Awesome One Day in Genoa Itinerary: From Cruise Port
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Awesome One Day in Genoa Itinerary: From Cruise Port

Stunning view of Genoa from the top deck of a cruise ship with cute houses in the background

Are you wondering how to spend one day in Genoa from the cruise ship? Then you are in the right spot!

My wife and I have just returned from a Western Mediterranean cruise to Genoa cruise port – and we loved our day in the city.

Since there was so much to do in the area, we had a hard time deciding how to spend our day. But in the end, we came up with an awesome itinerary that we loved.

To save you lots of trouble planning, I have created this ultimate itinerary for a shore day in Genoa.

Let’s get to it!

Table of Contents

  • One Day in Genoa From Cruise Ship – at a Glance
  • Trip Planning Resources
  • About the Genoa Cruise Port
    • Getting to the City:

  • 1. Book a Day Trip to Portofino
  • 2. Explore Genoa on Foot
    • Self-Guided Genoa Walking Tour Overview

      • Galata Ocean Museum

      • Via Garibaldi
    • Cattedrale di San Lorenzo
      • Chisea di Santa Maria di Castello

      • San Donato
      • House of Christoforo Colombo
    • The Doge’s Palace
      • Piazza de Ferrari

      • Piazza San Matteo
      • Galleria Nazionale di Palazza Spinola
    • How to Experience the Charm of Genoa
  • 3. Book a Tour to Cinque Terre
  • 4. Take a Cooking Class in Genoa
  • Conclusion: One Day in Genoa From Cruise Port
  • FAQ: One Day in Genoa
    • Is Genoa Walkable from Cruise Port?

    • Where do Cruise Ships Dock in Genoa?
  • About the Author

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One Day in Genoa From Cruise Ship – at a Glance

The Genoa cruise port is located close to a lot of great attractions and destinations. For that reason, there is a lot of choices regarding how to spend your day.

Further below in this blog post, we’ll discuss all of the options in more detail. But if you are just here to get a quick glance at what is even possible, look no further.

Let me give you an overview of the possibilities on how to spend a shore day in Genoa:

  • Go on a day trip to Portofino
  • Discover the city of Genoa on foot
  • Book a tour to Cinque Terre
  • Take a cooking class in Genoa

My take on it: My wife and I chose to explore Genoa on foot this time. We had previously been to Portofino and Cinque Terre. If you are on a budget, I recommend exploring Genoa. Otherwise, I would go to Portofino, since it is really beautiful and easily accessible from the boat.

Trip Planning Resources

Day Trips and Shore Excursions: Viator, GetYourGuide

Rentalcars: DiscoverCars

Travel insurance: EKTA

About the Genoa Cruise Port

Genoa’s cruise port is one of Italy’s busiest, located in the Liguria region. It has modern terminals with shops, cafes and lots of information desks and tour guides available.

It’s officially known as the Porto Antico di Genova (Genoa Old Port). The port is super close to the city center. That makes it easy for travelers to explore the city without needing public transport.

As you can see in the picture below of the MSC Fantasia in the Genoa Cruise Terminal, you’ll have a really beautiful view over the city from the decks.

A cruise ship docked at the port of Genoa, Italy. The cityscape with various buildings and hills is visible in the background under a partly cloudy sky.

Getting to the City:

  • Walking: The city center is about a 15-minute walk from the port.
  • Public Transport: There are buses and a metro line (Darsena station) nearby.
  • Taxi: Readily available at the port entrance.
  • Shuttle Services: Some cruises provide shuttle buses to key city locations.
A map of Genoa, Italy, highlighting various locations including the MSC Cruise Terminal, MSC Cruise Pier, Galata Museo del Mare, Genoa (Ponte Andrea Doria), Port of Genoa passenger gates, and the Porto Antico di Genova. The map shows main roads and landmarks such as Novotel Genova City, Lanterna di Genova, and several historical and cultural sites. This map shows the genoa cruise port and its location.

1. Book a Day Trip to Portofino

One of the best things to do when arriving in Genoa with a cruise ship is a day trip to Portofino.

Portofino is a charming fishing village on the Italian Riviera. It’s famous for its lovely harbor and colorful houses.

You can enjoy delicious seafood at the local restaurants. The village is also known for its luxury boutiques and upscale hotels.

Many day trips to Portofino also stop at Santa Margherita, Camogli, or San Fruttuoso. This way you can really see a lot in just one day from Genoa cruise port.

Here are my favorite shore excursions from Genoa to Portofino:

🌴 Portofino and Santa Margherita Tour from Genoa with Local Driver

🌴 Gulf of Portofino Private Boat Tour

🌴 Portofino Boat and Walking Tour with Pesto Cooking & Lunch

An aerial view of Portofino, Italy. The harbor is filled with boats, and the hillside is dotted with colorful buildings and lush greenery.
Credit: Lisbonunblocked

2. Explore Genoa on Foot

A super convenient option for one day in Genoa cruise port is exploring the city of Genoa itself.

