Guide, What to do in Genoa Cruise Port

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If your cruise ship is docking in the Port of Genoa you will have no end of things to see and do. Genoa is a vibrant maritime gateway nestled along the picturesque coast of Italy. As one of the busiest and most historic ports in the Mediterranean, Genoa’s harbour has been a vital hub of trade and cultural exchange for centuries. Steeped in rich maritime heritage, this port city has witnessed the arrival and departure of countless ships, carrying goods, ideas, and people from all corners of the world.

Today, the Port of Genoa thrives as a modern and dynamic centre with rich history and beautiful architecture. Join us as we embark on a journey to discover the beautiful spots of Genoa and capture the allure of this remarkable maritime destination.

Everything you Need to Know About Things to Do in Genoa Cruise Port for When Your Cruise Docks for the Day.

Ship in Genoa port
Port of Genoa

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A Little About Genoa

Whether you have young kids, older kids, or no kids, today we will share some of the most popular attractions in Genoa so you can make the most of your time on Italian soil. 

There is much to see and do in Genoa for adults and children. You can explore the Red and White palaces of Palazzo Doria Tursi, Palazzo Rosso and Palazzo Bianco or lift up to the hillside and see the views. There is an amazing aquarium for children and plenty of restaurants and bars to explore. This is everything you need to know about Things to Do in Genoa Cruise Port for when your cruise docks for the day.

Genoa is a port city in Italy. More specifically, a port city in the Italian region of Liguria. With its rich history, extensive role in maritime trade, and monuments, landmarks, and religious buildings. It will come as no surprise that part of the city—the Strade Nuove—is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Aside from its stunning medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Gothic architecture. Genoa is known for its mouth-watering food—especially its pesto pasta, ravioli, and seafood. Plus, it’s rich art and narrow alleyways. Taking the title of Italy’s oldest inhabited city, Genoa is a truly magnificent place to visit, with plenty of attractions for the entire family to enjoy. 

And if the city itself wasn’t impressive enough, the Genoa port just so happens to be the busiest cruise port in Italy, the second largest port in the Mediterranean and the twelfth busiest in Europe. Pretty cool, right? 

Where do Cruise Ships Dock in Genoa, Italy?

Genoa cruise ships dock in the Stazioni Marittime at Ponte Caracciolo at Genoa cruise port. If you prefer, the Stazioni Marittime or Maritime Station has five terminals. Three terminals are for ferries, and the remaining two are for cruise ships

 Genoa Cruise port

Can you Walk into Genoa from the Cruise Port?

You can walk into Genoa from the cruise port, which will take roughly 15 minutes. Alternatively, the port has many transportation options. Such as taxi ranks, metro stops, and local buses that will take you into the city centre or the old port. You will find many restaurants, museums, and other great attractions.

Beaches Near the Cruise Port in Genoa, Italy

One of our favourite things to do when we dock in a new country or city is to visit the beach. And with over 18 miles of coastline, various beaches in Genoa are ready for you to explore—many of which are within walking distance of the city centre. 

The area of Genoa and the Cinque Terre region, otherwise known as the Italian Riviera. And if sitting on the beach isn’t your idea of a fun time, there are activities, restaurants, and amenities nearby that will entertain you for hours. 

Vernazzola Beach

Vernazzola is one of the best beaches in Genoa for families with kids, as the water is mostly calm and suitable for swimming. Occasionally, the sea can get a little rough, but for the most part, the bay protects the area making it an ideal spot for an afternoon on the sand. 

Boccadasse Beach

A smaller but more lively beach is Boccadasse Beach which has restaurants and bars just a short walk away from the pebbly sand. However, the pebbles at the beach aren’t the most appealing to sit on. Sadly, many beaches in Genoa are pebbly—when the sea isn’t too rough, Boccadasse is a great place to go snorkelling to see some of Italy’s underwater marine life. 

Fishing houses of Boccadasse Genoa view of coloured hoses and boats

Bagni Europa SncBagni Italia Genova, and Spiaggia Pubblica are other beaches in the Genoa area. However, the waters can be choppy, so if you have young children, that is something to remember.

Boccadasse beach promenade sea front
Boccadasse beach promenade sea front

Museums in Genoa

Museum-lovers will be happy to know that Genoa is home to more than a dozen interesting museums. Some focus on naval history, and others showcase paintings and artefacts from the middle ages. 

  • Galata Museo Del Mare Genoa: Maritime museum with old ships, boats, and educational exhibitions.
  • Royal Palace Museum Genoa: An extraordinary palace with sculptures, paintings, marble and fabrics.
  • Strada Nuova Museums Genoa: Paintings and artwork from world-famous painters. 
  • Palazzo Spinola National Gallery Genoa: Art artefacts and paintings from the middle ages.
  • National Gallery of the Spinola Palace: Frescoes, paintings, sculptures, furniture, ceramics and geographic maps.
corner of the Giacomo Doria Museum of
Natural History
Giacomo Doria Museum of Natural History

Palaces to Visit in Genoa Near the Cruise Port

Thanks to Genoa’s rich history, the city has some of the most spectacular palaces you’ll ever see. 42 of the 150 Palazzi dei Rolli palaces are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Many palaces are privately owned (wouldn’t that be nice?), but a handful are within walking distance of one another are must-dos during your time in Genoa. Some of the most famous Museums to vivit are along the street named via Giuseppe Garibaldi.

Palazzo Ducale

Palazzo Ducale is located in the iconic square of Piazza de Ferrari. The palace features an open-air cafe, temporary art, and exhibits. The tower was once used as a prison.

