If you’d had asked me a couple of years ago if I thought we’d be able to do a city like Venice with a 4 and 5 year old, I would have laughed in your face. Fast forward those couple of years, and last week we made that dream a reality! We went back last week after last year’s honeymoon here, this time with our two little ones in tow, and it was honestly a ‘pinch me’ moment- I couldn’t believe we were actually in quite possibly my favourite city with our (more grown up) babies.
We spent two days/ one night in Venice, before heading on to the beautiful campsite of Ca Savio, where we stayed with Eurocamp (more on that to come in future posts), as we wanted Freddie and Sasha to experience a little of what we did when we came here for 4 days last June. Having been to Venice recently, Adam and I felt confident that the children would manage the city and the boats/water just fine (I admit I would have reservations if I had never been before) but actually Venice is a really easy city to get around, with or without little ones. The lack of cars actually makes the place seem safer despite the water, with lots of lovely walkways, back streets and squares to explore.
I’ve found it really hard to choose out of all of the photos I snapped (no surprise there!), so this post will be in two parts, plus I’ll be writing another with our tips for visiting Venice with young children- I hope you enjoy!
We booked flights with Easyjet from Gatwick, and in under two hours you’re in to Marco Polo airport, which is then a short 20 minute coach ride to the edge of Venice, and to the place where you can catch water taxis and water buses. Getting about is SO much cheaper out here then in the UK- the coach cost less than 5 Euros each for Adam and myself, and both children were still free. We hopped on the water bus and traveled about 30 minutes to the stop where our hotel was, Accademia. This makes it seems like our hotel was really far away, but it’s actually not at all- the water bus is just really slow and stops on both sides of the Grand Canal every few minutes!
Both Freddie and Sasha were pretty awestruck by the fact that everyone was getting around by boat, and it made a welcome change of transport interest for vehicle obsessed Freddie! We had made sure we had traveled relatively light (well, for me), so it was easier to manage getting on and off the boats with luggage and children- 2 suitcases for the whole family and a backpack each.
Once we arrived and disembarked at Accademia, we took a short stroll to our hotel for the night, The Palazzo Guardi. We booked a family room here relatively last minute for about £100, and were welcomed warmly and shown to our HUGE room, which contained a basic en-suite and a whopping king size bed, as well as an already laid out whopping sofa bed for the children. The family room of dreams!
After quickly dumping our stuff in the room, we decided to nip out to a nearby cafe by Accademia Bridge that we remembered from our stay last year. We’d all been up since about 4am, so wanted to grab a late lunch before heading back to the hotel for a nap before going out for sinner in the evening.
And what a view! You know you’re on holiday good and proper when you have a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio in hand, pizza on the way, and a canal-side table.
Me and my boy. Who was also obsessed with trying to chase the pigeons out in Venice, with much chiding from us- what is it about some small children and doing this?! Pigeons aside, he was super-well behaved on our trip, as was Sasha, and we’re lucky that they do travel and eat out well, which makes life much more enjoyable. They’re much better out and about than at home sometimes!
This little madam was not such a fan of the pigeons, and her knees are up because she was worried about them touching her feet!
Pizza time! Okay, so I’m a bit pizza-ed out after our Italy holiday, but that’s because we had so much as it is SO delicious. I guess it should be, what with being the home of pizza, and I’m still surprised after a few trips to Italy now just how cheap it is in comparison to the UK. About a fiver for a large one.
After our quick pizza and wine stop, we strolled back to our hotel for a nap and a freshen up. There’s something about wandering the streets of Venice that’s so calming and beautiful (again, I think the lack of traffic is a huge factor in this), and the buildings and architecture are just beautiful.
Cheesy grin from our handsome boy! Check out the Club Tropicana-esque slip ons…
This one requested a shoulder carry from soft-touch Daddy many times over the course of our trip, although to be fair this is her first major holiday without a buggy, so the girl done good really 🙂
After an enforced sleep, we headed out for the evening about 6pm. I love this shot of 2/3 of my crew, even though Freddie looks like he’s only the verge of a smile!
Posing on Accademia Bridge, the nearest bridge to our hotel.
We found this big square full of cafes and restaurants and decided to pick one of the places to eat here. Our venue of choice was deliberate, as we wanted the children to be able to go off and play safely once they’d eaten so Adam and I could have a couple of drinks, so we chose a table outside a restaurant that was closest to the square and so the children wouldn’t annoy anyone else.
I love how abroad children stay up later and are very much included in the ‘eating out’ culture, and are fine to play in the street/in a square. We obviously don’t let them run about in a UK restaurant, where as in the med it seems much more usual for children to go off after a meal.
Where we were sat we could watch them play their little games (we bought several cars and Peppa Pig figures to keep them amused- those figures are ridiculously well-traveled now!), and Freddie and Sasha also ended up making friends with two little Belgium girls, which was lovely to see.
Playing chase (and probably attempting to chase another bloody pigeon).
Cheers! Wine is obscenely cheap in Italy, which is great for the holiday purse-strings.
The square at sun set.
Silly faces with my gorgeous girl (who I can assure you is pulling one back at me!).
After feasting on Calamari and homemade Lasagne, we headed back to the hotel about about 10pm, to get some rest before sight-seeing the following day, and then travelling to our Eurocamp Holiday home in Ca Savio, a water ferry away.
A brilliant first day, and we were instantly reminded how fab Italy is, with and without children. It really is much easier to ‘do’ with children than you think, with a little careful planning.
First day in Venice with a 4 and 5 year old- done!
Part 2 and a gazillion more photos coming soon…