Guidebook Escape the 25 million tourists

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Escape the 25 million tourists

Not far from its historic centre is a Venice “few tourists ever see,” writes Ondine Cohane in Conde Nast Traveller— “a series of islands scattered in the lagoon like gems, each with its own personality and charms.” In a city that’s home to 80,000 residents, yet draws up to 25 million tourists a year, the outer islands are “where traditional Venetian culture still runs deep, where layers of history can be peeled back in still-quiet settings, and where chefs, hoteliers, and artisans are innovating in ways that would be impossible on the Grand Canal, where tourists’ expectations of a quintessential Venice experience mean there’s little opportunity for experimentation.”    

Caught between the Italian mainland and the Adriatic Sea, the 550-square-kilometre lagoon “stretches from Jesolo in the north-east to Chioggia at its southern tip,” explains Jospehine McKenna in Gourmet Traveller. “Dotted with 118 islands, it's a marvel of nature and human endeavour, having evolved from the estuarine lagoons of the Roman era well before Venice emerged as an ambitious maritime power in the 10th century.” All you need to do is buy an all-day public transport ticket, advises John Brunton in The Guardian, “then set off on an adventure that takes you from the steps of the Doge’s Palace, across the lagoon.”    

And here are Venice’s best island getaways:  

Torcello: "One of the most popular islands to visit in the Venice lagoon yet it is still fairly peaceful” (TripSavvy)

Lido: “Popular as a resort for family bathing and picnicking” (The Venice Lido)  

Murano: “A dynamic centre for the highest craft and creativity in glass” (Louis Vuitton Venice Guide)  

Burano: “An island in the lagoon famous for its colourful fishermen’s cottages” (The Local).

Venissa, Mazzorbo: “The brainchild of winemaker Gianluca Bisol, whose family produce some of Italy’s most famous prosecco” (The Guardian)  

San Lazzaro degli Armeni: “Bryon used to row across the lagoon and helped the monks produce the first Armenian/English dictionary” (City Secrets)  

Sant’Erasmo: A verdant isle famous for its market garden” (Food Trails)

San Francesco del Deserto: “An active community of Franciscans serves a church associated with a visit by Saint Francis” (City Secrets)

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