If you are trying to escape the grey sky and busy reality, Burano is a perfect place for you. Jam-packed with colour and charm, a picture-perfect island will certainly raise a smile on your face. Burano`s pastel-painted houses lined with picturesque canals sweeping through the heart of the island could almost trick you into believing you fell through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world. Almost.
There are few places in the world as colourful as Burano – a small island in the Venetian lagoon in Italy. Sitting in the shadow of infamously crowded Venice, the most colourful of the lagoon islands may not be the first place that springs in mind when you are considering a short getaway to the floating city.
A 45-minture vaporetto ride from Venice will bring you to the islands, connected by cute bridges. Dotted with colourful houses around the canals, UNESCO-listed Burano is an island like no other.
IS BURANO WORTH A VISIT?
A small archipelago of 4 islands with a population less than 3,000 inhabitants is a wonderful oasis and one of the best – kept secrets of Venice. With its unspoiled vibe, charming restaurants and pastel coloured buildings, a trip to Burano can offer variety compared to overwhelming Venice for a fraction of the cost.
Burano`s slower pace and relaxing lifestyle are appealing to those who want to escape from its energetic sister island. In truth, there isn’t much to do on this island, which is exactly why you come here. With no luxury hotels and Venice-style attractions, most visitors are gone by dusk. Keep in mind though, that crowds are common and the main street may be busy, especially during the summer months.
THINGS TO DO IN BURANO
EXPLORE THE COLOURFUL STREETS OF BURANO
No trip to Burano is complete without exploring its pastel-coloured streets. Each twist and turn of Burano`s narrow streets offers colourful delight. Capture your own postcard perfect moment of this iconic island.
Burano`s colourful history dates back to days when the fishermen painted their houses with bright colours in order to find easier their homes in the thick fog of the Venetian lagoon.
Next, stroll across three wooden bridges for some of the most picturesque views of Burano`s boat-filled canals.
MERLETTO DI BURANO (THE BURANO LACE)
Burano’s lace is a most precious craft
Apart from being highly photogenic, Burano is well known for its tradition of needle-lace making. In the 16th century the finest lace of Burano was the most sought after in Europe. The Merletto di Burano, the most famous lace in the world, was owned by the richest European families and kings.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Nowadays the delicate handmade Burano lace is extremely expensive and hard to find. Most of the lace you can find in Burano is not authentic. Hence, look for the tags indicating the item is not made in China.
BURANO LACE MUSEUM
Those interested in ancient Venetian lace traditions should visit the Lace Museum, located in the Burano`s Piazza Galuppi. Once a home to the famous Burano Lace School, the small lace museum traces the history of Burano lace and offers lace-making demonstrations from the local women (the best visited early in the morning).
Piazza Galuppi, the liveliest part of the island
Most people head to Piazza Galuppi – the only square on the island created after one of the Burano`s canals was filled in. The unique piazza is a charming place lined with delightful restaurants serving fresh fish and shops selling everything from the lace to souvenirs. The social centre of the island is a perfect place to head for snack or an Aperol Spritz.
THE LEANING TOWER OF BURANO (II CAMPANILE STORTO)
The tower of Burano is leaning 1.83 metres due to land subsidence
Sticking up in the Burano`s skyline is the leaning bell tower of St. Martin`s Church. A lot less known that the one in Pisa, 53 metres (173 feet) high leaning tower is visible from much of the island. One of the symbols of the islands has undergone several restorations over the centuries.
TIP: The best location to admire the leaning tower from the 16th century is from the Terranova`s marble bridge or the Giudecca`s street in Burano.
LA CASA DI BEPI (Bepi`s House)
La Casa di Bepi
Once you have explored the busy piazza, uncover another attraction. Hidden behind the more crowded Via Galuppi, La Casa di Bepi is another must-see place in Burano. The most colourful house of Burano full of geometric shapes used to have a different look every evening, until Bepi passed away.
HOW TO GET TO BURANO
The Vaporetto waterbuses are the cheapest way how to get around the Venetian lagoon. The public transport system is excellent with regular vaporetto services around Venice and out to the most of the islands. From Piazza San Marco (San Marco Square) walk around a 20 minutes to “Fondamente Nove“stop and take Vaporetto line 12. It will take about 45 minutes to reach the island.
TiP: Use Google Maps to find the most convenient route, or check out the Vaporetto line maps and timetables.
Ecologically minded travellers who would love to explore Burano can get a one way ticket for €7.50 (a ticket for a journey of up to 75 minutes, including changes to different lines). However, if you would like to visit Murano island (and maybe Torcello), it is cheaper to get a 24 hour travel card for 20 euros.
BOOK A TOUR
Alternatively, book a tour to the island of Burano. There are different tours available, with most of them stopping at the nearby islands of Murano and Torcello. Tours with a multilingual guide on the boat can also be booked online. It is also a great way to get a taste of three islands (see three islands) at once if you don`t want to spend your energy learning how to use a local transport – the vaporetto. However, when visiting the island with the tours you are allowed only about 45 minutes to briefly explore each island.
For those with the deep pockets it is also possible to hire a private water taxi to Burano. A fast and comfortable way in the limousines of Venice will take you to the island for a cost of €130 and up, each way.
To truly absorb the beauty of the island of Burano, it is a good idea to arrive the island early in the morning.
For the better value for your money consider buying a day or multi-day travel card with unlimited use of the city`s water buses. The costs of tourist travel cards are:
- 1 day €20,
- 2 day travel card €30,
- 3 day travel card €40
- 7 Day travel card €60.
GOOD TO KNOW:
You must validate a ticket before using the vaporetto. Children less than 6 years old can travel for free, however those over 6 years must pay the full adult fare. For more information visit their site.
“ROLLING VENICE CARD”
TIP: Anyone between the ages of 6 and 29 can purchase “Rolling Venice” card (valid for one year) with special benefits on public transport. The cost of the card is €6 alongside with a 3 day ticket for the reduced price of €22.
MURANO or BURANO?
Despite its similar names, Burano and Murano are two different islands located in the Venetian lagoon. Murano, also known as “the Glass Island of Venice”, has been the centre of glassmaking industry since 13th century when the furnaces were moved from Venice to the island due to the fire risk. Today, most tourist visit Murano for its glass blowing and craftsmanship. Live glassblowing demonstrations can be seen in the various factories on the island.
Much like Venice and Murano, Burano is run through by a system of tiny canals connected by bridges. Island of Burano which is world famous for its lace and the brightly coloured facades of the houses is more authentic than its nearby islands.
THE COLOURS OF BURANO
The tradition of painting houses in Burano continues through the present day. The locals take pride in painting and repainting their rainbow-coloured houses. The consistent colour coding system, regulated by the local community government, ensures that no two nearby houses will be painted with the same colour. With certain colours permitted in different areas of the island, traditionally fisherman’s island of Burano is a multi-coloured masterpiece.
FUN FACT: If home owners want to repaint their houses with a different colour, they must apply to the local government for approval.
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