A must-see destination for any traveler, Venice is oozing with charm, romance and character. That is until a boatload of tourists disembarking from their Mediterranean cruise converges into the island for the day, clogging the streets and making the city difficult to navigate even on foot. Thankfully, there are these Venetian islands worth exploring that many neglect to visit. They provide a welcome break from the chaos that overcomes the main island.
Venetian Islands Worth Exploring
Famous for the art of glass making, Murano is one of those Venetian islands worth exploring. Its proximity to Venice makes it ideal for travelers pressed for time but who still want to experience the local vibe. Murano’s main attraction are the glass factories. Within these palatial brick buildings, travelers can learn about the centuries-old craft and watch artists make various works of art. Several are open to the public including Mazzega and Colleoni.
Tour guides will sometimes refer to Murano as a smaller version of Venice. Primarily because its main canal splits the island into two major sections just like the Grand Canal. If time permits, make sure to stop by the Byzantine church of Santa Maria e San Donato where you’ll get to see incredible mosaics dating back to the 11th century.
The island of Burano is another one of those Venetian islands worth exploring. Located approximately 40 minutes north of Venice by boat, it’s famous for the multi-colored houses that line the streets and canals of the island. You can easily spend several hours strolling the narrow streets and visiting shops; many of which sell the island’s infamous lace creations. As you approach the main square, you’re bound to catch a glimpse of the leaning campanile within the compounds of the Church of San Martino. This beautifully crafted bell tower continues to have structural challenges to this day; making it unsafe for tourists to climb.
The island is small in comparison to Murano and can easily be explored on foot. Most of its streets are pedestrian only, which makes walking a relaxing and pleasurable activity.
The lesser-known island of Torcello lies at the northern end of the Venetian Lagoon. Sparsely populated and contains mostly remnants of the area’s first settlers, it serves as a reminder to tourists of what Venice once looked like.
Exploring Torcello takes no more than an hour or two. From the water taxi stop, follow the canal walkway for 15-20 minutes and you’ll reach the island’s main square. In here you’ll find Venice’s oldest church, Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, built in 649 A.D.
How many of these Venetian islands worth exploring have you visited? Share your experiences and tips below.