Venice for Visitors logo
Venice Home All topics
Where to stay Transportation

Arrow. Helping 30+ million Venice travelers since 1997
Arrow. New in 2024: Venice's tourist "access fee"

Venice > Sightseeing > Islands tour

Venice Islands Tour

Plan a self-guided day trip in the Venetian Lagoon, using public water buses.

Fondamenta Nove vaporetto station

ABOVE: Your excursion begins at the Fondamenta Nove waterbus station, which faces the Venetian Lagoon on the northern edge of the historic center.

If you're spending more than a few days in Venice, allow time to visit the islands of the Venetian Lagoon.

The itinerary in this article will take you to:

  • San Michele, the walled cemetery island of Venice.

  • Murano, known for its glassmaking, glass museum, and several historic churches.

  • Burano, an island of fishermen, lacemakers, and colorfully painted houses.

  • Mazzorbo, a small rural island connected to Burano by a footbridge.

  • Torcello, once a city larger than Venice; today, a bucolic island with a 1,000-year-old cathedral and a handful of outdoor restaurants.

  • Lido di Venezia, a beach resort on the strip of land that separates the Venetian Lagoon from the Adriatic Sea. (You can stop off here, if you wish, on your return trip to Venice.)

You'll reach the islands on water buses operated by ACTV, the Venice public-transportation company. Allow a full day for the entire excursion, or half a day if you skip San Michele and the Lido.

ACTV's lagoon water buses can be crowded during peak season, on weekends, or if local groups of senior citizens or schoolchildren are traveling between the islands.

If crowds bother you, or if you're unwilling to stand on a moving boat when seats aren't available, consider one of these alternatives:

  • Take an escorted tour of Murano, Burano, and/or Torcello. Such tours are more expensive than a tour by public transportation, but they're worth considering if your schedule is tighter than your budget. The trips are offered by Viator, our sightseeing-tour partner. An even better choice is a walking tour with Discover Burano, owned by Burano native Silvia Zanella.

  • Hire a water taxi by the half-day or day, which could easily cost several hundred euros. If you want the services of a private guide, try a customized lagoon itinerary from WalksInsideVenice or the Venice Tourist Guides Association and let the guide arrange transportation.


  • Organized tours don't give you much time on the islands, so we'd recommend traveling independently unless you're in a hurry or have limited mobility.

  • Instead of buying individual tickets for the boat trips between the islands, buy a one- to seven-day ACTV travel ticket at any Hellovenezia or ACTV ticket booth.

  •  If you have access to the Internet during your trip, you can check boat schedules at the official ACTV Web site.

  • Looking for a smaller island that's even closer to Venice? Try La Certosa, which has a marina, a hotel, and acres of green space where kids and dogs can run free. San Lazzaro degli Armeni, an island monastery, is also worth a visit.

Next page: San Michele Cemetery

In this article:
Venice Islands Tour (introduction)
San Michele Cemetery
Return trip to Venice
Lido di Venezia (optional)

Also see:
The Venetian Lagoon
Lido di Venezia Travel Guide
Murano Travel Guide
La Certosa
San Lazzarro degli Armeni

About the author:

Durant Imboden photo.Durant Imboden has written about Venice, Italy since 1996. He covered Venice and European travel at for 4-1/2 years before launching Europe for Visitors (including Venice for Visitors) with Cheryl Imboden in 2001.

PC Magazine
has called this "the premier visitors' site for Venice, Italy." Over the years, it has helped more than 30 million travelers. For more information, see About our site, our Europe for Visitors press clippings, and our reader testimonials.