Exploring the outer islands of Venice

Popular islands, Murano, Burano and Torcello

Venice Islands Burano, Murano and Tercello half day tour

Burano Island

On this page

In total Venice is made up of 118 islands. The majority of visitors to Venice only visit the city of Venice on the two main islands.


If you are staying longer than just one day you will want to venture to at least one of the smaller islands.

Murano, Burano and Torcello are the most visited islands and have frequent water bus services in what is a very short journey from the main island.

Murano is the most commercial of the outer islands and is famous for its glasswork which you can observe being made at many locations on the island. Burano is famous for its lace.

Venice Lido is really the only island that is not Venice in spirit - it is very much like any place on the mainland with roads and buses.


Getting to outer islands of Venice

There are island tours you can take if time is the enemy, the island tour detailed below visits Murano, Burano and Torcello in a half day for example. But all three islands are very easy to visit independently using the water bus services from the city of Venice.

ACTV water bus services

A vaporetto is another name for a water taxi or water bus in Venice, operated by ACTV, the public transport authority for Venice.

For the visitor there is a Travelcard product that gives unlimited rides on nearly all water bus services, (not the airport links) plus the local bus services over to the mainland. This is good value and you can buy these in durations of 1, 2, 3 and 7 days.

Venice water bus services - full details


Water bus routes 4 & 5

Venice Water Bus Vaporetto Route 4 / 5 Boat

Venice water bus: Vaporetto route 4/ 5 boat

Venice Water Bus Vaporetto Route 12 Boat

Venice water bus: Vaporetto route 12 boat

Water bus routes 4 and 5 circumnavigate the main island of Venice in each direction and do not go through the Grand Canal that splits the main island in two.

Route number 4 just follows the coastline all around the island, hopping across and back from the island of Murano along the way.

Route 5 follows a near identical route around the island but doesn't make the short detour to Murano Island. instead it detours over to the Venice Lido.

Water bus route 12 (outer island route)

This route is your transport to the smaller outer islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello and is well travelled by tourists.

Route 12 departs from a terminus on the north shore of Venice called Fondamente Nove.

Most visitors will have to travel to Fondamente Nove using water bus routes 4 or 5.

Boats used are mid-size and larger than the small water bus routes 4 and 5, but smaller than route 1, the route that goes down the Grand Canal. There are a minimum of two services an hour even in winter.


Murano, Burano and Torcello half day sightseeing tour

Venice: Burano with Murano and Torcello half day tour

Bohemian splendour: Burano

Explore three famous islands of the Venetian Lagoon – Murano, Torcello and Burano – on a half-day sightseeing excursion by motorboat.

Accompanied by a local guide, you'll stop at a glass-blowing factory on Murano, visit Venice's first cathedral on the tranquil island of Torcello and shop for handcrafted lace on Burano.

First stop on the comfortable touring boat is Murano, divided into nine islets crossed by a wide canal. Known for its glassware shops and factories, Murano boasts a long and still-thriving tradition dating back to 1291, when glass artisans moved their kilns from the old city centre.

Explore the island on foot and stop at a glass factory to watch a skilled glass blower create works of art. Before re-boarding the boat, you'll have time to visit a museum showcasing the world-famous Murano glass.

Next island is Torcello – the earliest centre of civilisation in the Venetian Lagoon. First, view the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, and your guide will also show you the excavated remains of the circular baptistery in the Church of Santa Fosca.

Afterwards, journey to the neighbouring island of Burano and admire the picturesque fishermen's houses painted in bright pastel colours. Here you'll find the famous lace once considered the most refined in Europe. Browse local shops and find lace on display at a museum dedicated to the craft of lace making before your guide returns you to Venice.


Venice Outlying Island Boat Tour
Tours & Fast Track Admission Tickets In Venice

St Mark's Square, Basilica & Doge's Palace Tours

Skip the Line: Saint Mark's Basilica Tour (1 hour)   €39.00

Orientation of St Mark's Square plus tour of Basilica

Skip the Line: Doge's Palace Secret Itineraries Guided Tour (1 hour)    €36

See the best of Doge's Palace .

Skip the Line: St Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace Tour    €91.00

See the best of Doge's Palace .

Skip the Line: Best of Venice Walking Tour including Basilica di San Marco    €64.00

2 Hour Walking Tour Including Rialto Bridge + St Marks with skip the line basilica tour

Best Of Venice Tours

Skip the Line: Venice in One Day Including Boat Tour    €86.00

Three-hour combination walking and boat tour of Venice

Skip-the Line Doge's Palace, St Mark’s Basilica Tours + Venice Walking Tour    €110

Experience all the highlights of Venice around St Mark's Square In 1 Day

Skip-the Line Doge's Palace, St Mark’s Basilica Tours + Venice Walking Tour & Canal Cruise    €191.00

Experience all the highlights of Venice around St Mark's Square In 1 Day + canal cruise

Venice Gondola Rides 

A selection of gondola ride opportunties in Venice

Murano, Burano and Torcello Half-Day Sightseeing Tour    €20.00

Tour the outer islands of Venice by boat

Venice Shore Excursions From Cruise Ships Docked

Cruise Ship Shore Excursions 

A choice of Venice tours independent of the pricey ship offerings

Italy Hotels Search
Every effort is made to keep all our information correct and the advertised prices up to date. We endeavour to be as accurate a source of information as possible but Travellers Toolkits cannot be held responsible for any price differential between our stated prices and those of the companies supplying the product or accuracy of information provided on our sites.