Your Ultimate Genoa Travel Guide 2023
Genoa, Italy is a magical place to visit. From the picturesque coastline to the amazing food to the wealth of art and culture, Genoa has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a cultural experience, Genoa should definitely be on your bucket list. With its spectacular historical sites, stunning landscapes, and delicious cuisine, it’s easy to see why Genoa is one of the most popular destinations in Europe. If you’re ready to explore all that Genoa has to offer, let this travel guide be your ultimate guide to the beautiful city of Genoa. You may also want to check out our Parma travel guide!
Top 5 Things To See And Do In Genoa
- Explore The Old Port: The Old Port, also known as Porto Antico, is the heart of Genoa. It’s a lively area with plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops. Take a walk along the harbor, watch the boats come and go, and enjoy the beautiful views. Don’t miss the Bigo, a panoramic lift that offers stunning views of the city.
- Visit The Aquarium: The Genoa Aquarium is the largest aquarium in Italy and one of the largest in Europe. It’s home to over 500 species of marine life, including sharks, dolphins, and penguins. The highlight of the aquarium is the Biosphere, a stunning glass dome that houses a tropical rainforest ecosystem.
- Walk Through The Historic Center: The historic center of Genoa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-see for anyone interested in history and architecture. The narrow streets are lined with medieval buildings, Renaissance palaces, and Baroque churches. Don’t miss the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, the Palazzo Ducale, and the Piazza De Ferrari.
- Try The Local Cuisine: Genoa is known for its delicious cuisine, and there’s no shortage of amazing restaurants to choose from. Some of the local specialties include pesto alla Genovese, focaccia, and farinata. Be sure to visit the Mercato Orientale, a bustling food market where you can try local specialties and pick up ingredients to take home.
- Visit The Museums: Genoa has a rich cultural heritage, and there are plenty of museums to explore. Don’t miss the Galata Museo del Mare, which tells the story of Genoa’s maritime history. The Palazzo Rosso and Palazzo Bianco are home to impressive collections of art, including works by Rubens, Van Dyck, and Caravaggio.
Best Genoa Tours
Tours in Genoa are an excellent way to explore the sights and nearby areas. Unless you intend to rent a car in Genoa (which we don’t recommend), tours offer the most convenient means of transportation while keeping costs in check. The expenses for getting around can accumulate rapidly, making tours a wise choice for navigating the country.
Where To Stay In Genoa
- Old Town (Centro Storico): The historic heart of Genoa, Old Town is full of winding streets and charming squares. It is also home to many of Genoa’s major attractions, such as the Palazzo Reale and the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo.
- Castelletto: Perched on a hill overlooking the city, Castelletto is known for its stunning views of Genoa and the sea. The neighborhood is home to many historic villas and parks, as well as some of the city’s best restaurants.
- Nervi: Located on the outskirts of Genoa, Nervi is a peaceful seaside neighborhood known for its beautiful parks and gardens. It is a great place to stay if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city center.
- Carignano: This elegant neighborhood is home to many of Genoa’s most impressive Art Nouveau buildings. It is also a great place to shop, with many upscale boutiques and designer stores.
- Boccadasse: A charming fishing village located just outside the city center, Boccadasse is a great place to stay if you want to be close to the sea. The neighborhood is full of colorful houses, seafood restaurants, and small shops.
Top Genoa Hotels
- Grand Hotel Savoia: Located in the heart of Genoa, the Grand Hotel Savoia offers a luxurious experience with stunning views of the city. The hotel’s 117 rooms and suites are elegantly decorated with modern furnishings and come equipped with all the amenities you could need. The hotel also features a fitness center, a rooftop terrace, and a Michelin-starred restaurant.
- NH Collection Genova Marina: This 4-star hotel is situated in the charming neighborhood of Porto Antico, close to many of the city’s main attractions. The NH Collection Genova Marina offers 140 spacious rooms that are tastefully decorated and equipped with modern amenities. Guests can also enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet, a fitness center, and a sauna.
- Melia Genova: For a classic Italian hotel experience, look no further than the Melia Genova. Located in the heart of Genoa’s historic district, the hotel offers 99 rooms and suites that feature a mix of traditional and modern decor. Guests can enjoy a range of amenities, including a fitness center, a spa, and a restaurant serving traditional Genoese cuisine.
- Hotel Bristol Palace: Built in 1905, the Hotel Bristol Palace is a true gem of Genoa’s Belle Époque era. The hotel features 133 elegantly decorated rooms and suites, some of which offer stunning views of the city. Guests can enjoy a range of amenities, including a fitness center, a rooftop terrace, and a restaurant serving traditional Italian cuisine.
