Venice is a dream destination for many people, but most who visit are unaware of all there is to see in the Venetian Lagoon.
Here is a map of the Venetian Lagoon.
Where the word “Venice” is, is the actual island that everyone thinks of when they hear the name. The surrounding area is called the Venetian Lagoon and its islands are easy to explore (and worth it!)
Here are some of our favorites.
Murano and San Michele
Murano Island is very close to Venice, and you can reach it by public boat from Piazzale Roma, Saint Mark or Fondamenta Nuove.
This island is famous worldwide for its artistic glasswork (the entire glass production moved to this island during the XII Century).
If you come here you should visit the Church of SS. Maria and Donato, a Byzantine building from the VII Century. It has fabulous mosaic decorations.
Facing the Murano Grand Canal you will find Palazzo da Mula e Palazzo Giustinian, the old seat of the Bishops of Torcello (now the Glass Museum).
Between Venice City and Murano you find San Michele Island. It was the seat of the Camaldonesi Monks and is now the Cemetery of Venice.
Burano and Mazzorbo
Burano is the most populated island of the Northern Lagoon. It is a fisherman’s island, but it’s also famous for its lacework (this industry was born during the Renaissance). The island itself is very particular: all the buildings are painted in vivid colors!
Mazzorbo is connected to Burano via a footbridge. In the past it was inhabited by nobles. Today, just a few residents live there. Most interesting is that there is a vineyard with autochthonous grapes (and a fabulous restaurant if you are looking for a place for a special meal).
Located north of Burano, it was one of the most populated and prosperous centers of the Venetian Lagoon. Now Torcello is almost uninhabited and has few tourists. It's a very nice place to sit down and relax.
Here you can visit the fabulous ruins of the complex of Santa Maria Assunta: the church, the baptistery, the small church of Santa Fosca and the famous Attila’s Throne (a marble seat that was used by the Justice Emissary).
Pellestrina is an elongated island that forms a barrier between the southern Venetian Lagoon and the Adriatic Sea. There’s a park at the end where you can go swimming! There’s not much else on the island to see (although there are great, simple spots for lunch). A visit to the island combines well with a visit to Chioggia (below). You can also rent a bike and bike the length of this long, skinny barrier island.
Chioggia is situated on a small island at the southern entrance to the Venetian Lagoon (just across from Pellestrina) and is a typical Venetian town with a few canals and the characteristic narrow streets known as calli. We are sure that you won’t miss the Venice crowds as you appreciate Chioggia’s still-authentic charm.
We end a few of our tours here, including our Lake Garda to Venice Lagoon cycling tour. On the itinerary page there is a video from the tour and from minute 2:13 you can see some footage from the Venice Lagoon: riding, lunch and swimming on Pellestrina.
Have you visited the Venetian Lagoon? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.