Exploring the outer islands of Venice

Popular islands, Murano, Burano and Torcello

Venice Islands Burano, Murano and Tercello half day tour
Burano Island

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

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

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

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.

murano, burano, torcello tour


venice murano island visit
Half-day sightseeing tour of Murano, Torcello, and Burano from Venice

 • Visit the three most famous islands in the Venetian Lagoon by motorboat • Watch master glass blowers at work at a factory on Murano • See Byzantine churches on Torcello— the Church of Santa Fosca • Browse for lace on Burano and admire the painted houses • Choose from morning and afternoon departure times • Professional guide

Venice bridges


venice gondala ride
Guided tour with entrances to St Mark's Basilica & Doge's Palace, gondola ride & Murano & Burano islands visit

 • Skip-the-line entry to Doge's Palace • Skip-the-line entry to St Marks Basilica • Round Trip Transportation to/from Murano & Burano Island • Professional guide • Glass blowing and lace making demonstrations • 30-min gondola ride • Small group tour


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

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

Orientation of St Mark's Square plus tour of Basilica

From €32

Skip the Line: Doge's Palace Fast track Guided Tour (1 hour)   

See the best of Doge's Palace

From €57

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

See the best of Doge's Palace + St Mark's Basilica

From €79

Private Best of Venice Walking Tour with St Mark's Basilica 

2 Hour Walking Tour of 'hidden Venice' + St Marks with skip the line basilica tour

From €173
Best Of Venice Tours

Skip the Line: Venice in One Day Including Boat Tour 

3-hr combination walking and boat tour of Venice with Grand Canal & St Mark's Basilica

From €121

Skip-the Line Doge's Palace, St Mark’s Basilica Tours + Venice Walking Tour & Gondola ride

Experience all the highlights of Venice around St Mark's Square in 1 day + gondola ride

From €110

Skip-the Line Doge's Palace, St Mark’s Basilica Tours + Venice Walking Tour, Gondola ride & Islands visit

Experience all the highlights of Venice around St Mark's Square in 1 day + gondola ride + Murano & Burano Islands visit

From €138

Venice Gondola Rides  

A selection of gondola ride opportunities in Venice

From €31

Murano, Burano and Torcello Half-Day Sightseeing Tour  

Tour the outer islands of Venice by boat

From €26
Venice Shore Excursions From Cruise Ships Docked

Cruise Ship Shore Excursions 

A choice of Venice tours independent of the pricey ship offerings


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