Skydiving – 1 Day in Genoa: The Perfect Genoa Itinerary

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There’s certainly no shortage of great places to visit in Italy. With so many interesting cities to choose from for a vacation, destinations like Genoa go mostly overlooked – which is a shame, as this port city is full of personality and surprises. Thanks to its long maritime history, Genoa enjoyed great prosperity in its heyday, and it has the palaces and other historic attractions to show for it.

Perhaps the best thing about a trip to Genoa is that you don’t need to invest a lot of time if you know what you’re looking for. This Genoa itinerary will lead you around the city, efficiently showing you the best places to visit in Genoa along the way. That way, you can spend just one day in Genoa and still get to know the city and enjoy its main sights with ease.

Best Time to Visit Genoa

To get the most out of your visit to Genoa, you’ll need to go at the right time. Weather and tourist numbers can drastically affect the experience, so you’ll want to balance these considerations while fitting in Genoa with your other travel plans.

As with much of Italy, the busiest time to visit Genoa is the summer – June, July, and August. This is when the city experiences its warmest weather, but it’s also when accommodations are most expensive. On the other hand, if you visit in the wintertime, you can expect relatively cold weather, plenty of rain, and some closed attractions. 

In general, the best time to visit Genoa is the shoulder season. From April to June and again in September and October, you can expect pleasant weather for outdoor sightseeing and fewer tourists competing for space.

How to Get Around Genoa

Genoa is a large port city spread across a hilly landscape, so it pays to know the best ways to get around. While visiting Genoa, you’ll likely spend most of your time around the Old Town, where walking is a viable option for getting about. But that won’t always be the case, so it’s worth getting to know Genoa’s public transport system.

To get around Genoa on public transport, you have the choice of buses, the metro, elevators, and even two funiculars. The metro will probably be the most useful to you, as it connects the main train station and harbor with the Old Town. But the elevators and funiculars will make reaching higher parts of the city much easier, saving you a lot of uphill walking. Prices start at €1.50 (about $1.60) for a single ticket, which is valid for 100 minutes across the entire urban network.

Another great way to get around for tourists is on the Hop-on Hop-off bus that traverses the city. The bus stops at all of the important attractions in the city and with a 24 hour ticket you can hop-on and off where and whenever you like. You can buy your Hop-on Hop-off bus ticket here.

Bus station at Piazza de Ferrari in Genoa, Italy
Boryana Manzurova /

Where to Stay in Genoa

An important step in planning your Genoa trip is figuring out where to stay. Since Italy is such a popular tourist destination, it’s best to organize your accommodations as far in advance as you can. After all, you want as many options as possible when picking where to stay in Genoa, ensuring you find somewhere within your budget that suits you.

Location is certainly an important factor to keep in mind. Ideally, you should stay in or close to the Old Town. Staying near the harbor is another good option, especially with the local metro that runs there.

You can really live it up at the Meliá Genova, one of the best places to stay in Genoa. This five-star hotel in the heart of the city features beautifully appointed rooms, an indoor swimming pool, a wellness center, and a Turkish bath. 

For a balance of affordability and quality, check out the B&B Hotel Genova. Along with its clean and stylish rooms, this three-star hotel offers easy access to public transport near the Palazzo Reale.

Genoa isn’t exactly a cheap destination, which makes the Ostellin Genoa Hostel one of your best options if you’re looking for budget accommodations. This colorful hostel offers both dorms and private rooms, a useful kitchen, and friendly staff. Of course, Airbnb is also a good place to look for lodgings across the budget spectrum.

For more accommodation options in Genoa, check out This site consistently offers the best rates, and its customer service is on point.

The Perfect 1-Day Genoa Itinerary

While you only need one day to take in the best of Genoa, don’t underestimate its appeal: This port city is full of history and culture just waiting to be explored. All the best things to do in Genoa reveal the city’s grand heritage and show off its prettier side. To cover all that, you’ll end up experiencing various neighborhoods across the city, from down in the harbor to up in the hills. 

However, before we get to our Genoa itinerary, we just wanted to remind you to purchase travel insurance. You never know what will happen and, trust us, you do not want to get stuck with thousands of dollars in medical bills. As a wise man once said, “If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.” So don’t leave home without it.

