Burano: The Colorful Island Near Venice

My mom’s flight got into Venice at about 10am Saturday morning, and Lake Como is a bit more than four hours away by train. So in order to avoid a super early morning on the train (and heaven knows what might have gone wrong), I decided to go to Venice a day early. That way, I could have a bit of extra time to see the city, and be able to go meet my mom at the airport the next morning.

I opted for the two of us to stay in Mestre, which I’d highly recommend to anyone on a budget. Mestre has lots of great accommodations that are FAR cheaper than anything you can find in Venice itself. You might say “OH but you’re missing the experience!” but frankly, I don’t think you’re missing too much. It’s about a 10-15 minute train ride away, and the thing I liked about Mestre is that because normal people actually live there too, it’s far less touristy, crowded and chaotic than Venice itself.

So after I’d found the hotel and settled myself in, I decided to spend the afternoon on an adventure to Burano. I’d heard lots of stories about the colorful and fun houses on the island, and decided it was worth a look.

Many Colorful houses along the canal in Burano, Italy

I took the vaporetto out there, and I was sort of surprised by how long the boat ride took. Burano is not super close to Venice (and definitely not as close and easy as Murano). But, it’s a gorgeous boat ride.

One thing I was surprised about as a whole in Venice was that especially in the open water, you expect the boat rides to be quite rocky. The waves are relatively high and rough, but the boats are clearly engineered for it. It was incredibly steady, even through the waves!

Teal house with flowerboxes in Murano, Venice, Italy

When I got to Burano, I spent the afternoon wandering around the island. It is such a fun and cute little island, and it’s definitely less crowded than the main parts of Venice. But still, it’s crowded. Some people like to say it’s “undiscovered” but I’m just going to say that based on the crowds I encountered, I think it’s safe to say it’s been “discovered.”

Amanda Plewes in front of colorful houses along a canal in Burano, Italy

Just like the villas at Lake Como, there were painting classes going on. I can see where this is a GREAT area to come and paint. The lines are very clean, so I can that being good for beginners, and the colors are vibrant.

Pastel colored houses in Burano, Italy

I loved wandering around the streets and just looking at the houses. Most people had their laundry hanging out to dry, and it made me laugh about how many of the houses seemed to have laundry that was color-coordinated to their house!

Colorful houses along the canal in Burano, Italy

One house I passed was clearly the local “I”m going to take the rules to the limit” person. I don’t know the exact rules about house painting on Burano, but I’m pretty sure everyone is required to paint their house a bright color from a palette of options and it can’t be the same as the houses on either side. So one person made this incredible mural of what seemed to be all the possible colors! Definitely the village “rebel.”

Amanda Plewes in front of a mural-painted house in Burano, Venice

That night, as I was getting on the boat back to Venice, I met a British couple celebrating their fortieth wedding anniversary! Ed and Liz and I decided to walk from St. Mark’s (where we left the vaporetto from Burano) back to the train station to get back to Mestre.

It was such a fun adventure, and so fun to have new friends to enjoy it with! At one point, Ed bought both Liz and I roses and I even got to take it to my mom at the airport the next morning! It was quite the walk, especially with as windy as Venice is, and was a true test of my map-reading skills!

Boats, houses, and belltower along the canal in Burano, Venice

But it made me realize what people say about Venice is true – the best way to discover it is by walking and letting yourself get lost down alleys, take wrong turns, and enjoy the views along the way. It really is a gorgeous city!

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