Genoa is a city located in the north-western region of Italy on the scenic Italian Riviera. It's the capital city of the Liguria region with a population of over 600,000 people. The city has a long history, dating back to the time of the Roman Empire, and is full of winding streets and bustling squares. It was an important maritime republic during the Middle Ages and Renaissance and played a significant role in the development of trade and commerce between European cities and the rest of the world.
Tourists flock to Genoa and the Italian cities near it for the impressive coastline, rocky cliffs, and history. When in Genoa, many of the main attractions are concentrated in the Old Town also known as the historic city centre. The Strada Nuova is a stretch of ornate and well-preserved grand palaces that is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the museums within it, including the Palazzo Rosso are unmissable on any trip here. Visitors will also want to check out the Genoa Cathedral.
Genoa is a lively city with a vibrant nightlife. There are many bars, clubs, and restaurants to choose from, as well as a number of theaters and other entertainment venues. The culinary scene is thriving with international flavors, and Genoa is the birthplace of at least two Italian food staples: focaccia and pesto. The city also hosts a number of events throughout the year, including the Genoa Film Festival and the Genoa Carnival.
To experience all the fun of this Italian Riviera gem, you'll need to get around the city. Luckily, due to the high density of attractions in the historic center, most of the time, you won't need to travel too far. The public transport here is quite good with everything from trams to buses to cable cars. And, most of the time, you can just rely heavily on your own two feet.
If you're planning a visit to Italy, make sure to add Genoa to your itinerary. As you can see, you won't be disappointed. Before heading out to explore, keep your bags somewhere safe. Head to a Bounce luggage storage in Genoa, and you can travel around worry-free.
How to get around Genoa by train
One of the main forms of public transport used by tourists in and out of the city centre is the train. The train will let you off at the Genoa Principe Station to begin your adventure. The train is also useful to travel along the coast to La Spezia and Cinque Terre. A little under two hours on the train will get you from Genoa to Pisa, which is a gateway to all of Tuscany, including Florence.
Once within the city limits, you'll rely more on trams, called the trolley bus, actual buses, and the metro. Since Genoa is one of the largest cities in Italy, it's unsurprising that you'll have so many options at your disposal. Tickets for the public transportation system run by AMT are available at any of the city's many ticket kiosks.
Another choice to consider is whether you go pay per use or prefer to load up a card. If you're planning on staying in Genoa for a while, it might be worth it to invest in a Genoa Card. This card gives you unlimited access to the city's public transportation system for a set period of time. It can be purchased at any of the city's tourist offices and reloaded as needed.
The metro system is your best friend in Genoa. Although it only has one line, it traverses a very useful attraction-heavy part of the city. The Genoa Metro currently consists of one line, which runs from Brin to Dinegro. There are a total of 21 stations on the line. The main ones you'll need are the De Ferrari station adjacent to Piazza de Ferrari for access to the center of Old Town and all the best shopping locations, Principe for longer distance trains, and Brignole, also in the city center. Anyone heading to the Porto Antico area to explore can get off at the San Giorgio station.
For a little fun, consider adding The Zecca–Righi funicular to your public transport in Genoa. The vertical railway connects the Largo della Zecca, which is a 10-minute walk north from the Piazza de Ferrari, to stations spread along the slope of Righi Hill. The views alone make the funicular worth visiting.
How to get around Genoa by Bus
For visitors arriving via the Cristoforo Colombo International Airport, your only means to get from the Genoa airport to the city centre is by bus, unless you want to shell out to rent a car or hire a taxi. Companies run a bus circuit from the airport to the Principe and Brignole train stations. Once you make it to the Old Town, it's possible you won't need to use a bus again until you return for your flight.
The public bus system in Genoa is efficient and relatively easy to use, although it can be a bit confusing for first-time visitors. The extensive bus network is useful for folk heading outside the usual tourist hot spots, to the suburbs, and basically anywhere not covered by other means.
Buses in Genoa are divided into two categories: urban buses and suburban buses. Urban buses operate within the city limits, while suburban buses connect Genoa with the surrounding towns and villages. Most visitors will only need to use the urban bus network, but you can get info on specific bus routes online or from the tourist office, called Visit Genoa, a less than five-minute walk from the Strada Nuova. There is also a tourist office closer to the old port, called Porto Antico. Single bus tickets can usually be purchased at newsstands, tobacco shops, and some cafes. You can also buy tickets on the bus, but this is slightly more expensive.
