In depth walking tour of Genoa, Italy

Updated: April 15, 2019 This website uses cookies, ads and affiliate links.

Genoa, Italy - Piazza Caricamento across from Porto Antico (the old port) Genova, Italy has a beautiful location on the Ligurian sea and an amazingly intricate history. The city has been built in layers over the course of history. This layering is especially visible from the old port area as it allows for a panoramic view of the surrounding hills. Unfortunately, we only stopped for a few good hours on our way to the French Riviera. Read on about our walking tour of Genoa, Italy.

What to expect on a walking tour of Genoa

Genoa is a very large city…and a busy one as well. There are many tourists in the summer and lots of traffic. However, in the old town Genoa which is around the Porto Antico (old port) area there is not much car traffic since the most interesting streets have been turned into pedestrian only areas. Via San Lorenzo will take you up the hill from the old port area all the way up to Piazza Ferrari and Christopher Columbus ‘s birth place. This is a very nice walking tour of Genoa and you need to allow at least a couple of hours so that you can experience how the city feels.

Genoa, Italy - Piazza Caricamento across from Porto Antico (the old port)
Genoa, Italy – Piazza Caricamento across from Porto Antico (the old port)
See my photos from Genova, Italy

We arrived in Genova after more than two hour driving from Milan on our way to the French Riviera. After driving through some rough areas in Genova, looking for parking, we fumbled our way around Porto Antico until we found the right parking lot. We were happy to take a break from the car and stretch our legs.

My favorite things to do in Genoa, Italy

Genova’s tourist attractions are all clustered together in the old town near Porto Antico (the old port) which makes it easy to walk everywhere.

Stroll around the old port of Genoa, also called Porto Antico. The old port area of Genoa is a fun place to explore even for children.

Walk uphill on Via San Lorenzo to the Cathedral of San Lorenzo and further to Cristophor Columbus’s birthplace. Walk slowly along Via San Lorenzo as you make your way through the narrow street up the hill.

Make your way uphill to Piazza Ferrari. The beautiful fountain in front of the old palace is a great place to stop and admire the architecture. From here you can also walk on the arched Via XX Settembre which is filled with luxury shops.

Walk on Via Garibaldi and take in all the shops and very ornate buildings. This is the most touristy street in Genova, but for good reason. Take the elevator to Belvedere Casteletto and enjoy the best view of Genova.

Genoa, Italy - Walking tour map
Genoa, Italy – Walking tour map
See my photos from Genova, Italy

With our map of attractions in hand and our children in tow we started exploring Genoa, Italy.

1. Old Port of Genoa

Let’s start our walking tour of Genoa in the old port area. This place is beautiful to walk through. You can see the colorful buildings spread all over the hills around the harbor area.

Our kids have enjoyed walking through especially because there was a pirate ship anchor there is a museum in this ship has been in several pirate movies.

Genoa, Italy - The old port of Genoa (Porto Antico di Genoa) with a beautiful panorama of the colorful buildings spread on the hills in the background.
Genoa, Italy – The old port of Genoa (Porto Antico di Genoa) with a beautiful panorama of the colorful buildings spread on the hills in the background.
See my photos from Genova, Italy

2. Cathedral of San Lorenzo

Continuing our walking tour of Genoa, we made our way up the hill from the port area. Climbing up the hill you will be going through a very dense neighborhood of old buildings and apartments.

Take your time to walk slowly and take in the narrowness of the walkway and the path. On the way to the cathedral you will find a couple more old churches and small piazzas.

This dense area of Genoa reminded us of our walking tour of Verona.

Genoa, Italy - Cathedral San Lorenzo (or Il duomo di Genova) on Via di San Lorenzo. This is the residence of the Archbishop of Genova.
Cathedral San Lorenzo (or Il duomo di Genova) on Via di San Lorenzo. This is the residence of the Archbishop of Genova.
See my photos from Genova

3. Doge’s Palace

Right past the imposing cathedral building, you will find Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) which houses a couple of museums which you can visit. It is an imposing building worth taking some time to admire both from the outside and inside.

Genoa, Italy - Doge's Palace (Palazzo ducale) which also houses the Genova Museum.
Genoa, Italy – Doge’s Palace (Palazzo ducale) which also houses the Genova Museum.
See my photos from Genova, Italy

4. Piazza Ferrari

Continuing our walking tour of Genoa, right around the corner through a narrow alley we walked to Piazza Ferrari which boasts a beautiful water fountain. This is where we took a break and had some snacks since our kids were getting hungry. Piazza Ferrari is considered the center of Genoa, Italy.

Genoa, Italy - Beautiful water fountain in Piazza de Ferrari.
Genoa, Italy – Beautiful water fountain in Piazza de Ferrari.
See my photos from Genova, Italy

5. Via Garibaldi

From Piazza Ferrari, after a short walk, you can reach the famous old street called Via Garibaldi (or Strada Nuova). This street is a UNESCO World Heritage site because of the large concentration of palaces and mansions built on it.

Is it worth visiting Genoa, Italy?

Genova is a large European city and as such it is a mix of beautiful architecture and ugly slums. Sticking with the old town and Strada Nuova, you will have a nice walk and enjoy the varied landscape in Genoa.

The large port area with the hills and churches make Genoa an interesting tourist destination. Genoa is also a great place for exploring the Ligurian Coast with places like Portofino and Cinque Terre within easy reach.

My best resources for planning your trip to Genoa, Italy

Whenever I plan a trip, I gather and read lots of resources. Some are more useful than others while some are completely useless. Below you will find my most helpful resources for planning your trip to Genova, Italy.

This walking tour of Genoa is the last article of my 1 week tour of Northern Italy. 1 week in Northern Italy

  1. Walking tour of Milan
  2. Charming walking tour of Verona
  3. Venice Main Island walking tour
  4. Walking tour of Murano Island
  5. A colorful Walking tour of Burano Island
  6. In the Dolomites at Barcis
  7. Treviso is a surprising destination
  8. In-depth walking tour of Padua
  9. Short tour of quaint Soave
  10. In-depth walking tour of Sirmione
  11. In-depth walking tour of Genoa
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