best things to do in genoa Italy

15 Best Things to do in Genoa Italy

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Positioned between the sea and the mountains, Genoa welcomes the visitor with colorful buildings overlooking the port. With its narrow streets that open into monumental squares, the museums, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and many other fun things to do, this city is Italy at its best. So if you ask us is Genoa worth visiting, we’re confident that it’s well worth a visit. But here’s the deal. If you are wondering why visit Genoa and what are the best things to do in Genoa Italy, we’re happy to help you! We created our 15-item itinerary with the best Genoa Italy things to do so you can have a wonderful experience! We picked not only the most important landmarks and places to see in Genoa, but we are also going to give you some tips when it comes to exploring the famous Italian cuisine and obviously, the breathtaking beaches of the region. 

15 Best Things to do in Genoa Italy

Before diving deep into our list of the best things to do in Genoa Italy, let’s pin this gemstone on the map. Genoa is the capital of northwest Italy’s Liguria region, a place also known as the Italian Riviera. Home of the pesto and focaccia, the Liguria region is a beautiful spot to explore. The Mediterranean coastline backed by the Alps and Apennines, the rich cultural heritage, and exceptional cuisine makes this region one of Italy’s most astonishing travel destinations. From here, the picturesque Cinque Terre is less than a 1.5-hour drive away, yet the breathtaking scenery makes the ride unbeatable. 

So, what to do in Genoa Italy? At this point, we’re sure you’re pumped about our Genoa must-see list and collection of the best Genoa things to do. How to plan your stay here? Where should you head first? No matter you’re after a beach vacay, a cultural adventure, or a gastronomy trip, Genoa is an exceptionally rich city with a lot to offer. After a long day of exploring, you can sit on a nice terrace on Boccadesse Beach and appreciate some tasty seafood right by the sea. One thing is sure though, a summer in Genoa is a summer to remember. But for now, without further ado, here’s our list! However before you dive in, make sure you check the best Genoa hotels list too!

1. Via Garibaldi

best things to do in genoa Italy

We cannot start our list of the best things to do in Genoa Italy better than recommending you to start your adventure at Via Garibaldi. To experience the atmosphere of the city, this narrow little street is one of the best places to see in Genoa. Hemmed in on both sides with beautifully decorated facades of lush palaces, this street is definitely worth walking down.

Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Via Garibaldi leads you to grandiose arcades, luxurious gardens, romantic courtyards, and balconies. You can find the city’s most significant palaces here. For instance, Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco, and Palazzo Tursi can be visited with a single ticket. If you’re into art collections and beautiful architecture, do not hesitate to explore this trio.

2. Piazza de Ferrari

If you’re not sure what to do in Genoa Italy or whether is Genoa worth visiting, head to Piazza De Ferrari. This place is a star on our list of the Genoa Italy things to do for a good reason. It’s located right in the heart of old town, one of the liveliest parts of the city. When you arrive, take a moment to appreciate the view of the large ornate fountain. Then, look around and explore the glamorous buildings surrounding the fountain.

For example, you will find here the Palace of the Doges, the Palace of the Duke of Galleria, the Carlo Felice Theatre, and the Genoa stock exchange, too. When you’re done sightseeing, find a nice terrace at one of the many restaurants and cafes. If you want to appreciate 19th-century architecture while enjoying a coffee or lunch, there’s no better spot for that. 

3. San Lorenzo Cathedral

What is there to see in Genoa Italy for those who appreciate old churches and relics? The next on our list of the Genoa things to do is the Cathedral of San Lorenzo. Built in the 12th century, this cathedral is the most important church in Genoa. So if you’re wondering why visit Genoa, the complexity of this place is one of the best reasons why. The facade with three Gothic portals and the bell towers welcome the visitor. 

Inside, you will find a mix of artistic styles and frescoes dating back to different centuries. The relics of San Lorenzo are kept here. Also, in the basement, you can visit the Museum of the Treasure. You will also find a WW2 grenade inside the walls of the church which fell into the cathedral, but miraculously never exploded.

4. Porta Soprana

best things to do in genoa Italy

If you’re wondering what to see in Genoa Italy in one day, walking to Porta Soprana is right at the top of our list of the best things to do in Genoa Italy. To appreciate this landmark, here’s a little insight. The city of Genoa is surrounded by this massive wall that has been expanded over the years. At some point, it was Italy’s largest city wall. The purpose of it was to enclose the city and protect it from possible attacks.

