Italy has over 450 islands on its coastline which include about 350 sea islands (archipelagos), 100 lagoon and lake islands and a few river islands. Day or half day trips to islands is a great option even if you will not stay there. You can have a getaway beach day on the Mediterranean sea on one of Italy’s beautiful islands. This is another amazing part about visiting Italy. There are picturesque gorgeous ancient cities, beautiful countryside and phenomenal coastline and beaches. Italy has it all!
How to get there
The islands Burano, Murano and Torcello are the islands of Venice in Italy. By taking a short vaporetto (passenger boat) ride or ferry (around 30 minutes) you can quickly reach one of Italy’s closest islands in the Venetian lagoon. All that is needed is a one day excursion to see all three of these islands. Burano is the closest island 30 minutes away. Burano island is about 1.5 hours away from the mainland. Torcello is equadistant from the mainland as Burano and they are right next to each other at 1.5 hours away. If you plan to visit any several of the other islands in the lagoon, such as Burano or Torcello, it will save so much money to purchase a multi-day unlimited vaporetto pass when you come to Venice so that you can use the public waterbuses to get everywhere.
Tourist Travel Cards Cost
These are issued by the ACTV which is Venice’s public transportation system. These are not exactly cheap but they are considered the most budget option as compared to a private water taxi. If you are here several days and or going to more than one island this will save you money in the end buying the pass ahead of time for the vaporettos.
1 Day: €20
2 Days: €30
3 Days: €40
7 Days: €60
- There is a 3 day “youth card” for 18-29 year olds that costs €28. (Prices accurate as of February 2019. Visit the ACTV website for updated prices.)
- The travel cards allow you to hop on and off any vaporetto (this includes to the islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello) and all buses within the city of Venice (including to the Airport). If you have the card you don’t need to queue every time to buy a ticket and to have change with you.
- Buy tickets here
Burano, the lace makers
This island is famous for its hand sewn lace and is the number one craft artisan souvenir that people buy when they visit this quaint island. Burano is probably one of Italy’s most photographed islands. This is the island with houses painted all different bright rainbow colors lined up in rows on the canal of the island. This island is a photographers paradise with the colored houses surrounding the canal to the right passage as you walk off the ferry terminal. The picturesque island is home to about 2800 people and you can observe their actual way of life as well as shop at their beautiful artisan markets for scarves, jewelry, clothes, and lace of course! There is laundry hanging drying everywhere in between houses and it is a glimpse of another older way of life.
How to get there
The easiest way is to take the Laguna Nord (LN) ferry. The pick up is at the Fondamente Nuove stop on Venice’s northern shore. Ferries run around every 30 minutes and is about a 42 minute journey.
Murano, the glass makers
Venetian traders brought back this secret from the east of glass making in the 1200’s and ever since then this area and island is known for its artistry in the practice. There are glass workshops where you can take tours and observe the process of glass being made and shaped as well as take classes and buy real artisan glass products. The process can be watched of a molten drop of glass being drawn from the fire and twisted into all kinds of creations.
How to get there
It is possible to arrive to Murano from several points in Venice center on the ACTV vaporetto lines. Taking the vaporetto from the ACTV docks at the Fondamente Nove (on the north side of the historic center, facing the Lagoon) is the fastest because its already on the northern side of Venice. The easiest way is to take 4.1 and 4.2 waterbus. The 4.1 will get you to the Murano Colonna stop in 10 minutes; the Faro, Navagero, and Museo stops take a bit longer. Also you could take one of the boats on Line 12 or 13, which take only nine minutes to reach the Murano Faro stop on their way to more distant points in the northern section of the Venetian Lagoon.
Glass Workshop Tour
There are many glass workshop tours and locations on Murano as there are many different artists and businesses. We toured Vetreria Estevan Rossetto’s show rooms and watched furnace glass blowing happening in his factory. There was a beautiful glass shop with his work to purchase after hearing about his artistry and seeing the process in action. The glass work shop tours are a bit more touristy but it is still cool to see the process that is the perfection and craft of this island. Beware that they do of course want you to buy expensive glass at the end but don’t buy glass here it is just an opportunity to have a tour for free. This glass shop and factory is in the top 20 on Trip Advisor for glass shopping in Murano. The best way to buy glass for the budget price is simply to tour the island and buy glass back on the mainland where it will be cheaper. Most hotels will set up a free transfer to get to the island for you so look into that as well with your accomodations. This is also another great souvenir item from Italy that is an authentic artisan made product that supports locals. Be ware of scams in the market centers where men will offer you free rides and tours of the glass factories in Murano. You will not be charged to go there and will be taken into expensive show rooms and you don’t have a free ride back from the island.
This island is just north of Murano the glass island. Less than 100 people currently live on this island. Ernest Hemingway himself sojourned here to write on this island. This is a much quieter less visited island than the most touristy Burano and Murano. This quaint island has a canal that leads to the heart of the small city. There is a church from 639 AD with Byzantine mosaics. There is an old church with a belltower to climb for an amazing view of the island and lagoon.
How to get there
This is a combined part of seeing the island Burano. Vaporettos take people to Torcello from Burano island. How to get to Burano is listed above. From Burano you take the Vaporetto line 9 that runs between the islands every 30 minutes from 8:00am until 8:30pm.