7 Best Things to Do on Murano Island in Venice

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If you’re visiting Italy for the first time, odds are that Venice is on the itinerary. Most visitors spend the majority of their time around its (rightfully) famous Saint Mark’s Square, the Rialto Bridge, and the the Grand Canal. But there’s so much more to Venice than that.

Many of them don’t realize that there is a hidden gem just a short boat ride away: Murano Island. It’s a group of seven charming islands in the Venetian Lagoon, all connected by bridges.

Intrigued? Well, today, I’ll share with you seven best things to do on Murano Island in Venice! Plus, I’ll give you lots of travel tips, like how to get to Murano and the best places to stay. (You’ll find that at the end of the article.)

💡 Don’t have time to read the complete article? No worries! The best boat tour is this Murano & Burano Guided Tour by Private Boat. You’ll watch glassblowing and lace-making artisans at work, explore the alleyways and canals, and bring home local treasures.

What to do in Murano Italy

There are approximately 120 islands in total in the Venetian Lagoon, and Murano is one of the two best islands to visit. (The other is Burano, which I cover in another article.)

We spent most of the day exploring Murano on our own, but I’ll be honest: If you want to make the most of your visit to Venice, it’s best to take a tour.

The best tours include a glass factory visit and give you time to wander around on your own. (Visiting the shop is not required.)

For those of us who don’t want an organized tour, you need to know that not all glass factories are set up to allow visitors. It will be up to you to find one that does. Speaking from personal experience, it’s hard to do that once you’re on the island.

You can book a Murano glass factory tour and glassblowing demonstration ahead of time. Tours like this one are only a few dollars.

People have lived on the island of Murano since Roman times, and each century has added its own unique character to the island.

They’re all still there, vying for attention, which is what makes Murano such a fantastic destination.

What to do in Murano Italy

Stepping off the boat brought us into a different world. Suddenly we were on a quieter, more laid-back island. Murano comes complete with its own Grand Canal, fascinating glass shops, and romantic sidewalk cafes.

Even though our schedule was booked due to our Adriatic cruise itinerary, we still managed to see the best sights. I’m happy to share them with you.

1. Museo del Vetro glass museum

old glass objects in a display case at the Murano Glass Museum

If you’re interested in the art of glass making, Museo del Vetro is the one for you. This history museum showcases Venetian glass techniques over the centuries and displays varieties of glass from as far back as Egyptian times.

Originally constructed as a patrician’s palace, the building changed hands multiple times over its lifetime. For instance, in 1659 it became the residence of the bishops of Torcello, and two centuries later it became the town hall of Murano.

It was only converted into a museum upon Murano’s annexation to Venice in 1923.

  • Admission is €10 (some discounts are available).
  • Open daily, 10:00-18:00 Apr-Oct (last entrance at 17:00). Closes one hour earlier from Nov-Mar.
  • Find it at: Fondamenta Giustinian 8, Murano, Venice, Italy, +39 041 5274718

2. Basilica di Santa Maria e San Donato

Arched facade of Church of Saints Mary and Donatus on Murano

Dating from the 7th century, the Basilica of Saint Mary and Saint Donatus is the duomo for Murano Island.

Inside, exquisite, Ravenna-quality Byzantine mosaics cover its floor and dome. Outside, the bell tower, like most bell towers, is separate from the Church.

While many churches contain the bones of saints, this basilica contains more than just the relics of St. Donatus. You see, suspended behind the altar are four rib bones measuring more than one meter long.

According to legend, these bones came from a dragon that St. Donatus slew in Greece. Who knows? Maybe it’s true.

The exterior of the duomo is built in the Romanesque architectural style, showing the influence of both Venetian Byzantine elements. The facade is covered with simple arches, yet the building stands dominating to this day.

