As a cruise expert and as someone who has visited Port Genoa before, I’ve gathered some of the best insider tips and hidden gems I found, to help you make the most of your day in Genoa. These are even more special than why Port Genoa will be your favourite cruise stop!

Genoa Caruggio Narrow Streets - a must see
Genoa Caruggio Narrow Streets - a must see

Start Early at the Old Port (Porto Antico)

  • Why: Arriving early allows you to beat the crowds and enjoy attractions like the Acquario di Genova and the Bigo Lift with minimal wait times.
  • Pro Tip: I always head straight to the panoramic lift Bigo for a stunning morning view of the city.

Explore the Caruggi (Narrow Alleys)

  • Why: These historic alleys in the old town are packed with local shops, hidden churches, and authentic eateries.
  • Pro Tip: One of my favourite spots is the tiny but fascinating Church of St. Peter in Banchi, often missed by tourists.

Taste the Local Cuisine

  • Why: Genoa is famous for its food, especially pesto Genovese and focaccia. The seafood is really good too.
  • Pro Tip: I love getting focaccia at Antico Forno della Casana, a local favourite that’s off the beaten path.

Visit Palazzo Rosso for Free Views

  • Why: This museum offers access to a rooftop terrace with great views over Genoa.
  • Pro Tip: After exploring the art inside, I always take in the view from the terrace.

Use the Public Elevators (Funiculars)

  • Why: Genoa has several public elevators that can take you to higher parts of the city for free or a small fee.
  • Pro Tip: The Spianata Castelletto elevator provides panoramic views and is a quick ride up from the city center.

Stroll Along Corso Italia

  • Why: This coastal promenade offers beautiful views of the Ligurian Sea and is less crowded than the main tourist spots.
  • Pro Tip: It’s perfect for a leisurely walk or bike ride if you need a break from the city’s hustle.

Hidden Gem: Galata Maritime Museum

  • Why: It’s less crowded and offers fascinating exhibits on Genoa’s maritime history.
  • Pro Tip: Don’t miss the submarine outside the museum, which you can tour for an additional fee.

Efficient Use of Public Transport

  • Why: Genoa’s public transport is reliable and can save you time and energy.
  • Pro Tip: I recommend getting a day pass for unlimited travel on buses, funiculars, and the metro. This is handy for visiting sites like Righi and Sant’Anna.
  • Cost: €4.50 for a 24-hour pass.

Visit a Local Market

  • Why: Experience local life and buy fresh produce, cheese, and other Italian specialties.
  • Pro Tip: Mercato Orientale on Via XX Settembre is a vibrant market perfect for picking up local delicacies and souvenirs. I love it here, especially the cheese, oh the cheese!

Keep an Eye on Pickpockets

  • Why: Like many tourist destinations, Genoa can have pickpockets, especially in crowded areas.
  • Pro Tip: I always keep my valuables secure, use a money belt, and stay cautious in busy places like Piazza de Ferrari and Via Garibaldi.
Old Port Genoa view of the marina
Old Port Genoa view of the marina

Things I'd Skip in Genoa

While Genoa is a fantastic city with plenty to see, some attractions might not be worth your time if you’re only in port for a day. Here are a few things I’d suggest skipping:

Museo d’Arte Orientale

  • Why I’d Skip It: Although interesting, this museum focused on Asian art isn’t as relevant if you want to dive into Genoese and Italian culture and history. Plus, it’s a bit out of the way.
  • Alternative: Spend more time at the Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco, and Palazzo Tursi for a richer, more relevant experience in local art and history.

Via San Lorenzo

  • Why I’d Skip It: This central street can be crowded and doesn’t offer much in terms of unique attractions or charming shops compared to other parts of the city.
  • Alternative: Explore the more picturesque caruggi (narrow alleys) and the vibrant Via Garibaldi instead.

Lighthouse of Genoa (Lanterna)

  • Why I’d Skip It: While historically significant, it’s somewhat isolated and can be time-consuming to visit. The views, although nice, aren’t significantly different from other viewpoints in the city.
  • Alternative: Go to Spianata Castelletto for equally stunning and more accessible views.

Forte Begato

  • Why I’d Skip It: This fortress is remote and not well-maintained, making it a less appealing option unless you have a lot of time and a specific interest in historical military sites.
  • Alternative: Visit the well-preserved Palazzo Ducale or enjoy the scenic Parco Urbano delle Mura.

Piazza De Ferrari

  • Why I’d Skip It: While it’s a central landmark with a famous fountain, the piazza itself can be quite busy and lacks the charm of smaller, more historic squares.
  • Alternative: Use it as a quick stop on your way to more engaging sites like the surrounding palaces and museums.

Let us know your secret finds

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