Cruise Port Atlas | Savona, Italy Day Trips | Attractions

Savona, 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 Savona: Costa

Key Attractions: Sistine Chapel, Priamar Fortress, Palazzo Della Rovere, Albissola Ceramics, Villa Faraggiana, Rolli Palaces, Genoa Aquarium, Genoas Old Port, Ducal Palace, Portofino, Santa Margherita, Rapallo, Brown Castle, Sestri Levante, Monaco Ville, Monaco Royal Palace, Monaco Casino, Oceanographic Museum, Grand Prix of Monaco, Natural Reserve of Bergeggi, Playa de Luna, Sanremo, Imperia (Porto Maurizio), Finale Ligure

Savona's Old Town and Albissola

Port to Sistine Chapel - 0.9 KM, 4 minutes, 9 minute walk
Port to Priamar Fortress - 1.5 KM, 5 minutes, 10 minute walk
Port to Villa Faraggiana - 3 KM, 10 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

The dock is located within easy walking to the city's historic center which includes the major attractions. During the Middle Ages Savona challenged Genoa as a maritime power, but was defeated in 1528. Known as the City of the Popes, two of Renaissance's most famous Popes, Sixtus IV and his nephew Julius II, were from Savona. Before becoming Pope and building the famous Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, Sixtus built a Sistine Chapel in Savona which is one of the city's most popular attractions. Both were members of the Della Rovere family which ruled the city. Julius began the Della Rovere Palace, in the center of the old city and still unfinished. Another famous attraction is the Genvoese fortress, Priamar, now a museum. Outside the city is the house where Christopher Columbus grew up and where he wrote about his voyages.

Just to the east of Savona are the sister cities of Albisola Marina and Albisola Superior, famous for their ceramic artists. Tours of the huge Villa Faraggiana and its garden are available for those interested in over-the-top baroque architecture in a French motif.



Photo of Priamar Fortress by Basilico

Italian Riviera

Port to Bergeggi/Playa de Luna - 10 KM, 20 minutes
Port to Finale Ligure - 29 KM, 33 minutes
Port to Imperia - 72 KM, 60 minutes
Port to Sanremo - 99 KM, 1 hour 15 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Around Savona is the truly Italian part of the Italian Riviera with sandy beaches, casinos, traditional hotels, and an urban setting that focuses on nightlife and sun. Southeast of Genoa is the new, more trendy Riviera with cliff-lined coasts, pebble beaches, and a more international tourist population.

The beaches of the western Italian Riviera stretch all the way to France and are famous for their golden sands. Beginning at the western border with France, there is the casino town of Sanremo, now an important Italian popular music center due to the popularity of the Sanremo Music Festival (in February). The festival is a song competition, but has also introduced some of Italy's biggest musical stars including Andrea Bocelli and Laura Pausini. Near Savona is Imperia, which includes the historic port of Porto Maurizio with the Parasio old town section and a beautiful cathedral on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean. Closest to Savona is Finale Ligure with its impressive Castel Gavone, residence for the local Del Carretta Marqueses through the centuries. Much of the coastal town is built on a steep hill that runs along the coast down to white sands which are popular with families. The Playa de Luna at Bergeggi Natural Park is a stunning beach very close to Savona.

Sestri Levante's Bay of Silence is among the most popular and scenic beaches on the southeastern coast of Liguria.



Photo of Porto Maurizio by Janfrie1988, Photo of Finale Ligure gate by .mau.


Port to Genoa - 46 KM, 44 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

As the largest city in Liguria, Genoa provides the greatest opportunities for shopping and eating in the region. 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. Forty-two of the palaces were selected for special recognition by UNESCO are now recognized as a World Heritage Site. 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.

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.

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 Palazzo Rosso (one of the Rolli Palaces), Photo of Genoa Aquarium by Francesco Crippa

Portofino and Nearby Villages

Port to Attraction - 81 KM, 1 hour 15 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

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 might see anyone.) Besides the lovely 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.

Before reaching Portofino by car you must travel through the larger town of Santa Margherita, which is also a tourist area. Across the river from Santa Margherita is the lovely town of Rapallo. If you pass through Rapallo and continue southeast you will pass through Chiavari and reach Sestri Levanti, small tourist villages across the bay from Portofino. These villages are known for their waterfronts, cafes, small historic churches, and fortresses and have become important tourist attractions over the past 50 years.



Photo of Portofino by Stan Shebs, Photo of Sestri Levante by Juuguang Wang


Port to Monaco - 135 KM, 1 hour 35 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

When Prince Rainier of Monaco married Grace Kelly in a modern day fairytale romance, the tiny principality joined that group of Mediterranean jet set ports like St. Tropez, Corfu, and Palma. The most famous site is the legendary Casino where formal dress is required and stakes are high. Overlooking the port is the Royal Palace and its beautiful square. If you time your visit right, you will see the changing of the guard. The route of the Grand Prix attracts Formula One fans. The Oceanographic Museum is one of the oldest and best regarded of its type. Monaco is the second smallest country in the world (after Vatican City) and is the most densely populated.



Photo of Monaco Casino by Mat Strange

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