Updated: May 9, 2024 | Has affiliate links

5 Best Things to See in Genoa Italy (with Map)

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 my favorite things to see in Genoa.

We arrived in Genoa after more than two hour driving from Milan on our way to the French Riviera. After driving through some rough areas in Genoa, 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. Put on some comfortable walking shoes and and let’s explore my favorite things to see in Genoa with best attractions and things to do.

What to Expect While Visiting Genoa

Piazza Caricamento across from Porto Antico (the old port) is the best place to start exploring the best things to see in Genoa.
Piazza Caricamento across from Porto Antico (the old port)
See my photos from Genoa

Genoa is a very large city and a busy one as well. Since there are many things to see in Genoa, the summer brings many tourists 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 few hours so that you can experience how the city feels.

My Favorite Things to See in Genoa Italy

The main things to see in Genoa are 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 Cristopher 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
Walking tour map of Genoa Italy
See my photos from Genoa

Where to Stay in Genoa?. You can stay at the convenient Hotel Vittoria near the train station with easy access to the port area. Or you can find other budget hotels in Genova.
Book a beautiful local walking tour of Genova.

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

1. Old Port of Genoa

The old port of Genoa (Porto Antico di Genoa) with a beautiful panorama of the colorful buildings spread on the hills in the background.
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 Genoa

We started exploring our beautiful things to see in Genoa by walking around 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.

2. Cathedral of San Lorenzo

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 Genoa

Next on my list of things to see in Genoa comes the large and imposing 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 old Genoa reminded us of our walking tour of Verona.

3. Doge’s Palace

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

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. If you have extra time to spend in the area, visiting the museums at Doge’s Palace is a great addition to your list of things to see in Genoa.

4. Piazza Ferrari

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

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 historic center of Genoa and a great place to take a break from exploring the best things to see in Genoa and simply watch the hustle and bustle of this busy city.  In case you get lost, you can always ask anyone for directions to Piazza Ferrari and get back to the city center.

5. Via Garibaldi

Via Garibaldi is a popular tourist attraction in Genoa
Via Garibaldi is a popular tourist attraction in Genoa

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. Via Garibaldi should make your list of things to see in Genoa.

Is Genoa Worth Visiting?

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.

Plan 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.

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

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