You can either wander around the old town and get lost in the small alleys or follow my Genoa walking tour from the cruise port.

Of course, you always have the option of booking a guided walking tour.

👟 Genoa Like a Local: Customized Private Tour

👟 Genoa Walking Tour: Discover Hidden Treasures and Street Food

👟 Discover the secrets of Genoa with a storyteller!

Self-Guided Genoa Walking Tour Overview

  • Galata Ocean Museum
  • Via Garibaldi
  • Cattedrale di San Lorenzo
  • Chisea di Santa Maria di Castello
  • San Donato
  • House of Christoforo Colombo
  • Doge’s Palace
  • Piazza de Ferrari
  • Piazza San Matteo
  • Galleria Nazionale di Palazza Spinola
A map showing a walking route in Genoa, Italy. The route starts at the MSC Terminal, goes past Meeresmuseum Galata, and continues through several key locations including Via Garibaldi, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Chiesa di Santa Maria di Castello, House of Cristoforo Colombo, Doge's Palace, Piazza San Matteo, and ends at Galleria nazionale di palazzo Spinola. The walking distance is indicated as 4.1 km with an estimated time of 59 minutes.

Galata Ocean Museum

The Galata Ocean Museum in Genoa is a fascinating place to visit during one day in Genoa. I suggest making this your first stop because it is right by the cruise port.

It’s Italy’s largest maritime museum. The museum takes you on a journey through centuries of naval history.

They have models of historic ships. My favorite was the full-sized reconstruction of a 17th-century Genoese galley.

You can experience what life was like on board a ship through interactive displays and simulations. Another one of my highlights was the real submarine, the Nazario Sauro.

There’s also a section dedicated to the history of Italian emigration – which I find super interesting.

Justin’s tip: Don’t miss the rooftop terrace, which offers amazing views of Genoa’s harbor.

A submarine docked at the Galata Museo del Mare in Genoa, Italy. The museum building and other boats are visible in the background, showcasing a lively harbor scene. Awesome spot to check out during one day in Genoa from cruise ship

Via Garibaldi

Via Garibaldi in Genoa is one of the city’s most beautiful and historic streets so it definitely needed to find its way into our itinerary.

It is also known as Strada Nuova and it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The street is known for its beautiful palaces and stunning architecture. It was built in the 16th century, and it used to be the home to Genoa’s wealthiest families.

On this street, you need to check out buildings like Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco, and Palazzo Doria Tursi.

The street itself is narrow and charming, with cobblestones and picturesque facades – the perfect spot for some Instagram pictures.

Cattedrale di San Lorenzo

The next stop on our tour through Genoa is the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo. It is right in the heart of the city center.

It was built in the year 1098 and is dedicated to Saint Lawrence. The facade is pretty unique with black and white stripes. That is typical for Genoese architecture.

Inside, you’ll find a mix of Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance architectural styles. One of the cathedral’s treasures is the Chapel of St. John the Baptist. You can visit the tower as well.

Insider tip: The cathedral also has a cool treasury museum in the basement with lots of ancient artifacts.

A close-up view of Genoa Cathedral (Cattedrale di San Lorenzo) in Italy. The intricate architectural details of the church facade are highlighted, framed by surrounding buildings.

Chisea di Santa Maria di Castello

The Chiesa di Santa Maria di Castello in Genoa is a bit of a hidden gem that is often overlooked. It has a serene atmosphere and interesting history.

This church dates back to the 12th century and is part of a larger complex. There is also a convent and a museum.

It’s located in the Castello neighborhood, one of the oldest parts of Genoa. You should definitely also check out the neighborhood when you have time.

The church is a wonderful place to explore for anyone interested in history and art – especially on the inside.

Cute sidestreet in Genoa with a couple of pastel-colored houses

San Donato

San Donato is a beautiful medieval church located in the heart of Genoa. It was also built in the 12th century.

The church has a distinctive, tall bell tower that stands out in the historic district.

You can either admire the church from the outside or go in and see some stunning art from famous Italian artists.

House of Christoforo Colombo

The House of Christopher Columbus is our next stop on our Genoa walking tour. You can find it near the Porta Soprana.

The house was supposedly the childhood home of the famous explorer. The house was rebuilt in the 18th century after being destroyed in the French bombardment of 1684.

Inside there is a small museum showing information about his early years and his voyages later on.

The Porta Soprana, a historic gate in Genoa, Italy. People are walking along the path leading to the gate, surrounded by trees and old stone buildings.

The Doge’s Palace

The Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) in Genoa is a must-visit and it was one of my favorite spots on our cruise day in Genoa.

It was once the residence of the Doge, the highest official of the Republic of Genoa. The palace dates back to the 13th century, but it has been modified over the years.