- Hotel Le Nuvole – Residenza d’Epoca: For a truly unique experience, stay at Hotel Le Nuvole – Residenza d’Epoca. Located in a 16th-century building in the heart of Genoa’s historic district, the hotel features just six rooms that have been meticulously decorated with antique furnishings. Guests can enjoy a range of amenities, including a library, a wine cellar, and a panoramic terrace with stunning views of the city.
Where To Eat In Genoa
One of the best ways to experience a city is through its food, and Genoa is no exception. As the birthplace of pesto and home to an array of seafood dishes, the food scene in Genoa is something you won’t want to miss. Here are the top 5 places to eat in Genoa:
- Osteria Della Corte: This cozy and traditional osteria serves up delicious homemade pasta and seafood dishes. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, and the staff is friendly and welcoming.
- Trattoria Da Maria: This restaurant, located in the historic center of Genoa, is known for its mouth-watering seafood dishes, especially its fritto misto. The menu changes often, so there’s always something new to try.
- La Trappa: This rustic and charming restaurant is nestled in the hills above Genoa and offers stunning views of the city. The menu features a variety of traditional Ligurian dishes, including delicious pesto.
- Antica Osteria Di Vico Palla: Located in the heart of Genoa’s old town, this restaurant is popular with locals and tourists alike. The menu offers a range of traditional Ligurian dishes, as well as some international options.
- Il Veliero: This seafood restaurant is located in the picturesque fishing village of Boccadasse, just outside of Genoa. The menu features a variety of fresh seafood dishes, including the famous Ligurian specialty of anchovies.
No matter where you choose to eat in Genoa, you’re sure to be delighted by the city’s culinary offerings. From traditional dishes to international cuisine, Genoa has something to satisfy every palate.
How To Get Around Genoa
Genoa is a bustling city with a mix of modern and historical charm. When it comes to getting around, you have several options to choose from.
- Walking: One of the best ways to explore the city is on foot. Most of the tourist attractions, including the Old Town and the harbour area, are within walking distance.
- Buses: The local buses in Genoa are operated by AMT (Azienda Mobilità e Trasporti), and they are the most cost-effective way to get around. They cover the entire city and run from early morning until late at night.
- Metro: Genoa has a small metro network that covers the central parts of the city. It’s not as extensive as other European cities, but it’s a fast and convenient way to get around.
- Trains: If you plan on visiting nearby towns or cities, the train is the best option. The main train station in Genoa is Stazione di Genova Principe, which is connected to most parts of Italy.
- Taxis: Taxis are readily available in Genoa, but they can be quite expensive. They are best for short trips or for getting to the airport or train station.
- Car Rental: If you prefer to explore Genoa and the surrounding areas on your own, renting a car is a good option. However, keep in mind that parking can be difficult to find, and the roads in the Old Town can be narrow and confusing.
Overall, getting around Genoa is relatively easy, and you have plenty of options to choose from. Depending on your budget and travel preferences, you can choose the most suitable method of transportation to make the most of your trip.
Genoa is known for its mild Mediterranean climate that makes it an ideal destination to visit all year round. While the temperature varies depending on the season, the weather in Genoa is generally pleasant.
- Spring: Spring in Genoa is mild with temperatures ranging between 15°C to 20°C. It’s a great time to visit the city when the weather is perfect for sightseeing, and the crowds are fewer than in summer. It’s a great time to visit parks and gardens in the city as everything is blooming.
- Summer: The summer months in Genoa (June-August) can get hot and humid, with temperatures ranging between 25°C to 30°C. This is the busiest tourist season in the city, so expect more crowds at popular attractions and restaurants.
- Fall: Fall is an excellent time to visit Genoa as the weather is still warm and pleasant, and the crowds have thinned. The temperature in the fall months (September-November) averages around 18°C to 23°C.
- Winter: Winter in Genoa is mild and rainy, with temperatures ranging between 7°C to 13°C. It’s an excellent time to visit the city if you enjoy indoor activities such as museums, galleries, and theatres. The holiday season in December also makes Genoa a festive place to be.
Best Time To Visit Genoa
Genoa enjoys a Mediterranean climate like Cannes and Barcelona, with warm summers and mild winters. This means that anytime of the year is good to visit Genoa. However, if you are looking for the best weather and activities, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Summer (June-August): Summer is the busiest time of year in Genoa, with warm temperatures ranging from 75-85°F. During this time, you can enjoy beach days, swimming, hiking, and outdoor festivals. Keep in mind that it can get crowded and prices tend to be higher.
