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travelingintheblood Nov 30th, 2009 02:53 PM

Family of 5 in Venice for 3 days -- will this work w/ kids?
My husband and I are planning a 15 day trip to Italy / Switzerland next summer. We are wanting to take our children (6, 8 & 10) to see Venice for a few days but we are also intimidated with the idea of not having our car to bring our luggage to the hotel and wonder how we will manage this. I am sure others have done this -- so we would like to learn from you! Any suggestions for us? Any hotel suggestions? Appreciate any advice on this. Thanks!

J62 Nov 30th, 2009 03:35 PM

You can't drive your car to your hotel in Venice - it's a series of islands surrounded by canals, so yes, it's quite doable.

For a family of 5 I recommend you look into apartments instead of hotels. They work out great for us. In Venice we used They met us at the boat bus dock (Vaporetto) and walked us to the apartment, showed us how things worked, then showed us where the local food market was.

J62 Nov 30th, 2009 03:46 PM

If you are arriving in Venice by car then you'll be parking at Piazzale Roma, at the end of the causway from the mainland. From there you have 3 choices, from highest convenience & cost to lowest

1. water taxi to your hotel - many hotels have their own dock. For 5 people with luggage this is probably your best option. Expect to pay about 40-50 Euro (just a guess) from the parking lot to a hotel.

2. water bus (vaporetto) to the stop closest to your hotel then walk from there. This is what most people do, but at 6.50 Euro per ticket for each ride long or short this is not a cheap option for a family of 5. Depending on the location of the hotel this is either quite easy, or not so easy. Be prepared to carry your luggage up and down the steps on at least several bridges. There are multi day Vaporetto passes that work out ok if you take more than 2-3 trips a day.

3. Walk to your hotel. Some (not many) hotels are close to Piazzale Roma area. It's not an area I'd choose for 1st time visitors mainly due to the distance from the main sights.

bobthenavigator Nov 30th, 2009 03:55 PM

Or, stay on the Lido island and take your car with you.
Not ideal, but the alternatives are not either.

poutine Nov 30th, 2009 04:13 PM

You don't give us an idea of what kind of money you hope to spend on accomodation, so I will tell you my experience.....

Last summer we (husband, 12 and 10 year old) stayed at the Hilton in Giudecca, which is an island facing Venice. We stayed on points, however a number of people have gotten quite good rates through Priceline. I think if you stay in a hotel, you are going to have to get two rooms, or a suite no matter where you choose. My kids LOVED the Hilton. Here's why:

They have their own boat that they use to shuttle guests back and forth across the canal on a fixed schedule - very cool to sit next to the driver with the wind flying through your hair.

They have a pool on the roof of the hotel which faces the canal. You can see the Duomo and many other buildings. After a day of sightseeing the kids will appreciate the chance to cool off in a pool. As the pool is elevated and facing the canal, all the cruise ships pass by as they enter/leave Venice. Even if you don't like cruise ships, it is very impressive to be looking eye to eye (you are literally the same height as the top decks) with all the cruisers lining the rails, while Vivaldi is played at full blast.

When you want to escape the hoards, go for a walk on Giudecca, or in one of the Venice neighbourhoods not too close to the Duomo. It is a whole different experience!

On a different note, the 8 and 10 year old should be able to haul their own carry on and a small day pack. Too much luggage is a pain anywhere, but especially in Venice.

MelJ Nov 30th, 2009 04:46 PM

DH and I are taking our daughter and two grandsons (13 and 15) to Venice for three days. For comfort and economy, the five of us are staying in an apartment. It's often hard to find those that will take you for under one week, but Venice is one of those places that people tend to visit for just a couple of days, so we didn't have a problem finding one in our budget. Here's where we'll be:

As for the problem of not having a car to the door, we went to London/Paris when the kids were 9 and 12 and we had everyone take ONE piece of luggage that they could wheel themselves and, if they wished, a backpack. We did two weeks like this and it was no problem. Even a 6 year old can pull a small wheeled piece (get the little ones "spinners," the four-wheeled kind you can walk next to you). If not, it will be easy enough for mom and dad to take for them. If you get an apartment, you'll have a washer and won't need to take many clothes.

