Unable to find a direct flight back to our current home in Malta after our week in Slovenia, we jumped in a shared taxi to nearby Italy. We had managed to find cheap flights home from Treviso Airport on Ryan Air. Now being so close to Venice, it would be silly not to spend at least a day there and see the Islands in Venice Lagoon, wouldn’t it?
Both Jonathan and I had visited Venice in the past, but a very long time ago. But neither of us had ever visited the islands of Venice. We decided to base ourselves in Treviso, a lovely Italian town for a couple of nights.
Treviso makes an excellent base for exploring Venice. It’s a charming town in itself to explore. You don’t have the huge crowds that you’ll find in Venice. Accommodation is slightly cheaper; we stayed in a lovely place over a bar – B&B Al Cavallino. Plus it’s a very short distance from Treviso town to Treviso Airport, the low-cost airport for Venice, which is great when you have a very early morning departure as we did.
A Little About Treviso
We only had an afternoon here, so we spent it just roaming the streets, admiring the glorious Venetian architecture, enjoying copious cups of cappuccinos and soaking up the ambience.
An ancient town wall circles the town of Treviso and just like its famous neighbour, it has many canals. There are numerous churches, piazzas to discover – we were really quite impressed. Plus not being as touristy as Venice, it wasn’t full of tacky souvenir shops. Although guilty secret – I do quite enjoy shopping in tacky souvenir shops.
One quirky thing we came across on our stroll around the city, was the Fontana delle Tete, (the fountain with breasts). In the past, to celebrate a new mayor coming into power, red wine came out of one breast and white wine from the other. The local citizens could enjoy free wine for three days!
Hopping Around Venice Islands
The next morning, we took a train to Venice. On arrival into Venice, we picked up a one-day travel card at a newspaper kiosk for €20 as we planned to island-hop around the lagoon – if you are planning to visit just one of the islands, a one-way ticket costs €7.50.
Don’t forget to validate your ticket before boarding.
The one-day travel card does not include the water bus from Marco Polo Airport to Venice nor the train ticket from Treviso.
Although we had planned to head straight out to the other islands, we couldn’t resist wandering around Venice for a few hours – it really is a stunning and extremely photogenic city.
And when you roam the back streets, it’s quite quiet. We were thinking – why do people complain about the crowds? Come out of season; it’s perfect.
Well, we had to visit St Marks Square (Piazza San Marco). I remember years ago, sitting at an outdoor cafe enjoying an overpriced cappuccino and soaking in the ambience. But now, maybe we just timed it wrong, but the square was seriously crowded – I mean, seriously jam-packed with tourists.
We headed to the Grand Canal and Rialto Bridge for the obligatory selfie. We fought our way onto the bridge, smiled for the camera and fought our way off the bridge. Turning a corner, we once again found peace and calm.
It was time to head out to the islands.
For Those Interested In Taking A Gondola Ride
We didn’t do this. With me being so neurotic about being too close to the water and feeling that we were spending too much money, the romance of a Gondola trip would quickly lose its charm -lol!
Price of Gondola Rides in Venice
However, for those interested, these are the rates that are set by the City of Venice as of 2019.
- It’s €80 for 30 minutes for up to six people.
- From 7 pm to 8 am, the price increases to €100, but you do get an extra five minutes.
- If you want a singing gondolier and who wouldn’t? That will cost more! The going rate is apparently around €80.
We first heard of Burano through photos appearing on Instagram. Beautiful colourful houses, it looked quite charming. We wanted to see this for ourselves.
We decided to head out here first, as it was one of the furthest away islands from Venice in the Venetian Lagoon and takes around 40-45 mins to reach there by ferry.
We hadn’t expected it to be quite as busy as it was, but there was still plenty of room to walk around and again, once you head off the main paths, the crowds disappear.
We roamed around, taking loads of photos. When we came across Burano’s leaning Bell Tower, we weren’t sure if our eyes were deceiving us. Is it leaning? Or do we need to book an appointment at an eye doctor?
As we wandered the back streets, we’d come across elderly ladies, oblivious to the tourists and their invasive cameras, chatting together while earnestly embroidering lace.
Burano is famous not only for its colourful homes but its lace which you will find on sale all over the island.
