This guide on what to see in Genoa in one day is designed for travelers who have little time or for a first day in my city.
Although it has recently opened to tourism, Genoa is a city full of things to see and do both day and night, and if you really only have one day you need a good walking itinerary that includes the most interesting places to see.
Dismissed by the greats of tourism (well Genoa is certainly not Firenze o Venezia) my city, contrary to what one might imagine, is able to reveal countless works of art and secrets.
You will find paintings by Rubens, small churches, chests of many treasures (including hear hear also the Holy Grail!), dark and narrow alleys where you can feel transported in time.
Trust it and you will be rewarded.
I was born and raised in Genoa. With this itinerary I hope to make you love it, just as I love it, even if 1 day is just enough to understand what Genoa can offer.
That said, mine one day walking itinerary it allows you to visit the most interesting points of Genoa and who knows maybe make you want to go back and discover it a little more.
PS: at the bottom of this article you will find a button from which to download the version in PDF of the itinerary of Genoa in one day: this way you can take it with you when you come here. And if you like, write me on the email and I'll give you advice exclusively for you!
- Useful tips for visiting Genoa in 1 day
- What to see in Genoa in one day, walking itinerary
- 1 - Via di Prè and the Commenda
- 2 - The Old Port and the Aquarium
- 3 – I caruggi
- 4 - Cathedral of San Lorenzo
- 5 - Piazza Matteotti and Palazzo Ducale
- 6 - Piazza De Ferrari and Via XX Settembre
- 7 - The lift to Spianata Castelletto
- 8 - Via Garibaldi and the Palazzi dei Rolli
- 9 - Via Balbi and Palazzo Reale
- Other things to see in Genoa
- 1 - Porta Soprana and the House of Christopher Columbus
- 2 - Piazza delle Erbe
- 3 – Whale Watching
- 4 - Galata Museum Museum of the Sea and Submarine
- 5 - Visit the Lantern
- 6 - Boccadasse and Corso Italia
- 7 - City of children and young people
- 8 - Panorama from the Righi
- 9 - Nervi and Anita Garibaldi walk
- 10 - D'Albertis Castle
- Where to eat in Genoa
- Where sleeping in Genoa
- Itinerary Map of What to see in Genoa in one day
- What to see in Genoa in one day PDF
Useful tips for visiting Genoa in 1 day
There are not many attractions in Genoa so I suggest you buy your ticket in advance. Surely among these there is Aquarius that if you go to the official website says:
CAUTION the number of entrances is limited for safety reasons, only the online purchase guarantees 100% entry into the structure.
THEaquarium of Genoa however offers various activities and promotions: find them on the official website of the Aquarium CLICKING here
You can buy HERE the AQUARIUM + WHALE WATCHING tour -> HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
If you visit Genoa in 1 day you will probably arrive by car or train.
If you arrive by train, you can get off at the stations of Brignole o The prince. Principe is closer to the Aquarium (you can walk there) while Brignole is closer to Via XX Settembre.
If you arrive by car the best way to visit Genoa or arrive at the ferry terminal (in case you have to board) is West Genoa.
To park, you will have to put the car in a paid parking lot: there are numerous parking lots especially near the Aquarium or in the silos of the Porto Antico.
If, on the other hand, you arrive atCristoforo Colombo airport know that it is located in Sestri Ponente and is not very close to the city center. You will then have to take the Volabus or a comfortable transfer.
MUSEUM CARD: if you intend to visit the museums of Genoa, the Museums Card it's a great option to save. It includes, among other things, i Strada Nuova museums, Galata Museum of the Sea (only in the 48 hour one), the gallery of Palazzo Spinola and Prince's Palace -> See what else it includes HERE
Alternatively there is La Genova City Pass (which includes entrance to the Aquarium) -> See HERE what it includes.
To get around Genoa on this one-day walking itinerary, you won't need public transport, but Genoa has a bus network that goes practically everywhere: the traffic is deadly, forget the idea of traveling by car!
If you decide to stay in Genoa for more than one day in this article you will find the best areas to sleep.
What to see in Genoa in one day, walking itinerary
If you decide to arrive by train (recommended) the stop I recommend is Genova Principe. Our walking itinerary starts from here, takes a round trip among the most beautiful attractions in the center to return back to the station for your return home.
