How to Visit Italy’s Technicolor Masterpiece

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Burano is a bright and colorful island not far from Venice, perfect for a day trip. Although it’s technically part of the city of Venice, this tiny island in the Venetian Lagoon has a slow-paced, small-town atmosphere and plenty of charm.

Burano is one of the most colorful places I’ve ever been, with picturesque rainbow-hued houses lining every street and canal on the island.

Planning your trip to Burano last minute?

Venice is an extremely popular destination, and I recommend booking accommodation and tours as early as possible.

🎭 Top-Rated Tour on Burano Island:

  1. Visit Murano and Burano (Two islands in one trip!)

🛌  Top-Rated Hotels on Burano Island:

  1. Casa Burano (Elegant rooms in a historic location)
  2. Venissa Wine Resort (A unique luxury experience)
  3. Tiffany Gold (Mid-range apartment)

Burano is extremely small, with just three canals and a handful of streets running through it. You can easily walk from one end of Burano to the other in just 10 minutes. The population of Burano is just 2,800 people, many from families who have lived on the island for generations.

There are no cars on the island, and locals get around on foot, by bicycle, or by boat — historically, Burano has been a fishing town, so many families own small boats and keep them in the island’s canals.

The only way you can get to Burano from Venice is by boat, and when paired together, Murano Island and Burano Island make one of the best day trips from Venice.

Aside from its colorful houses, Burano is famous for its tradition of lace-making. The women of the island began making lace by needlepoint in the 16th century, and it was exported all around Europe. Although lace-making in Burano has declined over the centuries, it still remains an important part of the island’s cultural identity and tourism industry.

Burano is a very special little island, and I can’t wait to show you all about it. Visiting here is one of the best things to do in Venice!

This post was published in May 2024 and was co-written by Adventurous Kate and Dale Peterson.

Colorful streets of Burano island surrounding a canal lined with covered speedboats.Colorful streets of Burano island surrounding a canal lined with covered speedboats.

Things to Do on Burano Island

Explore the colorful streets

The best thing to do on the island of Burano? Spend some time simply wandering around the colorful streets and photographing everything.

Burano is filled with colorful homes painted in vibrant hues. There are several theories as to where the bright colors come from. 

One popular theory suggests that houses in Burano were painted different colors so returning fishermen could easily recognize their homes, even through the fog. Another legend says that different colors correspond to different families in Burano.

Whatever the reason, Burano is a riot of colors, with cute homes painted every shade of the rainbow, making the island a photographer’s dream. Many of the houses are painted in bright colors like magenta, turquoise, azure, and sunshine yellow, with contrasting shutters and doors making for great photos.

Just be respectful as you photograph Burano — remember that people actually live in these houses, and don’t block doorways, peek into windows, or rearrange outdoor furniture. (You’d be surprised at the bad behavior of some visitors!)

You can easily spend an hour or two just exploring the streets and canals of Burano.

An old woman's hands stitching an intricate lace design.An old woman's hands stitching an intricate lace design.
A lacemaker of Burano Island, via Shutterstock.

Visit the remaining traditional lacemakers

Lace-making has played a huge role in Burano’s history. Up until the 16th century, the island was not very well known, a small backwater in the Venice Lagoon. However, when the women of the island began making intricate lace by hand, it put Burano on the map.

Even today, lace-making still plays an important role in Burano, and it’s a big draw for the island’s tourism industry.

There are still a number of traditional lacemakers on the island, who produce lace by hand using needlepoint techniques.

As you stroll through the streets of Burano, you’ll see plenty of lace workshops and boutiques. Many offer free demonstrations of lace making, and you’ll be able to peruse for handmade lace souvenirs to take home afterward.

If you want to buy anything made of lace while you’re in Venice, Burano is the best place to do it. You might see Burano lace for sale at cheaper prices in souvenir shops in Venice, but it’s often not authentic. I recommend spending more for high-quality lace here.

You can also learn more about Burano lace on a guided tour like this one, which includes a visit to both Burano and the nearby island of Murano, which is famous for its glassmaking history.

A collection of handmade lace parasols.A collection of handmade lace parasols.
The Museo de Merletto has so many beautiful items on display.

Learn about the history of Burano lace at Museo de Merletto

The best place to learn about Burano lace is at Museo de Merletto, the Lace Museum. Housed in a 19th-century artisan school, this small museum traces the history of lace-making in Burano beginning in the 16th century.

If you’re interested in textiles and handicrafts, this museum is worth a visit to learn more about the fascinating tradition of lace-making in Burano.

