Visiting Genoa on a cruise
The Port of Genoa is one of the cruise ports of the Mediterranean Sea and covers 40% of all traffic. Each year, 1.35 million passengers disembark, disembark and take day trips, vacationing on ships of various companies. This often becomes an opportunity to discover the city, and although free time is usually scarce, you can see the main attractions.
1. Itinerary for a cruise trip
Genoa is a city that has a lot to offer : between museums, palaces, galleries, churches and entertainment you really will be spoilt for choice. However, it will not be possible to see everything during a cruise stop, but it is necessary to prioritize and visit what you like best. Aquarium: 70 tanks, 4 of which are open-air in the Cetacean Pavilion, and 15,000 animals divided into 400 species, including fish, marine mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and invertebrates.
1. Itinerary for the cruise
Distance from the port: 1.5 km, 10 minutes by subway, 18 minutes on foot. Cost from 18,00 to 38,00 euros, depending on the selected admission ticket. Recommended tours: Aquarium of Genoa : priority ticket / guided tour of the Aquarium of Genoa. Biosphere : steel and glass structure adjacent to the Aquarium, which contains a part of the rainforest with more than 150 species of animals and plants.
Distance from the port: 1.5 km, 10 minutes by subway, 18 minutes on foot. Recommended tour : Ticket to Aquarium Village with panoramic elevator. Galata Museo del Mare: the first maritime museum in the Mediterranean Sea with a complete reproduction of a Genoese galleys, in front of the building is the submarine Nazario Sauro. You can visit the submarine Nazario Sauro. Distance from the port: 700 m., 7 minutes on foot.
1. Itinerary for the cruise
Ticket price : 12,00 euro or 17,00 euro with submarine visit. Recommended tour: ticket for Galata Museum and whale watching. Bigo: A panoramic elevator that starts from the ground, rises to a height of 40 meters and rotates to provide a 360° panoramic view of the Ge naya. Distance from the port: 1.4 km, 10 minutes by subway, 18 minutes on foot. Cost: 4,00 €.
Recommended tour: ticket to the Aquarium Village with panoramic elevator. Historical center: characterized by typical Carrugi, picturesque streets of medieval origin that will lead you to the main beauties of Genoa. Distance from the port: 1.3 km, 13 minutes walk, 10 minutes by subway. Recommended tour: 2-hour guided tour of the historic center / 2-hour tour of ancient Genoa with an audioguide. San Lorenzo Cathedral: also called the Duomo of Genoa, characterized by a typical medieval nave, inside there is the Museum of the Treasure. Distance from the port: 1.9 km, 10 minutes by subway, 25 minutes on foot. Entrance fee 6,00 euros.
Piazza de Ferrari: the most beautiful and important square in Genoa, dominated by the Carlo Felice theater and the Palace of the Linguistic Academy of Fine Arts, with a monumental bronze fountain in the center. Distance from the center: 2.8 km, 13 minutes by subway, 45 minutes on foot. House of Christopher Columbus: near Porta Soprana the house has 2 floors and the lower floor once housed his father’s store and the upper floor a house. Distance from the center: 2,2 km, 15 minutes by metro, 35 minutes on foot. Price: 5,00 €.
1. Itinerary for the cruise
Recommended tour: the museum card is valid for 24-48 hours. Palazzo dei Rolli: noble residence of the nobility with 14 buildings which today house the town hall, public and private offices, banks and some cultural clubs. Very interesting is the Royal Palace Museum. Distance from the port: 1,6 km, 13 minutes by subway, 15 minutes on foot. Price: 6,00 €
2. What to see in half a day
Genoa Aquarium and Biosphere . As soon as you disembark from the cruise liner in the port, go immediately to the Aquarium, a must-see in Genoa . It’s very easy to get there: take the metro, the red MM line, which from the Principe stop, just 350 meters from the port, leads to the San Giorgio station, which is a 2-minute walk from the Aquarium entrance. The visit, including the Biosphere, will take you about 2 and a half hours, but it is worth it.
Bigo’s Panoramic Elevator. After visiting the Aquarium, it is advisable to visit an attraction that is very close, just a 2-minute walk, via Calata Falcone and Borsellino. We are talking about the Bigo, a panoramic elevator that every 10 minutes allows you to climb to a height of 40 meters and enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of Genoa. In this way, you can admire almost the entire city. Carrugi, Piazza de Ferrari, Palazzo dei Rolli.
2. What to see in half a day
From Bigo, in 6 minutes on foot you will reach the Carrugi neighborhood with its historic stores, fishmongers, and pasta mills. On foot you will also reach Piazza de Ferrari with its beautiful fountain, the Theater and the Academy. Continue along Via Garibaldi and in 12 minutes you will reach the Palazzi dei Rolli, declared a World Heritage Site. From there, to return to your cruise terminal, you can take the metro, which from Darsena station will take you in about 2 minutes to the Principe stop, which is a 4-minute walk from the airport . Bottom line: Walked distance: 4.9 km / 1 h and 2 m.