  • Open daily from 9 AM to 6 PM, except on Sundays when it’s closed off to visitors.
  • Find it at: Campo San Donato 11, Murano, Venice, Italy

3. Chiesa di San Pietro Martire

Murano, inside of the Church of St. Peter the Martyr

The Roman Catholic Church of Saint Peter the Martyr (Chiesa di San Pietro Martire) was completed in 1348, but the foundation for the building changed years after that. 

The Chiesa Di San Pietro Martire went through a little bit of trouble before it came to stand before us in all its glory. 

You see, when they were done building it, a fire burned it all to the ground in 1474, and it was rebuilt to its current form in 1511.

Also, in 1806, the building was closed off after the fall of the Republic of Venice, but it opened again less than a decade later.

This naked brick building is popular with tourists because it houses the chapel of the Ballarin family, notable for their glassmaking skills.

It also has excellent Renaissance artworks by artists such as Tintoretto and Bellini. The building still functions as a parish church to this day.

  • Find it at: Chiesa di San Pietro Martire, Murano, Venice

4. Campo Santo Stefano

canals and square in Murano

Campo Santo Stefano is best known for Simone Cenedese’s “Comet Glass Star,” an abstract blue glass starburst sculpture in the middle of the square.

Juxtaposed with the historic buildings and rich culture, this modern artifact reflects Murano’s deep-rooted glassmaking tradition while showcasing its evolution.

Next to it are the Church of St. Stephen and a 19th-century clock tower. Both dominate the island and can be seen from far away.

That’s probably why this is one of the most-visited spots on the island.

  • Find it at: Campo Santo Stefano, Murano, Venice, Italy

5. Palazzo da Mula

The facade of Mula Palace opens onto a narrow walkway that runs along the waterfront

The Palazzo da Mula is one of the last remaining examples of Venetian Gothic architecture built around the 15th or 16th century.

The building was once a luxurious summer residence of the Venetian patricians, who could afford an ornate facade with large Gothic windows.

The exterior of the building still holds beautiful features of the Venetian Gothic style, with reddish bricks and an elegant tiled roof. 

What made this palace unique was that it had a garden and courtyard. Due to the high price of land in the island empire, most Venetian palaces were unable to have that.

  • Find it at: Fondamenta da Mula, Murano, Venice, Italy

6. Murano glass factories

Lion of St. Mark over the doorway of a Murano glass factory
This is the entrance to Cristalleria, a legendary Murano glass factory. Unfortunately, it closed down in the 1960’s.

As a precaution against fires, the Doge of Venice ordered all Venetian glassmakers to move their furnaces (fornaci) to Murano in 1291.

This worked out well, as glass was becoming a coveted craft. Moving to another island kept the workshops safe from prying eyes that were eager to steal the secrets of the trade.

It wasn’t long until the island of Murano became associated with the most coveted and highest-quality glass in the world.

Even though centuries have passed since that decree in 1291, Murano’s reputation as the go-to place for glassmaking remained steady.

In fact, many factories now offer factory tours and glass-blowing demonstrations. There are even some fun glass artistry workshops where you can try your hand at glass making and leave with your very own souvenir!

Looking back, I wish I had booked one of these tours for ourselves. It would have been an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience. 😥 We truly lost out.

7. Venetian glass shops

woman looking into a Murano glass shop

As I mentioned, the islands of Murano are best known worldwide for their exquisite, blown glass. If you’re not in the market for glass and just want to look at the beautiful creations, I’d suggest going to one of the glass shops. 

Just about every Murano glass factory has a showroom where they display their best products.

Besides Murano glass, very few other souvenirs are worth buying. So, don’t waste your time in a souvenir shop, unless you want to get postcards and other standard tourist stuff.

ⓘ PRO TIP: No matter where you travel, never sign a contract that’s not in English. Use a healthy dose of skepticism if anyone offers to “translate” it for you.

Why should you visit Murano?

two quirky lampposts hug each other in Murano Italy
Murano doesn’t just live in its past glory. It has a fun, modern vibe as well. We got a real kick out of these zany lamp posts!

