The Venice Walking Tour That Families Will Love: Macaco Tour

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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.

A glassblower demonstrates how to make blown glass during a personal Venice walking tour. He rolls hot glass, attached to a long hollow metal tube, on top of bits of crushed glass on a table.
Watching a glass blowing demonstration in Murano (June 2019)

Exploring Venice landmarks

Like many of the other cities in Italy we visited during our stay, we tried to set aside time to be able to explore the city of Venice. We spent about two days exploring the city of Venice. Even though this short Venice itinerary definitely wasn’t enough to see all of the city, we were able to visit many of the Venice landmarks.

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 Pmarco) 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.

The colorful houses of Burano, Italy (June 2019)

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!).

Family photo at the end of our walking tour (June 2019)

What we loved about our Venice walking tour 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!

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.

Excited about starting our tour (June 2019)

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.

Doing an activity during our walking tour (June 2019)

Knowledgeable guide

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.

Two kids and a woman looking at maps and an activity book during a Venice walking tour in Venice, Italy.
Examining the map before starting our tour (June 2019)

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.

Walking through Venice (June 2019)

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!

Looking at docked gondolas (June 2019)

A kid-friendly Venice itinerary 

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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10 Responses

  1. This is such a great way to explore a new city! I love that they have the options of a treasure hunt, a sketch hunt, boat tour, etc. I also love that it was less than 90 minutes – that’s so important for families with kids. I will have to look into this company next time we go to Italy!

  2. These walking tours are always a great way to explore and learn about a city. But the guide is what the tour a hit or miss. Knowledgeable ones like yours make all the difference and help you get so much of the experience. Venice is a place we have yet to explore, but when I see photos like these, and especially of Burano, I just want to pack and go!

  3. Venice is like a living museum with so much to see that if you do not have a knowledgable guide, you are sure to miss something important. We loved being in Venice and need to head back for more. Your walk seems to have been really a nice experience. Sometimes Venice can be challenging with kids but can see that the walk itself was really kid-friendly and the kids had a great time too.

  4. This is such a great idea for people who are traveling with family. I love walking tours and even I get a little bored sometimes, so I can definitely see kids getting bored with tours not geared towards children. How fun that they handed you a packet upon arrival. That already makes the start of the tour interesting and exciting to see what comes next. I don’t have any children, but this seems quite fun for adults too 🙂

  5. While I have read many blogs related to Venice, this is the first that talks about a walking tour fit for the whole family. Also loved how Macao Tours kept the kids in mind. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. I loved Venice though I spent very less time here. I would truly visit again and go for Macaco tours to see all landmarks again. Good to know that we can design kid friendly trip too.

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I'm a travel-loving mom of three from Seattle. Join our adventures as we explore the Pacific Northwest and the world!

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