SafetyWing offers travel insurance for only about $10 a week, making it a no-brainer to get. You can get a quick, non-binding quote below:

SafetyWing is, of course, not the only option available. Two other popular alternatives are World Nomads and Heymondo.

With that important matter covered, let’s get into this Genoa travel itinerary, which will show you what to do in Genoa in one day to experience the city properly.

Recommendation: Join a guided walking tour to discover the many treasures of Genoa’s historic city center. You’ll get to follow the labyrinth of narrow alleys through the city, visit the splendid Palazzi dei Rolli, and admire the artworks at the Strada Nuova Museums. You can book this two-hour walking tour here.

Old Town

The ideal place to begin your visit is the medieval center of Genoa, which is full of narrow lanes and faded building facades that showcase its long history. Unlike some city centers, this part of Genoa is still mostly residential, but it’s also home to plenty of cafes, bars, and shops. 

While you should feel free to aimlessly explore the Old Town, there are some places you won’t want to miss. One of those spots is Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, which is pretty much the Old Town’s main street, thanks to the many palaces and residences on it. This street dates back to the Renaissance period and is one of the Strade Nuove (New Streets) recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. 

The other major landmark to visit here is Piazza De Ferrari, an open square that centers on a large, ornate fountain and is lined with stately 19th-century architecture.

View of Piazza Raffaele de Ferrari, in the middle Palazzo della Nuova Borsa - country stock exchange in Genoa, Italy
Tomasz Koryl /

Porta Soprana

Just a short walk from Piazza De Ferrari stands Porta Soprana, a preserved gate that was once part of Genoa’s city walls. Two stone towers sit at the sides of this arched gateway, making it an impressive sight. A visit to Porta Soprana gives you an idea of what the tall city walls were once like.

Just outside the gate, you’ll find the Christopher Columbus House, the restored stone home where Columbus spent his childhood. Surrounded by olive trees, the house makes a memorable stop as you explore the city.

Ancient "Porta Soprana" or "Urbica" of St. Andrea - XII century in Genova, Liguria, Italy
Alberto Masnovo /

Cathedral of San Lorenzo

Heading back toward the heart of the Old Town, you’ll come to the most important church of the many in Genoa, the impressive Cathedral of San Lorenzo. Like several other cathedrals in this part of Italy, it immediately catches the eye with its striped stone and marble facade. The church was originally built in 1118 in a Romanesque style, but other architectural flourishes have been added over the years. The interior is equally striking, especially the Chapel of St. John the Baptist, which was built to hold the ashes of Genoa’s patron saint.

Saint Lawrence cathedral, (Cattedrale di San Lorenzo) Genoa, Italy
faber1893 /

Palazzo Rosso

Genoa is bursting at the seams with grand palaces, but Palazzo Rosso is one of the most impressive. This is one of the 42 palaces that make up the Palazzi dei Rolli, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s also one of the three palaces on Via Giuseppe Garibaldi that are open to the public, along with Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Doria Tursi. With a visit to Palazzo Rosso, you can see incredible frescoes decorating the palace rooms, along with works of art by Sir Anthony van Dyck, Bernardo Strozzi, and Albrecht Dürer.

Palace Brignole-Sale known as Palace Rosso, the System of Palazzi dei Rolli, Genoa, Liguria, Italy
gab90 /

Palazzo Reale

Moving away from the Old Town to the harborside neighborhood of Prè, you’ll come to another major palace, Palazzo Reale. Also known as the Palazzo Stefano Balbi or the Royal Palace Museum, this is another member of the UNESCO-listed Palazzi dei Rolli. 

Dating back to the 17th century, this incredible palace was once a residence for the royal House of Savoy, which explains its grandeur and opulence. Outside the palace, you’ll see stunning garden terraces, pretty balconies, and magnificent staircases. It only gets better inside, thanks to the lavish decor of rooms like the Mirror Gallery and the extensive art collection.

Courtyard of Palazzo Reale in Genoa, Italy
Stella Photography /

Port and Lighthouse of Genoa

It’s time to head down to the waterfront. The harbor occupies a huge section of Genoa and has long been the economic heart of the city. Thanks to new developments in the area, the Port of Genoa (or Porto Antico) has also become a popular place for tourists.