Palazzo Ducale in Piazza De Ferrari
Palazzo Ducale in Piazza De Ferrari

The Palazzo Rosso

Palazzo Rosso is one of the city’s most preserved palaces along via Giuseppe Garibaldi. There are 3 museums to visit with the Rosso these include Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Doria-Tursi. With one ticket to the Strada Nuova Museums, you can stroll around all three museums to see the beautiful finishings, carvings, and artwork that lie inside. It truly is stunning!

Inside the Palazzo Rosso in Genoa beautiful painted walls
Palazzo Rosso

Palazzo Spinola

The 16th-century palazzo Spinola was commissioned by Francesco Grimaldi. It has been home to the National Gallery since1958. Sadly, the top two original floors of the Palazzo Spinola were destroyed by a bomb during World War II. But this resulted in a restoration project that transformed them into the art museum—the National Gallery Liguria. 

Palazzo in  Genoa

Palazzo San Giorgio

The Palace of St. George (Palazzo San Giorgio) has a frescoed exterior that alone is worth visiting. Built-in 1290, the palace has a notable history as it was constructed with materials from the Venetian embassy. It even held Marco Polo prisoner and wrote his travelogue from 1296 to 1299 after he commanded a war against Genoa. 

Shopping and Dining Near Genoa Cruise Port

As Genoa is one of the busiest ports, you can best believe there are plenty of shops and restaurants for your family to choose from. 

Some of the best shopping streets in the city are Galleria MazziniVia Roma, and Via XX Settembre, which include boutiques and well-known fashion brands. 

In terms of restaurants, you’ll find options that will appeal to every palette, from Michelin-starred fine dining to restaurants serving Genoa’s famous pesto pasta. You’ll be spoilt for choice as soon as you leave the port. Small side alleys offer pizzas and the regions famous foccia bread to take away.

Pizzas in Genoa

Exploring the Old Town/Old Port

The beauty of cruises is that you can typically book onto-shore excursions at the cruise terminal. We regularly check out what the cruise line offers, as you’re met with a guide who knows their stuff about the area you’re visiting. However, if you prefer to wing it and explore Genoa on your terms, Then there are plenty of things to do in the Old Town which will entertain everyone in your family. 

Centuries ago, the Old Port was the hub for all things commercial trade in Genoa, but today, the area has been completely transformed to house attractions, restaurants, and shops for visitors and locals to relish. 

Genoa Aquarium 

One of the best kid-friendly activities in Genoa’s Old Town is the Genoa Aquarium, also known as the Acquario di Genova. You’ll find the aquarium in Porto Antico, and let me tell you, you won’t be disappointed. 

The Acquario di Genoa is the largest aquarium in Europe, spanning 27,000 square meters with 39 tanks, 15,000 specimens and over 400 species.

view of the outside of Genoa Aquarium

House of Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus, one of the most famous explorers of all time, was born in Genoa, Italy, in 1451 and went on to discover America. The house museum where grew up in the eighteenth century has been reconstructed and is now open to the public. Thus allowing you to learn more about the life and discoveries of the dedicated traveller. 

Piazza De Ferrari

Piazza De Ferrari is Genoa’s main square with a spectacular bronze fountain and surrounding well-known buildings like the Palazzo Ducale, Palazzo della Regione Liguria, and the Carlo Felice Theater. 

Palazzo Ducale in Piazza De Ferrari
Palazzo Ducale in Piazza De Ferrari

Porta Soprana

History buffs look no further than the Porta Soprana, which dates back to the 9th and 10th centuries. This towering entrance door is the only one in the city, leading visitors to the historic Genoa city centre. It’s a landmark you’ll likely pass on your travels, so look out for it.

Porto Soprana Genoa
Porto Soprana Genoa

San Lorenzo Cathedral

We do appreciate a cathedral, especially when it is as beautiful as the San Lorenzo Cathedral. Dating back to the 12th century, the San Lorenzo Cathedral is the most crucial church in Genoa, and inside, you can take in the beauty of the historic building or head down into the basement to visit the Museum of Treasure, which contains relics of the saint himself. 

Via Garibaldi

The Via Garibaldi is where you’ll find the most extravagant palaces and architecture in Genoa. And even if you don’t intend on visiting the palaces, the narrow streets of Garibaldi are worth visiting on their own. You can even stop for a coffee at one of the cafes to sit back and enjoy your surroundings.

Palazzo Rosso in via Giuseppe Garibaldi
Palazzo Rosso in via Giuseppe Garibaldi

Portofino

The port of Portofino is a half-moon-shaped seaside village with a beautiful harbour and a stunning waterfront.

Portofino has quickly become a popular destination for the rich and famous. And although it’s a 50-minute drive to the village from Genoa, it is well worth it. After all, you may catch a glimpse of your favourite celebrity. 

Santa Margherita

If you’ve decided to visit Portofino, check out the neighbouring city of Santa Margherita. Santa Margherita is home to one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline. Dotted with quaint fishing villages, and succulent red shrimp that chefs toss in linguine. It doesn’t get much better than that.

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    Donna and Sarah ( Cruising For All ) Sarah Christie and Donna Vallance are experienced travel writers and cruise enthusiasts specializing in cruising. They are passionate about exploring new destinations and have dedicated themselves to sharing their knowledge and insights with fellow travellers. They provide valuable information, tips, and recommendations for all cruisers. They strive to make cruising accessible and enjoyable for everyone, regardless of their interests, budgets, or accessibility needs. Their articles and reviews are well-researched, comprehensive, and written to help readers make informed decisions and have unforgettable cruise adventures.

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