Getting From Venice to Burano
We used our one-day travel card to go from Venice to Burano. However, you can buy an individual ticket and get on Vaporetto Line 12 from the Fondamente Nove Station.
The island of Mazzorbo is just a short walk across a wooden bridge from Burano. Now, that’s my style of island hopping!
We weren’t there for very long, but what a gorgeous island, and some charming homes and so very different from its neighbour Burano. Having crossed the bridge, we were immediately in nature.
We strolled through a vineyard, that’s part of the Venissa Estate with its weird and wonderful collection of suspended statues of wild animals. The restaurant there looked rather fabulous.
We weren’t there long as eager to get to nearby Torcello before heading back.
Getting to Mazzorbo Island From Venice
We walked across the bridge from Burano Island to get to Mazzorbo Island, however, the Vaporetto Water Bus line number 12 from Fondamente Nove also stops there.
Founded way back in the 5th century, Torcello is even older than Venice. It was a significant island in ancient times, with a population of around 20,000. Unfortunately, the island was hit by malaria, and much of the community either died or left.
The buildings on the island were plundered for their building material, so very little remains today of its former churches, palaces, and monasteries.
However, the main reason today for visiting Torcello is to see the Byzantine mosaics in the 7th-century Cathedral of Santa Maria Dell’Assunta. Although the church had just closed its doors when we arrived so we didn’t actually get to see them!
Much of the island of Torcello today is a nature reserve, and accessible only by walking paths. It’s a lovely riverside stroll from where the ferry drops you off to the heart of the island. Actually, Torcello reminded us both of some of the small towns we visited when we explored the Canal du Midi in France.
But that wasn’t why we had come to Torcello, Jonathan is a huge fan of Ernest Hemingway. And it was on this island in 1948 at the Locanda Cipriani that Ernest Hemingway wrote part of his novel, Across the River and Through the Trees.
But, now it was time to start heading back, as dusk falls, the ferries are less frequent, and we wanted to be sure to get back tonight as we had an early flight in the morning.
The ferry arrived, but let’s just stop on one more island.
Getting to Torcello Island from Venice
Vaporetto Line number 12 from Fondamente Nove also stops at Torcello Island.
Heading back on the ferry, we thought we’d squeeze in one more island stop – Murano. Murano is very close to Venice, just ten minutes by boat. Its a popular destination for visitors wanting to experience an island in the Venetian Lagoon so can get rather busy in the daytime.
To avoid the crowds, go early or late in the day, but maybe not quite as late as we were!
The island is famous for its Murano glass, but now after 6 pm, very little was open, but it was nice to wander around the island.
In the early evening, Murano looked like a sleepy residential island. It was hard to believe we were so close to Venice.
Getting From Venice to Murano Island
There are numerous option for getting a Vaporetto to Murano Island from Venice. Again we used the Vaporetto Water Bus line 12, but have a look here at the official ACTV timetables.
Time To Call It A Day And Go Back To Treviso
We jumped on the local 4.1 water bus. A bit scary for me as so close to the water, I’m more of a larger, more stable kind of boat girl. Nevertheless, it was fun meandering our way through the narrow canals of Venice.
The 4.1 water bus stops right outside the central train station, and we didn’t have to wait long for our train back to Treviso.
What a fabulous yet exhausting day. Although if we had had one more day, it would have been nice to have stayed overnight on one of the islands.
Got back to Treviso in time to enjoy a large glass of red wine before hitting the sack!
How To Get From The City of Treviso to Venice and the Islands
There are regular trains from Treviso to Venice. Journey time takes 40 minutes and tickets cost €3.55 return. For up to date information on schedules and prices, please check here https://www.trenitalia.com/en/purchase.html. Remember Venice is written Venezia in Italian!
How To Get To Treviso Airport From Treviso
There’s an airport bus from Treviso, but as our flight was at silly o’clock, the owner of our guest house ordered us a taxi. It cost around €10 for a ten-minute journey.
How To Get From Treviso Airport To Venice and the Venice Islands
From Treviso Airport to Venice, you have two options – bus or taxi.
Buses cost €12 one way.
Taxis around €80.
Have you visited any of the islands in the Venetian Lagoon? Tell us about it in the comments below.