A walk along the harbor’s edge will take you past the Galata Maritime Museum, the Aquarium of Genoa, and all manner of ships, including some traditional wooden ones. Just don’t miss the historic Lighthouse of Genoa at the end. This symbol of the city was built in 1543, making it the third-oldest lighthouse in the world. If you don’t want to walk all the way around the harbor to see the lighthouse, the metro offers a quick alternative.

Panoramic view of the port Genoa ( Genova ), Italy
muratart /

Belvedere Castelletto

To finish the day, head to one of the best viewpoints in Genoa, the Belvedere Castelletto. This lookout point offers a whole new perspective on the city. Whether you climb one of the long staircases up to it or simply take an elevator, the trip is worth it for the panoramic views across the rooftops toward the sea. Try to get there around sunset for an even more beautiful end to the day.

Genoa aerial cityscape as seen from Spianata Castelletto
Hani Santosa /

Have More Than 24 Hours in Genoa?

Just because you’ve seen the key sights in Genoa on your first day doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to move on. Genoa may be the largest city on the Ligurian Sea, but it shares that coastline with some other wonderful destinations. With even one extra day in the area, you can see one of these seaside spots and get a lot more out of your trip. To give you some ideas, here are some spots to visit when your 24 hours in Genoa are up.

Portofino, Italy
Anton_Ivanov /

1. Portofino

For a classically captivating seaside destination, pay a visit to Portofino. This small harbor town is a beautiful place to visit on the Italian Riviera.

Once you’ve followed the coastal road to Portofino, it’s an incredibly short walk to the town center. Wandering about, you’ll see a nice variety of authentic pastel houses, surrounded by endless greenery that makes Portofino feel more secluded than it is. Soon enough, you’ll find your way to the marina, which harbors one luxury yacht after another, showcasing the types of visitors Portofino attracts.

As you continue around the marina, take to the walking paths that cover the end of the peninsula east of town. There you’ll discover the Castello Brown historic home museum, the Portofino Lighthouse, lovely terrace gardens, and the absolute best views of Portofino and the coastline. If you want the perfect postcard photo of Portofino, this is where you’ll get it.

You can book a guided tour to Portofino here.

Scenic view of ocean and harbor in colorful village Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy
Martin M303 /

2. Cinque Terre

It’s hard to say no to Cinque Terre, easily the most popular destination on this part of Italy’s coastline. Famous for its magical scenery, this collection of five villages is on many bucket lists. So why not take the opportunity to visit this stunning part of the Ligurian coast?

Cinque Terre comprises the villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. Then there’s the surrounding Cinque Terre National Park, with walking trails crisscrossing its hilly landscape and providing some of Cinque Terre’s most cherished panoramas. That’s a lot to expect from a day trip, though, so it’s best to focus on the beautiful seaside villages and their immediate surroundings.

Each village of Cinque Terre offers something different. For instance, Monterosso is known for its fantastic beaches, Vernazza for its scenic harbor, and Corniglia for the terraced vineyards that watch over it. To learn more about making the most of your visit here, read our dedicated guide to Cinque Terre.

Boccadasse, a district of Genoa in Italy, looks like a small village by the sea
marcociannarel /

3. Boccadasse

If you don’t feel like traveling far from Genoa for your day trip, turn your attention to the quaint city neighborhood of Boccadasse. Once a small fishing village, Boccadasse has been incorporated into the urban sprawl of Genoa over time.

Boccadasse still looks like a typical Ligurian seaside town, nothing like the city center of Genoa. In fact, take one look at the buildings and you’ll swear you were in Cinque Terre. Pretty pastel buildings surrounding a small pebble beach create the kind of scenery you dream of exploring with a gelato in hand.

Since there are no beaches in the heart of the city, Boccadasse and its surroundings are essentially Genoa’s main beaches. While Boccadasse Beach is the nearest free beach, Vernazzola Beach and Sturla Beach are considerably larger and less crowded, with more room for sunbathing and relaxing.

So there you have it – the ultimate Genoa itinerary with everything you need to know to thoroughly explore Genoa in one day! If you plan to spend more time in Italy, be sure to consult our comprehensive Italy itinerary.

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