Admission to the museum is 5 EUR ($5.30 USD) for adults and 3.50 EUR ($3.75 USD) for youths under the age of 26 and seniors aged 65 and older.

Museo de Murletto is open six days a week, Tuesday through Sunday from 10 AM until 4 PM, and closed on Monday.

A tall stone church tower leaning far to one side, behind bright blue, orange, and turquoise buildings.A tall stone church tower leaning far to one side, behind bright blue, orange, and turquoise buildings.
The famous leaning church tower of San Martino makes a nice photo backdrop!

See the Church of San Martino

After you’ve spent some time exploring Burano’s colorful streets, take a few minutes to visit the island’s only church. The Church of San Martino is a historic cathedral dating back to the 16th century, visible from all around Burano thanks to its bell tower.

The tilting bell tower appears as if it’s about to fall over, leaning even more steeply than the Leaning Tower of Pisa — it makes for a cool photo op in Burano.

It’s free to visit this church, and it’s a great place to go and sit in the cool, quiet sanctuary to escape the heat on a hot summer’s day in Burano.

A collection of sidewalk cafes set against Burano's colorful houses.A collection of sidewalk cafes set against Burano's colorful houses.
You’ll definitely want to stop for lunch in Burano.

Try local seafood 

You can’t leave Burano without trying some fresh fish. Seafood is the best thing to eat in Burano because the island has historically been a fishing village.

I recommend trying some fritto misto, a popular local dish that consists of fish, vegetables, and herbs lightly battered and fried. (The only thing I don’t like is that shrimp is usually fried inside its shell. Why? Who enjoys that??)

There are tons of trattorias in Burano where you can try local seafood, but three of the most popular are Trattoria Al Gatto Nero (a renowned Michelin-starred restaurant), Trattoria da Romano, and Trattoria da Primo e Paolo.

Packages of biscuits shapes in circles and backwards S shapes.Packages of biscuits shapes in circles and backwards S shapes.
Bussola Buranello souvenirs, via Iryna Budanova on Shutterstock.

Try Bussola Buranello for dessert

Bussola Buranello is a popular traditional dessert that comes from Burano. These buttery shortbread cookies originated on the island and are popular all around the Veneto region.

You can order these cookies for dessert in many restaurants on the island, and if you like them, you can pick up some to take home from any bakery in Burano!

(And if you head to Murano Island during your time in Venice, head to Murano Gelato Artiginale for some Bussola Buranello gelato!)

A bright green agricultural island with fields, and a tall pointy church tower.A bright green agricultural island with fields, and a tall pointy church tower.
Mazzorbo is a stone’s throw from Burano Island! Via Shutterstock.

Walk across the bridge to Mazzorbo

If you have some extra time in Burano, one cool thing to do is walk across the bridge to the adjacent island of Mazzorbo. Just five minutes away from Burano, you can access this island via a wooden bridge near the vaporetto stop.

Mazzorbo was home to an ancient settlement that flourished at one time, but was eventually abandoned. There are only around 350 residents in Mazzorbo now. Although it’s so close to Burano, many tourists have no idea this island even exists.

Like Burano, you’ll find a row of colorful houses in Mazzorbo. But the real highlight is Venissa Estate, a vineyard and resort on the island. 

There’s a luxury hotel, a vineyard, orchards, and two restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Venissa Ristorante. This is a great place to enjoy a meal or try a local wine tasting.

A calm canal in Burano lined with covered boats. The buildings surrounding it are shades of different reds and greens.A calm canal in Burano lined with covered boats. The buildings surrounding it are shades of different reds and greens.

How Long Do You Need in Burano?

How much time should you spend in Burano? A few hours is enough to see the major sites and fully explore Burano island. Burano is extremely small — you can traverse the entire island in about 10 minutes, so it’s easy to see the whole place in a morning or afternoon.

You don’t want to feel rushed in Burano, though, and I recommend allotting at least 2.5 to 3 hours to the island, if not longer, especially if you want to enjoy lunch or dinner while you’re there. Although there’s not much to “do” in Burano, it’s the kind of place where you can spend hours just soaking up the atmosphere.

The best time to visit Burano is in the morning before all the day trip crowds arrive. Most tour groups visit Burano from 11:00 AM until around 3:00 or 4:00 PM, so if you can come before or after this time, you’ll be able to miss most of the crowds.

There’s no need to get to Burano extremely early in the morning, because nothing will be open until 9:00 or 10:00 AM anyway. But if you can arrive around 9:00 AM, you’ll avoid crowds later in the day and get to enjoy the island in the calm morning hours.