Porta Soprana which was built in 1155, is a well-preserved part of this wall. It is a gatehouse with two towers and a cloister named Cloister of Sant’Andrea.  What makes this place even more interesting is that Christopher Columbus spent his childhood nearby, in a stone house next to the cloister.

5. Museo d’Arte Orientale

When it comes to our collection of the Genoa Italy things to do,  Museo d’Arte Orientale is one of the Genoa must see destinations you cannot leave out from your itinerary. Located in Villetta di Negro Park, this museum displays one of the largest collections of Asian arts existing in Europe. If you’re into Japanese and Chinese art and culture, your time here will be unforgettable. 

Get ready to be amazed by the immense collection of paintings, prints, textiles, pottery, enamels, musical instrument, and armors from the 11th to 19th centuries. You will see, theater masks and beautiful sculptures brought from Japan, Thailand, and China dating back to the 3rd century BC.

6. Genoa Maritime Museum

Why visit Genoa? Culture, history, beach time, and cuisine are some of the most important reasons why visiting Genoa is always a good idea. However, there’s more. Next on our list of the best Genoa things to do is the Genoa Maritime Museum. Being one of the largest maritime museums in Europe, this museum is one of the most interesting places to see in Genoa, especially if you’re into naval history. If you’re with family, your children will surely appreciate this experience as well.

Genoa was an important naval power between the 16th and 19th centuries, so you can be sure that visiting this museum will be an insightful experience. Once you enter, you will be welcomed by a large collection of historical artifacts, displays, reconstructions, naval instruments, and many more. For example, along with the globes, maps, and atlases, will find here reconstructions of shipwrecks.

7. Acquario di Genova

Spending a summer in Genoa with your family, especially if you’re with children might require some extra planning. Also, those just passing by might be also wondering what to see in Genoa Italy in one day. So if you’re not sure what to do in Genoa Italy, the Aquarium is an amazing destination that won’t leave you disappointed. The Aquarium is the largest aquarium in Italy and one of the largest aquariums in Europe.

Located in the harbor area, the Aquarium welcomes visitors with two themes: the creatures of the Ligurian Sea and the environment of the Nort Atlantic Ocean. There’s a lot to see: a large variety of fish, sharks, dolphins, turtles, jellyfish, and many more. Needless to say, all tanks are spacious and faithfully created to offer the natural habitat and climate to all species.

8. Castello d’Albertis

best things to do in genoa Italy

What is there to see in Genoa Italy for those into historical landmarks? If you’re ready to explore more, visiting Castello d’Albertis is one of the best things to do in Genoa Italy. The castle was built on the foundations of a 12th-century fort and looks over the Ligurian Sea and the surrounding regions. Completed in 1886, the castle features Gothic Revival architecture. It’s a beautiful castle from the outside, however, the inside has even more to offer.

Once you get inside the walls of Castello d’Albertis, you will be welcomed by the Museum of World Cultures. Here you can see a broad range of precious findings from all around the globe by Enrico and Luigi Albertis. For instance, artifacts from the Mayan civilization or Chinese weaponry are one of the most exciting items displayed.

9. Forte Begato

So, is Genoa worth visiting? Reaching this point of our collection of the best Genoa Italy things to do, we’re sure you agree that this city has a lot to offer for all types of travelers. In the same vein, Forte Begato is another historical site on our Genoa must see list you should check out. This modern fort complex was built in 1818. Looking at its original purpose, the fort was meant as a defensive structure.

The complex features a central barrack section that can house over 300 soldiers. Last, the fort was used as a prison during World War 2. However, you cannot enter the building, you can still appreciate it from the outside. Also, you can hike to the top of the plateau which is a great place to enjoy the splendid panorama of the city of Genoa.

10. Passeggiata Anita Garibaldi a Nervi

best things to do in genoa Italy

Undoubtedly, there are many places to see in Genoa. However, one of the best Genoa things to do is to escape a bit the crowd of the small streets. The Passeggiata Anita Garibaldi a Nervi is a paved walkway along the city’s coastline. Needless to say, the breathtaking view of the Mediterranean is guaranteed. The pink cobbled walkway starts at the Via Giovanni and reaches the district of Nervi.

Along the way, you can appreciate the colorful buildings, residential homes, souvenir shops, and cafes. Feel free to stop for a quick bite or cappuccino in one of the cafes or restaurants. But most importantly, stop and take in the beautiful coastal scenery, which is one of the best things the city has to offer.

