I find Venice to be a magical place. Really, there is no other place like it. From the car-less streets to the hundreds of bridges, Venice is one of a kind.
Tourist flock to Venice making it nearly impossible to walk down some of the narrow street-ways (especially if you are pushing a stroller). But Venice is high on my list for a must see in Europe.
|Arrival in Venice…..Fly, Drive or Train?|
We have arrived/departed from Venice with all 3 modes of transportation. The Venice Airport is about 10km from Venice on the mainland. You can connect to Venice with a water taxi from there or opt to take a bus to Piazzale Roma.
If driving to Venice I would recommend parking at Tronchetto. Right outside the garage, you can hop on a Vaporetto or the People mover.
We were very excited to see a People Mover has opened (Since April 2011). This is especially convenient for those who are cruising out of Venice, stopping right at the Port. It also stops in Piazzale Roma.
If you ride in on the train it will conveniently drop you off near Piazzale Roma. Be alert on the trains. We’ve never been successfully pick-pocketed but have thwarted off a thief before.
Remember in Italy your dog needs to have a muzzle on trains and boats. You’d be surprised how many dogs are in Venice. It’s fun traveling with your dog, it’s always a good conversation starter with the locals. We find in Italy our dog gets more attention than our kids.
Venice is expensive. Everything is tourist prices. You will find there are not many discounts given for kids either, full prices, kids, and adults. This can make a family trip to Venice even more expensive. I’d recommend considering purchasing a Venice Card, and/or a Museum Pass to make your stay less expensive. Be alert in Venice. Count your money/change. More than once, on different occasions, I have had people try to short change me.
St. Mark’s Square is one of my favorite squares. Find a cafe and have a drink on the square. You can relax and people watch and, if kids are in tow, they can chase the birds while you enjoy one of the most famous Squares in the world.
Visit St Mark’s Basilica. The church is free to enter but the line can queue quite far, especially in tourist season. If you are there in the winter months, you may get the chance to wait in line with water up to your ankles. If this doesn’t sound exciting you can opt to stand on the flood platforms they set out. In a past visit to Venice (winter season) water was flowing up through the drains flooding most of the square even into the church. It is a city that is slowly sinking, so sad!
And of course, make sure you ride a gondola down the waterways of Venice. What could be more romantic than this?
|Where to stay?|
I think staying in Venice can be very romantic. In the evenings when many of the tourists leave the islands it can be such a romantic place (assuming no kids this trip). It can also be very expensive to stay in Venice but it is possible to find some cheaper hotels in Venice.
If you are cruising out of Venice, and have a car, you may want to stay near Venice. This hotel is a great option. We stayed here when we left on a cruise and the hotel even offered free parking for the week, great deal.
Another option is staying in a surrounding town, like Padua. In the past, we have used Padua as a home base for exploring the area and Venice. Not to mention Padua has fabulous restaurants which, I think, can be tricky to find in Venice.
Traveling with 3 or more people can make it harder to find accommodations especially all together. Our last trip to Venice we traveled with 6 people and opted to stay in an Agriturismo further outside of Venice. We found a great Agriturismo as a cheap alternative to the expensive Venice hotels, that housed all 6 of us and a dog.
*Some useful information when traveling with kids. Sometimes we like to grab a pizza to go. I have read it is illegal to Picnic in Venice. (I think they have had problems with littering) We are guilty of this crime (a slice of pizza on some steps) but have never been caught.
But if you want to follow the rules (always a good idea) find a local cafe and buy a drink. You can sit for hours if the kids will let you. Or better yet, cafe hop, from drinks to pizza, to gelato. Our kids have also enjoyed finding squares with local kids to play football with. Score!
Lastly, my advice would be to get lost in the streets of Venice. You’ll always find your way back to the main square but being lost for a moment is part of the adventure in traveling. (I don’t recommend losing your kids, though)
I have tried to highlight some of the points that I would find useful when traveling to Venice. I am sure you will fall in love with Venice.