Where We Stayed: Ca'Vittoria (AirBNB)

What We Liked About It:

  • Located in a quiet neighborhood
  • Close to an Alilaguna water bus stop (the service that goes to and from the airport) and a vaporetto stop (which gets you around Venice)
  • 3 bedrooms and plenty of space to lounge
  • Right next door to a grocery store
  • Affordable
  • Great hosts that met us at the water bus stop late in the evening and escorted us to the apartment
 With our gondolier, the fantastic Luca

With our gondolier, the fantastic Luca

HOW WE GOT AROUND

Arrived and Departed:

  • Ryan Air from Krakow->Venice Marco Polo Airport
  • From the airport, we took the Alilaguna Water Bus from the airport to the island of Venice
  • It is an easy, well-marked 10-minute walk from the aiport to the water bus terminal; we bought tickets at the terminal
  • Once on the water bus, it was a 45 minute ride from the terminal to the stop nearest our AirBNB
  • Once in Venice, we bought 48-hour vaporetto passes to get around. We also walked A TON.

What We Did (72 Hours)

  1. Meander, explore different neighborhoods, and soak up city's vibrancy . . . so do it, first and foremost . . . and without even knowing where you are going. Do it first on foot. Pass by the Rialto Fish Market, check out a local mask shop, find some great, authentic. Grab a glass of wine on a square and let the kids run, chase pigeons, and explore. When little feet tire of walking, it's time to buy your vaporetto passes and start planning your select destinations within Venice.
  2. Take a gondola ride. Choose your gondolier wisely. Opt to cruise through the quieter, smaller canals. This will most likely be the highlight of your trip. If you're lucky, your gondolier will sing to you. 
  3. Visit the Ships Pavilion at the Venice Arsenal. This exhibit is great for both kids and adults. 
  4. Check out Doge's Palace . . . kids will be particularly interested in the Armoury exhibit, which has a fantastic collection of arms and ammunition which belonged to the Council of Ten
  5. Go to the Venice Natural History Museum. I would never have thought about this one, but we had a rainy day and were looking for options. It was GREAT. Dinosaurs, fossils of all different kinds, very kid-friendly. 
  6. Stop By the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Museum. Our kids, still being young, are not that excited about art musuems, however this museum has a pretty fantastic garden where they can explore. Adults can take turns touring the art collection in Peggy Guggenheim's Venetian home while kids play outside.
  7. Burn off some energy at Giardini Papadopoli - a park with a playground - in central Venice. 
 View of the Grand Canal from the front of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Museum

View of the Grand Canal from the front of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Museum

WHAT WE ATE

  • Gelato. Gelato, gelato, gelato. Have I said gelato? Make sure to get the authentic kind! Here were our favorite Venetian gelaterias . . . they are worth the walk to find them!
    • Gelateria Alaska (Calle Larga de Bari, 1159, Venice; +39 041 715211); recommended by Condé Nast Traveler in the following article
    • Suso Gelatoteca (Calle della Bissa / San Marco / Venezia; +39 348 564 65 45); recommended by the New York Times in the following 
  • Our favorite restaurant with the kids: Birraria La Corte (Campo San Polo, 2168 - Venezia
    Tel. +39 041 2750570) - a great pizzeria in an old brewery located on a large, quiet square where the kids could burn off energy after the meal. Thanks to Courtney at Babyccino Kidsfor the suggestion!

TIPS

  • Consider buying a Venezia Unica pass for your family so that you can easily hop on and off all public transportation (mostly, vaporettos) and receive admission to some museums (Doge's Palace), as well as discounts to others (Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice Natural History Collection, etc.)
  • Take a private water taxi from the airport to Venice if you have money to spare. It is pricey, but I've heard it's quite the entrance to this beautiful city on the water . . . 
  • Enroll older children (ages 6 and up) in a Venetian mask-making class. We've heard good things about Ca'Macana.
  • Take a day or half-day trip to the islands of Murano (know for it's glass-blowing factories and demonstrations) and Burano (home to a lace museum and pretty painted homes). Unfortunately, we did not have the time, nor our 2-year old the patience for this, so it will have to wait until our next trip!
  • Climb the Campanile di San Marco for wonderful views of Venice, but expect to wait in line.
  • Consider gondola rowing lessons if you have older children.
  • Think about visiting during Venice's Carnival festival (Carnavale di Venezia), which happens each year in the lead-up to Ash Wednesday. Venice comes alive with ornately-dressed masqueraders - a unique people-watching experience you'll never forget.