2. What to see in half a day
Places to visit: Aquarium (cost from 18.00 to 25.00 euros), Biosphere (cost included in the ticket to the Aquarium), Bigo (cost 4.00 euros), Carroogi, Piazza Ferrari, Palazzo Rolli . Recommended cards, tickets and tours: Aquarium of Genoa, priority ticket. Tour of Genoa by tourist bus, ticket valid for 24 hours. 2-hour guided tour of the historic center. Where to eat: if you want to sit and eat in comfort in a panoramic re-style restaurant serving fresh fish and very interesting menus, you can visit the Marin restaurant inside the Eataly , which boasts a large exclusive window overlooking the sea and Porto Antico (average price € 40,00 – lay it out). If you are looking for a simpler place, where you can have a quick snack based on sandwiches stuffed with fresh fish, visit Panino Marino, also near the old port (average price € 16,00).
3. tours and excursions for the cruise
Genoa tour bus: cost, route and stops. For those who are short of time and want to get an idea of the city, you can visit Genoa on typical double-decker buses with panoramic views. In 1 hour you can admire the main historical and artistic points of interest: Piazza del Load with a view of the ancient port and the Aquarium, Piazza Fontane Marose, Piazza Ferrari, Genoa Brignole and the famous Genova Principe station. Great service also for those traveling by cruise, because you can get off and on the bus as many times as you want.
3. tours and excursions for the cruise trip
Stages: Piazza Loading with views of the ancient port and Aquarium, Piazza Fontane Marose, Piazza Ferrari, Genova Brignole and the famous Genova Principe station. Cost: about 15,00 €. Tickets and excursions: Tourist bus transfer in Genoa; the ticket is valid in 24 hours.
4. Useful tips
– If you plan to use more than one means of transportation, buy a 24-hour card that allows you to use an unlimited number of buses and metro; – Having little time, it is advisable to buy tickets in advance; – If you are not too keen on walking or organizing your routes, you can go sightseeing in the city by tourist bus;
4. Useful tips
– If you want to see a lot of sights, avoid museums that take a long time – treat yourself to a short lunch break so you do not lose too much time – determine your route before you get off the ship to optimize your time – if you are already familiar with Genoa and the historical center, take your time to visit the museum or the aquarium.
5. Genoa cruise terminals and how to get to the center
In Genoa, cruise ships dock at two terminals. The Ponte dei Mille terminal is the jewel of Genoa. It is located where once were the passenger halls of the historic maritime station, founded in 1930. Three ships can stop there at the same time. The terminal of Ponte Andrea Doria, 200 meters from the previous terminal, is 11,000 square meters, built on two levels and can receive 2 ships.
5. Terminals for cruises in Genoa and how to get to the center
How to get from the port of Genoa to the center: Distance from the center: 1,5 km. How to get there on foot: the historical center can be reached in about 20 minutes. How to get there by subway: next to the sea station there is MM Brignole station, from where you can reach San Giorgio station in 3 minutes, close to the historic center (one-way fare 1,60 euro, 24h ticket 4,50 euro). How to get there by bus: the bus leaves from the Gramsci stop 350 meters from the port and in 10 minutes arrives at the historic center, stop Dante 1 / DE Ferrari (one way trip € 1.60, 24h ticket € 4.50). To try to optimize time and see as many things as possible, it may be advisable, move both on foot and by public transport. The old port area can be reached quickly by foot, to the historic center, it is better to take the subway.
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Cruise port of Genoa
Where is the cruise port of Genoa
The distance from the Genoa Cruise Terminal to the city center is quite short, but it’s in an industrial area near the highway.
If you have a lot of luggage, a cab is your best option. For light travelers, the walk to town will take 5-10 minutes and will depend on where you dock.
The old and very elegant terminal has just recently been renovated.
How to get from Milan Malpensa Airport to Genoa
The bus leaves daily at 12:30 and arrives at Genoa Principe station at 15:30. From there you can take a cab to the cruise terminal. The cost is 25 euros, if you buy a ticket from the driver 3 euros more.
The second option is to take a train. To do this, you first need to go to Milan’s central station. The shuttle bus to the central station of Milan runs every 20 minutes and the road takes about 50 minutes. Then take a train. Milan-Genoa train schedule can be found here. Travel time is 1.5-2 hours, depending on the type of train. Trains go frequently and cost from 9 euros.
How to get from Milan Linate Airport to Genoa
The best way is to take a shuttle to Milan Central Station, and from there take a train to Genoa (see the variant above).
Note: During the cold months fog reigns in the area between Milan and Genoa. Because of them, airports are often delayed/cancelled flights and traffic slows down.
How to get from Nice airport to Genoa
There is a bus from Terminal 1 of Nice Airport to Genoa. Cost from 9 euros, travel time 3 hours.
How to get from Genoa Airport to the cruise port
It’s not far to the cruise terminal, so the easiest way is to take a cab. A cab to the central station of Genoa Piazza Principe costs about 7-8 euros per person if there are 4 people going or about 30 euros for a car (according to the counter).
There is a Volabus bus to the central station of Genoa from the airport, the fare is 6 euros. The last departures from the airport are at 23:15 and 00:20.
What to see in Genoa on a cruise
Genoa is MSC’s base port and is usually the port of embarkation or disembarkation, so it is not a priority for a land tour. What is one piece of advice? Spend a day before or after your cruise to visit the city. It’s well worth it!