1 - Via di Prè and the Commenda
Once you have exited the Station, your first stop will be Via di Prè, one of the most emblematic alleys of the city.
This place was once considered dangerous and unapproachable. Today things have changed and especially during the day there is no risk to walk it: obviously always keep your eyes open and pay attention to bags and wallets as in many other big cities.
The first building you will come across will be there Commenda di San Giovanni di Pré, a complex consisting of two Romanesque churches, an ancient convent and a hospital. At one time this building performed two functions at the same time: it was both a maritime station for the routes to the Holy Land and a hospital for pilgrims (and later also for the poor of the city).
Today the inside is under construction National Museum of Italian Emigration which will be inaugurated shortly.
Continuing your walk among ethnic shops and restaurants, I recommend that you stop in the little square of the Troughs of Santa Brigida, one of the very few surviving public wash houses in the city.
At this point I suggest you continue: Via di Prè ends, cross the road and enter Via del Campo through Porta dei Vacca, ancient city entrance.
Here you will find yourself immersed in the atmosphere sung by De André and reached Piazza del Campo you can also visit The house of Genoese songwriters, the small museum dedicated to Ligurian singers.
At this point I invite you to reach out square Loading.
2 - The Old Port and the Aquarium
Behind Piazza Loading is located Suboripa, a pedestrian arcaded street that once housed the warehouses for the storage of goods in the port.
Today you will find some bars, some fishmongers and the typical Genoese fry shops where you can taste some good fried fish.
At the center of the square, however, stands Palazzo San Giorgio, once the seat of customs and then of the Banco di San Giorgio. Today it houses the Port Authority of Genoa.
Opposite what is one of the symbolic buildings of the city is the Porto Antico area, completely restored and modernized in the XNUMXs to a design by Renzo Piano.
This area is one of the most touristic in the city and it is here that you will find the famous Genova's aquarium.
The aquarium generally takes a few hours to visit, but unless you want to read and linger for hours in front of each tank, you should be able to see it in 2/3 hours.
To know more about what to see at the Genoa aquarium read this article of mine.
If you decide to visit it, buy tickets in advance from the official website here so as not to waste time in the queue.
CLICKING HERE instead you will find many combinations of tickets
Where to eat in Genoa
So if you follow this itinerary it will probably be lunchtime at this point.
There are many trattorias in the center of Genoa where you can eat well and where you can try the classic dishes of the city: trofie with pesto (but I recommend you try pansoti in walnut sauce), the Genovese soup (in the summer it will make you sweat), la focaccia with cheese (more typical of Recco than Genoa, but even here you will find it practically everywhere).
But if you want to try a "different" cuisine in the alleys you will find the Senegalese restaurant Jamila (Via Dei Giustiniani 11-13, Tel +39 010 248 1329)
Trust that it is exceptional. If you like fish try the sea bream or one of the dishes it offers!
3 – I caruggi
After a walk in the Porto Antico, you can return to enter the alleys.
Reach Piazza Banchi, once the site of the grain market and then of the currency exchange banks.
Here take your time to wander without a specific destination among shops, shops and bars.
Look around you and don't forget to look up: in the alleys nearby, behind the hanging clothes, there are richly decorated facades that let you imagine the glories of the past.
The houses of the ancient Genoese in the alleys might seem "poor" to you. Don't be fooled! Inside, many have huge patios, marble stairways, a real wonder for the eyes.
Among the stops that I advise you not to miss in the area are Piazza delle Vigne with the homonymous church, Campetto square, Street of Soziglia with the historic shops and the Church of St. Matthew with its small square.
4 - Cathedral of San Lorenzo
At this point, leave the intricate tangle of alleys to reach the imposing one Cathedral of San Lorenzo.
The church, characterized by the typical façade with black and white bands, is the most important in Genoa, was erected in 1098 and it houses the ashes of San Giovanni Battista.
After observing it from the outside, I suggest you enter to enjoy its internal beauty. Here, in fact, you can admire frescoes by Luca Cambiaso and Lazzaro Tavarone.
In the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, in the right aisle, you will notice a bomb: it is an English grenade that in 1941 hit the church during a bombing. The bomb destroyed the roof of the building but did not explode. Today it is there to remember the horrors of the Second World War.
