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While in Venice, it is understandable that you’d want to spend every minute experiencing the magnificent water city. There’s just so much to see and do, and while we had 3 nights there, it simply wasn’t enough! After visiting a big city such as Milan, and stopping by the charming but crowded city of Verona, we decided to escape and hopped on a Vaporetto for a day trip to the nearby islands of Murano and Burano.
Unlike other little Italian islands, both Murano and Burano aren’t exactly “Venice’s best-kept secrets”. The islands are popular due to their proximity to Venice. And Burano’s growing fame as one of the most “Instagrammable spots” near Venice due to its brightly coloured buildings.
The best time to visit Burano is obviously when the sun is out and the sky is blue. Unfortunately, we visited during the low-season in Mid October so it was cloudy and grey. However, we didn’t let the crappy weather dampen our spirits. We spent the later half of the day crossing canals, taking photos, getting lost in the side alleys and snacking on Cicchetti.
In this guide, we’ll be sharing tips on how to make the best of your day trip in Burano.
Getting to Burano
Burano is approximately a 45-minute Vaporetto (water bus) ride from Venice’s Fondamente Nove (F.te Nove). Route 12 departs Venice every 30 minutes and passes by the island of Murano before stopping in Burano. Do check the timetable though, because there might be unforeseen changes depending on the seasons. A single, one-way Vaporetto ticket cost €7.50 and is valid for 45 minutes, hence a round trip will set you back €15.
Depending on what you have planned for the day, it might be cheaper to consider buying a day or multi-day pass. A one-day pass costs €20, and allows for unlimited use of the city’s water buses 24-hours from when you first validate it. It is really worth it if you’re planning to visit more than one island in a day. Tickets can be purchased online, or at any ticket machine near the major stations in Venice.
Admire the colourful buildings of Burano
Burano is a fishing island located within the Venice lagoon and it’s tiny compared to Venice itself. Only 0.2 km² in area with 3000 inhabitants, Burano boasts 3 canals and many, many multi-coloured buildings. It truly feels like you’ve stepped into a rainbow town. Apparently, there are two theories as to why the houses are painted so colourfully.
One is that it helps fishermen find their way home after a long night at sea, and second that it helps people distinguish their own houses from that of their neighbours. This truly won’t be a problem when one is of a sound mind, however, when inebriated, recognising your own home might be quite a challenge. Either way, the rainbow-coloured buildings are a treat to the eyes and a photographer’s (or Instagrammer’s) dream.
Buy Burano Lace
Aside from fishing, Burano is world-renowned for its lace-making. There are several lace shops lining the main street and the Museo del Merletto if you are into the history of lace-making. We popped into La Perla Gallery – Merletti e Artigianato D’Arte, a traditional family-run store producing beautiful, intricate lace by hand. While the lace patterns are beautiful, they are most definitely not cheap. Lace table runners start from €500 upwards. The beautifully embroidered Egyptian cotton duvet covers cost 4-figures at the very least. We couldn’t afford a lovely handmade Burano lace obviously, but we did leave with two brand new hand-crocheted pillowcases for our throw pillows.
Get lost in the alleys of Burano
One of my favourite things to do is to venture off the beaten track once in a while. While many alleys in Venice will lead you to dead ends, the rainbow alleys of Burano were fun to explore.
Must be fun isn’t it, living in such a brightly coloured house. However, the homeowners are bound by specific colour palettes should they want to paint their houses. They are required by law to submit an application to the government. After which, the government will respond with the colours permitted for that particular house. This means you’ll never see two blue houses next to each other.
eNJOY A CICCHETTI AND A VIEW
While in Italy, there was never a day that I didn’t indulge in a fresh seafood dish. So of course, we weren’t about to break that streak on a little fishing island. We weren’t particularly hungry after our heavy breakfast, so we settled for Cicchetti at In Pescaria Vecia (Google Maps).
Located away from the tourist spots at the end of the Fondamenta di Cao Moleta, In Pescaria Vecia offers unparalleled views of the Venetian Lagoon. It’s a small and quiet eatery offering Cicchetti (Venetian-style bruschetta) and refreshments. We were the only customers there at that time, so we chose to enjoy our seafood Cicchetti alfresco, overlooking the water. The Cicchetti were €3 each but were made of really fresh fish. Mind you, these won’t be enough for a filling lunch, so I’d recommend heading to places such as Osteria Al Fureghin or Trattoria Al Gatto Nero for more elaborate but affordable seafood fares.
Buy souvenirs Unique to Burano
Let’s face it, handmade Burano lace is beautiful, but it isn’t for most people travelling on a budget. If you’re planning to be a proud owner of a Burano lace, that’s excellent! Because the craftsmanship, effort and love that’s been put into the individual pieces are well worth the price. However, for the rest of us who are looking for something within our budgets to bring home, consider other handmade items. I personally liked the small frame lace art, little handmade in-store trinkets made of the neighbouring Murano glass. And I truly couldn’t resist buying a magnet featuring the colourful homes of Burano Island.
Tips to fully enjoy your Burano experience
Check the weather before heading to Burano for a day trip
The rainbow town of Burano is best experienced on a bright and sunny day. The colours of the homes in your photos will most definitely pop. But if you happened to visit Burano on a cloudy day as we had, the experience is no less magical. Although your photos will most definitely need a little bit of touch up to bring out the vibrant colours you actually see in real life.
Go in the morning or early afternoon
If you’re planning to do a Murano and Burano day trip, we recommend planning for Burano earlier in the day. It’s further away from Venice, but in that way you avoid the crowds coming in from Murano at noon. This tip is extremely useful for when travel picks up again. You’ll have to compete with international tourists for the best Instagrammable spot. Plus, due to supply and demand, some restaurants might be packed during peak periods. So make a reservation to avoid disappointment, or waiting in the long queues.
Get the one-day pass if you’re planning on a Murano-Burano day trip
A single-trip ticket on the Vaporetto boat is €7.50. So if you’re just heading to Murano or Burano for the full day, it’ll cost you €15. However, with a €20 day-pass, it allows unlimited journeys on the city’s public transportation. During the summer when the weather is nice, you might also want to check out the Lido. This means that if you have time after heading to both islands, you might want to make a pit stop at the Lido before heading back to Venice. 4 stops = €30 on a single-trip ticket, you save a good €10 to spend on at least two gelatos!