11. Lanterna di Genoa

best things to do in genoa Italy

If you’re not sure what to see in Genoa Italy in one day, the most iconic landmark you can check out is the lighthouse. The Lanterna di Genoa is the first symbol of the city and it stands on the shores of Genoa since the 12th century. Completed in 1353, the 117 meters high Lanterna was strategically built on a 40-meter-high rock to be visible to ships approaching the port. 

One of the best things to do in Genoa Italy is climbing the steep steps of the Lantern. This adventure allows you to enjoy an exceptional view of the Mediterranean Sea. You can also visit the Museum of the Lantern to learn more about the construction and history of this iconic landmark.

12. Bocadesse Beach

Now, this is a must on our list of Genoa things to do. A summer in Genoa cannot be complete without spending some quality time at the beach. If you’re tired of exploring the cultural side of the city and you’re wondering what is there to see in Genoa Italy which allows you to relax a bit, head to Boccadesse beach. Believe us, once you see the landscape and you jump into the water, you won’t regret making the decision to skip a day of exploring. 

This picturesque beach is located only a few minutes’ drive from the heart of the city, in the suburbs of Genoa. Surrounded by the colorful buildings of Boccadasse fishing village, this beach is a gem. Make sure to arrive early, as not only tourists, but locals as well take advantage of the breathtaking landscape and amazing conditions for relaxing by the sea. Then, you can enjoy amazing seafood in one of the many restaurants nearby.

13. Genoa Harbor

best things to do in genoa Italy

Now, this is a must on our list of Genoa things to do. A summer in Genoa cannot be complete without spending some quality time at the beach. If you’re tired of exploring the cultural side of the city and you’re wondering what is there to see in Genoa Italy which allows you to relax a bit, head to Boccadesse beach. Believe us, once you see the landscape and you jump into the water, you won’t regret making the decision to skip a day of exploring. 

This picturesque beach is located only a few minutes drive from the heart of the city, in the suburbs of Genoa. Surrounded by the colorful buildings of Boccadasse fishing village, this beach is a gem. Make sure to arrive early, as not only tourists, but locals as well take advantage of the breathtaking landscape and amazing conditions for relaxing by the sea. Then, you can enjoy amazing seafood in one of the many restaurants nearby.

14. Cimitero Monumentale di Staglieno

If you are into Art Nouveau sculptures and decorations, for you visiting Cimitero Monumentale di Staglieno might be one of the best things to do in Genoa Italy. We know that there are many places to see in Genoa that celebrate art and architecture, but believe us this place is totally unique. Just make sure to give it chance. The cemetery is easily accessible by bus that you can hop on in the city, or you can rent a car or a bike if you prefer.

Once you arrive, you can admire the terraces of arcades decorated with beautiful stone monuments and sculptures. It might seem strange, but if you’re an Art Nuovo-enthusiastic, you might fall in love with the atmosphere of this place. Just walk through the cemetery and appreciate the art overflowing the garden. At the top, in Boschetto dei Mille, you will find the tomb of Giuseppe Mazzini, a Genoa native who is known as Italy’s hero of independence.

15. Mercato Orientale

So, is Genoa worth visiting? At this point, we’re sure you already know the answer, but here’s more. If you are still asking what is there to see in Genoa Italy, the last item on our list of the best Genoa Italy things to do is Mercato Orientale. In case you are hungry for more (pun absolutely intended), this hidden foodie gem won’t disappoint for sure. You simply cannot leave Genoa without tasting some of the most famous specialties of the Liguria region like focaccia and pesto here.

Mercato Orientale is a place for every taste, where you can find the bests of Italian cuisine and even more. Olives, seafood, cheese, fruits, pastries, this place has got it all. The market is actually a giant food hall with fresh products and food stalls that welcome visitors with delicious meals and snacks. Before saying goodbye to Genoa, this is the place to visit for the world-famous freshly baked focaccia right from the oven, and a spread of flavorful pesto.

Wrapping up the 15 best things to do in Genoa Italy

Now that we reached the end of our list of the best things to do in Genoa Italy, there are still many other Genoa must see places you can explore. But now that you know what to do in Genoa Italy, we’re sure you will have a wonderful time in the city. One thing is sure though. Wherever you look or wherever you stroll in the city, you will be overwhelmed by the beauty of the Liguria region. 

To wrap up here’s why visit Genoa. Visit this gemstone for culture, architecture, castles, and palaces. Visit this place for history, museums, and stories from long-gone centuries. Come and explore the shores of Genoa and enjoy the bests of Italian cuisine. Have a wonderful time!

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