Top Islands To Visit In Venice – And How To Get To Them september 23, 2021 – Posted in: Italy, Travel – Tags: Attractions, Holiday, Island Hopping, Italy, Vacations, Venice, Weekend Breaks
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Island hopping in the lagoon around Venice
Venice is not only the beautiful city with all the canals, in fact Venice is made up on 118 larger and smaller islands spread out in the Venetian lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. With a history that has always involved sailing, on the canals of Venice and especially at sea, it has built a very special naval culture that you will not find anywhere else in Italy.
For a start, the Venetians looks a little different than in the rest of Italy, where both men and women are very stylish. In the proud Venetian maritime culture, many have huge tattoos, something that is not otherwise seen in Italy. And everyone, both men and women, is working hard to get the lagoon community running. It’s not an easy place to live, when everything takes place on the water, but the locals love their floating city.
How to go by boat to the islands in the Venetian Lagoon
Spend one or more days on your holiday in Venice to sail around the lagoon. Here you get a sense of what it has really taken to build a society like Venice; from the desolate sandbanks on which the city was founded in the 5th century and to the busy floating city of our day.
Here are our top tips for island hopping in Venice. We visited the four of the islands as we have written about here, but next time we come by, we’ll also drop by Torcello and Giudecca. Torcello to see the Trono di Attila and the Ponte del Diavolo and Giudecca, because it is so close to the main island that it piqued our curiosity. But now, it’s all about the amazing trips out to Lido, Burano and Murano. In the article How to get around Venice, you can also read more about how the vaporetti system works.
Some of the islands are easier to get to than others. The vaporetto line 1 goes all the way out to the Lido. After a short boat ride from St. Mark’s Square, you are in a relaxed holiday atmosphere that makes you think of Tenerife and Crete and not the big city it has just left. A beach holiday in Venice, who would have thought that?
Lido is only 1 km in width, and otherwise real buses, not water buses, run around the whole island. But why drive? The stretch from the harbor to the beach is filled with cozy coffee shops and cafes that invite for a small snack. On the other side of the island, long sandy beaches await, filled with hotels and beach bars. Note that Lido has both paid beaches and a free beach.
The days can be spent relaxing on the beach, interrupted only by cooling dips in the Adriatic Sea. We were there in mid-September, where the water temperature was absolutely perfect and the beach was pretty empty.
Burano & Isola Mazzorbo
From Lido you can take the vaporetto line 14 further out to the old fishing community on the island of Burano where the photo at the top is from. We had read about the beautiful houses painted in all the colors of the rainbow and were looking forward to getting away from all the tourists. But we were actually a bit disappointed when we stepped ashore, because the small island is very touristy.
At Bar Il Turisto at the end of the pier and with the most beautiful view over the water, we managed to get away from the crowds. Here at the bar, where the locals were having lunch, we discussed whether we should just sail back again.
Luckily we did what we often do, turned our backs on the other tourists and went on an expedition. And what a pleasant surprise that awaited us! At the other end of the island, a small bridge brings you to the small island of Isola Mazzorbo, where it is completely quiet and very authentic. After a visit to the convent church Chiesa di Santa Caterina from the 700s, it was time for some food.
Isola Mazzorbo also offers two really good trattorias at the back of the island, where we unfortunately came too late for lunch, but they can be recommended. We also tried to get a table at Gatto Nero at Burano instead, which we had read several good recommendations about, especially their risotto. Here, too, we went in vain, and from this one can learn that in Venice you book a table if you want to be sure to eat!
Fortunately, just around the corner is also a beautiful, old bakery that still bakes the traditional Buranelli, which you can read more about here: What to eat in Venice?
Just the opposite was found on Murano. The island is so close to Venice that we assumed it would be overrun by tourists, but it’s so charming! At Murano, the old glass-blowing traditions are alive and well. Already in the Middle Ages of Venice, the city was famous throughout the known world for its glass art.
In the 13th century, all the glassworks were moved from Venice to Murano due to the danger of fire, and here they still are. The whole trip from the port and to the opposite end of the island is one long and quite magnificent exhibition of Murano glass. A very special souvenir from Venice is therefore a drinking glass, a small piece of glass art or perhaps one of the huge chandeliers.
We had an early lunch at Trattoria Al Corallo. We had just started a big plate of cicchetti when all the locals started pouring in for lunch. Peaking at the plates coming out from the kitchen it’s safe to say, that here you should order a pasta dish and a good glass of wine!
More tips for your holiday in Venice
Where to stay in Venice?
There are many wonderful hotels in Venice, but where is the best place to stay? On Booking.com you can see the large selection of hotels in Venice, and in the article Where to stay in Venice you can read more about where in Venice you should book your holiday. There are several romantic hotels for couples on the list, and you also get a really good tip if you are on holiday in Venice with kids.
You can also do your own search on Booking.com for a good hotel in Venice right here:
A recommendation: Hotel Al Ponte Mocenigo
Hotel Al Ponte Mocenigo is a perfect setting for a romantic holiday in Venice. The hotel is located right in the heart of Venice, away from the tourist crowds and with a vaporetto station (San Stae) down the street. Otherwise, the Rialto Bridge is only a seven minute walk away and St. Mark’s Square a quarter of an hour.
The small boutique hotel has just 10 beautiful rooms, all decorated in Venetian 18th-century style with exposed ceiling beams, damask curtains, large chandeliers and soft beds. In the morning, the hotel offers a wonderful breakfast in the small courtyard, serving eggs and bacon, crispy croissants and most importantly: great coffee!
See more good hotels here: Where to stay in Venice
How do you get to Venice?
Venice has two airports: Marco Polo Airport, 10 km from the city center, and Treviso Airport, 40 km north of Venice. If you land in Treviso, there are airport buses to Venice all day, which cost 12 euros (2021) for a single ticket. Read more here: Treviso Airport Shuttle Bus.