I haven’t seen anything quite like Venice before – a city built on water, with such a gorgeous heritage. Beautiful views and water canals are everywhere and perhaps its lifeline. It’s also a great city to get completely lost in, wander through many a narrow streets, get mesmerised and smitten and charmed with what the city has to offer.
But should one go there with babies/ toddlers? Well, Venice is probably not such a baby friendly city given the way it is built. Bridges come at every few meters to connect you from one side of land to the other - which means if you have a baby in a pram, you have to carry them up the steps, down the steps, walk a little distance, and again go up and down – you get the drift? There is no transportation on land.
But should that stop you from visiting this beauty. Probably not. If you go equipped with a baby carrier, which works a lot better, and/ or a very light pram, you are in for a comfortable time. However, if you have a toddler who doesn’t like to sit in their pram or walk, you may be in for some discomfort.
That said, I saw so many families with three and more young kids holidaying in the city. I believe that when you travel with lil ones, you have to be realistic in your expectations of what you can or not do on a holiday. If the frame of mind is in the right place, you will love Venice, with a baby, just as much as we did :D
Stay & kids’ essentials:
Since Venice is so full of bridges, when it comes to hotels, I would suggest you pick up something that is close to the water taxi stations. If you are traveling with a lot of luggage, you will be very thankful for this choice.
We stayed in Hotel Canal Grande, and as the name suggests, it was on the main water canal in Venice called the Grand Canal. I would definitely recommend this to anyone traveling with kids. The staff are very courteous and helpful, and I love them for offering me their kitchen to make fresh mashed up meals for my son. They also have a nice breakfast spread and serve the best coffee I had on my trip.
Hotel Canal Grande has two water taxi stations just steps away and is just opposite the Santa Lucia train station. If you are coming into Venice and/ or getting out via trains, there’s not too much of a walk with your bags to the hotel.
If you are from the subcontinent and the kid(s) are used to having Indian food, there’s an Indian restaurant, Ganesh Ji, just a few meters away from the hotel. It is the only Indian restaurant in Venice and serves delish food.
I traveled with enough stock of diapers and milk powder, but I did see the same along with baby food jars in pharmacies and local grocery stores. Fresh milk, yoghurt and fruits were easily available. We also had a fruit and vegetable market very close to the hotel.