Cruise Port Atlas | Genoa, Italy Day Trips | Attractions

Genoa, Italy Day Trips | Attractions

With limited time in port, planning is the best way to make the most of your time. Should you strike out on your own? Should you hire a local guide? Or should you book a shore excursion offered by the cruise line or an international tour company? Below we have listed the attractions and activities that many other cruisers have enjoyed. This information should help you plan.

The advantage to cruise line tours is that they are timed for your visit and give you flexibility to change your mind after your trip begins. The advantage of using a large international firm is that tours are often less expensive than cruise sponsored tours. The advantage to using a local tour company or guide is that prices can be significantly lower or you may be able to get a customized trip just to see the attractions that interest you most.

Cruise lines that visit Genoa: Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal, Celebrity, Princess, Costa, MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean

Recommended Attractions: Rolli Palaces, Historic Genoa, Aquarium, La Laterna, Monumental Cemetary of Staglieno, Portofino, Camogli, Aveto and Capenne di Marcarolo Natural Parks, Rapallo, Santa Marguerita Ligure and Sestri Levanti, Cinque Terre

Rolli Palaces

Port to Historic City Center - 3-4 KM, 10 minutes

The Palazzo di Rolli (List of Palaces) includes more than 100 homes built during the late Renaissance and Baroque periods to house the leading families of the city and host important international visitors. Their design and layout are generally consistent, but each has many unique and ornate features. Forty-two of the palaces were selected for special recognition by UNESCO are now recognized as a World Heritage Site. This was the result of a huge project begun in the 1990s by the city to revive their original and exuberant character. The palaces on the UNESCO list are centered on and around Via Garibaldi and Via Balbi and are within reasonable walking distance of one another. The most famous of these homes are the Royal Palace, the Palazzo Rosso, the Palazzo Bianco and the Palazzo Tursi, the last three which are within sight of each other on Via Garibaldi. Tours of these homes are one of the most popular tourist activities in Genoa. The Royal Palace and Palazzo Rosso contain museums.

        

   

Photo of Palazzo Rosso Interior

Genoa's Historic Center

Port to Attraction - 3-4 KM, 10 minutes

In addition to the Rolli Palaces, Genoa has many other lovely and historic buildings and streets that attract visitors. The most famous is the San Lorenzo Cathedral, a Romanesque building which has been the center of Genoa's spiritual life since the 11th century. Inside the church are dramatic ceiling frescoes of the Renaissance period. The central meeting point of the Historic Center is Piazza Ferrari, with a lovely fountain and bordered by the Palace of the Doges and the Opera House. The historic city is filled with winding alley ways and steep hilly streets lending an inviting charm to its polished authenticity.

              

   

Photo of Ferrari Piazza by hpschaefer

Other Genoa Attractions

Port to Aquarium - 5 KM, 7 minutes (a much shorter walk, but taxis are recommended)
Port to Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno - 6 KM, 15 minutes

The most popular attraction in the city is the Aquarium, the second largest in Europe. It is right in the old harbor and was built in 1992 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Genovese Columbus' discovery of America. Opposite the old port of Genoa is La Laterna, the massive lighthouse which can be seen as many as 30 kilometers away. A little farther from the city center is one of the greatest of all cemeteries, the Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno, which was praised by Mark Twain and Friedrich Nietzsche for its impressive monuments and landscape. Genoa also features ancient walls and gates in several spots including the famous Porta Soprana with its tall round towers.

           

   

Photo of Ray Pool in Aquarium by Francesco Crippa

Portofino and Camogli

Port to Camogli - 34 KM, 35 minutes
Port to Attraction - 45 KM, 45 minutes

The tiny village of Portofino (which is surrounded by the Portofina Park) is situated in a small bay surrounded by colorful seaside buildings whose lower floors are restaurants, shops and other tourist oriented businesses. The setting is so striking that an almost perfect replica was created for the Loews Hotel at Universal Studios Orlando. At the end of the narrow bay are the two main streets which begin after a small square. (A close friend had a cruise visit in Portofino a couple years ago when a yacht pulled into the harbor with Madonna and her beau disembarked. That's the kind of place this is...you might see anyone.) Besides the atmosphere and views the other attractions are Brown Castle (Castello Brown sounds better doesn't it!) and 3 lovely churches of varying ages. The views of the village on the walk up to the castle are the best.

Camogli is a small fishing village on the northwest corner the Portofino Park. It is more rustic and casual than Portofino and offers a nice beach and seaside cafes.

           

   

Photo of Portofino by Stan Shebs

Aveto and Capanne di Marcarolo Natural Parks

Port to Aveto - 77 KM, 80 minutes
Port to Capanne di Marcarolo - 48 KM, 45 minutes

Aveto Park is to the east of Genoa and is located in the Apennine range, with dramatic rocky peaks and three pastoral valleys with grazing cattle and sheep. The small town of Santo Stefano d'Aveto offers an excellent starting point for nature hikes and horseback tours. Closer to Genoa is the Capanne di Marcarolo Park in the Italian Piedmont state. The mountains here mark the border between the Apennines and the Alps and a sparsely settled landscape ideal for nature lovers.

        

   

Photo of Aveto Natural Park by vengomatto

Rapallo, Santa Magherita Ligure and Sestri Levante

Port to Rapallo - 37 KM, 35 minutes
Port to Santa Magherita Ligure - 40 KM, 40 minutes
Port to Sestri Levante - 58 KM, 50 minutes

On the road to Portofino the last significant town you go through is Santa Margherita Ligure. The lovely little town is larger but more modest than Portofino, featuring a castle, a small basilica, an historic abbey, and two 16th century villas that can be toured. It is an easy going place to relax and enjoy an afternoon wine or espresso.

Rapallo is the largest town on what is known as the Italian Riviera and in its port is the iconic Rapallo Castle, built to protect the area from pirates. The small city harbor area is filled with pedestrian shopping streets, rustic restaurants, and a good number of historic buildings. There is also a funicular that will take you to the top of Montallegro for great views of the area.

Sestri Levante was originally settled during the Roman era on a peninsula between two bays, the Bay of Silence and the Bay of Fables. The city has spread from the peninsula onto the mainland and is very popular with Italians. Once again, the main activities are eating, drinking, shopping, and taking pictures of the stunning scenery.

           

   

Photo of Sestri Levante by Jiuguang Wang

Cinque Terre

Port to Monterossa al Mare - 96 KM, 90 minutes

The five picturesque coastal towns of the Cinque Terre hang precariously from the rocky coast between Portovenere and Levanto and are nearly free of modern development lending a rustic, otherworldly quality to these isolated towns. Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore are their names from north to south. A 5 hour hike is a popular way to see the villages, but not for everyone. A passenger ferry stops at 4 of the 5 towns. And you can take a train from La Spezia through the Cinque Terre.

     

   

Photo of Vernazza (Cinque Terre)

Interests Key:

Art Architecture Beach Children Wild Animals Local Cuisine Flora Gardens-Parks Geology

Diving UNESCO Views Wine Dance Music Shopping History Hiking

Walking & Wheelchair Accessibility:

No Walking Easy Walking Normal Walking Difficult Walking Accessible Limited Not Accessible