- Fall (September-November): Fall is a beautiful time of year to visit Genoa, with mild temperatures ranging from 60-75°F. The fall foliage is breathtaking, and you can enjoy a more laid-back atmosphere. The crowds thin out, and hotel prices tend to decrease.
- Winter (December-February): Winters are mild in Genoa, with temperatures ranging from 40-60°F. If you are looking for a peaceful escape, this is a great time to visit. You can enjoy holiday festivals, indoor museums, and a cozy atmosphere. However, keep in mind that some restaurants and attractions may have shorter hours.
- Spring (March-May): Spring is another great time to visit Genoa, with temperatures ranging from 55-70°F. This is when the city comes alive with blooming flowers and outdoor events. You can enjoy walking tours, street markets, and culinary festivals. Keep in mind that rain is more common during this time.
Overall, the best time to visit Genoa depends on your preferences. If you are looking for the best weather and activities, summer and fall are great options. However, if you are looking for a more peaceful escape, winter and spring may be the perfect fit.
How To Stay Safe In Genoa
Genoa is a relatively safe city, but like any other city, it has its fair share of pickpockets and scammers. Here are some tips to help you stay safe during your visit to Genoa:
- Keep Your Belongings Close: Make sure you keep your bag, purse, or backpack close to you at all times. Don’t leave your belongings unattended or hanging on the back of your chair in restaurants.
- Avoid Poorly Lit Areas: While Genoa is a beautiful city to explore, there are some areas that are not well-lit, particularly at night. Try to stick to the well-lit, crowded areas.
- Be Wary Of Strangers: Don’t trust strangers who approach you in the street, particularly if they offer you something for free. These are often scams, and they may be trying to steal from you.
- Use Reputable Transportation: Use reputable transportation options, such as licensed taxis, buses, or trains. Don’t get into unmarked taxis or accept rides from strangers.
- Watch Out For Traffic: Genoa’s roads can be busy, and the traffic can be chaotic at times. Be aware of your surroundings and look both ways before crossing the street.
- Be Cautious At ATMs: When withdrawing cash from an ATM, make sure you are in a well-lit, public area. Shield the keypad with your hand when entering your PIN, and be aware of anyone standing close to you.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that your visit to Genoa is safe and enjoyable. Remember, common sense is your best friend when it comes to staying safe in any city.
Genoa Customs And Etiquette
Genoa is a city with a rich culture and a strong sense of tradition. To fully appreciate your visit, it’s important to be aware of the local customs and etiquette. Here are a few tips to keep in mind during your stay in Genoa:
- Dress Appropriately: Genoa is a fashionable city, but it’s important to dress modestly when visiting churches or other religious sites. Shorts and tank tops are not recommended in these locations.
- Greetings: It is customary to greet people with a handshake or a kiss on both cheeks, depending on how well you know the person.
- Table Manners: Table manners are important in Genoa, and it’s considered impolite to talk with your mouth full or to reach across the table. Always wait for your host or hostess to begin eating before starting yourself.
- Respect Religious Traditions: Genoa is home to many religious sites, and it’s important to be respectful of these traditions. Dress appropriately and avoid loud noises or disruptive behavior.
- Tipping: Tipping is not mandatory in Genoa, but it’s always appreciated. A good rule of thumb is to leave 10% of the total bill as a tip.
By following these simple customs and etiquette rules, you’ll be able to fully appreciate the unique culture and traditions of Genoa.
Other Things To Know About Genoa
If you’re planning a trip to Genoa, it’s important to know some basic information about the country, currency, language, and time zone before you go. Firstly, Genoa is located in Italy, which is in southern Europe. Italy is known for its stunning art, architecture, food, and wine. The official language in Genoa (and the rest of Italy) is Italian. While many people in tourist areas speak English, it’s always helpful to learn some basic Italian phrases before your trip.
The currency used in Genoa (and the rest of Italy) is the Euro (€). You can easily exchange currency at banks, exchange bureaus, or ATMs. Credit cards are widely accepted, but it’s always a good idea to carry some cash with you, especially for smaller purchases. When it comes to time zones, Genoa is on Central European Time (CET), which is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+1). This means that if you’re coming from a different time zone, you may experience jet lag. Give yourself some time to adjust before starting your sightseeing adventures.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that Italians have a strong sense of community and family, and often enjoy socializing with friends and loved ones over meals. It’s not uncommon to see large groups of people enjoying a meal together in restaurants and cafes. Additionally, smoking is banned in public places in Italy, including restaurants and bars. By knowing these basic facts about Genoa and Italy, you’ll be better prepared for your trip and able to fully immerse yourself in the local culture.
Genoa Travel Costs
If you’re planning a trip to Genoa, you might be wondering how much money you should budget for your travels. Here’s a breakdown of some of the costs you can expect to encounter:
- Accommodation: Genoa offers a range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels. Prices vary depending on the time of year and the location, but you can expect to pay anywhere from €20-€150 per night.
- Food And Drink: Genoa is known for its delicious cuisine, but eating out can add up quickly. Expect to pay around €8-€15 for a main course at a mid-range restaurant, and around €4-€6 for a glass of wine. However, if you’re on a tight budget, you can save money by opting for street food or cooking your own meals.
- Transportation: Genoa has an efficient public transportation system, including buses and a metro line. A single journey on public transport costs around €1.50. If you plan on using public transport frequently, it may be worth purchasing a day pass for around €4. You can also explore the city on foot or by renting a bike.
- Activities: Genoa has plenty of attractions to explore, from historical landmarks to museums and art galleries. Entrance fees can vary, but expect to pay around €5-€15 for most attractions. Some attractions offer discounts for students or seniors.
Overall, you can expect to spend around €50-€100 per day on a mid-range budget in Genoa, depending on your travel style and activities. However, if you’re backpacking or looking to travel on a budget, it’s possible to get by on €30-€50 per day by opting for budget accommodation, street food, and free activities like walking tours or exploring the city’s parks and gardens.
Finding Affordable Flights To Genoa
Genoa is a wonderful destination that has plenty to offer visitors. But before you start exploring the city, you’ll need to figure out how to get there. Luckily, there are several ways to find affordable flights to Genoa.
- Book Your Flight In Advance: If you want to save money on your flight to Genoa, it’s a good idea to book your tickets in advance. Many airlines offer lower fares for early bookings. So if you know you’ll be traveling to Genoa, start searching for flights well before your trip.
- Use Flight Search Engines: Another great way to find affordable flights to Genoa is to use flight search engines like Skyscanner, Expedia, and Kayak. These sites compare prices from multiple airlines and offer you the best deals on flights.
- Fly During The Off-Season: If you’re looking to save money on your flight to Genoa, consider traveling during the off-season. From November to March, flights to Genoa are usually cheaper. So if you’re flexible with your travel dates, try to plan your trip during the off-season.
- Consider Budget Airlines: Budget airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet often offer lower fares to Genoa. While these airlines may not offer as many amenities as traditional airlines such as Delta, they’re a great option for budget-conscious travelers.
- Check For Airline Sales: Airlines often have sales on flights to popular destinations like Genoa. Keep an eye out for these sales and take advantage of them when you can.
Backpacking Genoa Suggested Budgets
If you’re planning on backpacking through Genoa, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind in terms of your budget. While Genoa is a relatively affordable city compared to other major European destinations, costs can still add up quickly. Here are some suggested budgets to help you plan your trip:
If you’re on a shoestring budget, you can expect to spend around €25-€35 per day. This will cover your accommodation in a hostel dormitory, basic meals, and public transportation. You’ll need to be careful with your spending and opt for free activities and attractions.
If you’re looking for a bit more comfort and convenience, you can expect to spend around €50-€70 per day. This will get you a private room in a budget hotel, meals at mid-range restaurants, and some paid activities like museum admissions or tours.
If you want to indulge in some luxury experiences while backpacking through Genoa, you can expect to spend around €100-€150 per day. This will get you a nice hotel room, upscale meals, and paid experiences like wine tasting or private boat tours.
Keep in mind that these are just suggested budgets and your actual spending will depend on your travel style and priorities. You can save money by opting for budget accommodation and cooking some of your own meals, or splurge on fancy restaurants and experiences if that’s your priority. Regardless of your budget, Genoa has something to offer every traveler.
Genoa Money Saving Tips
Visiting Genoa on a budget is totally doable, and with these money-saving tips, you’ll be able to experience all the city has to offer without breaking the bank:
- Free Attractions: Genoa has a ton of free attractions that are just as enjoyable as their paid counterparts. From the Piazza De Ferrari to the Porto Antico, you can spend an entire day exploring the city for free.
- Public Transportation: The local bus system in Genoa is cheap and efficient, making it a great option for budget travelers. Consider purchasing a day or weekly pass to save even more money.
- Street Food: While Genoa has plenty of high-end restaurants, the street food scene is equally delicious and much more affordable. Be sure to try the focaccia and farinata for a taste of the local cuisine.
