We kicked off our European vacation with kids and grandparents with a wonderful week in Grindelwald, Switzerland. From there, it was time to catch a train (or several of them to be exact) and head down to beautiful Venice, Italy! We were picked up at Venice Mestre by the lovely people from Four Points by Sheraton – Venice Mestre, which is a brand new hotel in the local Venice suburbs, just a 15-20 minute train ride (station is within walking distance) from the main island and action. While without kids we’d probably opt for a hotel on the island itself, this was a great quiet location surrounded by a mall and giant supermarket – perfect for snacks and Italian wine! 🙂 The staff at Four Points couldn’t have been nicer – we had a lovely family suite with connecting rooms and two bathrooms, plus a third room for my parents. We also had a wonderful breakfast buffet every morning, and transportation at the end of our stay to the cruise terminal. I would highly recommend this hotel for business travelers or families, especially if staying in downtown area is out of budget!
Four Points by Sheraton Venice Mestre couldn’t have been nicer! Large rooms, near grocery stores, lovely staff, and fun entertainment in the lobby!
We had a lovely two days in Venice itself, exploring a bit on our own and also with the help of Family Twist. We had a great time on their tour at the Louvre last year, and they certainly didn’t disappoint in Venice with either of our experiences – a food and walking tour the first day, and private water taxi tour the second. Silvia was our guide both days, and she was (absolutely delightful – my kids and parents all adored her! She was knowledgable, kind, and totally willing to work with whatever our family wanted. The first day, we had a lovely food tour walking through the streets of Venice. It was great to try local establishments (vs tourist traps) and some real Venetian dishes, including Cicchetti (Italian tapas or happy hour) like fish, fried mozzarella, and chicken. We of course loved the traditional Venetian spritz, and the kids loved their gelato! It’s a great city to eat and socialize in! Along the way, we got to hear a lot about the canals (including a brief gondola ride), visit the Rialto Market, and learn all about the history of Venice, ending with a beautiful panoramic view of the city at the conclusion of the tour.
Our first day in Venice was amazing! Exploring the city, the lovely canals, and best of all the amazing food! We saw some great views as well!
The following morning, we took the kids on our own to see San Marcos Square. It was awesome to see the Doge Palace, and the Campanile Tower – especially after posing recently with its mini replica in the Epcot World Showcase! The activity on the square and the amazing history there is busy but still fun to see nonetheless, and is a great spot for traditional Venice photos.
San Marco Square was a sight to see!
Our second day with Silvia, we rode in a water taxi around the Grand Canal and out to the Venetian island of Burano. The island is just lovely, with multi colored houses and delicious cookies and lace factories! We also went by Murano, the glass-blowing island, and saw some of the other scenery beyond the main area of Venice. The kids LOVED the boat – and even got to drive for a little bit in open water! They enjoyed their special Venice Activity books, which had facts and reminders about all that they learned. Silvia also gave each of them a souvenir book geared toward their age and interest that they loved reviewing in the hotel that night.
The islands around Venice proper are so lovely!
We had a great day out on the water!
A week later on the final night of our trip, we stayed in a different area of Venice by the Marco Polo airport at Ca’ Tessera Park Resort Venice Airport. At this quaint bed and breakfast hotel the kids loved playing in the gardens and the indoor Roman pool. It was also easy to walk to local cafes for one last taste of Italian cuisine and spritz! Again the staff was lovely and so much fun.
This was a great hotel near the airport with a lot of culture and a fun way to end our trip!
Our time in Venice was too short, but it was such a lovely stay and we cannot wait to return! It’s definitely a fun city to visit and experience with kids as well! If you have questions, let me know and I’d be happy to help you plan a Venetian experience!
Next up – beautiful Greece, and time on Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas!