Headed to Italy and planning a day trip from Venice to Burano? You’ll find everything you need to know right here – including things to do, where to eat, how long to spend, and of course how to get from Venice to Burano!
Burano is a photographer’s dream come true. The tiny fishing island is full of vibrant rainbow houses lining the canals, and I couldn’t get enough. Bubblegum pink, mint green, sunshine yellow, sky blue, and so on and so forth. I swear the ENTIRE island looks like the perfect postcard, and it’s easy to see why.
Imagine laundry hanging out to dry, hidden bakeries selling handmade sweets, cute Italian grandmas chatting on the street, intricate lace sold in the shops, and local men gliding their fishing boats out to sea. Add in those charming canals and tiny alleyways and you’ve got my idea of the perfect morning. Burano is preserved in time, and I hope it never changes.
Everywhere you look, you’ll find tons of charm, vibrance, and beauty. It honestly feels like walking through a rainbow! Burano is definitely one of the prettiest spots in all of Italy, and a must for photographers and instagrammers. It’s an absolute dream destination for anyone who loves color (myself included)!
I’ve totally got a thing for colorful towns and cities (like Menton, Villefranche Sur Mer, Guatape, Salvation Mountain, Cartagena, Sayulita, Old San Juan, Chefchaouen, Antigua, etc, etc, etc…), so I was thrilled when I finally visited Burano!
I had already visited Venice twice in the past, and just couldn’t find the time to make it over to nearby Burano. Thankfully, its location in the Venetian Lagoon makes it super easy to get from Venice to Burano.
So when we finally decided on our 3-week Italy and France itinerary for our big summer trip, I knew I needed to include a day trip to Burano! I had waited years and years, and now was finally the time!!! And lemme tell ya – it was well worth the wait.
If you’re spending at least 2 days in Venice, I highly encourage you to spend at least half a day in this tiny fishing village! It’s kinda like a teeny-tiny version of Venice, but with only three canals and a whole lotta more people per square inch. Plus all that kaleidoscope of color!
Logistics for Day Tripping from Venice to Burano
Where is Burano?
First things first, Burano is in northeastern Italy, about 7 miles (11 Km) north of the major city of Venice. It’s in the Venetian Lagoon (along with a few other islands), only about 45 minutes away from Venice via Vaporetto (Venetian water bus).
Burano’s actually considered a northeastern suburb/neighborhood of Venice, but since they’re so different, many people think of them as completely separate destinations. Myself included! You’ll see what I mean in a bit.
How to Get from Venice to Burano
Thankfully, getting from Venice to Burano is super easy. There’s a few options, all which involve taking a boat, since, well, Burano is an island!
Here’s your three major options:
- DIY from Venice to Burano via Vaporetto
- Hire an expensive private water taxi
- Guided day (or ½ day) trip to Burano, Murano, and maybe even Torcello
Vaporetto (public water taxi): Taking a vaporetto from Venice to Burano is how we got to the island. You’ll need to head to either San Zaccaria (near St. Mark’s) or Fondamenta Nove A – F.te Nove “A” on Google Maps – (on the north side of the island), where the public boat leaves. We were able to walk to F.te Nove “A” in about 15 minutes from our hotel near San Marco Square.
Once there, buy a ticket at the kiosk for Burano on Vaporetto Line 12. One-way tickets only cost €7.50 while roundtrips are €15 – super efficient and inexpensive!
Line 12 leaves multiple times a day (with the first boat leaving at 4:20am and the last leaving at 4:10pm), so you’ve got plenty of options.
The ride will take about 45 minutes from Venice to Burano, making a stop in Murano and possibly Mazzorbo and Torcello first. Don’t get off at the wrong stop! Mazzorbo and Torcello are super close to Burano, and I’m pretty sure you can even walk from Mazzorbo to Burano. Some boats even head past Burano to Treporti, so don’t wait until the last stop to get off. Pay attention!
You may want to buy a day or multi-day pass if you’re planning to make multiple stops (Murano, Burano, etc), or if you’re spending a few days in Venice. By taking just 3 rides in a day, you already got your money’s worth!
While some people recommend taking one of the first vaporettos at 7:10am and getting to the island before 8, I honestly don’t recommend this. The island will be absolutely DEAD and there’ll be hardly any locals wandering around at all (one of the beauties of the place).
We arrived in Burano around 9:45am or so (give or take a bit, I can’t remember), and the island was just waking up. By the time we left around 1pm, it was much more crowded. I’m so glad we didn’t kill ourselves with an unnecessary crazy-morning wake up call.
Unless you’re planning to visit Burano, Murano, AND Torcello on the same day, I really don’t think you NEED to take the first vaporetto. It’ll be less crowded and not as hot yet though, so you decide!
Private water taxi: I honestly don’t recommend hiring an expensive private water taxi. There’s really no need for it. Just ONE WAY will cost about €115 – €150, which is absolutely wild in my book for a 45 minute ride.
And this doesn’t even include waiting time if you want the private water taxi to wait for you at Burano and bring you back!
A private water taxi from Venice to Burano will set you back a few hundred euros for a few hours – not worth it in my opinion! Take the public vaporetto water taxi for €15 ROUNDTRIP (!!!) – there’s no reason not to.
I wanted to include this since yes, it’s an option if you have no other way.
Day Trip: Don’t feel like navigating the vaporettos yourself and/or want some extra information from local guides? Want to visit a few islands in the Venetian Lagoon in the same day but not sure how to go about doing so?! You’ll absolutely love a day trip! Here’s some of the most popular ones (all around $25!):
- Half Day Trip to Murano and Burano: If all you have is a few hours, you can totally see both Murano and Burano. And taking a guided day tour is by far the easiest way to do so. In just four hours, you’ll tour both Murano and Burano from Venice, watch a glass blowing demonstration, and see all those gorgeous colorful homes! Read reviews and book tour here!
- Full Day Trip to Burano, Murano, and Torcello: Have more time?! Even better – this full day trip goes to three of the most popular islands in the Venetian Lagoon – Burano, Murano, and Torcello! You’ll have time to see a lace demonstration, a glass factory, and the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Plus lots of free time to stroll the islands at your own pace. At only $25 per person, it’s about the same price as taking the public vaporetto! Sounds like such a great tour – must be a reason it’s got almost 3,000 positive reviews! Read reviews and book your full-day tour here.
- Quick Glimpse of Burano, Murano, and Torcello: Wanna see a lot but don’t have tons of time? In just 4 ½ to 5 hours you’ll see all three islands – Burano, Murano, and Torcello. While each visit will be quick, it’s the perfect introduction to the Venetian Islands. This tour’s got over 9,000 reviews, so it’s definitely one of the most popular. It’ll mostly sell out in the popular summer months; book ASAP once you know your dates!
Can I drive from Venice to Burano?
Nope! Burano’s an island! There’s zero cars on Burano because there’s no roads leading to it. You’ve gotta take a boat to get here – whether that be a public boat from Venice or on a guided tour!
When to Visit Burano
With an island oh so colorful, is there really a bad time to visit?! Kinda… keep reading!
Unfortunately, Venice experiences mass over-tourism like no other. There’s even been efforts to control the number of visitors, like reducing cruise ships to Venice and discouraging people from taking day trips to the city.
In order to help reduce the stress on the city (and its neighboring islands like Burano and Murano), if you have flexible travel plans, I recommend visiting in the off or shoulder seasons instead. AND staying in Venice itself, so you can actually pump some money into the local economy and not just take, take, take from the islands.
Spring/Fall (Shoulder Season)
In my opinion, late-spring (mid-April to May) and early-fall (September to early-October) are the perfect seasons to visit Burano.
The weather will be mostly beautiful and sunny, temps not as high as summer (high 60s, low 70s), and there’ll be less crowds. Still kinda busy, but way less crowded than summer.
Summer (High Season)
Summer in Burano is hot hot hot. And very crowded.
Because of this, I definitely recommend visiting Burano either in the early AM or later in the day. To escape both the intense heat and crowds.
There’ll be the most tourists between 11am-3pm, as this is primarily when the organized day tours are here. If you can, I’d definitely plan your visit on a weekday instead of a weekend.
For reference, we visited in early July, and it was ridiculously hot out. Sweltering doesn’t even begin to describe it – we were sweating through our clothes after 10 minutes in the sun.
We did unfortunately visit during a major European heatwave (and those can be brutal). Because of the intense heat and humidity, we totally would’ve enjoyed our visit to Burano even more if we weren’t constantly dripping.
Come prepared with a sun hat and sunscreen, and be sure to keep hydrated!
Winter (Low Season)
I hate the cold, so a winter visit to Burano wouldn’t be my first choice. Average highs are between 45-55F, and while 55 doesn’t seem so bad, 45 surely does!
Living in California for almost a decade sure has made me soft! Make sure to dress warmly – while snow is rare, it can happen (like it did in 2017!) although it hardly sticks; more like a light dusting.
More common is heavy fog, which sometimes doesn’t lift until midday. But all in all, winter weather is very unpredictable, so it’s hard to know what you’ll get until a few days (or even hours) before.
With that being said, the crowds will be at a minimum and you’ll have the place almost to yourself. Unfortunately, severe flooding can happen in winter due to high tides, so you’ll need to be flexible and not be too upset if you’re unable to go.
Getting Around Burano
Getting around Burano couldn’t be easier. Since it’s such a tiny island (only 0.2 km² in total!), you’ll be able to walk everywhere you wanna go in only a matter of minutes. Trust me – it only takes 15 minutes to walk from one side of the island to the other. This feels way longer in the scorching sun though.
You may need to backtrack a bit to cross some bridges, but there’s a reason why there’s only boats here, no cars at all! Locals get around on either foot, bicycle, or boat!
How Long to Spend in Burano
Most people simply stay for a morning or at most a day.
I think we stayed in Burano for about 3 ½ hours and that was with me taking over 200 photos and having a long, leisurely lunch. There’s not a ton of things to do in Burano since it’s such a small island.
If you’re not crazy about taking photos and are planning to eat back in Venice, you really only need an hour or two.
But if you’re looking for a non-touristy and super authentic experience, consider staying in Burano for a night! All the tourists will have gone back to Venice, and you’ll get to see the island through the eyes of a local. And probably even see more of the locals since they typically come out later in the day.
You’ll definitely get to explore every inch of the tiny island. After heading from Venice to Burano for the day, I kinda wish we stayed longer!
While there aren’t a ton of hotels directly in town, here’s a few I recommend:
- Casa Burano: Such a great find in such a great location (away from all the touristy spots). It’s more like a luxury apartment than a hotel room, so you can really feel like a local for a night or two.
- Tiffany Home: Wanna stay in an apartment decked out in Tiffany blue? Now’s your chance – just look at the photos! Spacious and clean and there’s slippers!
- Casa Nova: This apartment overlooks the main square, there’s a fully equipped kitchenette, and it looks super cute (I especially love those ombré orange bathroom tiles).
- Venissa Wine Resort: With gorgeous wooden beams, a soft color palette, and huge bathroom, Venissa is probably the most luxurious stay in the entire Venetian lagoon. And the space is surrounded by orchards and vineyards! Plus a michelin-starred restaurant is just steps away. Sign me up!
Things to do in Burano
Thankfully, there’s not a ton of things to do in Burano. It’s the kinda place you just wanna wander around, browse through the boutiques, have a long lunch on the canals, and people watch. The beauty of Burano is really about soaking up the atmosphere and taking it all in.
Wander the Tiny Town
Burano’s got its own unique atmosphere, best known for its colorful homes, narrow streets, and charming canals.
Honestly, I think getting lost in town is a perfect way to spend a morning (sounds kinda cliche, but it’s true!). And you can’t really get too lost – the island isn’t even big enough for that!
Nowadays, Burano only has around 3,000 permanent residents, with many of them being of an older generation. We met a nice fellow who was born and raised on Burano, and has lived there his entire life! Imagine!
While you can simply just wander, there’s a few notable spots to check out if you’re looking for specific things to do in Burano:
- Via Baldassarre Galuppi: This is the main street in Burano – expect it to be quite busy! It’s a great stop for a Spritz when you’re trying to escape that harsh midday sun (like we were)!
- Piazza Galuppi: The main square in the center of Burano, with its own leaning tower at the Church of Saint Martin Bishop – I got some great reflections of it in the canal, plenty of shops, and of course more colorful houses! Here you’ll find the statue of Baldassarre Galuppi, a famous Italian composer born in Burano himself (way back when in the early 1700s!).
- Fondamenta di Cavanella: This is another major street/canal of Burano and it’s pretty busy with shops, cafes, and restaurants. This is where you’ll find the famous bridge everyone takes photos at – Tre Ponti!
- Cross the Bridges: Burano’s got three main canals, so of course there’s bridges to connect the different parts of the island. Don’t miss the Tre Ponti bridge (the most popular one with iconic views) and Corte Comare, Terrenova’s bridge. You’ll find yourself on the bridges eventually while wandering around!
Photograph the Colorful Houses
I’m pretty sure your main reason for heading from Venice to Burano is to see all the colorful homes. That was definitely the main draw for me! And the island is exactly that – full of homes and businesses in a rainbow of colors.
I swear, almost every single building is painted a colorful, vibrant shade. Not just one street or two, the ENTIRE island.
Expect to see pinks and purples and reds and yellows and blues and greens all throughout the entire town. The perfect place to photograph – an instagram paradise of sorts! And not only are the building exteriors super colorful, expect colorful doors, window shutters, and plant pots!
Some homeowners even like to match their outdoor furniture with the color of their house! With all this color, it’s impossible to feel anything but happy! Even with a few too many crowds.
I found more photogenic backdrops then I knew what to do with! My husband had to nicely tell me to put the camera away and enjoy the island with my own eyes, haha. But really though, you’ll find so many photo ops all along the canals, on the bridges, and by wandering around the side streets.
On that note — Make sure to stray from the main tourist areas and wander down some quiet side streets. The houses are just as colorful and you’ll thankfully escape most of the crowds! You’ll find little old ladies chatting in Italian, locals hanging their laundry out to dry in the sun, and kids playing around on the streets. A little glimpse into their very own island life.
Remember – these are people’s homes. Yes, people still live here on the island. Please be respectful when taking photos. This means not peeking through windows, moving around patio furniture/plants, or standing in the way of locals exiting/entering their homes. If you’d like to photograph someone, ask them first.
Locals need to deal with us tourists all day, everyday. Don’t make it any worse for them. And yes, they know tourism is what keeps their little town going – but still, just be a kind human being and be extra respectful. It costs absolutely nothing!
Why all the color?! There’s a few different theories as to why the two-story fishermen houses are painted so vividly. It’s a tradition that dates all the way back to the 16th century! While I don’t know the exact reason, here’s a few ideas I found in my research:
- To distinguish property lines, since most of the buildings/homes are actually connected to each other
- So the fisherman could see the island easier in the evening so they didn’t crash their boats into land once coming back after a day of fishing (fog can impede the view depending on the time of year)
- And lastly, the different colors easily distinguish the homes (so the men don’t accidentally go into their neighbors houses after a few too many beers…)
Whatever the reason is, I’m glad the houses are painted with so much bright color! It makes the whole island so much happier and fun to photograph!
Nowadays, home owners in Burano actually have to get permission to repaint their houses a different color. And only specific colors are allowed (with a color coding system and all). Who knew it was so regulated by the Italian government?! This means houses near each other won’t have the same pigment – creating that rainbow effect we all seem to swoon over.
Indulge in some Italian Seafood and Pasta
This island is made up of fishermen – of course there’s gonna be tons of fresh fish to eat! Try some spaghetti al nero di seppia (squid ink pasta), spaghetti alle vongole (clams), Italian seafood risotto, and/or the catch of the day.
We had a delicious lunch at Trattoria Al Gatto Nero – one of the most popular restaurants on the island. It’s a family-run restaurant, serving up homemade pasta and fresh seafood since 1965. While we enjoyed our meal of seafood antipasto delicacies and grilled fish, I think we would have preferred something a bit more casual and carby – like fresh pasta or seafood risotto.
Other popular spots on the island are Trattoria da Primo e Paolo and Michelin-star restaurant, Venissa.
Take a Walking Tour with a Local
Looking to learn about the history, local day-to-day life, and traditions of Burano? Why the town is actually so colorful?! You need to check out this walking tour, full of small details, stories and history! Plus some secret spots only locals know about.
I LOVE taking walking tours with locals – especially those who are inspirational and love their city with passion! They make the place feel so much more alive and they all have their own interesting stories to tell. It makes the visit so much more meaningful.
And this walking tour of Burano is no different; I mean, the guide is even born and raised in Burano herself. Not nearby, not even Venice, but the tiny fishing island of Burano itself! The guide also takes you to see a lace demonstration, and you even get special discounts on authentic Burano lace.
In hindsight, I kinda wish we had signed up for a tour. While we thoroughly enjoyed our visit from Venice to Burano, I would have loved to learn more about the history of the island and all its quirks. Read the (raving) reviews and book ASAP, especially if you’re visiting in the peak summer season.
Try a Bussola, the Cookie of Burano
Foodies – don’t miss trying the local cookie specialty. These puffy, S-shaped biscuit cookies are called Bussolà, and they’re especially popular around Easter time! You’ll also probably see them in a typical donut-shape as well. Both the same thing, just different shapes. I’m so bummed we miss them (I was too busy gallivanting around the island taking photos), although I did hear they’re kinda dense and filling. So maybe split one or save half for later?
Panificio Pasticceria Garbo is a great place to grab a few “essi specialità di Buranos”. It’s a traditional bakery right in the heart of town – you’ll probably miss the shop if you aren’t looking out for it… there’s no sign! Plus, it’s right by one of the main canals so you can have your bussolas with a view!
In the past, these Bussolà cookies were made by the wives of fishermen, and given to sailors/fishermen when they were going out to sea for a few days/weeks. The cookies have a long shelf life and gave the sailors the energy they needed to keep on going!
Shop For and Check out Authentic Burano Lace
Burano is known for two things – its colorful rainbow houses and its intricate lacework!
Since the 16th century, women in Burano have made gorgeous lace pieces. They’re even exported all around the world! Lace dresses, tablecloths, handkerchiefs, accessories, you name it! While there’s been a lot of historical ups and downs with production, the lace is back and here to stay.
Beware – most of the lace you see in Burano are actually cheap, machine-made imitation products, made exclusively for tourists like us. The price will totally give it away. For example, an authentic handmade lace handkerchief would typically cost over $40USD, depending on style and design.
Unfortunately, there’s not many traditional handmade lace shops on the island anymore. Head to Emilia Burano, La Perla, and Martina Vidal to ensure you’re getting high quality lace, made by an actual lacemaker. You may even get to see a few women showcasing the lace techniques at these shops. Absolutely mesmerizing to watch!
If you’re especially interested in learning about Burano lace, check out Museo Merletto in Piazza Galuppi – Burano’s very own lace museum. Here you can learn about the history of Burano lace, and lots about all the techniques and traditions of it.
The museum is small and you can walk through it in about 15 minutes or so, but it’s super informative and well-worth a short stroll.
Admire the Murano Glass
While Burano is known for its intricate lacework and colorful homes, the nearby island of Murano is well known for its colorful glassware.
If you don’t have time to head over to Murano, you can thankfully see a bit of Murano glass over in Burano instead! We passed by a few shops selling Murano glass, and OMG the colors and intricate designs were beyond gorgeous. And get this – a lot of glass pieces have very thin layers of real 24K gold (REAL GOLD!) or sterling silver added to it.
The most popular spot to shop for Murano glass in Burano is at New Arte Fuga. It’s a small glass factory with a ton of exclusive pieces – like small figurines, jewelry, vases and glasses, and even some Christmas decorations. If you’re looking for some souvenirs, support this family owned business. You may even witness a glass demonstration!
Stop by Casa di Bepi Suà – Bepi’s House
Yes, you’ll see vibrant, colorful homes all around the island, but Casa di Bepi Suà (also known as Bepi’s House) is easily the most colorful house in all of Burano. And the most famous! It’s kinda an icon and a landmark in town, with a whole bunch of colors and fun, geometric shapes. You can’t go inside it (unless you’re staying there), so just swing by and take a few photos!
The house actually has a pretty interesting story. It was originally owned by Giuseppe Toselli (who was known as Bepi Suà), a man who sold candy on the street and hosted outdoor cartoons and movies for kids. His house was understandably one of the most popular in the 50’s with kids and their families!
He then decided to decorate the outside of his house with the geometric patterns, painting and repainting the house constantly. There was always something new to see over there!
After Toselli’s death, the house was managed by his family, until it was sold over to Mara Bon (who restored the building). Bepi’s House is now a bed and breakfast, although nothing original remains on the inside. So yes, you can actually stay at Casa di Bepi Suà nowadays!
Hope this helps you plan the perfect day trip from Venice to Burano! Colorful houses and lots of locals await!