One of the top Venice day trips for tourists is a visit to one or more of the islands in the Venetian lagoon. Here are the top islands to visit in Venice and how to get to them.
Murano Island, famous for glass-making, is the most popular Venetian island among tourists. A few centuries ago, all glass makers were required to live on the island to protect the glass-making secrets. Today the tradition of glass making continues here and you can find out all about it in the glass museum.
Some glass factories allow visitors or tours and there are many shops selling glass creations and souvenirs. Murano also has canals, sidewalk cafes and restaurants.
Burano Island is an island of picturesque canals lined with colorful houses. There are several good restaurants serving risotto and very fresh fish. Famous for artisan lace, you can buy lace products in many of the shops (but check to see that it's handmade and not mass-produced) or visit the Lace Museum to find out more about the tradition of lace making. Burano even has a leaning tower on one of its churches.
- Getting There: From Fondamenta Nove, take Vaporetto Line 12 to Burano
Torcello is a quiet, green island and much of it is a nature reserve. Visit the 7th-century Cathedral of Santa Maria Dell'Assunta to see the spectacular 11th and 12th-century Byzantine mosaics. Torcello is a good place to get away from the crowds and enjoy a peaceful stroll or lunch, or even spend the night in the legendary Locanda Cipriani. See above link for Cipriani information and more places to eat.
- Getting There: From Fondamenta Nove, take Vaporetto Line 12 to Burano, then transfer to Line 9.
San Michelle Island
San Michelle is Venice's cemetery island. On the nicely landscaped island are two churches and many tombs, including famous ex-pats Ezra Pound in the Protestant section and Sergei Diaghilev and Igor Stravinsky in the Orthodox section.
The island can be an interesting place to wander and is an easy stop on the way to Murano, but be aware that it is just a cemetery and has no tourist services.
- Getting There: From Fondamenta Nove, take Vaporetto Number 41 or 42 (that also go to Murano) to the Cimitero stop, usually the first stop.
Sant'Erasmo is the largest island in the Venetian lagoon and is mainly an agricultural island, sometimes called the Garden of Venice. There aren't any real tourist sights on the island but there is a restored 19th-century fort near the Capannone stop and a church by the Chiesa stop.
- Getting There: From Fondamenta Nove, take Vaporetto Number 13. There are 3 stops on Sant'Erasmo - Capannone, Chiesa, and Punta Vela.
Lazzaretto Nuovo, once used as a contamination center during the plague, isn't open to the public but it can be visited on special guided tours from April through October.
On this 4.5-hour tour, you'll visit Torcello, Murano, and Burano via motorboat. With a guide, you’ll see glass being blown at a Murano glass factory, gaze at impressive cathedrals on Torcello and have a chance to see handmade lace on Burano.
Read more about Murano, Burano and Torcello Half-Day Sightseeing Tour and book on Viator.
In addition to tours of the city's sights, you can taste Cicchetti, take a cooking class, learn to row a gondola or make a mask.