Don’t get me wrong, Venice is beautiful in person. In fact, at first, it was not really on my bucket list because I thought it would be so touristic and hence, overrated just judging from its ubiquity in social media. And although normally I find myself quite right with my gutfeel, I couldn’t say the same for Venice. It is remarkable. There are plenty of tourist traps and problematic corners to point out if you’re extremely picky, but you can’t deny that it’s really one of the prettiest places you can set foot in. But one thing that really bothers me about it is that it is suffocating both in a good and bad way – it’s ‘plagued’ with art, architecture, and history but at the same time, its narrow winding streets cannot handle crowds. Luckily, it belongs to an archipelago and the nearby islands make up for all of this.
I’m talking about Murano, Burano, and Torcello. A simple google search about what else to do in Venice spits out these three names so when I was in Venice I wanted to give them a try. These three islands form a cluster in the north of Venice and the closest, Murano, is about 20 minutes by vaporetto (small boat) from Venice’s St. Lucia train station. It is doable to visit all three in one day. In hindsight, I could have visited a fourth island, but I was lazy and a bit seasick to jam the day trip. The key is, of course, the careful use of the timetable which you can easily find online. If you plan to visit the three, you can buy a 20-euro day pass (each trip will cost you at least 7.50 euros, do the math).
Also, Burano and Torcello are really small so you can loop through each of them in just half an hour, but it wouldn’t hurt to stay in these islands as they have open green spaces by their shores, a thing you will probably find scarce in the main island of Venice. Murano is a different story as it is almost twice the size of the other two and is teeming with commerce particularly in its world-renowned glass blowing industry. Just along the port, from the tourist center and the following street, the shops selling glass blown items and occasional demonstrations are rampant. The village looks exactly like a small version of Venice.
Burano is my favorite among the three. It is easy to see why. It’s quaint and charming and still has a rustic vibe. The two-story houses screaming with loud colors from the entire spectrum give a festive feel and it still feels like a fisherman’s town from the clotheslines swaying along with the seaside breeze. It’s the perfect backdrop for gelato shots and OOTDs to populate an IG feed.
They say this is where it all began. The first Venetian settlement.
Torcello is just a different planet. It’s the origin of Venice but it is mostly empty except for of course, the ruins of its past (and a couple of restos because, hey, commercialism!). You can imagine centuries of history under the soil you are trudging but more importantly, what it has that you cannot find in the rest of Venice are… trees. Yes, finally, I saw something not in the shade of orange. It is so close to Burano in fact. I think you can literally swim to Torcello if only the water is not that murky. But yeah, it was definitely fun to see a green island for a change.
Venice is definitely a must and say whatever you want about it being too touristy but it’s beautiful. I would devote another post for that. But yeah, after a while it just gets too crowded. Luckily, there are always these islands around the archipelago to which you can escape in order to relax in the event you get a bit choked by the too-much-ness of Venice. I’ve only mentioned three but there are lots more you can access by the convenient vaporetto and are even more welcoming than the city center.