Islands of Venice: A Guide to Exploring the Venetian Lagoon

Venice, Italy, is renowned for its breathtaking architecture, picturesque canals, and vibrant culture. However, there’s much more to this world-famous city than just its main attractions. Hidden among the Venetian Lagoon are over 100 small islands, each with its own unique history, culture, and charm.

In this article, we’ll explore the islands of Venice, including Murano, Burano, Torcello, and some lesser-known islands. This guide will help you plan your visit, explore the islands, and discover the hidden gems of Venice’s lagoon.

Overview of the Venetian Islands

The Venetian Lagoon consists of three main groups of islands – Murano, Burano, and Torcello – and many smaller outlying islands. The islands are located in the north of the lagoon and cover an area of about 36 square miles. These islands are an essential part of Venice’s history, culture, and economy.

Murano Island: The Famous Glass-Making Island

Murano is a small island located in the Venetian Lagoon, famous for its glass-making industry. The island has been the center of the Venetian glass-making industry since the 13th century.

The glass-making tradition on Murano is so unique that the island is often referred to as the Glass Island. Visitors can witness glass-blowing demonstrations, visit glass factories, and purchase beautiful glass souvenirs. Besides, Murano also has several churches, palaces, and museums worth visiting.

Burano Island: The Colorful Island

Burano is another famous island in the Venetian Lagoon known for its colorful houses and lace-making industry. The island’s houses are painted in various bright colors, creating a beautiful and unique landscape that attracts many visitors.

Burano’s lace-making tradition dates back to the 16th century and is still carried out by local artisans today. Visitors can see lace-making demonstrations, visit the Lace Museum, and purchase authentic Burano lace products. Besides, the island also has several seafood restaurants, cafes, and shops.

Torcello Island: The Ancient Island

Torcello is the oldest of the Venetian Lagoon islands and was once the center of the Venetian Republic. It is said that Torcello was once more populated than Venice itself, but over time, its population dwindled. Today, Torcello is a peaceful island with a rich history and culture.

Visitors can explore the island’s ancient churches, palaces, and museums. The most famous landmark on Torcello is the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, which dates back to the 7th century.

Lesser-Known Islands of the Venetian Lagoon

Apart from the famous islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello, the Venetian Lagoon has many smaller outlying islands worth visiting. Some of these islands are so small that they have a population of only a few people.

However, these islands have their unique histories, cultures, and landscapes. Some of the lesser-known islands that you can explore include Mazzorbo, San Francesco del Deserto, San Lazzaro degli Armeni, and San Michele.

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Tips for Exploring the Venetian Islands

The best time to visit Venice and its islands is between April and June or September and November when the weather is mild, and the crowds are fewer. You can reach the islands by taking a vaporetto (water bus) or a private water taxi from Venice.

Vaporettos are more affordable, but water taxis are more comfortable and faster. A useful tip is to purchase a Venice City Pass, which provides unlimited access to public transport, including vaporettos, and discounts on museums and other attractions.

Another tip is to plan your visit to the islands in advance. While Murano, Burano, and Torcello are popular tourist destinations, some of the smaller islands are less crowded and offer a more intimate experience. Make sure to check the ferry schedules and plan your route accordingly.

When exploring the islands, take your time and immerse yourself in the local culture. Try the traditional seafood dishes, visit the local markets, and interact with the locals. You may be surprised at how friendly and welcoming the people of Venice are.

Lastly, don’t forget to bring your camera. The Venetian islands offer breathtaking views of the lagoon, picturesque canals, and colorful houses. Capture these beautiful moments and memories to share with friends and family back home.

What are the 3 islands off Venice?

The three main islands off Venice are Murano, Burano, and Torcello. Murano is known for its glass-making industry and stunning glass creations, Burano is famous for its colorful houses and lace-making tradition, and Torcello is an ancient island with a rich history and important religious monuments.

How many islands are in Venice?

There are over 100 islands in Venice, although not all of them are inhabited. The main islands of Venice are connected by bridges and canals, while the outlying islands can be reached by boat or ferry.

What are the 5 islands of Venice?

The five main islands of Venice are Murano, Burano, Torcello, Lido, and Giudecca. Murano, Burano, and Torcello are the most popular tourist destinations, while Lido and Giudecca are mainly residential areas.

What are the 2 islands near Venice?

There are several islands near Venice, but two of the most popular ones are San Michele and Sant’Erasmo. San Michele is a cemetery island and the final resting place of many famous Venetians, while Sant’Erasmo is a rural island known for its agriculture and produce, such as artichokes and strawberries.


The islands of Venice are a hidden gem of the city that offer a unique and unforgettable experience. From the famous glass-making island of Murano to the colorful houses of Burano and the ancient churches of Torcello, each island has its own history, culture, and charm.

Exploring the Venetian islands is a must-do activity for any traveler visiting Venice, and with this guide, you can plan your visit, discover the lesser-known islands, and immerse yourself in the local culture.

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