La Spezia Cruise Port Guide

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This La Spezia Cruise Port Guide will help you navigate your way around this beautiful part of Tuscany next time you visit by cruise ship. The historic city of La Spezia is a 2 km walk from Molo Garibaldi port. You can wander around the town or get an independent tour, taxi or train to visit some of the most beautiful locations in Italy. From La Spezia, you can visit Pisa, Florence, Lucca, Genoa, Portofino or even Cinque Terra easily. La Spezia is an excellent Port to capture the beauty of Italian Cities which are roughly an hour’s drive from the port.

How to get into La Spezia town from the port?

If your ship does dock at the La Spezia cruise terminal, then we highly suggest making a plan so you don’t miss out on everything the city has to offer. So with the help of our professional cruising knowledge, this La Spezia Cruise Port Guide will assist you in navigating your way around this beautiful part of Tuscany.

The historic city center of La Spezia is a 2 km walk from Molo Garibaldi port. So it is possible to wander to and around the town on foot. Your cruise ship will also offer a free shuttle bus from the port. 

The free 5-minute shuttle bus service in La Spezia port from your cruise ship takes just a few minutes.

Once the shuttle bus has dropped you off, you will see many taxis waiting outside. From here you can either walk to the station, which takes about 25 minutes or get a taxi which will cost you €15.

There are small little train carts through La Spezia that do guided tours. The trains wait at the exit of the port. You can then take a look around the market and wander in the streets before getting a cart train back to the port.

Vezzano Ligure near La Spezia coat Italy
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Find out what to do in La Spezia Cruise Port in this Guide to navigating around this Tuscan City.

La Spezia and its natural harbour is the main naval port in the Liguria region and a vital cruise port which welcomes Mediterranean cruise ships with passengers eager to see the beauty of Italy for themselves. 

With so many incredible places to visit and world-famous attractions that will truly take your breath away, you really will be spoilt for choice when choosing shore excursions and self-toured adventures. 

What is in the Port of La Spezia? 

Although many people venture off to La Spezia’s neighbouring cities like Pisa and Florence, there are actually plenty of things to see and do in the port for those who don’t want to venture too far from the ship. 

La Spezia is an excellent Port to capture the beauty of Italy. Here are the best places to visit during your stop in La Spezia.

La Spezia boasts a rich history with dozens of historical monuments and castles. And the best part? They’re just a stone’s throw away from the cruise port. 

One of the most iconic landmarks is the Castello San Giorgio, located in the heart of the old town. The castle sits on top of a hill which offers incredible views of the city, the port, and the surrounding mountains. Niccolo Fieschi first built the castle in the 13th century. But it was sadly destroyed and replaced with the current fortification in the 14th century. The castle now also has an archaeological museum with sculptures, artefacts, and exhibits.  

Another La Spezia landmark is the Cathedral of Christ the King (Cattedrale di Cristo Re) which is roughly 2.5 km from the port. This fairly modern cathedral—dating back to 1975—is one of the most unique cathedrals you’ll ever lay your eyes on due to its circular form that stands out amongst La Spezia’s more traditional buildings.

The Santa Maria Assunta, which is home to an impressive collection of artwork. And the city’s parks, Parco Salvador Allende and Giardini Pubblici, which feature a monument of Giuseppe Garibaldi, are other great attractions in the area that you should add to your La Spezia itinerary. 

So whether you shop down Via del Prione, eat your body weight’s worth of authentic Italian cuisine, or tick off all the city’s historical landmarks, you should definitely consider a day out in La Spezia.

How to navigate your way around the Tuscan City

If you’re planning to visit places like Pisa, Florence, or Cinque Terra, then independent tours, taxis, or trains from the La Spezia Centrale train station are readily available. All forms of transport have their benefits. So it really comes down to your budget and how many attractions you want to tick off during your day in Italy. 

What shore or independent excursions can I do from La Spezia?

Explore Florence

The La Spezia cruise port is a popular port stop thanks to being so close to Florence, one of Italy’s most visited areas, in just under two hours away. Florence is the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region and is home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and beautiful architecture.

There are so many things to see and do in Florence that you certainly won’t be able to do it all in one day.

Visit one of the iconic sights such as the Duomo, a cathedral and Michelangelo’s David or spend your day eating pizza and Gelato, either way you will be in awe. You can visit Florence by train, taxi, or excursion. But if you aren’t booking onto a shore excursion which takes you around all the landmarks, then here are some of the top things to do in Florence

  • Duomo Cathedral – The Duomo Cathedral dates back to the 13th century and is one of Florence’s most spectacular sights. And its red-tiled dome is what it’s most known for. The Duomo is free to enter. However, as it is a popular attraction, you can expect long queues at the entrance. While at the Duomo, be sure to check out the Giotto’s Bell Tower, which stands 277.9 ft tall.
  • Uffizi Gallery – The Uffizi Gallary is an art gallery in a beautiful 16th-century Renaissance palace. Filled with collections from famous artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Giotto, it’s a must-visit attraction for art and architecture lovers. 
  • Piazza della Signoria – The Palazzo Vecchio dominates Florence’a main square, Piazza della Signoria.. However, there are also restaurants, shops, and historic landmarks for visitors to look at. 
  • Ponte Vecchio – A short walk from the Piazza della Signoria is the Ponte Vecchio. The Ponte Vecchio is a bridge over the Arno River—the only bridge across the Arno that the Germans in World War II didn’t destroy. 
  • Piazzale Michelangelo – The Piazzale Michelangelo offers a 360-degree view of Florence and has replicas of Michelangelo’s statues throughout the grounds.

