a gondolier in a gondola in Venice Italy
    My youngest was beaming the whole time! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

    Of course, I dressed my boys as gondoliers with red and white striped shirts and black shorts. They bought some hats at a souvenir stand right before we hopped on our ride.

    We didn’t make any advanced reservations and had no problem getting a gondola after maybe a 5-minute wait (and that was during the crowded summer).

    The ride itself was about 30 minutes and it was the perfect amount of time to get a quick taste of Venice and have this amazing Venice bucket list experience! It was one of the major highlights of our trip to Venice.

    Use Google Maps

    It’s super easy to get lost in Venice with all the little winding roads and alleyways. We used Apple maps for GPS at first, but that took us to the wrong meeting point for a tour.

    After chatting with some locals, it sounds like Apple Maps are frequently incorrect and they recommend just using Google Maps instead.

    We relied heavily on GPS when walking around Venice.

    Get Gelato in a Cup

    It’s hard to talk about Italy without mentioning gelato. Our kids had it 3 times in Venice. But, my biggest tip for families is to get it in a cup instead of a cone.

    Gelato melts really fast (at least in the summertime) and you’ll save a lot of tears if you just get it in a cup so it’s less messy and there’s less of a risk of it falling on the ground.

    Venice Itinerary FAQs

    Can you walk all of Venice in a day?

    Not really. The main tourist area of Venice, including popular spots like St. Mark’s Square and Rialto Bridge, is relatively compact and can be explored on foot in a day if you plan your itinerary wisely.

    However, keep in mind that Venice’s charm lies in its narrow alleyways, hidden corners, and picturesque canals, which are best experienced by strolling leisurely and getting lost in its maze-like streets.

    Is 1 day enough for Venice?

    While a single day in Venice can provide a taste of the city’s highlights, to truly experience its charm and explore its various neighborhoods and attractions, it’s recommended to allocate more time if possible.

    Is a day and a half in Venice enough?

    We stayed for a day and a half and it was a great amount of time because we had a pretty tight itinerary. Our kids loved it so much that they are already asking when we can go back. Next time, we’ll probably spend 2-3 days so we won’t feel so rushed.

    How many hours do you need in Venice?

    To get a glimpse of Venice’s main attractions and immerse yourself in its unique atmosphere, it is advisable to spend at least 2-3 days in the city, allowing for approximately 6-8 hours of exploration per day.

    Of course, a lot of people just want to hit a few sights and that can be done in one day in Venice.

    What are the major attractions in Venice?

    The major attractions in Venice include St. Mark’s Square and Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, the Rialto Bridge, the Grand Canal, and the picturesque neighborhoods of Cannaregio, Dorsoduro, and San Marco.

    Is it worth doing a gondola ride with kids?

    Absolutely! If your kids are okay on boats, you should definitely do one. It was a highlight for my kids and it was a fun way to see Venice from water.

    Should I visit the Doge’s Palace with kids?

    We didn’t have time on this Venice trip, but we’ll definitely be doing it on our next trip to Venice. Visiting the Doge’s Palace with kids can be an enriching experience. I still remember going as a teen.

    Families can explore the historical rooms, cross the iconic Bridge of Sighs, and learn about Venetian history and culture through interactive exhibits and guided tours specifically designed for families.

    Can you do a day trip to Venice?

    Yes, day trips to Venice are possible, particularly if you are in a nearby location such as Venice’s mainland or cities like Verona or Padua. It allows for a limited but worthwhile experience of the city, focusing on the main attractions and the unique ambiance of Venice.

    Florence is about a 2-hour train ride away, so it’s also a possible day trip if you don’t mind just seeing a few things in Venice and taking some photos.

    Should I do a private gondola ride or a shared gondola ride?

    The choice between a private gondola ride or a shared gondola ride depends on your preferences and budget. We did a private one and that was perfect for our family of four. But I think gondola rides are always a good idea in Venice!

    Is Venice a car-free city?

    Yes! Not only is it car-free but you’re not even allowed to use bikes or scooters. You’ll need to head over to Nido if you want to rent bikes.

    1 Day in Venice Travel Tips Wrap Up

    Spending one day in Venice with kids can be a delightful adventure filled with cherished memories.

    Start your day in the iconic Piazza San Marco, where you can marvel at St. Mark’s Basilica and soak in the lively atmosphere.

    Walk along the charming streets, cross the historic Rialto Bridge, and witness the captivating beauty of the Grand Canal. Don’t forget to visit the famous Bridge of Sighs and capture the enchanting spirit of Venice.

    While one day in Venice is limited, this itinerary will allow you to experience the essence of Venice’s renowned landmarks, creating lasting impressions for both you and your children.

    Looking for more Venice travel content? Check out my top Venice travel tips, things to do in Venice with kids, hidden gems in Venice, how to spend 10 days in Italy with kids, how to find affordable photographers in Venice, tips for visiting Italy with kids, best weekend trips in Europe, Europe travel tips, and where to stay in Venice with kids!

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