In addition to these “must-see” Murano tourist attractions, there’s an even more crucial “must-do” item you must put on your itinerary: Savor every moment.

Avoid our mistake and the temptation to rush from one spot to one spot just to catch everything. Rushing past the island’s numerous historic structures is a surefire way to miss a lot!

When you do that, you’ll miss the intricate details that give Murano its distinctive Venetian flavor. You won’t notice the eccentric touches that the island’s creatives have liberally peppered about.

The most precious thing about travel is the opportunity it offers to expand your horizons. It’s a chance to see new things, experience new traditions, meet new people, and taste new foods.

We’ve learned that Italy should not be rushed.

There’s a lot to be said for taking a bit of time to just sit and watch Murano’s daily life: exasperated mothers with crying children, excited teens with cell phones in their ears, wizened old ladies walking hand-in-hand with their beloved husbands.

Sit quietly in a church for a while and savor its peace. Sip a glass of the local wine and enjoy the sound of the waiters’ foreign chatter.

Just because you can.

It’s all part of the travel experience.

Where to stay on Murano Island

This is your trip and your opportunity. You’ll make the most of it by taking your time.

Staying on Murano overnight is the perfect way to enjoy all the glass island has to offer. Imagine exploring after the tourists have left for the day!

Top 3 Hotels in Murano

These hotels offer an exceptional experience and get good reviews.

ⓘ PRO TIP: For other accommodation options, Trivago shows prices from all the top booking sites so you can find the best hotels and rates.

How to get to Murano from Venice

Getting to the island of Murano is pretty straightforward. Catch Line 4.2 at the San Zaccaria vaporetto stop, which is near Piazza San Marco. This line will take you there in about 40 minutes.

Alternatively, Line 4.1 will get you there in about an hour. Stop at Colonna for glassblowing demonstrations. Museo is better for the Glass Museum and the Basilica.

FAQs about visiting Murano Island

Bridge on Murano

Even if you’re on a tour of northern Italy and have limited time in Venice, you can visit Murano. Here are some answers to common questions:

How can you tell if Murano glass is real?

Official logo of genuine murano glass, Text says Vegtro Artistico oMurano

Authentic Murano glass art galleries and shops will always have the signature decal reading “Vetro Murano Artistico” on display.
There is now a trademark label on every authentic Murano glass. This is partly due to the fact that some souvenir stores have attempted to pass off cheap Chinese knockoffs as genuine Venetian glass.

Are there any scams to be aware of?

Yes. Beware of the touts offering a “free” excursion to watch glass blowing in Murano or see lace-making in Burano. It’s a common scam, and they get a kickback from the shop they take you to. You’ll often get a crowded shop, high pressure, and a higher final price.

Can I book a tour to Murano?

Sure! Plenty of companies offer guided tours. Some visit only one island while others include Murano, Burano and Torcello islands on the itinerary. This tour offers you great insight into both islands, and you get to see the glassworks up close and personal!

Do I need a visa to enter Italy?

Italian visa policy allows foreign citizens of over 90 countries to visit Italy without a visa. Italy is a Schengen area country, however, so you may need a visa for the Schengen Zone. To find out, click here.

ⓘ PRO TIP: At the time of this writing, the plans are that an ETIAS authorization will be required for all short-term travel to Europe, beginning sometime in 2025. Note that ETIAS is not a visa and will be required whether or not you need a visa to enter the EU. It will allow travel to member countries for up to 90 days each 180 days.

Travel Guide: This book is a bestseller on Amazon.
City Card: The Venice City Pass offers free entry to attractions and waterbus access.
Flights: The code for Venice Marco Polo airport is VCE. Check flight prices.
Accommodation: We stayed at Hotel Paganelli, near St. Mark’s Square.
Visas/ETIAS for the EU: Check if you need one and apply here.
Travel Insurance: Compare World Nomads and SafetyWing
Getting around: In Venice, use a gondola or vaporetto. Outside of Venice, take Flixbus, or rent a car.
Tickets & tours: Find dozens of fun ideas on GetYourGuide and Take Walks
Organized trips: G Adventures has insanely affordable small-group tours + guaranteed departures.