Have a wonderful time!

nytraveler Nov 30th, 2009 05:20 PM

The problem the OP Ha sis the age of the younger kids. Older kids can haul their own luggage and you can (reasonably) expect them not to get lost or fall into a canal. With a 6 or 8 year old they probably can;t handle their own luggage and may not be sensible about paying full attention and staying with the group (since the parents will be fully occupied with luggage.

If each of the kids can manage their own day pack - and the 6 and 8 year old will follow the orders of the 10 year old without question, the adults can probably deal with the luggage on a vaporetto. But, if any of the kids is at all ditzy - or dreamy - I wouldn't do anything except a water taxi to a hotel with it's own dock.

travelingintheblood Nov 30th, 2009 06:50 PM

Thanks for all the really great advice. We are looking into your suggestions for accomodations and really appreciate any and all input!

Peter_S_Aus Nov 30th, 2009 08:26 PM

Your kids won't fall into a canal, and just think - there is no traffic to worry about. An apartment makes sense - we stayed here:

Give yourselves heaps of time there - Venice is a big town, not a city (just don't tell the Venetians that).
If you are travelling for a couple of weeks in Summer, you won't need much baggage anyway.

dreamon Dec 1st, 2009 01:43 AM

We visited Venice with our two kids last year when they were 9 and 12. We travelled for 5 weeks in all and they both carried all their own luggage in a backpack each (Dad carried the toiletries). I'm a big fan of travelling with less luggage rather than more. Travelling on the vaporetto with heaps of luggage in peak hour is a pain for everyone, not just the ones with the luggage.

Venice is actually really safe for children, largely because there is no traffic. However, it is the sort of place where it is very easy to get separated from each other. I recommend that you put the hotel's/apartment's name, address, and phone numbers on paper and put in each child's pocket or little day pack. I even read somewhere once that a family wrote their mobile phone number on the shoulder of each child in case they got lost! This is not meant to scare you because Venice is great for kids but just a practical tip.

And send the kids on a lion hunt!

ellenem Dec 1st, 2009 03:55 AM

"I recommend that you put the hotel's/apartment's name, address, and phone numbers on paper and put in each child's pocket or little day pack."

I recommend this strategy for ADULTS in Venice as well! If you stay at a hotel in Venice, the hotel's business card will usually feature a map of how to find it. Be sure to ive each member of the family this card.

Ronael Dec 1st, 2009 04:28 AM

bookmarking - thanks!

rex Dec 1st, 2009 04:46 AM

There are some vital pieces of information missing that makes it difficult to give you advice.

<I><U>Where</u></i> (else) in Italy do you want to go? Assuming that Italy is 6-12 of your 15 days, then you have to be selective; that's a good thing. I would recommend that you start your trip "somewhere else" (Florence, Rome, Milan or "the lakes") and <U>stay there</u> for at least three days. That will give you the opportunity to get acclimated to Italy, to being on vacation together as a family, to figure out what are the things you really need during your three days in Venice (you think you know, but after three days, your ideas will be sharpened).

Then travel to Venice - - I actually think there are some reasons that the idea of trying to avoid "taking all your stuff in" (to the hotel) is NOT such a good idea - - but more on that in a minute.

I suggest that Venice is a good destination to arrive by train. On days 1-3 you can structure the trip to not need a car - - and then why pay to park it in Venice for days 4-6? By arriving pn a train... then, you can rent your car on the departure day, head to Switzerland, and return to Italy for the last (one? two? three?) days of your trip... and fly home from "there" (Milan, for example).