Similar to a bus, the electric Trolleybus system in Genoa only has one route, like the metro. A total of eight stations can help you get from one end of the city center to another. The route is similar to the metro with stops around the port but reaching further to the outskirts of town.
How to get around Genoa by boat
Since one of the main features of Genoa is its historic Porto Antico set among picturesque seaside, the boat is a means of travel worth considering when you visit Genoa. Head outside of the city center and travel to the ferry terminal using the metro and getting off at the Dinegro station. The ferry service in Genoa run by various companies can get you to every major port city in Italy. If you're up for a long, although scenic journey, you can get the ferry to more exotic island destinations like Sardinia and Corsica.
While it may not be a form of public transport, taking a boat tour or even hiring a charter is a fantastic way to sightsee along the coast.
The only boat public transportation in Genoa, unless you count ferries, is the NaveBus which connects Porto Antico with the Pegli train station in about 35 minutes. Although the route is run by AMT, you need to purchase separate tickets to travel on the boat. The Pegli train station is a stop for the Trenitalia FUM, which is the Urban Metropolitan Railroad for trips to other cities and beyond.
Navigating Genoa by car
Given the small area of Old Town, you're likely to travel within the city limits of Genoa, so it's unlikely that you'll bother renting a car. If you prefer this convenience or are driving into town with your own vehicle, there are a few things to keep in mind.
The first issue you may encounter is parking. Your best bet is to leave your car at one of the city's many public parking garages or metro stations and use public transport or walk to go the final distance to Old Town. The second issue is the nature of driving itself in Italy. The city will be unfamiliar, full of pedestrians and narrow streets, so make sure you are extra careful. Italian cities can have a chaotic feel on the roads, especially when you don't know where you're going. This isn't to say that a car isn't useful and safe, just know what you're getting into.
Car rentals are widely available in the city center and from the Genoa airport. In fact, the airport is probably the best option so that you can avoid a bus ride from the airport to the city center. Here you'll have your pick of all the well-known companies, plus a few independent ones. As for prices, the airport usually has better rates, but it's good to look around before you commit.
Traffic is another concern when driving in Genoa, so watch out for this if you hail a taxi, because time is literally money. But, if you don't want to go to the trouble of renting a car, a taxi can get you out of a pinch.
Can I get around Genoa on foot?
Genoa is a very walkable city, and exploration on foot is one of the best ways to experience all that it has to offer. Keep in mind, however, that some of the city's streets can be quite steep, like other Italian cities on the coast. If you plan to stick to the historic center for most of your sightseeing, you don't need to look further than your feet. Make sure you have good walking shoes and set out on an adventure from Piazza San Lorenzo to Palazzo Rosso to the Genoa Cathedral. Walking is one of the best ways to explore the best things to do in Genoa at night to avoid paying for an expensive taxi if you've had a few too many drinks.
A popular way to get out and about is a walking tour. Many companies offer this service, and some are even free of charge. A good tour to set out on is one that focuses on Piazza de Ferrari (since it's central and easy to get to) and expands from there to Palazzo Ducale which houses the city hall and the Felice Theatre. Each has a heavy dose of history, so a walking tour guide can give you all the necessary details as you stroll in the sunshine. Once you decide exactly where you want to visit, chances are you can find a walking tour company that walks groups there.
If you're looking for a fun and eco-friendly way to get around Genoa, consider renting a bike. There are several companies that offer bike rental services, and you can usually find a rental shop near most major tourist attractions. Bike Fever is near the port and the Darsena metro station, and just a four-minute walk from the Strada Nuova museums.
With the Mediterranean Sea on its doorstep, the Musei di Strada Nuova, including the Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco, and Palazzo Doria Tursi, and the proximity to Cinque Terre, it's no surprise that Genoa gets upwards of one million tourists annually. Luckily, it's easy to see everything this beautiful city has to offer by walking, taking public transportation, and using buses. The only problem is deciding where to start!