Find out what you can do with children in Florence with Cruising with Kids here.

How To Get From La Spezia Cruise Port To Florence

You can get from La Spezia to Florence by car, train, or bus. However, we recommend booking a shore excursion. As Florence is a four-hour round-trip journey, it limits the amount of time you can spend in the city. By booking a shore excursion, you’ll get to see all of Florence’s top attractions all in one go.

The Duomo - Florence with toddlers

 Pisa

Pisa is an hour’s south of La Spezia and is home to one of the most famous landmarks in the world. The most well-known place in Pisa is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Hop on the Flixbus from La Spezia, which takes 1hr 15 minutes and costs approximately €8.
The return bus leaves around 16.30 and will have you back in La Spezia by 17.45.

Many of the taxis offer tours so it is always a good idea to check a price with a driver. We paid €200 for a round trip to Pisa, where the driver waited for us for 2 hours before returning us to the port. It is worth bartering with the Taxi drivers for a better deal or sharing with another passenger.

Things to Do in Pisa

Of course, the main reason why people choose to visit Pisa is to see the famous leaning tower. But there are other attractions in the area that make Pisa a fantastic choice for those docking in La Spezia.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa in the Square of Miracles guide to la Spezia

  • Climb the Leaning Tower of Pizza – The leaning tower dominates the Square of Miracles. And it is actually the bell tower of the cathedral that stands beside it. The tower was built in the 12th and 13th centuries. And the architects who built it never intended for it to lean. 
  • Pisa Cathedral – Construction of The Pisa Cathedral, or Cattedrale di Pisa, began in 1063. And is one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in Pisa. Although its bell tower quickly became the star of the show, the Pisa Cathedral, with its classical, Lombard-Emilian, Byzantine, and Islamic styles, is an attraction that you won’t want to miss.
  • Pisa Baptistery – The Pisa Baptistery is a 54-meter tall, circular-shaped building that sits right beside the Leaning Tower of Pisa. And just like the other buildings in the area, its architecture is incredibly impressive. Plus, much like its famous neighbour, the Pisa Baptistery leans too! 
  • Camposanto – Also in the same complex as the Leaning Tower of Pisa is the Campostano, a 1277 cemetery. Many famous and influential people are buried in the Campostano, including Fibonacci, the famous mathematician.
View from the top of the leaning tower of Pisa

Cinque Terre ( Five Lands )

In 1997  villages of Cinque Terre were designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

You can visit the 5 villages of Cinque Terre by train. Buy a Cinque Terre pass for €16 at the station and make sure you validate it at before travel. You could visit Portofino first, then on the way back, visit all of the towns in Cinque Terre.

Cinque Terre is beautiful and well worth a visit. There are many steps in and around the town so it may not be suitable for small children or buggies.

You can find the Cinque Terre train timetable here.

Things to Do in Cinque Terre


The five villages that are connected by footpaths are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. And all five of them are absolutely stunning. There is also a nearby town of Portovenere, which isn’t included in the five villages but is equally as beautiful.

Sadly, you won’t get to explore all five villages in one day. But as each boasts an interesting history. And with plenty of shops, restaurants, and historic landmarks, your day will be jam-packed with activities. 

The most popular thing to do in Cinque Terre is to hike one of the many hiking trails. You will need to purchase a Cinque Terre Trekking Card for 7.50€ per adult and 4.50€ per child. Monterosso to Vernazza and Vernazza to Corniglia are two of the most popular hikes that the ticket covers.

If you do plan on visiting Cinque Terre, we highly recommend booking a shore excursion with your cruise ship, as the excursion will show you all of Cinque Terre’s highlights. Many of the excursions will be by boat. So you get some of the most incredible coastal views of Cinque Terre and the surrounding area.

A view of Cinque terra
Image by Ngrigor from Pixabay

Lucca

Lucia is a well-loved Tuscan city. It is surrounded by walls that were once used as defence and first built as early as 200 BC. The walls we see today remain intact and date from later in 1513.  As the walls lost their military importance, the top of the walls became a popular promenade for pedestrians. This today is one of Lucca’s main attractions, ‘the green walls’.

How To Get From La Spezia Cruise Port To Lucca


A train to Lucca takes around 1hr and costs around €8, it is really easy and the perfect opportunity to discover this beautiful city.

