If you are staying several days in Venice, I strongly recommend that you clear your schedule for a day and visit the other most important and beautiful islands of the Venetian lagoon: Murano, Burano, and Torcello.
1. How to visit Murano, Burano, and Torcello
You can reach Murano, Burano, and Torcello from Venice in a vaporetto, the way most locals do, or take part in a guided day trip to discover the history of these wonderful places.
- Visit to a glass factory in Murano with glass blowing demonstration - From $ 11
- Private guided day trip to Murano by water cab with glass blowing demonstration and hotel pick up from Venice - From $ 51
- Half day guided trip to Murano, Burano and Torcello from Venice - From $ 26
- Private day trip to Murano, Burano and Torcello on a typical Venetian motorboat - From $ 125
2. Visit to a glass factory in Murano with glass blowing demonstration
This is the most economical way to discover how the famous Murano glass is created. This ticket includes the guided tour, lasting half an hour and in English, to a traditional glass factory, but you will have to get to Murano and then return to Venice on your own and aboard one of the many vaporettos that make the journey several times a day (you can check the schedules of the vaporettos and how they work on the official website).
What will you do in the factory
- You will understand why glass from the island of Murano is considered the highest quality handcrafted glass in the world.
- You will discover the history of this century-old art with a demonstration by a master craftsman who will reveal how molten glass is molded through a combination of heat, blowing, and sculptural techniques.
- In addition to seeing its origin, you will contemplate works of art made of Murano glass in the factory's showroom.
- You will enjoy a 20% discount discount to purchase a piece of authentic Murano glass.
- You will take home a small glass souvenir.
3. Private guided day trip to Murano by water cab with glass blowing demonstration and hotel pick up from Venice
If you are interested in visiting the island of Murano in a more complete, comfortable, and personalized way, choose this private tour with hotel pick up and water cab ride along the Grand Canal. You will do the whole tour with a professional guide in English and you will get to know the most iconic sights of Venice in a totally exclusive experience.
What you will do in Murano
You will tour its historic center with your guide and see places such as the Basilica of St. Mary and St. Donatus, dating from the 7th century, with three naves and apse in Byzantine style, which houses the remains of St. Donatus, bishop of Ebria, and the supposed remains of the dragon that killed him, as well as several exquisite polychrome marble mosaics with allegorical representations of animals and geometric motifs.
You will visit a traditional glass factory in Murano, the Vetreria Artistica Colleoni, with a demonstration of the making of two glass objects by a master craftsman, a tradition that dates back to 1291.
You will enjoy a 20% discount and you will participate in a unique activity in which you can become Cinderella for a moment and try a glass shoe similar to that of this fairytale princess. If the shoe happens to be your size, you will take it home with you as a souvenir.
Please note that this tour ends in Murano, so it does not include the water cab ticket back to Venice, so you will have to take one of the vaporettos that make the trip from Murano to various points in Venice, such as San Marco, the train station and Fondamente Nove, among others. (Check how they work in their official website).
- Grand Canal
- Vetreria Artistica Colleoni
- Duomo di Murano Santi Maria e Donato
- Walking tour of the island of Murano
4. Half-day guided tour of Murano, Burano, and Torcello
If you have more time to visit the surroundings of Venice, I recommend this guided tour in English to know not only Murano, but also the wonderful islands of Burano and Torcello and for a really affordable price, from $ 26. With thishalf day trip to Murano, Burano, and Torcello you will board a cruise ship and depart from Venice for an experience of 4 hours and a half, in which you will discover:
- Murano. You will learn about the history of this beautiful town and enjoy a demonstration of the creation of various objects based on its famous glass during a visit to a traditional factory.
- Torcello. On this ancient island, you will visit the ancient Throne of Attila, the Devil's Bridge, and the Church of Santa Fosca.
- Burano. You will tour this photogenic and beautiful island dotted with colorful houses and charming stores with handmade lace.
5. Private excursion on a typical Venetian motorboat around Murano, Burano, and Torcello
This is the most complete and personalized excursion of all, also the most expensive, as it includes a half-day private tour of the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello with pick-up at your hotel and private cruise on a typical Venetian motorboat.
You will take a guided tour in English to visit the three most important islands of the Venetian lagoon: Burano, Torcello, and Murano, with a visit to an artisan glass factory with a demonstration of how Murano glass is sculptured by a master glassmaker, the entrance to the Basilica of Santa Maria and San Donato and a tour of the exterior of the 17th century Church of St. Peter Martyr.
