Wandering the labyrinthine streets, indulging in rich coffee and gelato, sampling the local pizza and pasta options, shopping on the Rialto Bridge, and relaxing in the Piazza San Marco are all fabulous ways to spend your time in Venice.
It is not uncommon for visitors to spend their entire time in this magical city among the crowds of visitors, trying to navigate the intricate alleys and snapping photos at every picturesque turn. Most travelers who decide to visit Italy will pick Venice or Rome,they are the popular choices amongst tourists and the most well known Italian cities but suffer from overcrowding and visitor saturation.
However like many historic European cities Venice has many cultural secrets to reveal to the more dedicated and pursuant adventurer.
For those who may have an extra day to explore beyond the city’s center, there are several nearby islands that afford visitors the opportunity to experience some of the locals’ favorite treasures.
Venice’s local buses are actually boats, and a 12-hour travel pass is the only tool you will need to cruise around the local lagoon and explore some of the smaller villages that are quintessential to Italy’s history and culture. Find out more about transportation options in Venice.
The Venetian Island of Lido
Scattered throughout Venice, you will see floating bus stations where you can consult maps and timetables. From one of these terminals, take a cruise out to Lido, an island known among locals for its beaches.
Lido’s environment feels a lot like a traditional beach town, with small hotels and a main street covered with beach clothing and toy suppliers, takeout pizza shops, and gelato parlors. Many Venetians flock to Lido in the summer to enjoy a reprieve from the busy city and relax in the Mediterranean sun.
The Isle of Murano
From Lido, take another bus to the nearby island of Murano. This island has been famous for its glass making for hundreds of years and visitors can shop for glass lamps and jewelry while admiring the larger public glass sculptures scattered around the area.
Many glass studios will open their doors to tourists and provide free demonstrations. Murano also boasts two very old churches with a rich local lore, the Church of Santa Maria e San Donato and the Church of San Pietro Martire.
You can also see the clock tower in the canal as pictured.
When you have finished exploring the beautiful handiwork of the glass merchants, catch a boat bus to Burano. One of the smaller attractions located in the Venetian lagoon, it is also one of the most picturesque.
Burano is historically known for its lace and is immediately recognizable in photographs. Houses in this community are painted a variety of bright colors, making it an extremely popular destination for artists and photographers.
The island’s inhabitants largely cater to tourists or work on small fishing boats.
Depending on the amount of time you spend on each of these unique islands, all three can be visited in one day and you can be back in the center of Venice before dinner time.
Enjoying some of these local islands will enrich to your time in Venice and provide a learning experience about some of the smaller Italian communities that have existed for centuries.
The Globetrooper View
A significant number of you visit Italy or are planning to do so in the near future, perhaps part of a wider pan European trip. Should your travel itinerary bring you to Venice put some time aside to wander off the beaten path and explore the lesser known Islands of Venice.
Furthermore the usual Venetian tourist traps can get very crowded in peak seasons, by taking the extra effort to travel slightly away from the city center you will be able to appreciate the beauty and magnificence of this historic city in much more peaceful surroundings.
You can use the Globetrooper trip wizard to create and plan your trip to Venice or join existing travelers hoping to visit the Venice in the near future.