Genoa is a city that has long gone under the radar, but it’s recently reinvented itself with a fun-filled waterfront and stylish cultural attractions. The Old Port has been given a modern facelift, now featuring trendy shops, a maritime museum, sprawling play area for families, and Europe’s largest aquarium! Although Genoa is a large city, it still feels small, inclusive and walkable – spend your time wandering its picturesque centre with the Palace of the Doges and striking cathedral. This upwardly mobile Mediterranean port has come a long way since Christopher Columbus called it home!
Genoa’s Old Port area offers a place to unwind, with its stylish promenade, ice rink, outdoor theatre and modern aquarium. The Genoa Aquarium includes 71 exhibition tanks with thousands of sea creatures to call them home. The port area is also home to the Great Blue Ship exhibition space, where you can learn about the area’s maritime history, and the Bigo, a lift to take you up in the sky to enjoy panoramic city views at the top. From here you’ll see the Cathedral of San Lorenzo in the distance, unmissable with its black-and-white marble exterior! It’s said to hold the ashes of St John the Baptist.
The cruise terminal in Genoa is close to its renovated Old Port, so you’ll be a stone’s throw away from this major attraction. However, the facility is in an industrial area so it’s difficult to get to the city centre on foot – you’ll need to take a taxi instead. It’s a short hop into town from the terminal, particularly since it’s just next to a motorway, with taxi rides to just about anywhere in central Genoa costing less than 10 euros. Within the city centre, you’ll be able to explore on foot!
There’s a parking silo located inside the port of Genoa, right next to the boarding area. This multi-storey car park offers plenty of space for passenger vehicles, but it’s a good idea to reserve your spot in advance for convenience purposes. Once you’ve arrived in the terminal, parking operators will take your luggage and you’ll be able to find your spot within the garage. This makes it easier to retrieve on your way back home! The building is covered, monitored and protected 24-7 for peace of mind. Be sure to display your paid-for permit on the car’s dashboard.
The Piazza De Ferrari is located around the corner from the grandeur of Piazza de Ferrari, which houses the 13th-century Palace of the Doges and gorgeous Genoa Opera House. It’s a prime place to sit in an open-air café and admire the stunning architecture surrounding you!
Shopping is a delightful pastime in Genoa. Via XX Settembre is the city’s main shopping thoroughfare, where you’ll find designer boutiques selling haute couture as well as more affordable Italian chains and department stores. Don’t be afraid to duck into the alleyways around the Old Port to find specialty shops and souvenirs, from perfectly-made shoes to fruity olive oils.
If you want to find a bargain, head to Vittoria Park’s open-air flea market each weekend. You’ll find everything under the sun for sale here, whether you’re on the hunt for electronic goods, clothing, or beauty products! There’s also a mouth-watering array of local food, whether it’s gorgeously packaged sundried tomatoes, truffles, bread, artichokes or cakes.
This local produce is put to very good use in restaurants like Zeffirino, the city’s most famous eatery. This family-owned eatery includes a branch at the Venetian in Las Vegas, famed for its Ligurian cuisine including fresh pastas and delicate seafood dishes.