For a complete visit of the Cathedral you could consider buying a ticket for the Treasure Museum: here, in fact, the Sacro Catino is kept, a relic that for some legends would be the Holy Grail.
PRO TIP: as a geologist I cannot fail to mention one of the main treasures of the Cathedral of San Lorenzo e something no one ever tells you.
Observe the columns made in Portoro. The Portoro o Marble di Portovenere is a fine variety of marble black from the western area of the Gulf of La Spezia. You will recognize it immediately: it is a black marble with yellow-gold streaks, very rare, very valuable and, needless to say, very expensive.
Before making a decision on how much time to spend inside the Cathedral, think about how much time you still have to continue your 1-day itinerary in Genoa.
5 - Piazza Matteotti and Palazzo Ducale
After the visit to the Cathedral, continue on Via San Lorenzo and reach Piazza Matteotti.
Two particularly important buildings overlook here: the Church of the Gesù and Ducal Palace.
The first is by far one of the most beautiful churches in the city: enter inside to admire some of his works for free Rubens and Domenico Piola.
Ducal Palace, on the other hand, it is one of the most important historic buildings in the Ligurian capital.
What was once there seat of the Doge of the Republic of Genoa, today it is one of the most important museum institutions in the city.
Interesting temporary exhibitions and events are always hosted inside the Doge's Palace.
6 - Piazza De Ferrari and Via XX Settembre
Leaving the Doge's Palace you will find yourself looking out over Piazza De Ferrari, the favorite meeting place of the Genoese for appointments and to celebrate, diving into the fountain, the victory of the Genoa football derby.
The square is famous for the large fountain which was placed in the center in 1936.
The square overlooks the Teatro Carlo Felice, the opera house, the Linguistic Academy of Fine Arts, the Palazzo della Borsa and the Palazzo della Regione.
From here some of the most important streets of Genoa branch off such as Via XXV Aprile, Via Roma (the "luxury" shopping street), Dante Street e Via XX Settembre.
It is the latter that I recommend you take if you want to take a walk looking at the shop windows: this, in fact, is the most loved and popular shopping street in the Ligurian capital.
The most famous city market also overlooks Via XX Settembre: the Eastern Market. The ground floor is characterized by fruit and vegetable stalls, while the second floor hosts the MOG, a space with restaurants and bars where you can stop for something to eat.
7 - The lift to Spianata Castelletto
Back in Piazza De Ferrari, take Via XXV Aprile, continue towards Piazza Fontane Marose and reach Portello square.
It is here, in fact, that you can take an elevator to reach your next stop: Spianata Castelletto.
This is the best point to admire the city from above in all its splendor: from here you will have the best view of the city.
The slate roofs of the alleys, the Porto Antico, the Lantern in the distance, the parks, the villas, but also the churches and sanctuaries: Genoa will show itself at your feet in its entirety.
It is a show that you cannot miss.
8 - Via Garibaldi and the Palazzi dei Rolli
When you have taken a myriad of photographs and have sufficiently enjoyed the view, return to Piazza Portello with the elegant Liberty-style lift you used on the way.
Once off, enter Garibaldi Street.
This is one of the most beautiful streets in Genoa and it is here that some of the most important historic buildings in the city are located.
I'm talking about the Palaces of the Rolli, the historic noble residences that during the era of the Republic could host prominent figures visiting Genoa (officials, princes, bishops, but also Emperors and Popes). The more majestic the palace, the higher the rank of the visitor that could be housed within it.
These buildings, together with Via Garibaldi (also known as Strada Nuova), are now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In this street they are found Tursi Palace, White Palace e Red Palace which together constitute the Strada Nuova museums, one of the most interesting museum tours in Genoa.
I don't think you have time to enter if you have decided to visit Genoa in 1 day, but make a note of it for a next time.
9 - Via Balbi and Palazzo Reale
Your 1-day itinerary in Genoa is almost over.
Leave Via Garibaldi and reach Piazza della Nunziata to visit the Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata del Vastato.
This church is a great treasure chest full of art: inside you can admire some works by Luca Cambiaso, Domenico Piola, Guercino e Bernardo Strozzi.
At the end of the visit, take the Via Balbi, seat of the University of Genoa and some beautiful historic buildings.
