From shopping to photography, here are five things to know to make your Venice day trip to Burano, Italy, a success!
If Crayola and the Venice canals were to have a love child, her name would be Burano. This teeny tiny canal town just 40 minutes (by boat) outside Venice is lined with quiet waterways and fluorescent houses that span all colors of the rainbow — think turquoise, magenta, and lavender, oh my! (I’m not exaggerating; these colors are insane.)
Burano was off my radar until recently when we had to rejigger our Italy trip at the last minute. Instead of small Italian hill towns, we revised our strategy with stops at Cinque Terre, Verona and Venice. And, during my Venice research, I stumbled upon the photographer’s heaven that is colorful Burano, so we threw this town on the ol’ itinerary and spent a half day on the island.
While it was absolutely beautiful, Burano wasn’t quite what I expected. Here are a few things I came to realize about this unique Italian destination.
1. Burano is not off the beaten path
Errrr, nope. Not at all. The water taxi from Venice was so crowded I’m surprised it stayed afloat.
Then, upon arrival we were greeted by more selfie sticks than I saw in Verona and Cinque Terre combined. Where there are colorful backdrops, there are Instagrammers, and Burano is not immune. I saw person after person lining up the perfect self-timed shot on the same Burano canal … in the same pose … with the sane oversized hat. (Mind you, I was guilty of these posed, semi cliche shots — sans hat — which is the conundrum I know many bloggers face!)
The moral? Burano is crowded, and while it’s not a tourist trap, it’s an Instagram trap for sure. Expect plenty of selfie sticks, but before you judge, remember this is how some super talented bloggers and influencers make a living! Just experience it for yourself and let others do what they need to do (and go in the off season for fewer crowds!).
And… off my soap box.
2. Look for lace
Another unique tidbit about Burano? It’s known for intricate lace products. Lace stores are trickled throughout the canals of Burano, and we picked up perhaps one of the cutest items of all: a baby bib for my friend’s newest addition.
Granted, I didn’t know what it said (and refused to look it up until I was with said friend), but that’s half the fun, isn’t it?
3. Plan your meal ahead of time
I’m not saying you need to make reservations in advance, but take a look before you get there so you’re dining in the top spots. We ended up in a touristy, bland restaurant because we just wanted to get to photographing, but I’ve heard Burano has some great fish restaurants outside the main drag. I’m bummed we missed them!
4. Download the Pro HDR app
If you want Burano’s colors to really “pop,” download Pro HDR, an app that basically takes two photos and combines them into one to provide extreme but beautiful hues — all from the power of your smartphone. While I love my DSLR and obviously used it in Burano, Pro HDR sometimes outperformed it … which is impressive given it’s a cheap app!
5. Burano’s actually pretty small
If you’re visiting for a day, I’d recommend no more than a half day trip to photograph, sightsee and eat a meal. We explored every single crevice of this cute little town in less than five hours, and had enough time to fit in Murano, the neighboring island known for that iconic Venetian glass.
Now, that being said, if you want to fully immerse yourself in Burano, spend a couple days here and actually stay on the island. I’d love nothing more than waking up to stroll through the colorful canals before the day trippers arrive … and hopefully it’s something I get to do in the future!
Have you been to Burano, Italy, before? What tips do you have for first-time visitors?