When looking from afar at the cityscape of Genoa, rising up the steep green hillside directly from the Ligurian Sea, it seems to float on the surface of the water and painted in colors associated with the Mediterranean: ochre, pink and red. It is a large city, its population exceeds 600 thousand people, but it has a typical provincial layout and is convenient for walking.
Genoa, located in the north-west of the country, was among the European capitals of culture along with Lille in 2004. In the 13th century it was one of the five Italian seaside republics. Its center consists of beautiful late Renaissance palaces and churches and the winding streets of the old city around the port.
Historically, Genoa began at Lanterna (Lanterna). Later it was surrounded by a gradually developing city, taking over the surrounding areas. In front of the Maritime Station (Stazione Marittima) you will find the splendid Palazzo Doria Pamphily del Principe, which was the residence of the great Admiral Andrea Doria. Continue on your way to the train station of Principe, where the journey to the largest historic center of Europe begins.
Visit the old port, not far from the cruise terminal where many of today’s liners are docked. What was once a squalid coastal area of Northern Italy is now a lovely mix of old and new buildings. There are restaurants, cafes, a complex of cinemas, a maritime museum, an exciting arcade and cultural center for children and, most importantly, Europe’s largest aquarium.
Genoa Aquarium (Acquario di Genova) is the first largest in Italy and second – after Valencia – in Europe. It is one of the most visited places in Italy. Huge containers reproduce the underwater world of the Mediterranean Sea and oceans, they contain over 600 species of living creatures. You can buy tickets online
The Galata Maritime Museum (Galata Museo di Genova) shows the evolution of the port and the city from the late Middle Ages to the present. In the “storm room” (Sala della Tempesta) a ship simulator allows visitors to experience the horror of traveling in a small ship through a storm. The museum is just a five-minute walk from the dock.
From the old port head east to the Historic Center . It represents the best example of a fully preserved medieval city in Europe and the Mediterranean region. Much of it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk to the San Lorenzo market square (piazza San Lorenzo), the only large open space among the dense network of carrugi, the Genoese alleys. Here is the Gothic style cathedral, dedicated to San Lorenzo and dating back to the XIII century. Interesting thing: there is a model of a huge bomb that hit the church during the 1942 bombing, but never exploded.
The Ducal Palace (Palazzo Ducale) has served as the residence of the Doge since 1339. It is now an excellent venue for major events and prestigious occasions. The Ducal Palace is one of the most fascinating symbols of Genoa.
The sumptuous Rococo rooms of the Palazzo Reale serve as a splendid exhibition hall for paintings, sculptures, tapestries and Asian ceramics. The Palace of the XVII century, also known as the Palazzo Balbi Durazzo, was built by a very rich Genoese family of merchants Balbi.
La Lanterna is the symbol of Genoa and the most important lighthouse of the city. It is a 77-meter tower, consisting of two square in section and approximately equal in height blocks. Both parts are surrounded by projecting balconies.
Lanterna is built on a 40-meter cliff, which means that its roof is 177 meters above sea level. Its light can be seen from a distance of more than 50 meters. Lanterna has been welcoming ships and boats and bringing them to the bay for centuries.
Information about the tourist office of Genoa can be found here.
Routes, excursions, transport in the port of Genoa
The single-decker buses for excursions with free entrance and exit, stop right at the cruise terminal.
There are 3 different funicular systems in Genoa, from which you can enjoy a splendid view of the hills surrounding the city.
A day ticket for a city bus costs only 4,5 Euros.
Shopping in Genoa
Genoa’s main shopping areas are in the streets that run from Piazza De Ferrari. The best boutiques and fashion stores can be found on Via XX September, Via Roma and in the elegant Galleria Mazzini. Those looking for stylish pieces with less shocking price tags should head to via San Luca for boutiques selling trendy Italian clothes and accessories for young people.
Cuisine of Genoa
Genoa is famous for its pesto sauce (basil, pine nuts, garlic and Parmesan), usually served with trenette or pasta trofia made with potatoes and green beans. Here, as in any port city, there are some good seafood dishes, for example, buridda – fish in pots. Genoa-style chima is a veal breast stuffed with offal, herbs, vegetables and pine nuts, served cold.
Nights in Genoa are lively and vibrant. Crowds of people literally occupy the streets of the old city, where in recent years open places for every taste: American bars, pubs, blues clubs, piano bars, cabarets. Here you can find venues offering music in a wide variety of genres, from jazz to rap and from fusion to art song.
The promenade of Corso Italia is lined with cozy nightclubs overlooking the sea. In summer, the private beaches host shows or are transformed into music clubs. Of course there are also discotheques, often with great outdoor terraces. For all who crave unusual parties, there are ultra-fashionable clubs and theatrical performances in the “off” style.
Where to stay before and after the cruise?
For a stopover in port before your cruise, try Airbnb, where you can rent a full apartment for the price of a hotel room. By registering at our link you will receive a coupon for 2100 rubles for your first stay from 4500 rubles!
If you’re not yet familiar with the service, read about our personal experience with Airbnb.