Venice is a great destination for kids. They will not fall into a canal. They will feel at least as comfortable as, if not more comfortable than adults; in a town with no cars/taxis/"street" traffic... kids are on a relatively more level playing field with adults. Seriously... Venice is one place that seems almost custom made for kids to get along (almost) without adults to oversee them (not quite true at the ages of 6 and 8).

As for "not taking your stuff in" - - I find that this never works as well as I think it should. you think of <I>something</i> you wish you had. An item of clothing gets ripped or stained, and the minimalist packing plan has a little monkey wrench. And after three days, you will want to re-pack and re-arrange everything - - consolidating the things you've already worn, re-organizing the items you have not worn yet, etc.

Still, you can do it if you wish, and I'm almost certain that there is a "left luggage" service at the Venice train station.

Or the idea from bob... to stay on Lido is not bad - - I have done that. But it will cost you <i>at least</I> an hour to line up for the ferry, and make the (short) ferry trip there, and likewise on the return. The car will not be useful (much) during your time on Lido. And you will have 30 minutes each day, each direction (at the beginning of the day and again at the end of the day), shuttling from/to Lido on your way to/from "Venice proper".

Without any ideas as to your budget, I will not attempt any hotel suggestions; besides, my (six) trips to Venice were 1969, 1998, 1999, 2000 (twice) and 2001. You should get some more up-to-date advice on lodging. Even so, I think that is very, very good for a useful overview of your (hundreds of) choices.

Best wishes,


bardo1 Dec 1st, 2009 05:18 AM

I agree w/ apt. suggestions - perfect for family w/ young children. I love the one Melj suggested. There are many more that will also rent for less than a week.

I also think you should just spring for a water taxi to your apt. to/from the train station. Keep it simple.

rex Dec 1st, 2009 05:27 AM

<< I also think you should just spring for a water taxi to your apt. to/from the train station. >>

Another piece of good advice... with car or without car.

Mimar Dec 1st, 2009 08:12 AM

Your kids will love Venice. And it's so peaceful being in a city/town without cars or trucks or traffic noise. So don't choose the Lido (or Mestre) unless absolutely necessary.

julia_t Dec 1st, 2009 09:31 AM

A few years ago I took my 4 children to Venice for 6 days. They were then aged 14,13 and 11yo twins. We stayed in an apartment which I found just by googling - I hadn't discovered Fodors at that point! The apartment was great and a whole lot cheaper than a hotel for 5 of us. It had 4 bedrooms (slept up to 8) and I paid something like 800 euros for the 6 nights. It was down an alley from Bacino Orseolo behind Piazza San Marco.

We took the bus from the airport (where I bought the Venice Card passes), then the vaporetto to Piazza San Marco.

We did have suitcases, mostly small, but as one child was at that time in a wheelchair (thankfully temporarily due to a recent injury!) we also had one large suitcase.

We quickly discovered that all the bridges in Venice have steps up and down rather than ramps. Consider this when choosing where you are going to stay as you do not want to be heaving large bags up and over many bridges!

I spent 6 days heaving wheelchair-boy around Venice and got myself an infected mosquito bite, but we did have a pretty good time all things considered. Fantasy Gelato is the best (on Calle dei Fabbri between Rialto and Piazza San Marco) - your children will love Venice I'm sure!

And the best thing about those few days in Venice is that I 'discovered' Fodors en route - when trying to research wheelchairs in Venice!

travelingintheblood Dec 1st, 2009 01:38 PM

Thanks everyone for all the great recommendations and advice! Especially the apt, links! Glad to see that some have found great success in traveling with their children to Venice. I really am looking forward to this trip!

travelingintheblood Jan 7th, 2010 07:22 AM

We found a nice apt. in venice for a good price through Thanks J62!

albertkrown Jan 11th, 2010 05:03 AM


I suggest you Hotel Residence Elite in Mestre The apartments are large and welcoming, there is a free parking for your car and the bus stop to Venice in right in front of the residence.

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