By now, you know that we loved our stay in Venice. We stayed 4 days and managed to see most of the important areas and sites while enjoying some relaxing pauses.
I thought it would be helpful for those of you with children to know how we divided our time there with Mademoiselle. She is now 8 and a half years old and loved Venice. I think the boats, the canals, the streets with no cars but more importantly the stops at gelato shops and pasta cafés really took her fancy!
So here is a guide to 4 days in Venice with a child. It’s purposefully in bullet points so that it’s easier for you to quickly see the breakdown by day and maybe get inspiration from it.
Our arrival was under very grey skies which turn out into full blown heavy rain later on. However, it means that we had a nearly deserted San Marco discovery in the late afternoon, which was quite the introduction to Venice.
- Arrival by water taxi – Mademoiselle LOVED this and imagined herself to be a celebrity! You can also of course take the water bus much cheaper!)
- Check in at the hotel.
- Walk around San Marco Piaza
- Aperitif in the bar at the hotel
- Diner at Al Paradiso. Nice starters but the pasta was a bit rich. We liked it as it was our first meal in Venice but the other restaurants were actually much better!
- Institute Cultural : on our way to the Academia, we walked into this institute which shows modern art. Interesting, free and great views onto the canal!
- Academia: a classic. Unfortunately the audio guides (which Mademoiselle usually loves) were very academic as well and not at all suited for children!
- Lunch at Bar alla Toletta: lots of sandwiches and paninis.
- Capuccinos and cakes at Pasticceria Tonolo : a delighted Mademoiselle took ages to choose her biscuits and cakes!
- Walk to the tip of Dorsoduro: great views onto the canales and you can also see the Gondola makers if their workshop doors are open (they were!)
- Back to around San Marco and hot chocolate at Caffé Florian of course! Really expensive but it’s worth it for the decor (which reminded me of Les Deux Magots in Paris).
- Rest in the hotel
- Diner at Osteria alle Trestere : highly recommend it. Make sure you book in advance. Great fresh fish dishes and seafood.
- Palazzio Ducale: make sure to check which rooms are open. The doge’s apartments were closed when we visited. Still lots to see anyway. The jails visit spooked me but could be exciting for boys who like adventures!
- Walk to and around the Rialto
- Lunch at Aman Venice
- Walk and shopping around Rialto. This is where Mademoiselle bought her little Murano glass turtle.
- Massages in the hotel
- Room service: we knew we would be tired so decided to have one night in. We slept until 9:30 the day after!
- Gondola ride: yes, it is cliche but yes, it is very nice. You have to do it once in your life. Very relaxing actually: between the silent canals and the gentle movement of the gondola, you could easily fall asleep…
- Water bus to el Ghetto: make sure that you buy a pass before going to Venice. We had to buy our tickets on the vaporetto itself using our mobile phone and were hoping that nobody would control us before the transaction was finished!
- Walk around the Ghetto
- Lund at MQ10 : a very simple cafe but with tables outside by the canal. We ate our sandwiches and pizzas facing the sun and thinking it was spring already!
- Walk from el Ghetto through Cannaregio and Castello and quick stop at San Pietro de Castello
- On our way back to San Marco, we came across a great chocolate shop: Vizio Virtu (vice and vertu!). Really worth a stop and a purchase.
- Drinks in San Marco outside in the sun!
- Diner at Osteria Enoteca San Marco: another great find. Really good food with a great choice of wine too.
- Drinks outside on the terrace of the hotel watching the lights on the canal, dreamy!
- Traghetto across the canal to go to…
- Peggy Guggenheim collection: it’s just magnifique. The amount of masterpieces in this lovely building, the gardens, the terrace opening onto the grand canal, she definitely had taste!
- Lunch at the hotel
- Water taxi back to the airport. The driver even made it a fun ride when he saw how much Mademoiselle enjoyed the bumps and speed.
There you have it. I think we managed a good balance of touristy visits, pauses for good food, relaxation and quiet walks to absorb the atmosphere.
And you, what would you recommend a family to do in Venice?