Headed to Venice and like the idea of island hopping? With 118 islands, there are many to explore! So, you’ll need to know which ones to visit and plan ahead for the best experience. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to some of the top islands to visit in Venice and how to get there.
Pro Tip: Planning what to do on your trip to Venice? It’s easier to organize your trip when you have all your resources in one place. Bookmark this post along with our Venice Guide for more planning resources, our top Venice Islands tours for a memorable trip, and how to see Venice in a day.
Top 10 Islands To Visit in Venice
There are 118 islands in Venice, but most visitors don’t explore them. Murano and Burano are two of the most popular and well-known for their quaint and colorful houses and long history of craftsmanship in glassblowing and lacemaking.
Lido di Venezia hosts the Venice Film Festival every year! There are plenty more to explore. Here are the top islands to visit in Venice and how to get there. If you’d like to see the Venice islands the easy way, check out our Murano and Burano Island tours.
Not ready to book a tour? See the best Venice tours to take and why.
How To Get To the Venice Islands
Ferry boats in Venice are like the subway in New York City. If you want to reach Venice islands by public transport, taking a ferry boat is the most efficient way to go.
All lines are active from 6 am until 10:30 pm every day (with exceptions during the holidays). Tickets can get quite expensive, so if you’re touring more islands, it’s best to get a 24-hour ticket for €24 or a 12-hour ticket for €18.
Here are the main ferry boat lines:
- 12 Line to reach Burano, Murano and San Michele from Fondamenta Nove
- 4 Line to reach Murano from the train station Santa Lucia
- 5 Line to reach Lido di Venezia from the bus station Piazzale Roma
- 14 Line to reach Murano from St. Mark’s Square
Vaporetto (Water Bus)
If you’re looking to go to Murano or Burano you can hop on the vaporetto (ferry) from the Venice San Zaccaria stop near St. Mark’s. The trip takes 40 to 50 minutes. We recommend the day pass option.
While these water buses are handy to travel to the islands for an affordable price, they do make a lot of stops and can get crowded. Plan extra time to get between locations.
Otherwise, booking a tour of Murano and Burano is a good idea since you’ll have private transportation and a guided tour with access to live demonstrations on both islands.
Internationally known for its talented glass makers, Murano is the perfect Venice island to shop for unique souvenirs. Here you’ll find precious glass-blown artifacts and Venetian murrine—incredibly rare charms made of colored patterns made in a glass cane.
While in Murano, visit the Museum of Glass to learn where this local tradition came from. Before you leave, don’t forget to enter the Basilica dei Santi Maria and Donato to marvel at its mosaic floor.
This colorful island is probably the most photographed in Venice. You’ll instantly recognize it from afar, thanks to its brightly colored houses. In fact, many legends say they served as a kind of lighthouse so sailors and fishermen could find their homes in thick fog. Burano is also famous for its beautiful handcrafted embroidery and lace, so make sure to save for it.
Popular Venice Tours
Not ready to book a tour? Check out our best Venice tours to take and why.
Lido di Venezia
If you’re passionate about the film industry, you’ll know Lido di Venezia. It hosts the International Film Festival every year in early September. If you’re visiting this time of the year, expect to spot lots of celebrities—but large crowds too.
Location: Lido di Venezia
The original name of this elongated island is Spina Longa (long spine). It’s both the longest Venice island and the closest to the mainland. The current name comes from giudeo (Jew) and refers to the Jews that originally populated the island.
Today, La Giudecca is a nice residential area formed by eight minor islands and covered with orchards, gardens, and new residential compounds.
Location: La Giudecca
The best spot to admire the little island of San Giorgio is from the top of St. Mark’s Bell Tower. However, it is also worth a visit! Very rich in history, it was founded in the 8th century by a noble family called Memmia.
In the following centuries, a Benedictine monk built the Monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore, now a must-see attraction while touring Venice islands.
Location: San Giorgio
You’ll be able to spot this wide island from the airport, as it is the closest one. Locals call Sant’Erasmo “the orchard,” as all fresh produce sold on the island comes from there. While walking through this Venice island, expect to admire endless crop fields, vineyards, orchards, and canals of course!
If you wish to experience the authentic Venetian lifestyle, visit Pellestrina. It’s a fortified island right next to Lido di Venezia. The population is mainly fishermen and farmers who live in small colorful houses.
From Pellestrina, you’ll witness some of the most amazing sunsets in the lagoon, so consider paying a visit if you’re in Venice during summer!
Unforgettable Venice Tours
Not ready to book a tour? Check out our Venice Guide for more resources.
This Venice island holds the monumental cemetery of Venice. Among the many celebrities and public figures resting here, you’ll find the composer Igor Stravinsky and poet Ezra Pound.
Location: San Michele
This is one of the most ancient islands in the Venice lagoon, with a monastery built around 1176 to accommodate pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land.
However, during the Serenissima Republic, it was used for military purposes and then to store crops in war times. Nowadays, it has one of the main soccer fields in Venice, the Pier Luigi Penzo stadium, and the Naval College.
Location: Sant’ Elena
In between Lido di Venezia and St. Mark’s, San Servolo is a central island used as the main International University Campus in Venice. It’s worth a visit and now operates as a museum open to the public.
Location: San Servolo