Do not miss, for example, the Royal Palace.
The construction of the building dates back to 1643 and was commissioned by the Balbi family, rich merchants of the Republic of Genoa.
The property, over the centuries, passed first to the Durazzo family and then to the Savoy family who used the palace as an official royal residence.
Today inside it is housed an interesting museum where you can admire original furnishings and a rich picture gallery.
⇒ Buy your ticket HERE Skip the Line for the Royal Palace + AQUARIUM
Again, since you will probably not be able to visit the museum, I suggest you mark the visit for a next time in the city.
At this point, continue walking on Via Balbi.
At the end of the street you will be back in front of the Genoa Piazza Principe Station: yours Genoa itinerary in 1 day is over and I hope that you have been able to appreciate my city in the best way and that you will speak well to your friends and acquaintances so you will help me to promote tourism in this small city so snubbed by mass circuits but with so many things to give to those who decide to trust it.
Other things to do in Genoa in a day
The itinerary that I have proposed so far in my opinion is the best you could do. Having said that there are other things to see in Genoa that are worth visiting and that may interest you.
1 - Porta Soprana and the House of Christopher Columbus
From Piazza De Ferrari it is a few steps to reach Piazza Dante. From here, if you look up you will see, at the end of a short climb Porta Soprana, the only gate of the old city walls remained intact.
Going in its direction you will find on the right the house of Christopher Columbus, where the famous Genoese explorer lived, it is thought, between 5 and 9 years. The interior can be visited and, although small in size, the visit will be very intense.
Immediately above the house of Christopher Columbus you will find a small pearl: the medieval cloister of the monastic church of Sant'Andrea, the only remaining testimony of the medieval church and convent that were here and that were demolished.
2 - Piazza delle Erbe
A delightful little square, full of bars and restaurants and the heart of Genoa's nightlife, Piazza delle Erbe it is the perfect place to stop and rest, sit down, have an aperitif and look around.
3 – Whale Watching
Established in 1993 with an agreement between Italy, France and Monaco, the area called Sanctuary of the Cetaceans it has the highest cetacean population in the whole of the Mediterranean Sea.
While it's not heavily advertised (don't ask me why), a boat trip to watch whales, zifi, dolphins and sea turtles is one of the best things to do in Genoa.
Tours depart from the Old Port, there is something for everyone, including fantastic sunset tours!
Find the whale watching tour here.
4 - Galata Museum Museum of the Sea and Submarine
The Porto Antico holds a lot of surprises and, especially if you have children, you will find lots of things for them to do.
Il Galata Museum of the Sea it is the largest museum dedicated to the sea in the entire Mediterranean area and with the highest standards of modernity.
Five exhibition floors which tell the story of Genoa, the Marine Republic and Christopher Columbus, equipment and arsenals, but which also tell of distant places and overseas.
In front of the Galata Museo del Mare, on the stretch of water in front of it, there is another museum that I recommend you visit, but this time it is a floating exhibition space: the submarine Nazario Sauro, a real "extension" of the Galata, suggestive and fascinating.
Here you find the ONLINE TICKET FOR THE GALATA MUSEUM OF THE SEA: if you come on the weekend or in high season, please buy it first!
5 - Visit the Lantern
Another of the things to do in Genoa is to get on the Lantern, the symbol of the city.
This large lighthouse, about 77 meters high, is located on a small hill facing the sea: from here it dominates the Genoese port and has been doing so since 1128!
Attached to the Lantern there is also a small multimedia museum through which it is possible to retrace the history of the lighthouse and the port of Genoa.
If you want to enjoy a magnificent view of the city defined as "Superb" by the poet Petrarch, then you must "climb" to the top of his Lantern!
6 - Boccadasse and Corso Italia
Course Italy is the Promenade of Genoa, and a beautiful place to take a walk up to the characteristic village of Boccadasse, a former fishing village and today one of the most beautiful areas of the city.
Strolling along Corso Italia you will see people jogging, families with children on roller skates, Genoese on bicycles and children who, on windy days, fly kites.
Coso Italia is also where most of Genoa's bathing establishments are located.
7 - City of children and young people
Also at the Old Port, in the Cotton warehouses, you will find The city of children and teenagers an educational play area for children aged 2 to 13, where possible play and discover science and technology having fun.
