The city of Venice really captured our hearts. We recently spent a weekend there and had such a great time exploring Venice. The city is absolutely stunning and so full of history. One of the things we did as part of our Venice itinerary was to take a Venice walking tour. We’re so glad that we did! It really helped us explore the city on a deeper level than just as tourists.
We recently partnered with a company called Macaco Tours, which does Venice walking tours specifically aimed for families. They are a great addition to any Venice itinerary, and gives your kids a chance to explore some of the Venice landmarks in a fun way.
This post was updated on May 29, 2020.
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Exploring Venice landmarks
Like many of the other cities in Italy we visited during our stay, you need to give yourself ample time to visit. To fully experience Venice, you really need at least three days in Venice. We only had about two days to visit the city of Venice, and that short Venice itinerary definitely wasn’t enough to see all the Venice landmarks we wanted to see.
The city of Venice is made up of at least 118 small islands, many of them separated by canals, and connected by bridges. The majority of the Venice landmarks are found in the historical center. But there are plenty of places of interest on the outer islands too.
Boats (gondolas, water taxis, vaporetos, and private boats) take Venetians and tourists from one island to the other. The Grand Canal is one of the more popular Venice landmarks that’s used daily by locals and visitors, alike. You can easily spend a whole day island hopping throughout the Venice islands and seeing all the sight!
Some of the other popular Venice landmarks include St. Mark’s Cathedral (Basilica di San Marco) and St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco. The Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) is also a popular landmark, and used to be the home of the King of Venice. We also liked visiting Rialto Bridge, which is lined with shops, and offers beautiful views of the Grand Canal. Take a look through the Rick Steves Pocket Venice guide book for more ideas of what to see in Venice.
Choosing the right Venice walking tour for your family
Walking around Venice is a great way to see many of the Venice landmarks. But sometimes you don’t get the full history of a place just by walking around on your own. When exploring a new city, we often like doing walking tours. Taking a Venice walking tour helps us gain context of the places we are visiting, and learn the stories behind the iconic landmarks.
When choosing a Venice walking tour to do with your family, it’s important to keep your kids’ interests and learning styles in mind. You want something that will engage the kids, and not something too didactic.
Essentially, you want a tour that will be educational for them. For our family, learning about the history of a place is one way we try to travel responsibly. So we make sure that the tours we take are ones where the kids can learn something about the places we visit.
It’s also important to choose a tour that will be fun and interesting for the kids. This includes the content of the tour, as well as the length. For this reason, we like taking food tours and walking tours. And we tend to stay away from museum tours as they can be a bit too dull for our kids. And we usually aim for tours that are half a day or shorter. All day tours are too strenuous for our little ones (and for me!).
Partnering with Macaco Tours
When I was putting together our Venice itinerary, I happened to come across Macaco Tours. Offering tours in three cities in Italy (Venice, Verona, and Rome), Macaco Tour creates tours that help families learn about the culture of Italy. They offer several different themes for walking tours, and all are geared towards families with kids.
Some of the tours available in Venice include a treasure hunt, a sketch hunt, a boat tour, and a family game. The tours range from 120 euros per family (up to 5 people, with 20 euros for each additional person) to 470 euros (up to 5 people). The timing ranges between 90 minutes (for the less expensive tours) to 3 hours (for the more expensive tours). I loved including this tour at the start of my Venice itinerary, as it gave me a good introduction to the city.
Macaco Tour also offers workshops for families. In Venice, families can learn about the traditional art of glass making. Or they can learn how to make masks. It’s a great way to do hands-on cultural experiences! Besides, Venice, Macaco Tour also offers tours in Rome and Verona. Both of these cities are important cities in Italian history.
What we loved about our Venice walking tour with Macaco Tour
There were so many things that we loved about the Venice walking tour offered by Macaco Tour. Here are a few more reasons why we loved it, and why we think your family will love it too.
Engaging stories and activities
When I was searching for a Venice walking tour to do with my kids, I specifically wanted to find one that would be interesting for them. Most walking tours we take are interesting to adults, but end up being really boring for the kids. My kids do a fairly decent job of trying to listen, but sometimes a lot of that information flies over their heads.
One of the biggest draws of Macaco Tours for me was their engaging stories and activities. Their tours are created specifically for the kids in mind. Many of them are like scavenger hunts. And although we didn’t get to take any of the workshops, I’m sure they would have been extremely engaging and interesting for the kids.
During the start of the tour, we’re given packets with activities. We go through the packet activity by activity, as we walk among the Venice landmarks and learn about the history of the city. My kids have never been as engaged in a tour as they were on this Venice walking tour.
A tour, in my opinion, is only as good as its guide. Fortunately, our guide for the Venice walking tour, Lea, was quite knowledgeable about Venice and its history. My husband and I peppered here with so many questions about Venice!
She was also really great with the kids, and patient with the random questions that my son would ask her. Tailoring a historical tour for kids is no easy task. Lea did a great job of making the information interesting enough from a kids’ perspective, but also really educational.
Just the right length of time
When you’re doing a tour with kids, you want to make sure that it’s not too long. Otherwise you’ll have tired and cranky kids on your hands! For our kids, the limit is usually about an hour and a half. Some kids can do better with longer tours, while other kids can only do shorter tours.
Fortunately for us, the Venice walking tour we took with Macaco Tours was less than an hour and a half. It was just enough time to see many of the Venice landmarks, but also not too long to make the kids overtired.
Although we covered a lot of ground on the Venice walking tour, there were plenty of stops along the way. This gave the kids a chance to rest and do the activities in the tour. We liked the pacing of the tour, and never felt like we were rushed or going too slow.
Stepping into history
The best part about the interactive Venice walking tour we took with Macaco Tours is that it felt like we were stepping right into history. Our tour was based on an actual moment in Venetian history, when a group of conspiracist were plotting to overthrow the Doge. So the places we visited were relevant to that moment in history.
We walked by a fish market that once held the home one of the conspiracist. We walked into a building that once held a market for fish, spices, and goods. And we walked through small squares, called camponellos, that once held fields and patches of grass for Venetians to grow things. The tour really made history come alive for us!
A kid-friendly Venice walking tour
Putting together a kid-friendly Venice itinerary doesn’t have to be hard. Including a Venice walking tour as part of that itinerary can make the planning much easier for you and your family. And choosing a company like Macaco Tour will ensure that your tour is kid-friendly and engaging.
We loved our time in Venice. It truly is a unique city, full of history and beauty. I would have loved to spend more time in Venice, but unfortunately, it wasn’t in the cards for this time around. We’re glad, though, that we had Macaco Tour to give us a taste of Venice’s rich culture and history.
Have you done a Venice walking tour with your kids? Share what you thought about it in the comments.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. We received a free tour from Macaco Tour in exchange for writing this blog post. However, the views expressed in this post are completely my own.
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