It is beautiful on the inside as well as on the outside. One of the highlights is the Hall of the Great Council.

The Palace is also a cultural center and museum nowadays. It hosts art exhibitions, cultural events, and other displays.

The historic Palazzo Ducale in Genoa, Italy. The grand building is surrounded by other historic structures, with people and vehicles in the square below under an overcast sky.

Piazza de Ferrari

The Piazza de Ferrari is the main square in Genoa. You can find it directly next to the Doge’s Palace, so it is definitely a great spot to visit.

It is mostly known for its beautiful fountain at the center. But the atmosphere surrounding the spot is also great.

There are so many beautiful buildings surrounding the square, and you can also find some cute alleys to explore in the area.

Piazza San Matteo

Piazza San Matteo is a lovely, old square in Genoa.

It has a medieval feel with pretty buildings all around. It is a lot more low-key than the previous square that we visited on our Genua walking tour, but it is nonetheless beautiful.

My favorite spot is the San Matteo Church. One of the most interesting things is the tomb of Andrea Dori down in the crypt.

Galleria Nazionale di Palazza Spinola

The Galleria Nazionale di Palazzo Spinola in Genoa is a historic art museum. It will be the last stop we visit on this Genoa itinerary.

The museum can be found in a beautiful 16th-century palace. It has an impressive collection of artworks from the Renaissance to the 18th century. T

I love the insight into the lavish lifestyle of the Spinola family, who were a part of Genoa’s nobility.

How to Experience the Charm of Genoa

As you’ve seen, this Genoa walking tour will lead you to the most prominent and beautiful spots in the city.

But that is not what actually impressed me so much. Instead, it was the small cobblestone alleys filled with little stores and friendly people.

I encourage you to not follow this walking tour itinerary exactly, but rather deviate a bit from the path and explore side streets. Merely use it as a guideline, but make sure to check out the districts around the sights as well.

Lastly, if you really want to experience Genoa, make sure to stop for a snack or meal. We opted for a traditional Italian bakery and it was a delight. The Italian cuisine is really one of the best there is, so it would be a shame to head back to Genoa cruise port without trying a few bites.

3. Book a Tour to Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is a stunning coastal area in Italy, made up of five colorful villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.

It’s known for its insane views, charming narrow streets, and beautiful hiking trails. The region is quite popular, and it is possible to visit from Genoa Cruise Port.

It is quite a bit of a drive away from the port, so you’ll have to have a good plan on how to master the journey in time. I suggest either renting a car or booking a guided day tour.

Here is a private tour I can recommend:

Private Full-Day Tour from Genova Pier: Cinque Terre

Colorful houses built into the cliffs of Riomaggiore, one of the villages in Cinque Terre, Italy. The vibrant buildings contrast with the rugged rock formations and the calm sea below.

4. Take a Cooking Class in Genoa

Lastly, a cooking class in Genoa is also a fun way to spend a shore day in the city. Italian cuisine is some of the best in Europe. How much fun would it be to learn the tricks of a traditional Italian nonna?

There are quite a few cooking classes offered in the city, so you can have your pick. Here are some of my favorites:

🍝 Small group Pasta and Tiramisu class in Genoa

🍝 Genoese cooking lesson in the garden with lunch

🍝 Homemade Pasta and Pesto Class with a Local Chef in Genoa

Conclusion: One Day in Genoa From Cruise Port

To sum it up, you have a couple of choices on how to spend your day in Genoa from the cruise ship. My preferred choice would be a private day trip to Portofino.

If you want to do something more cultural and low-key, a walking tour through the city would be an awesome choice. The cruise port is located right near the city center, so planning it is a breeze.

Lastly, a day trip to Cinque Terre or a cooking class in Genoa are also fun ideas on how to spend your shore day.

Either way, Genoa is a fantastic cruise stop and you’ll have a marvelous time in the city.

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FAQ: One Day in Genoa

Is Genoa Walkable from Cruise Port?

Yes, Genoa is quite walkable from the cruise port. The city center and many attractions are within a reasonable walking distance. You can easily explore the historic old town, visit the famous aquarium, and enjoy the local cafes and shops. Just wear comfy shoes and you’re all set for a lovely stroll around Genoa!

Where do Cruise Ships Dock in Genoa?

Cruise ships in Genoa dock at the Stazione Marittima, also known as the Genoa Cruise Terminal. It’s located near the city center, making it convenient for passengers to explore the city on foot or use public transportation to reach various attractions. There are several different terminals for each cruise line.

About the Author

Justin is a military pilot and travel blogger. Due to his job, he splits his time between the US, Curacao, and Europe.

Justin enjoys discovering the world together with his wife and venturing out with his drone to take magical shots.

The post Awesome One Day in Genoa Itinerary: From Cruise Port appeared first on Shades of Summr.