Have you ever seen photos of somewhere and assumed they've been so highly edited they couldn't be real? That was my sneaking suspicion of Burano, a little island just outside Venice, but upon visiting I found the most beautiful, colourful houses I've ever seen and the buildings are exactly the same in real life.
Lots of people say that Venice is a bit too busy and too touristy, but I think if you go at the right time of year it's a beautiful place to visit. We're already planning our return trip, although perhaps in the autumn when it's a bit cooler!
We visited in July and took the opportunity on a hot day to jump on the forty minute boat from Venice. We stayed in Cannaregio in North West Venice so it was easy to jump on the boat as Burano is north of the city. In the summer Burano can get really crowded and I'd recommend setting off early to try and beat the crowds.
Upon pulling into Burano on the boat you're greeted with a few cafes and buildings, but the real treat is getting off the boat and wandering around this tiny island on foot. The houses are so beautiful and all so different. We spent a few hours wandering the streets to find the best colour combinations. The colour of each house stays with a family for decades - rumour has it that the locals painted the houses these colours so that the fishermen who live there could see their houses in the fog on their way back into the village. Now locals have to apply to the government if they would like to change the colour of their house and they let them know which palette matches their street! This explains why all the houses match so well.
The main streets in the centre of the city are where most of the cafes and restaurants are, but in my opinion the best way to see the houses is by taking a wander down the side streets. The locals obviously take a lot of pride in their houses and each one had different flowers, shutters and curtains to give them their own personality.
Here are a few of my favourite corners of Burano.
What to eat in Burano
Burano is famous for its seafood and our trip wouldn't have been complete without sampling some of the local food. We tried to get a table at Al Gatto Nero, famed for being one of the freshest and best restaurants in the whole of Venice, but unfortunately it was closed on the day we visited. From the reviews I would recommend checking this out before you jump on the ferry like we did!
We opted for Da Romano instead, based on Anthony Bordain's recommendation. I love Anthony Bordain and take his recommendations very seriously. Da Romano is based on the main stretch so it can get busy, but we had a nice relaxing lunch and didn't feel rushed at all. I'd highly recommend trying the local speciality of squid ink pasta, washed down with a perfect Aperol Spritz.
Have you been to Venice or Burano? I'd love to hear about your experience in the comments!