ⓘ TIP: Want to add an extra country to your itinerary? Venice’s ferries go to the Greek Islands.

Discover Burano Island: Venice's Prettiest Day Trip

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Written by Linda

Linda is multilingual and has been to over 50 countries. Her insatiable love of travel, cuisine, and foreign languages inspired her to create As We Saw It, where she documents her trips, shares practical itineraries, and offers insider tips. She’s passionate about helping fellow travelers save time, money, and hassle, and loves to discover new places to explore.

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47 thoughts on “7 Best Things to Do on Murano Island in Venice”

  1. Thanks for your beautiful review of Murano. It’s my island, I always appreciate when his beauty is narrated around the world.

  2. Really beautiful photos! Visiting Murano is definitely one of my favorite thins to do in Venice. Love the detailed post of what see and do on the island! Especially that you mentioned to watch out for the authenticity of the glass – I see far too many people getting caught in the trap.

    • Yes, few things can ruin a vacation like discovering you’ve been cheated. we hope we have helped some people avoid that scam.

  3. Very inspirational post, Linda. We visited Murano some years ago, and it was a pleasure to rediscovered these beautiful sites in your post. I remember we visited a glass factory from were we bought some small clocks for my kitchen. They had different, funny shapes. Every single thing they make on this island of so beautiful and delicate! Did you buy any souvenirs too?

    • No, but I saw some beautiful vases so perhaps we will get one once we have a permanent home. Fragile mementos make us nervous, with all our moving about.

  4. I’ve been to Venice twice but I haven’t had time to venture to Murano either time. I need to go back! I would love to look at the glass there! Your closing thought about taking time to sit and savor a glass of wine is good for me to read. I travel at fast speed, trying to fit everything in, and get antsy just sitting. But that is the finest way to enjoy Italy, I’m sure!

    • We’re convinced that the Italians have perfected the art of slow living. Somehow, we don’t think of savoring a glass of wine (or a coffee) at a sidewalk cafe often enough. Like you, we try to see as many sights as we can while we’re in a country.

      If you do return to Venice, be sure to see Burano too. The lace is exquisite, and the rainbow-colored houses keep your camera busy. Speaking of slowing down, Dan spent an hour there walking around with his camera, and I waited for him with wine … We were both in heaven.

  5. thank you, Linda. I am planning to visit with my sister and nephew. Definitely, those information will be helpful for me. thanks for sharing this post.

  6. Venice is a poetry. I’m glad I could experience it. Though my stay in Venice was short, I could grasp its essence. You are right, Italy shouldn’t be rushed. It’s so interesting to savor the everyday living there.

  7. I love the pictures. Venice appears to be so peaceful, historic and gorgeous. Some of my golf friends have recommended me to make a trip to this beautiful place, but I haven’t had a chance yet. This article has added up to my passion and curiosity in Venice. Thank you for posting and sharing the tips!!

    • You’re welcome, Paul. There are some nice courses near Venice. I hope you’ll manage to find a nice balance between the green and sightseeing, because your memories of the canals and bridges will last a lifetime. 🙂

  8. Murano looks amazing! A friend of mine was there two years ago and was truly impressed. And I am planning to visit it next year – so I’m glad to discover even more things to see and do in Murano 🙂

  9. Hey would you say a day in Murano and a day in Burano is enough to have an explore and take photos & try some dining? I am there in January 🙂

  10. Linda, I enjoyed your blog and video post for Murano. We are headed that way in 32 days (but who’s counting), and found your offerings very helpful in making a final decision to go. It’s certainly nice to see some things other than the glass museum for visiting. The Basilica of Saint Mary and Saint Donatus and its mosaics will make a good primer for our stop in Ravenna later in the trip. We’re figuring that St. Mark’s will be a challenge to absorb. Once again, thank you for some great information. Caio!

