I am in love with the Liguria region of Italy, squeezed in between Monaco and Tuscany, it is the thinnest and the smallest of all the regions of Italy. It may not be the most popular area or an area you think of when it comes to a visit to Italy, but take it from me, you need to come here for a visit. The main airport to get to this region is via Genoa or Genova (as the Italians say).I don’t know if you know it, but there are different ways to spell Genoa. Genoa is the English way to spell it and Genova is the Italian way to spell it!! It is a great city to stay for a while, so don’t overlook it because you want to get to the coastline. The lack of tourist and the ease of which you can get around, as well as the delicious Italian food, are a few great reasons to come to Genova, plus of course, the beauty of the region and its people.
Don’t speak Italian? Don’t worry. I don’t either, and I managed to get around and you can too.
Genova – How to get There – Airport
Genoa is one of the easiest airports to fly into in Italy. The smaller airplanes arrive out on the tarmac, then a quick trip inside to baggage claim and out the front door for transportation in only a few minutes. From here, depending on your budget, you can take a cab to your hotel directly or take the bus, which stops right outside the door to the train station. I usually just catch the bus and just go directly to the train station, since it is simple when I am alone, but if you are with a group, then I recommend a cab. At the train station where the bus drops you off there are cabs right out in front and from here it is a quick jaunt to the downtown hotels (which saves you a bit of money but takes a bit more time than the direct taxi from the airport). I don’t know about you, but once I hae arrived from an overnight flight, the first thing I want to do is go directly to my hotel.
Genova: Where to Stay?
BW City Hotel
I recommend the BW City Hotel, ask for their penthouse suite! You can check out my review of this amazing hotel here. Although it is not a classic interior-designed hotel, having modern décor, it is in the perfect location for your trip to Genova, Italia. You can read more about my wonderful view from the article mentioned above. If you get a chance, you can eat at Le Rune, Genoa, Italy.
Grand Hotel Savoia
I also recommend the Grand Hotel Savoia, which is located right beside the main train station.
The two hotels alternate between the #1 and the #2 choice of hotels in Genoa on TripAdvisor and both are excellent choices. I do prefer the BW City Hotel’s location, but it is a modern hotel, whereas the Hotel Sovoia is like stepping back in time, into an old world hotel. So you decide what you prefer.
Get to Genova, get checked in to your hotel and figure out the lay of the land.
Genova Get the Genoa Pass
Before you get started, you can buy the Genoa Musei, which will let you ride the public transportation in Genoa. These can be purchased in the tiny newsstand-looking business across from most of the bus stops or online. Included in the price of the ticket is the train to Nervi and the lift for the funicular for 24 hours in Genova. You can read more about the pass on the link mentioned above.
Genova: Things to Do
Make sure to spend some time on the streets of Genova, Italia:
- ✦ Piazza Rafaellae de Ferrari – This fountain in the center of the piazza will capture your attention and set the tone of splendor you will experience in Genoa. It is the main hub and vibe of the city and so going here first will help you get your bearings straight as to where everything is. Look around at the buildings for the Opera House, Doge’s Palace and gaze at the lovely fountain. From here, you can go to most of the main things to do in Genoa. Find the tiny house where Christopher Columbus used to live, next to his house is the beautiful remains of a 12th-century cloister. Take the time to stop by San Lorenzo’s Church, the 1500-year-old black and white striped marble church.
- ✦ Via Garabaldi – This narrow old lane from the 1550’s is entwined with Genoa’s history. You can stroll through the lane listening to the history of the Great Garibaldi who united Italy on a walking tour if you would like. Talk a peep into the old mansions and baroque palaces which will give a glimpse of the rich Italian heritage of art and sculpture. It is a Unesco World Heritage site.
- ✦ Funicular at Largo Zecca – There are three funiculars in Genoa. Largo Zecca up to Righi hill is the closest one near Via Garibaldi with a few stops along the way. It takes about 20 minutes and once on top, there is a fabulous panoramic view, at least one cafe, a castle, and a great little gelato shop. From here you can see all the ships in port, the historic Lanterna (the lighthouse). The ride is part of the city transport system, so just use your bus ticket or you can also take the public elevator to the top of the hill.
- ✦ Old Harbor and Port – A large-scale restoration and redevelopment of the old Port of Genova has been done, where they also added new buildings for the Aquarium, the Bigo tensile structure, and the Bolla, a 20 meters diameter crystal sphere, with the largest collection of ferns in the world. You can also visit the Museum of the Sea.
Genova: Day trips in the Area
1. ✦ Bocadasse – Take the bus or cab out to Bocadasse, an old fisherman’s village in the city. It has lots of fishing boats and people lounging by the sea, Fun for an afternoon to get a gelato. Take the #31 bus to Bocadasse (2.50 Euros), tickets are across the street in the store near where #31 bus stops, which is near Christopher Columbus’ house.
2.✦ Nervi – Take the train out to Nervi, for a day trip down the Passeggiata Anita Garibaldi (promenade), which is named after the wife of the famous General. Walk along the lovely boardwalk either direction to the end and admire the beautiful Liguria sea as it snakes along the coast for about a mile and a half. Once you have had enough sea and sun, you can walk through the charming alleyways into the center of Nervi for typical Italian food and drinks.
3.✦ Portofino – There is so much more in this region, but it is time to move on and take the train to Portofino, via Santa Margherita. Here you should stay at the Hotel Splendido and use it as your base for day trips around the region to Camogli and Santa Margarita. After exploring this region, you will then want to take the train to the Cinque Terre region where a whole other adventure awaits you.
Then while there, eat here: Chuflay!
You will fall in love with Liguria, I can guarantee it!
Recommended Reading for Another Region of Italy:
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