Vicky's Traveller Tip
If you want to buy a Murano glass souvenir, compare prices among the stores or buy it in Burano, it is usually cheaper.
6. How to get to Murano and Burano from Venice
Getting to the most beautiful and important islands of the Venetian lagoon, Murano, Burano, and Torcello, from Venice is very easy thanks to one of the organized tours I have told you about or on your own, through the city's public water transport, the vaporetto.
You can take one of the vaporetto that departs from Venice every 20 minutes and reach Murano, Burano, and Torcello in about half an hour. The vaporetto departs from the Fondamente Nove stop and has several lines, although I recommend taking number 12, as it stops at Murano and Burano on the same route.
Prices of the vaporetto
The price of a single one-hour trip by vaporetto is € 6,5 so, if you are going to use this means of transport to move around Venice and its surroundings, I recommend you to get one of the city's transport cards. Here's a link to Venice's official transport website so you can explore prices, schedules, and learn how it works.
These cards include access to all the vaporetto that run through Venice and its nearby islands, with night rides along the Grand Canal, letting you reach interesting neighborhoods such as Dorsoduro and even all the buses to Lido included, for a much more convenient price, since you pay for full days of use and without limits. The prices of the Venice transport cards, which can be used from 4.30 a.m. to 12.30 a.m., are:
- 1 day: € 20,00.
- 2 days: € 30,00.
- 3 days: € 40,00.
- 7 days: € 60,00.
7. Why Murano, Burano, and Torcello are worth visiting
On the island of Murano you can stroll through a cozy and authentic town around wonderful canals, streets, and unique stores, where you will discover the variety of glass objects that can be made by glass artisans.
Seeing with your own eyes how these unique pieces are created in one of the many factories in the center of the island is one of the essential activities to do in Murano, thanks to the demonstrations of glass-blowing masters who preserve this tradition that made the town so prosperous during the fifteenth century as a hub of glassmaking in Europe.
You can go to Murano any day, although it is best to avoid Saturdays, which is when the glass factories are usually closed. While in Murano, you should also visit the churches of Santa Maria and San Donato, and St. Peter Martyr.
Torcello is the oldest island of the Venetian lagoon, which town was founded between the 5th and 6th centuries. This town has a great historical heritage, full of ornate buildings and fairy-tale palaces, such as the ancient Throne of Attila.
Its famous Devil's Bridge preserves the appearance of the ancient Venetian bridges and its churches, such as the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, founded in the seventh century, and the remains of the baptistery in the Church of Santa Fosca, are a great example of Byzantine art and located in the main square of Torcello.
This colorful town of no more than 4,000 inhabitants is famous for its cookies, its prized seafood, for having produced the best lace in Europe, a tradition that dates back to the 16th century, and for its colorful fishermen's houses. Legend has it that the sailors painted each house in a different color to be able to distinguish them from their boats and in the distance during foggy days.
To see the famous Burano lace, go to one of the many local stores and craft stalls located in its central square, Piazza Baldassare Galuppi, and visit the museum of the old Lace School. Burano has no major attractions, apart from the bell tower of the Church of San Martino Vescovo, which is somewhat inclined and can be seen from any point of the island. But, to be honest, just getting lost in its charming streets is enough for a wonderful afternoon.
8. Other interesting activities
If you want to explore the history and art of the main monuments of the city, you can't miss the entrance to the Doge's Palace and the visit to St. Mark's Basilica. Also, be sure to visit the impressive St. Mark's Square or do one of the most iconic activities in the city: going on a gondola ride through the canals of Venice. Hee's my articles about it so you can check all the details: Doge's Palace Tickets, Saint Mark's Basilica Tickets and Gondola Rides Tickets.
Frequently asked questions
What is Murano famous for?
Murano's history revolves heavily around its glassmaking, and the islands can boast being the birthplace of the Venetian Mirror, the first mirror to be made of glass.
What is special about Burano?
Burano's main claim to fame is its colourful houses that line the canals, it can also boast a very lucrative lace-industry.
How long do I need to see Murano and Burano?
Since they're both relatively small islands, you can see more or less what each has to offer in around 1 hour. That being said, you might like to spend more time checking out the glassblowing and lace-making of both islands, which can add another 45 mins to your visit.