    • You’re more than welcome, Mark, and I’m so glad our story has inspired you to go! I’m happy for you and I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time. We absolutely adore Italy and would live there if we could. By the way, since you’re planning a stop in Ravenna, perhaps you’ll also enjoy reading our article about Ravenna and Her Mosaics.

      Please do come back after your trip and share any other treasures you discover. I’m sure other readers will appreciate it.

  11. I had no idea that Murano was known as the “Glass Island,” but after reading about its glass factories, I can certainly see why it is referred to that way. You listed so many amazing sites that I would love to see on this island, and I can hardly wait to add it to my list of future travel destinations. In fact, I may have to move it to the top of the list for next summer. Other than the glass factories, what would you say is the number one must see attraction or place in Murano?

    • Considering that the island is known for its glass, I’d say the #1 attraction is the glass museum, Audrey. That said, the architecture in Venice is so impressive that Palazzo da Mula comes in a close second.

      Actually just walking through the streets is an attraction in itself. And speaking of the architecture, if you do go, be sure to visit the more colorful Burano, which is known for its lace.

  12. We really need to give Venice another chance…I think we had gone at the wrong time – end of our 7 countries Europe road trip, smack in the middle of August, we find it really crowded and hard to navigate, plus only had a day so felt very rushed with the kids…and after all the outdoor stunning landscapes in Slovenia and Croatia, it wasn’t the right time to be in Venice..reading your post, looking at all the beautiful images, colourful houses and your words – travel is the opportunity to enjoy a different way of life. This is your trip, your opportunity. Seize it – very inspirational 🙂

    We loved travelling in Italy so much, hope to be back sometime in the future. Perhaps will give Venice another chance!

    • One day in Venice … with kids? In the August heat and crowds? Goodness, you never had a chance to enjoy yourselves! Yes, go at a different time of year and take some time to do nothing. Venice is meant to be savored, in my opinion. Dan and I love wandering through its residential areas.

      Then again, when you get right down to it, that’s all we’ve ever done. Do you know, we have yet to visit the Cathedral of St. Mark or the Duomo? I keep telling Dan that one of these days we really need to go back and play tourist.

      • You article reminds me when I went to Murano with my partner. It was amazing, we thought to visit an island similar to Venice but we did not know about the beautiful Murano glass. We discovered it there and we literally fell in love with it. I hope one day to go back there and perhaps visit one of the furnaces.

  13. Hi Linda! Your post is very useful to me as I’m planning a trip to Murano Island. I would surely visit the 7 must-see places you’ve recommended. Yeah, the island is home of magnificent Murano glass factories and shops that manufacture masterpieces in several varieties. Looking forward to a wonderful time there!

      • Hi Linda, I am planning to go to Venice visiting the Biennale. After reading your blog, I would like to also take the opportunity of going to Murano. I really like Palazzo Da Mula you took a picture of, do you know if it is open for tourists?

        • Actually, I tried to research if it is possible to visit Palazzo da Mula when I wrote the article but I was never able to find out. I hope one of our other readers will be able to answer that question.

  14. Somehow I submitted my comment without the rest of what I wanted to say….
    I agree totally with sitting back with your glass of wine and truly take it all in. This is our favourite way of enjoying wherever we are. People watch, be present and really take time out to “see” the place.

  15. Great photo’s and memories – it inspired my own wonderful memories. My family spent a week in Venice in 2011. I really loved the day we spent on Murano. It was great to have my kids see the glass blowing demonstration, and I did enjoy a bit of glass shopping! Nothing crazy though!

    • We enjoyed looking in the shops and windows but didn’t buy anything. We’re minimalists at heart; if we don’t need it we don’t buy it. Rather spend the money on travel. 🙂

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