Venice and Murano: Where to stay, how to get around, what to do

sightseeing on a short trip to Venice, Italy

writing on LO 402 from HAM to WAW and LO309 from WAW to VCE

[comments in Italic by Daniel, as always] – Venice airport. It’s another hour and a bit until our water shuttle to the hotel leaves, so we call Lagare Hotel Murano to check if we have the chance to catch an earlier one. Standing at the belt with only one piece of luggage to go, it seems realistic to get out of here within the next five minutes.

Instead, we slowly realize that Polish and Italian efficiency are both nerve-wrecking –at least for Julia, who got more nervous than I was. One lost Daniel’s suitcase, the other is only slowly trying to help us locate it…
So it happens that were just in time for our water taxi, scheduled to leave directly from the airport at half past 12. Within 20 minutes, it brings us to the hotel’s doorstep at Murano, a small island a bit north of Venice and renowned for its glass art.

Living on Murano island, sightseeing in Venice

From Murano (we were located at the stop “Murano Museum”), you can take water buses 3, 4A and 4B to go to Venice, which is convenient and easy, as they are leaving every 5-10 minutes, even on weekends. As it didn’t matter for us where exactly we set foot on Venice island, it never was more than a 15-20 minute boat ride from one island to another.

Venice 2-day-pass for public transport, 30 Euros per person – quite expensive, but hassle-free if you don’t have your hotel on Venice island itself. Besides, you don’t need to pay extra if you just want to enjoy Canale Grande or else by boat (compare: 30 mins in a gondola will cost you at least 80 Euros). On top of that, you can add the entrance fees for various sites and museums in advance and don’t need to queue for tickets again.

If you have time, definitely go to Murano and Burano – we missed the latter as it was much further north of Venice than we initially thought, but it has some colorful houses and offers a great photo spot while not missing any of the Venetian flair.
There are sightseeing tours which offer stops at both islands, but if I remember correctly, they only offer a limited time to explore each. If you are really interested in glass art – it’s awesome what the maestros can create from a piece of melting glass – you should definitely take your time.

Water buses are called Vaporetto in Italian. In the alleys of Venice you’ll find arrows painted on the walls to take you to the closest stop

Regarding the shows where they show you how to make their famous glass art: there are free ones and those who charge a small amount of money. Comparing the free (lasting two minutes, no explanations given) and the paid one, it was definitely worth it to pay three Euros each. It took about 15 minutes and there were a maestro with his helper, working on a drinking glass and a glass horse, a third guy was giving English explanations throughout the process, so at least, you get the basic information, but there is still room for improvement giving more details.

We trusted another travel site (in German) and it didn’t disappoint us. If you’re interested in buying something, all of the vetrerias (=glass manufacturers) ship worldwide, no need to make room in your suitcase for your new glass chandelier. You can see readily packed boxes for shipping to all kinds of places, standing around everywhere (New York, Paris, Bangkok, Canada etc.)

MGallery hotel Lagare Hotel, sightseeing on a short trip to Venice, Italy
MGallery Lagare hotel on Murano, close to Venice

Vetreria Guarnieri (glass manufacturer & demonstration) – entrance: 3 Euros,
close to Murano Colonnia water bus station – Google Maps will give you its exact location

Should you look for a place to stay, Venice itself is of course the place to be, but also very expensive. We therefore chose to stay at Murano. There are quite a number of decent hotels and albergos if you don’t mind the drive to the main island in the mornings and evenings. In case you like it a bit posh, all of the luxury chains are in Venice, too.

At Murano we stayed in an MGallery hotel “LaGare Murano” (Accor chain), which offered very comfortable rooms and a comprehensive breakfast.

Without any chance to compare it to other Italian hotel breakfasts, I thought it was good value for money (12 Euros if you book it at least a night before, otherwise 18 Euros), offering pastries, fresh croissants, different kinds of yoghurt, scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese, cold cuts, even bruschette, plus cold and hot drinks – and cake every morning. 😉
Lagare Hotel also offers a free shuttle to Venice twice per day, one in the morning, one in the evening – so technically you could avoid buying an extra ticket, if you want to stick to the times they operate their water shuttle at.
If you feel the urge to work out during your stay, it is possible, but to be honest, very limited. We tried the so-called fitness studio (which is inside the wellness area and nowhere to be found on any sign) and with the two people that we were, it was already over-crowded. The equipment is in good shape, though I think this is mainly because nobody ever uses any of it. 🙂
We didn’t try the wellness area with sauna and steam bath, which looked small, but exclusive, as you had to pay an extra 10 bucks per person and not open until late (which doesn’t make any sense if you go explore the city and would like to relax afterwards).

For more tipps and pics of Venice itself, wait for the next blog entry to come soon!

// comfortable stay and complimentary water taxi shuttle to/ from the airport: LaGare Hotel Murano – or book here

// purchase Vaporetto tickets online: Vaporetto Venezia Unica tickets

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