Alternatively, you can visit Burano in the late afternoon and evening. At the end of the day after the day trippers have left, the island becomes calm and quiet.

And finally, the best way to enjoy Burano without the crowds is to stay overnight. More on that a bit below.

A narrow street with colorful homes, and laundry hanging between two open windows.A narrow street with colorful homes, and laundry hanging between two open windows.
Burano is easy enough to get to from Venice.

How to Get to Burano Island from Venice

There are several ways you can get to Burano from Venice. The most affordable option for visiting Burano is taking the vaporetto (water bus) from Venice.

The quickest way to get to Burano on the vaporetto is from the Fondamente Nove stop on the northern side of Venice. Fondamente Nove is a 20-minute walk from St. Mark’s Square. From there, you can take 12 vaporetto to Burano.

The vaporetto makes several stops before and after Burano, so make sure you’re paying attention and get off at the correct stop in Burano! The total travel time from Fondamente Nove to Burano is 45 minutes and the 12 vaporetto runs every 30 to 40 minutes.

Another more time-consuming option is taking the 14 vaporetto from the San Zaccaria stop which is near Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square). This line doesn’t run as frequently, and it takes over an hour, but it is another option for getting to Burano.

You can buy single tickets for the vaporetto for 9.50 EUR ($10 USD) or day tickets with unlimited travel for 24 hours for 25 EUR ($26.50 USD). Multi-day passes are also available, which are the best option if you’re spending several days in a row in Venice.

A much pricier option is taking a private water taxi from Venice to Burano. But at around 130 EUR ($138 USD) each way, this is a staggeringly expensive method of transportation — I don’t recommend it unless you have a very good reason.

Another way to visit Burano is via an organized tour. This is a good option if you want to visit additional islands like Murano and Torcello in addition to Burano. Visiting multiple islands on your own on the same day is difficult to coordinate, but it’s a breeze on a tour.

This tour combines the islands of Murano and Burano into an amazing half-day trip that includes a lace-making workshop, a glass-blowing demonstration, and a wine tasting. You’ll travel the Venetian Lagoon by private boat, learning more about each island from a knowledgeable guide.

If you want to hit three islands in one day, you can take this affordable day tour which includes a visit to Burano, Murano, and Torcello. You’ll have two hours of free time in Burano, along with one hour of free time on the islands of Murano and Torcello.

Three attached houses painted yellow, green, and light red, in front of a Venetian canal.Three attached houses painted yellow, green, and light red, in front of a Venetian canal.
Yes, you can stay overnight on Burano if you’d like!

Where to Stay on Burano Island

What’s the best place to stay in Burano? For such a small island, there are several hotels and apartment rentals for tourists in Burano.

Although you can certainly just visit Burano on a day trip from Venice, staying overnight in Burano is a unique experience and an option not too many Venice visitors take.

It’s nice when you can enjoy how quiet Burano is in the evenings after the day trippers have left. And if you’re a photographer, you’ll want to get shots of the island early in the morning, when the light is good and few people are out.

Here are the best places to stay in Burano:

  • Top-Rated Luxury Hotel in Burano: If you’re looking for a luxurious hotel in Burano, look no further than Casa Burano, which provides elegant rooms in a historic location.
  • Top-Rated Luxury Hotel in Burano: For an incredibly unique stay, check out Venissa Wine Resort. Located a 5-minute walk from Burano on the neighboring island of Mazzorbo, this luxurious hotel is surrounded by orchards and vineyards.
  • Top-Rated Mid-Range Apartment in Burano: Keeping in line with the colorful theme of Burano, Tiffany Gold is a charming apartment rental in the heart of Burano that is decked out in gold and yellow hues.
  • Top-Rated Mid-Range Apartment in Burano: Another apartment rental in Burano is Tiffany Home, which will make you feel as though you’ve stepped into a Tiffany box with its blue interior. This is a great place to stay if you want a little more space.
  • Find deals on places to stay in Burano here.

There isn’t much variation in prices on the island; everything is about the same.

A canal lined with pink, yellow, orange, red, and green buildings.A canal lined with pink, yellow, orange, red, and green buildings.

Is Burano, Italy Worth Visiting?

Is the island of Burano worth visiting? Yes, you really shouldn’t skip this small, colorful island. It’s a must-visit destination while you’re in Venice.

Go spend a day in Burano and take millions of photos. You’re going to love this part of Venice.

I hope you enjoy your time in Burano!

More on Venice:

Planning a Trip to Italy:

More Cool Places in Northern Italy:

Best of Southern Italy:

Have you been to Burano Island? Share your tips!



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