A while back, we took our first Mediterranean cruise, though to be specific, most of the cruise ports were in the Adriatic, namely Italy, Croatia, Montenegro and Greece. We enjoyed every stop, but the most colorful was definitely Burano Island in Venice, Italy.
Our ship docked in Venice overnight, offering plenty of time to see more than just the famous tourist sites around St. Mark’s Square. We’d seen those before, anyway, since this wasn’t our first time in Venice. So we hopped on a water taxi, called a vaporetto, to see some of the other islands in the Venetian Lagoon.
Torcello, Murano and Burano islands
The islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello are each destinations in their own right. Murano is where all the Venetian glass is made, Burano is the home of Venetian lace, and Torcello is the now-mostly-uninhabited island where Venice first began.
Torcello wasn’t part of our plans for this trip, but we did see Murano the next day.
By the way, if you’re only in Venice for a short while, you can save a lot of time by taking a half-day boat tour. There are a variety of excursions to choose from, but I’ll save you some time. The Burano, Torcello & Murano Boat Tour w/Glassblowing boat tour is especially popular. It often sells out. so you should book it ahead of time.
Check availability here:
Visiting Burano Island
Thanks to Google images, we decided to spend a day in Burano. It was tops on our list because Dan wanted to photograph its brightly colored buildings. Counting stops, the boat trip took 40 minutes. It didn’t seem very long though, because the view was so fascinating!
Lace making on Burano Island
Burano has been occupied from the 6th century, but it only became important in the 16th century, when women on the island began making lace with needles and it became popular among the European elite.
Lacemaking is a fine art form and takes an incredible amount of patience and time to create. So, as you can imagine, it’s a luxury few can afford.
Most of the lace that’s for sale in souvenir shops is affordable, so you can be pretty sure that it’s machine made. But even this lace is beautiful, and the shops are worth visiting.
ⓘ TIP: If you’re in the market for lace, check the label carefully, because a lot of it is made in China. Be prepared to pay a lot for real Venetian (Burano) lace.
Only a handful of women do it in the traditional way these days, and I was lucky enough to meet one of them while we were there. She was sitting on a folding chair in the warm sunshine, talking to a friend while creating a pair of Christmas bells in lace on her lap.
Using the few Italian words I knew, I asked her how much time her piece would take to complete, and she told me it would take three months.
I was shocked. “Three months, for just one small piece?” She nodded. No wonder Venetian lace is so expensive!
Isola di Burano at twilight
As it got later and twilight approached, the buildings’ colors began to change. We found a tempting restaurant and I settled in with a carafe of the house red wine while Dan went off to capture Burano at twilight.
Yes, that is me in the photo above, happily entertaining myself with a glass of Italian wine while waiting for Dan to get back from his foray. Ambushed by a camera again. 🙂
Twilight is that time of morning and evening when there’s neither full daylight nor complete darkness. Photographers call it the “blue hour” due to the quality of light. The blue-tinged light muted the hues of the usually colorful buildings. To compensate for the fading light, Dan had to use a longer exposure, which made the rippling water look as still as glass.
Dan returned with a camera full of beautiful images, enough to create a video for our YouTube channel. Watch it here:
Plan your trip
Here are some resources to plan your own Burano visit:
- Burano’s tourism website can be found here.
- For more inspiration, check out our Burano photo gallery.
We strongly recommend that you take a tour if you have limited time or want to see it all, Get Your Guide offers a variety of excursions at affordable prices. Two of the best ones are:
- Venice: Burano, Torcello & Murano Boat Tour w/Glassblowing
- Murano and Burano Half-Day Glass and Lace Tour
|VENICE TRAVEL PLANNING ESSENTIALS
|✔ 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.