9 Amazing Things To Do in Genoa Italy
Ah, the beautiful city of Genoa! A soon as I stepped outside of the train station in Genoa, everything exuded whimsical charm. The petite fruit stands, focaccia shops, and convenience stores, all hidden in narrow alleyways for you to discover. They certainly lend themselves for a wonderful adventure. Sadly, Genoa often overlooked thanks to its sister town Cinque Terre, the region’s most famous place. But let me tell you, Genoa – or Genova like the Italians call it - is packed with historical sights, impressive monuments, and fun things to. All thanks to its rich history - Did you know this is the birthplace of Christopher Columbus? So make sure you don't make the same mistake and skip Genoa when you visit Liguria.
9 Fun Things To Do In Genoa
Go on a food tour
Genoa takes great pride in its local cuisine, so make sure when you visit, to go on a food tour! Explore the different type of focaccia, discover the authentic Pesto Genovese, and savor all the wonderful flavors of the local cuisine handed down through generations. Buon appetito! Check out this food tour with a Genoa's local foodie.
Stroll Via Garibaldi
Take a stroll along this historical mecca, and you'll feel as though you're in the 1500s. The details and structural architecture of the buildings are simply magnificent. The street is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as some of the palazzi.
Visit The Acquario di Genova
If you have extra time, definitely check out Acquario di Genova. It is a great experience to observe a variety of marine life. It's a venue for all ages with high levels of interaction that are both educating and fun. The aquarium is one of the biggest in Europe and has a variety of marine life, including an Arctic section where you will find penguins!
Wander The Porto Antico
Porto Antico, Genoa’s old port overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, is an excellent place for a leisure walk day or night. The port is filled with street performers, families walking around, and fully occupied restaurants. I came here to meet with local friends and had focaccia for dinner, yum! Even at 11:30 pm – Italians love them late dinners – the port was bustling on a weekday.
Stroll at the Passeggiata Anita Garibaldi a Nervi
Stroll the narrow pedestrian promenade for spectacular vistas. It’s a great place to watch the sunset or to enjoy a beautiful day – just make sure to grab a gelato to go along with it. Make sure to look out for the Torre del Fieno and Porticciolo di Nervi.
Day Dream At The Museo di Palazzo Reale
What’s dreamier than an Italian palazzo? The majestic palace, previously owned by the Italian royal family Savoy in the 19th century, now serves as a beautiful museum containing impressive art and most of its original furniture. The palace also boasts stunning terraces and a striking garden
Boccadasse, a charming small village just 20 minutes away, is a must when you visit Genoa. It’s filled with beautiful pastel-colored buildings, boutiques, restaurants, and of course gelaterie. If you are up for a splash, there’s also a small beach. You could easily spend half a day here by taking in the views and grabbing lunch and dessert.
How to get to Bocadasse from Genoa
Option 1: Take the bus line 31 towards Osp. Gaslini and exit on Italia 6 / Boccadasse
Option 2: Take the bus line 42 towards Via Isonzo and exit on De Gaspari / Boccadasse
Need to burn those gelato and focaccia calories? Walk to Boccadasse! About 2.1 miles you can walk along the coastline on Corso Italia.
Check out the Piazza de Ferrari and Cattedrale di San Lorenzo
Piazza Ferrari is the main square of Genoa, located in the heart of the city. In it, you will find the impressive fountain standing tall in the middle of the square. Don’t miss this photogenic fountain when exploring the city center.
The Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, located in Duomo di Genova, is the most famous cathedral in the city. It dates back to the 5th or 6th century – a recent excavation under the pavement discovered walls that date back to the Roman age. The San Lorenzo Cathedral had a lucky escape during World War II when a bomb failed to detonate. Most likely, you will encounter the cathedral as you navigate Genoa’s narrow passages.
Go On A Shopping Spree At Via XX Settembre
Via XX Settembre is the main street of Genoa and has everything, you could hope for a shopping spree – looking for big brands or small boutiques? Via XX Settembre got it. It’s also a great place to grab a coffee and enjoy some people watching.
How to get to Genoa
You can fly to Genoa's airport at Cristoforo Colombo Airport. Most likely, you won't find many flights directly from the U.S., so make your way to a major city - like Rome or Milan - and then connect to Genoa.
Another way to travel to Genoa - and probably the most convenient way - is by train. Take the Frecchiarossa - Italy's fast train - from any of the major cities - preferably Milan since it's the closest city - to Genoa’s train station: Genova Piazza Principe. You can purchase the ticket in advance here.
Where to stay in Genoa
I stayed at an Airbnb in the district of Molo, the city's cultural hub known for its restaurants, hip cocktail bars, and casual pubs. It may be a challenge to navigate the labyrinth-like streets, but that's just part of the charm! Hidden in the small alleys, you will find shops selling freshly baked focaccia every morning - something you cannot miss.
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Day Trips from Genoa
Day Trip to Santa Margherita Ligure From Genoa
Between Rapallo and Portofino, you will find the small town of Santa Margherita Ligure. It’s a charming and quieter town compared to its neighbor, Portofino. You can spend the day here, or half a day and then make your way to Portofino.
How to get to Santa Margherita Ligure from Genoa
From the train station Genova Brignole, take the train to S. Margherita Ligure Portofino.
Day Trip to Portofino from Genoa
Visit the famous small sea village on the Italian Riviera. Famed for its picturesque harbor and colorful buildings, is one of the most beautiful and renowned ports in the Mediterranean Sea. Everything in Portofino exudes charm but luxury.
How to get to Portofino from Genoa
From the train station Genova Brignole, take the train to S. Margherita Ligure Portofino. From there, transfer to the bus station (right across the train station) and take the bus 82 to Portofino. The entire trip is about an hour and a half.
I don’t recommend taking the bus as the bus frequency from Genova to Santa Margherita Ligure is only twice a week.
Day Trip to Cinque Terre from Genoa
Ah, Cinque Terre, the most famous town in Liguria! Although I recommend staying at least a night in Cinque Terre, you can visit Cinque Terre on a day trip from Genoa.
How to get to Cinque Terre from Genoa
The easiest way to get to Cinque Terre from Genoa is by train. From Genoa’s train station Genova Brignole take the Trenitalia towards La Spezia Centrale and get off on Monterosso the first Terre in Cinque Terre. The train ride is about 1:20 minutes. I recommend buying your ticket in advance, especially if you are visiting in the summer.
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