Things to Do in Lucca


Due to the fact that Lucca is nestled at the bottom of the Apuan Alps, it is one of the best locations in Italy for those with walking difficulties. Here are some of the area’s most popular attractions: 

  • The Green Walls – The Green Walls that were built on top of Lucca’s 16th-century Renaissance walls offer panoramic views of the city. And are fully accessible by foot or by bike. You can rent a bike in Lucca for 3€ per hour, or you can choose to sit at one of the many benches to take it all in.
  • St. Michael’s Church – St. Michael’s Church—also known as San Michele al Foro or il Duomo—dates back to the 11th century. However, it has been renovated over the centuries. The church’s Romanesque architecture and its artworks and masterpieces make it a top attraction in Lucca—one you should visit while spending the day in the city. 
  • Piazza dell’ Anfiteatro – The Piazza dell’ Anfiteatro was once an ancient Roman amphitheatre. However, nowadays, it is filled with old buildings, shops, and restaurants, still keeping the amphitheatre’s oval shape. 
The churches of Lucca Italy
Image by Sabine Rabenberger from Pixabay

Porto Venere

Porto Venere is the town near Cinque Terre that we mentioned previously. Located on the Ligurian coast of Italy in the province of La Spezia, Porto Venere deserved its own mention as there are so many great things to see and do. Plus, just like Cinque Terre, Porto Venere is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site which only confirms that it is a must-visit area when docking in La Spezia. 

How To Get From La Spezia Cruise Port To Porto Venere


If you walk down to the harbour of La Spezia, you can catch a 30-minute ferry to Porto Venere. A ferry ride is definitely the more scenic route; however, you can go by train.

Things to Do in Porto Venere

Porto Venere is known as the Gulf of Poets, with many destinations once being favoured spots by famous poets like Lord Byron. One such spot is the observation deck next to Grotta Arpaia, which is now referred to as Bryon’s Grotto.

  • San Pietro Church – At the end of Porto Venere’s promenade is the Church of San Pietro. The church looks similar to a castle. And will be one of the first landmarks you see when visiting Porto Venere by ferry. The church was consecrated in 1198 and now hosts a statue of Saint Peter.
  • Shop at Carugio – Carugio is a street in Porto Venere that boasts dozens of shops for you to explore. 
  • Doria Castle – Doria Castle is a majestic fortress that has steep, narrow staircases leading up to its entrance. Although the castle once played an important role during the Genoa Republic, it now offers incredible views of Porto Venere with panoramic paths that run between it and the Church of San Pietro. 
  • Hit the beach – If you prefer to kick back and relax, then Porto Venere also has some great beaches like Spiaggia dell’Olivo, Spiaggia Mirella, and Spiaggia dell’Arenella.
Porto Venere , things to do in La Spezia Image by Inglesider from Pixabay
Image by Inglesider from Pixabay

Portofino

Visiting Portofino, Italy, is like stepping into a postcard-perfect Mediterranean village. This picturesque fishing village is nestled along the Italian Riviera and is known for its stunning natural beauty, colourful buildings, and upscale atmosphere. The town is very small and will will not take long to look around but it is worth it as it is so beautiful.

How to get to Portofino

Portofino is located on the Ligurian coast of Italy, approximately 35 kilometres (22 miles) southeast of Genoa. The best way to arrive in Portofino is by boat from one of the neighbouring villages such as Santa Margherita Ligure or Rapello. You can see the boat time tables here.

The nearest major airport is Genoa Cristoforo Colombo Airport, and from there, you can reach Portofino by train, bus, or taxi. From the port of La Spezia it will take approximately 1 hour 25 minutes by train.

The port of Portofino in Italy as seen from a boat

Things to do in Portofino.

  • Explore the Harbor: Start your visit by strolling along the picturesque harbour. Admire the luxury yachts and colourful buildings lining the waterfront.
  • Castello Brown: Visit this historic castle perched on a hill overlooking Portofino. It offers panoramic views of the village and the coastline.
  • San Martino Church: This church is located at the heart of Portofino and is a beautiful example of Italian architecture.
  • Shopping: Portofino has numerous high-end boutiques and shops where you can shop for designer fashion, jewellery, and souvenirs.
  • Hiking: The surrounding hills offer excellent hiking opportunities, with trails leading to scenic viewpoints.

Other useful information.

Cruise lines that go to La Spezia include;

AIDA, Azamara, Celebrity, Costa, Cunard, Marella, MSC, Oceania, P & O, Pullmantur, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, SeaDream, Silversea, Star Clippers, TUI

I hope this handy La Spezia Cruise Port Guide will help you.

Author

  • Donna Vallance

    Donna loves cruising with her husband and two teenage boys. Having cruised with the children from a young age she feels it is the perfect way to experience the world safely. Her boys are social butterfly’s and love meeting other children their own age whilst onboard some of the most extraordinary floating ships. She also writes over at Like Love Do, a travel memoir of her trips, from London to far off beaches. She has an eye for the unusual and like to go off of the beaten track just to find the perfect photo. With a passion for photography and exploring cruising has become the perfect holiday choice.

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