If you have children then this is a truly unmissable stop: they are more than 2.000 meters of exhibition and multimedia area where children, depending on the age group, will be able to experiment, observe and learn different topics, putting themselves to the test.
8 - Panorama from the Righi
If you want to enjoy the most beautiful view over the whole of Genoa you should go to righi.
You can get there in 3 ways:
1 - Zecca funicular - Righi: the view from the top will remain forever etched in your memory
2 - on foot, walking uphill along the creuze
3 - with your car
4 - with i bus
Righi is one of the places very popular with the Genoese, especially on weekends to enjoy the greenery and fresh air. A lot of hiking trails also start from here.
9 - Nervi and Anita Garibaldi walk
Another jewel of the Genoese is undoubtedly the Anita Garibaldi walk, better known as the Walk of Nervi.
About two kilometers of walking overlooking the sea, overlooking the characteristic Genoese rocks will make you relax and give you a general impression of the eastern city.
From the Promenade of Nervi, in addition to the possibility of using bars and restaurants, you can see the Portofino mountain in the Levante and in the West, immortalizing the characteristic port of the Nervi district.
10 - D'Albertis Castle
Perched above the city of Genoa is a neo-Gothic castle, once belonging to an eclectic man named Captain Enrico Alberto d'Albertis.
D'Albertis was a passionate traveler and collector, who crossed the world in the late XNUMXth and early XNUMXth centuries, bringing all sorts of unusual objects with him.
Today its castle is open to visitors as a museum of world cultures, with some of the most beautiful views of the city, all within walking distance of the Montegalletto lifts.
I highly recommend a visit, if only for that.
Where to eat in Genoa
I already told you above about Jamila, a Senegalese cuisine restaurant which is one of my favorite places ever.
But since you are in Genoa you will presumably want to try our local cuisine, right?
So here are 3 trattorias and places to go (all in the center) that you will reach very easily during your itinerary.
Ancient Osteria of Vico Palla (Vico Palla, 15 r - attached to the Porto Antico): when we Genoese want to eat our dishes, the Antica Osteria del vico Palla is one of our favorite destinations. The kitchen offers all the typical dishes of our region: anchovy bagnum, cod fritters, pansoti with walnut sauce, mandilli with pesto and stockfish.
Trattoria dell'Acciughetta (Piazza Sant'Elena): if you are looking for a place with a fantastic quality / price ratio, look no further. this trattoria is the right place! In addition, thanks to its atmosphere you will feel like taking a dip back in history. The place offers typical dishes such as cod, frisceu, mixed fry, trofie with pesto and much more.
Locanda Pesciolino (vico Domoculta 14): if you are a fish lover this is a great place. The menu varies, you can see it on the site.
Where sleeping in Genoa
Genoa is not a big city and it is quite easy to cross from one side to the other. The problem could be the traffic (this is why we who live there all go by scooter!) which sometimes keeps public transport vehicles nailed despite the preferential lanes, and getting around by car is absolutely impossible.
Almost all or all of the downtown area is the blue zone and parking is subject to a fee, so if you arrive by car and decide to sleep in this area, check that thehotel has parking for guests.
If you decide to visit Genoa anyway, the best area to sleep, especially if you don't have a car with you, is the whole downtown area, between the alleys, the old port and Via XX Settembre.
Below you will find 3 hotels that I strongly recommend.
Genoa Liberty Hotel: This budget hotel is within walking distance of all of Genoa's best attractions. An excellent breakfast is offered each morning and family rooms are available. Other features, such as an airport shuttle and its proximity to public transport, make this a welcoming and convenient place to stay.
B&B SLEEPING AT THE GRIMALDI: Each room of this charming property has a private bathroom and guests have full access to the common room. An Italian breakfast is served each morning. This B&B is ideal for couples or solo travelers and is ideally located within walking distance of the harbor and the city center. There are many restaurants and cafes nearby.
Best Western Porto Antico: overlooks the tourist port of Genoa and is right next to the famous aquarium. This historic building offers elegant rooms with parquet floors and free Wi-Fi.
Itinerary Map of What to see in Genoa in one day
What to see in Genoa in one day PDF
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