- Museum Discounts: If you plan on visiting multiple museums in Genoa, consider purchasing a museum pass, which offers discounted admission to many of the city’s top museums.
- Shop At Local Markets: Genoa has a number of local markets, including the Mercato Orientale, where you can find fresh produce, meats, and cheeses at affordable prices.
- Look For Accommodation Deals: Genoa has a wide range of accommodations, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels. Look for deals and discounts on booking websites or consider staying outside of the city center to save even more.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy all that Genoa has to offer while sticking to your budget.
What To Pack For Genoa
When packing for a trip to Genoa, it’s important to keep in mind the city’s unique charm and personality. Here are some tips on what to bring with you:
- Comfortable Shoes: Genoa’s historic center is filled with narrow alleys and steep hills, so comfortable shoes are a must. Bring a pair of sneakers or walking shoes that you’ve already broken in.
- Lightweight Clothing: The summers in Genoa can be quite hot, so make sure to pack lightweight clothing that will keep you cool and comfortable. It’s also a good idea to bring a light jacket or sweater for the evenings, as temperatures can drop.
- A Daypack: When exploring Genoa, it’s helpful to have a daypack to carry essentials like water, snacks, and a camera. Make sure it’s comfortable to wear and has enough compartments to keep everything organized.
- Sunscreen And Sunglasses: Protect yourself from the strong Mediterranean sun with sunscreen and sunglasses.
- Umbrella: If you’re visiting Genoa in the spring or fall, it’s possible you’ll experience some rain. Bring a small umbrella to keep yourself dry.
- Swimsuit: Genoa is located on the Ligurian Sea, and there are several beaches within easy reach. Don’t forget to pack a swimsuit if you’re planning to take a dip in the sea.
- Travel Adapter: The electrical outlets in Italy are different from those in other parts of the world, so make sure to bring a travel adapter if you’re bringing any electronic devices.
Overall, pack light and bring only what you need. Genoa is a city to be explored on foot, so you don’t want to be weighed down by heavy bags. By following these tips, you’ll be well-prepared for a fantastic trip to Genoa.
Can You Drink Tap Water In Genoa?
Yes, you can drink tap water in Genoa. The tap water in Genoa is safe to drink and is of good quality. The water is sourced from the mountains and is treated before being distributed to the city’s taps. However, if you prefer bottled water, it is readily available in stores and restaurants. If you are concerned about the taste or quality of the water, you can always use a filter or boil the water before drinking it. It is also important to note that the water in Italy is known to be hard, which means that it has a high mineral content. Some people may find the taste of the water unpleasant or may experience skin irritation if they shower or bathe in hard water.
Other Things To See And Do In Genoa
While Genoa has a plethora of things to do and see, there are a few hidden gems that you might want to add to your itinerary:
- Visit The Aquarium Of Genoa: The aquarium is one of the largest and most visited aquariums in Europe, featuring over 12,000 sea creatures and animals. You can also witness a dolphin show and even take a tour of the behind-the-scenes area.
- Take A Stroll In The Nervi Parks: If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, head over to the Nervi Parks. These beautiful parks offer some of the best views of the Mediterranean and have walking trails that are perfect for a leisurely stroll.
- Explore The Museums Of Strada Nuova: Genoa has a rich history and culture, and one of the best ways to explore it is by visiting the museums on Strada Nuova. These include the Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco, and Palazzo Tursi, which house some of the finest art collections in Italy.
- Discover The Caruggi: The Caruggi is a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways that make up the historic center of Genoa. These streets are full of surprises, from hidden restaurants and bars to local shops selling everything from handmade pasta to antiques.
- Take A Boat Tour Of The Harbor: If you want to see the city from a different perspective, take a boat tour of the harbor. You’ll be able to witness the grandeur of the port, which has been an important part of the city’s economy for centuries.
These are just a few of the many things to do and see in Genoa. Make sure to leave some room in your itinerary for exploration and adventure!
The Bottom Line
Genoa is a city that will steal your heart with its charm, delicious food, and rich history. It’s a perfect destination for art enthusiasts, foodies, and history buffs alike. From exploring the picturesque Old Town and admiring the stunning architecture, to sampling the delicious local cuisine and visiting some of the world-renowned museums, Genoa offers something for everyone. Make sure to plan your visit well, taking into consideration the weather, travel costs, and safety measures. Be respectful of the local customs and etiquette, and don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it. All in all, Genoa is a fantastic travel destination that should be on everyone’s bucket list. With so much to see and do, it’s definitely worth the trip!