From Lido to Murano, Venice's beautiful islands offer a new perspective on the famed city.
In total Venice is made up of 118 islands. The majority of visitors to Venice only visit the city of Venice. If you are staying longer than just one day you will want to venture to at least one of the smaller islands.
Murano, Burano and Torcello are the most visited islands and have frequent water bus services and are only a very short journey from the main island.
Murano is the most commercial of the outer islands and is famous for its glass-work which you can observe being made at many locations on the island. Burano is famous for its hand made lace. Venice Lido is really the only island that is not Venice in spirit - it is very much like any place on the mainland with roads, cars and buses.
Getting to the outer islands of Venice
A Vaporetto is another name for a water taxi or water bus in Venice, operated by ACTV, the public transport authority for Venice. There is a time-based ticket that gives unlimited rides on nearly all water bus services, (not the airport links) plus the local bus services over to the mainland. Ticket prices start from 20€ for 2 days up to 60€ for 7 days.
One thing to remember is, that the ticket is time-based and NOT based on a calendar day. In other words, the ticket is valid for the number of hours (24, 48, etc) from the first validation. You also do not need to validate the ticket again after the first time. This means that you can buy a 24-hour ticket and use it over a period of two days!
We recommend using the MOOVIT app in Venice as it has realtime timetable data which makes it super easy to plan your trip.
Water bus routes 4 and 5 circumnavigate the main island of Venice in each direction and do not go through the Grand canal that splits the main island in two.
Route number 4 just follows the coastline all around the island, hopping across and back from the island of Murano along the way.
Route 5 follows a near-identical route around the island but doesn't make the short detour to Murano Island - instead, it detours over to Venice Lido.
Water bus route 12 (outer island route) is your transport to the smaller outer islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello and is well travelled by tourists.
Route 12 departs from a terminus on the north shore of Venice called Fondamente Nove.
Most visitors will have to travel to Fondamente Nove using water bus routes 4 or 5.
Boats used are mid-size, larger than the small water bus routes 4 and 5, but smaller than route 1, the route that goes down the Grand Canal. There is a minimum of two services an hour even in winter.
In the following video we board the waterbus from Piazzale Roma and visit Murano, Burano as well as Lido before returning to Venice via Piazza San Marco: