Arriving anywhere new for the first time can be exciting. Arriving in Venice, with kids in tow, is especially so.
Children and adults will be captivated by their first experiences of the city and this post aims to help you make it a fabulous and memorable moment.
Which is the Best Airport for Venice?
There are two main options for arriving by air in Venice and they can both provide a fabulous, magical introduction to this beautiful city.
One is Marco Polo airport which is really the city’s own airport. If you want to arrive in true style into the centre of Venice, this is the option to take as it’s just a short walk from the airport arrivals hall down to the waterfront to pick up a private water taxi. It’s not cheap at over 100 Euro, but it’s a great experience – the kids will absolutely love it and so will you!
However, the other option can also provide a great way to enter Venice, albeit less luxurious and involving a little bit more effort.
The other ‘nearby’ airport for Venice is at Treviso which budget airlines use, and is about an hour’s coach drive away.
Don’t be put off by that though. The upside reward is a great way of arriving in Venice, with kids that will be thrilled by the experience of riding their first Vaporetto along the Grand Canal.
The coach approaches Venice across a long causeway, your excitement increasing as the city skyline view in the distance gets larger and closer, and will drop you off at the top end of Venice in the Piazzala Roma (this is also the main train terminal area if you arrive that way instead).
Getting a Vaporetto (Waterbus) on The Grand Canal
Once you’ve arrived, look for the big new bridge across the Grand Canal. On the left is the ACTV office and information centre where you can buy tickets for the Vaporetti (water bus) services that run around Venice. Single tickets are expensive (7.50 Euro – 2017) and only cover a single trip, so we tend to buy multi-day passes to cover however long we’re there for (e.g. 7 days unlimited trips for 60 Euro).
Walk round to the Grand Canal behind the ticket office, validate your ticket for the journey, board a Vaporetto and head off down the Grand Canal for amazing views of Venice, enjoying and reflecting in the vibrant noise and bustle of the city, both on and off the water!
There is so much to look at on the way through the Grand Canal that children will be absorbed with everything going on. Every stop of the Vaporetto along the way is a fascinating routine of engines revving and reversing, nudging up to the pier, the gates opening and closing as people leave and board the boat, and then powering off further down the canal to the next stop.
You might have to walk further from a stop to your accommodation than you would with a private water taxi, but the journey itself is a fabulous welcome into the heart of Venice.
From then on, the children will be asking to go on the Vaporetti at every opportunity (which is why unlimited tickets are great), and being in charge of their own tickets and validating them while waiting on the piers is all part of it.
They make a great way to get around a lot of Venice in a fun way that becomes an enjoyable and memorable part of your visit, especially for kids, and for the adults too.
Useful Venice Travel Links:
Check out our other posts on visiting Venice with kids.