The last leg of our trip has been the most difficult for us to plan. In a city with waterways as the thoroughfares, planning a tour of Venice with kids in tow is proving to be a challenge! We have read LOTS of information and trip reports prior to creating this plan – the one we may have enjoyed the most was called “We Took 6 Kids to Venice and Nobody Fell In a Canal!” This is a serious concern with the crazy-and-days-away-from-her-third-birthday Ainsley! But we hope the plan will be a success and I CAN’T wait to see this city of water with my family!
So we left off in Innsbruck, Austria where we will catch the 1:30pm train to Venice. Although this train will make several stops along the way, it is direct and we won’t have to switch to a different train. In researching this 4.5 hour journey, I discovered there is a first class and second class option. And it is cheaper to book in advance. I also discovered that on some of the trains, there is a Cinema car for kids! Quite likely in a language that they won’t understand, but… they have a Cinema car!
At the very least, we will have a table and power outlet at our seat to use our electronics, play games and eat a meal. We’ll arrive at the Santa Lucia train station at about 6:10pm. Although the “water bus” might be slightly cheaper, it will be much more convenient for us to take a water taxi for 8 to the Hilton Molino Stucky on the island of Giudecca. We will check into the hotel and call it a night after our long afternoon of travel!
We’ll be up early to start the next day of touring Venice on foot and water as mornings are when we shine. The Hilton provides a free shuttle to the St. Marks square stop, so we’ll begin there. We’ll visit St. Marks square before the crowds arrive, make our way up the Campanile and then visit St. Marks Basilica. Before leaving St. Marks square, we’ll admire Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs and then we’ll head toward the Rialto Bridge. The total cost for these adventures – 8 Euros each!
On our way to the Rialto Bridge, we’ll try and find some lunch. I fully expect this to be the completely healthy meal of pizza and gelato. I imagine most of our meals will be pasta or pizza and gelato during our days in Venice! We’ll do a little shopping after visiting the bridge and then take a traghetto ride across the canal. Although riding in a gondola is a MUST-DO for Venice, the ride now is regulated, is 40 minutes long and costs 80 Euros! The cost is a deterrent, but so is the length of time. I just don’t think it will be a relaxing 40 minutes with kids involved. So the traghetto is an alternative. It is 2 Euros per person and the way Venetians travel across the canal. Although the ride is short, taking a few of these jaunts will satisfy our gondola experience!
After our busy day, we’ll return to the hotel mid-afternoon for rest and swimming. The kids can’t wait to swim in a pool on the roof and the adults will appreciate a refreshing drink from the Skyline bar! We’ll likely seek a pasta/pizza meal near our hotel for dinner.
The next day we’ll take the time to meander around the neighborhoods of Venice away from St. Marks Square. Maybe we’ll locate the Venetian mask shop where the masks for Eyes Wide Shut were made. And hopefully we’ll find a hidden café to enjoy some Italian treats. I am certain we’ll seek out another traghetto ride! The way I see it, if we don’t get lost at least once, we will not have truly experienced Venice!
Another suggestion that has been popular in the reviews I have read was a canal trip on the Vaporetto. For 7 Euros, we can ride the entire length of the canal and see Venice from the water.
After another full day, we’ll head back to the hotel in the afternoon for some rest and swimming before our final dinner. Our tour of Europe with my sister and family will be ending, so we’ll find a restaurant on the canal (maybe Trattoria & Pizzeria do Mori?) to dine alfresco and relive some of our favorite moments from the trip!
The next day we’ll take a water taxi from the hotel to the airport in the morning. We’ll fly from Venice to London to spend our final European weekend in the city so that Ken and Lachlan can attend their first Formula One race together at Silverstone. This will most likely be the highlight of Lachlan’s entire trip. I’m very excited for them!
As always, we’ll track our spending down to the penny and will report back on how we did. If you haven’t seen our breakdown of expenses to date, be sure to check out this post! Stay tuned for European updates!
** Photo credit goes to J. Miers found on Venice WikiTravel