If you have at least two days in Venice, after visiting the sights of the city on the first day, your second should absolutely be devoted to visiting the islands. A short and scenic ferry ride away from the mainland there is a whole other world. Murano, Burano, and Torcello can be visited in succession on the same ferry line, Lido has its own separate line.
The first island we visited was full of beautiful and strange sights.
Murano is well known for the glass it produces and there are plenty of shops to enter acting as galleries with incredible and unique works of art.
The art pours out onto the street, and if you look closely you’ll see glass everywhere!
If you are looking to learn more about the history of Murano glass, visit the Glass Museum [Fondamenta Giustinian, 8, 30141 Venezia, Italy]. Besides glass, there are quite a few mosaics on the city walls as well.
An interesting lunch spot is located off the main streets if you know where to find it. Even if you’re looking for La Perla Ai Bisatei [San Bernardo 7, 30141 Murano, Italy] it is easy to walk right by the pale yellow building as there is no indication you have arrived other than the number 7.
We arrived just before the lunch rush, but the entire place would be packed with loud laughing locals and a few lucky tourists by the time we finished our meal. This was one of my favorite dining experiences in Venice. I loved the local art on the wall and the warm service. The complimentary soft bread and tangy beans were exceptional. The grilled whole fish was simple and tasty. We loved the place so much we had lunch dessert, biscuits and sweet wine to dip them in! This sort of small local establishment is what I dream of when traveling.
Our day visiting the islands was a rainy one, but the gloom of the sky only made the colors of Burano pop by comparison…and helped to scare the crowds away!
It is an event in its own to simply walk around the streets, try to get lost, and discover the best combinations of colorful buildings.
The island was painted so vibrantly to help fisherman identify their homes in the fog. Wonders are around every corner, so search away. Other than bright buildings, the island is known for it’s lace work. There are a number of shops to enter housing all sorts of lace ranging from intricate dresses to trendy jewelry.
If you want to learn more about the craft, visit the Lace Museum [Piazza Baldassarre Galuppi, 187, 30142 Burano, Venezia VE, Italy]. While you’re on the island nearing the center of town, with loads of cafes and shops, you can’t miss the leaning tower!
Also if you’re looking for a sweet treat, take a visit to Panificio Pasticceria Garbo [Fondamenta degli Assassini, 335, 30142 Venezia, Italy]. It’s a tiny bakery with the sweetest old man behind the counter. I asked him what was a good representation of Burano, and he pointed me towards the fritelle.
It was a delicious little donut. Still warm, made with savory dough, powdered with sticky sugar, and filled with raisins!
The quietest of all the islands, to my delight, felt downright deserted. There is really just one path to follow beside a long canal.
For once, it seemed as though there were more animals than people. I loved bird watching and cat spotting.
Once this island inhabited by 20,000 people, now just under 100 live here. Many bridges connect the banks of the canal, but one specifically caught my eye. Ponte del Diavo also known as the devils bridge is thin, lacking railings, and steeped in local legend. Cross it if you dare, but your soul should beware.
Eventually you will encounter the main square of the island housing two churches and a small museum. The Cathedral of Torcello has beautiful Byzantine mosaics inside. Walk around the garden of the Provinical Museum and admire the archeological relics.
Mostly just enjoy the peace, quiet, and serenity just a few miles away from mainland Venice.
I know that you don’t go to Venice to hit the beach, but it had been a long two weeks of action packed travel…a little bit of beach R&R seemed too good to pass up. We took the ferry to Lido and a friendly local Simone helped us find our way. He walked with us to the nearby bus station and we rode it to the end of town. It was funny to be in an automobile again, as we were used to boats only on mainland Venice. The views along the way of the city and far off mountains were great. All of the local people on the bus were very friendly towards us. After we bid Simone goodbye at his stop, the bus driver took over with helping us. He told us which stop to get off at, which direction to walk towards the beach, and where we could pick up the bus home.
The beach was not the most stunning, but the sun was warm and the sand was comfortable.
It was stupendous for beach combing!
What was also a really nice surprise was the nature preserve right next door. It was a small enough preserve that you can wander without worry of getting lost. The woods were tranquil and I felt so at home. The birds were squawking loudly.
The flora was interesting, the yellow flowers smelt reminiscent of juicy fruit!
Climb up hills to get views of the beach below.
We only encountered a handful of other people, one man had a dog and a bearded dragon to accompany him on his walk.
We watched the silver sunset over the water on our bus ride back.
It was a very calming excursion if you happen to have some extra time while visiting Venice.