With its beautiful tourist attractions, narrow streets, historic center, and fascinating Old Port, Genoa is an Italian city that bears comparison with any of the great Italian cities there are. But while Genoa gets its share of tourists, it doesn't suffer from the chronic overcrowding of cities like Venice and Rome, so you can actually enjoy your time here without being jostled by a million other people.
The city is divided into a number of different neighborhoods, each with its own distinct character. In this guide, we'll take a look at the best places to stay in Genoa, depending on your interests.
Beyond Piazza de Ferrari and the city center, Genoa has a lot to offer that many tourists never get to see. While the historic center may be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Genoa offers plenty of neighborhoods that are well worth visiting on any trip to northern Italy. So whether you're looking for a quiet place to stay with your family or some raucous nightlife to enjoy, Genoa can accommodate you.
Plus, thanks to an excellent urban transport system, it's easy to get around Genoa and explore the best neighborhoods in the city. Just drop off your unneeded bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Genoa so that you're not carrying more than you need to. The fascinating neighborhoods of this charismatic city are waiting to be explored, and if you're wondering how to get around Genoa, we can help with that too.
Where to stay in Molo
If you're looking for the best place to stay in Genoa for sightseeing, then the Historic Centre is the obvious choice. This is where you'll find all the main tourist attractions, including the Aquarium, Palazzo Ducale, and the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo. But there are also plenty of great restaurants and bars in the area, so you won't be short of things to do in the evenings.
Also known as Molo, this is one of the most picturesque districts in Genoa's Old Town. You can't beat a central location that lets you walk to everything, and you'll find some of the best hotels in Genoa located in this neighborhood. Genoa's historic center offers convenience, excitement, a great atmosphere, and a good chance you'll get to stay in a historic building in Old Town City Centre.
Explore the narrow alleys around the Palazzo Ducale. Check out the ancient Genoa Cathedral and the ornate fountain of Piazza de Ferrari, Genoa's lively central square. In this charming neighborhood, you can do just about everything you probably planned to do in Genoa, including sampling great food like the best brunch in the city.
But Molo is in many ways a victim of its own success. Ultimately, Old Town is where almost everybody who comes to Genoa wants to be. Therefore, you'll find that prices are higher even for cheap accommodation than they are in other nearby regions. Also, forget about escaping the crowds. Molo is where just about all of Genoa's visitors end up coming sooner or later, so you'll be surrounded by tourists. Still, if that's not a problem, the historical buildings, convenience, and charm of staying close to the main attractions in Molo may be worth it.
Where to stay in Piazza Principe
If you value both convenience and affordable pricing, Piazza Principe is a good option to consider for your stay in Genoa. Piazza Principe train station is the main railway station in Genoa, making this a convenient place to reach, with frequent regional trains arriving from across Italy and other European cities. Piazza Principe Station is also an excellent connection point for exploring other locations in Liguria, notably the world-famous coastal villages of the Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera. If you plan on exploring the region or jumping on a high-speed train to see other Italian cities, you could do a lot worse than staying in Piazza Principe.
As is so often the case, the area around the train station isn't the nicest in the city. Genoa is a safe city, and so Piazza Principe isn't dangerous by world standards. Still, it has a grimier feel than much of the rest of the city. But if you allow yourself to explore the tiny streets beyond the station itself, you'll discover some cool bars and restaurants that many tourists walk right past on their way to the historic center. This area includes numerous residential buildings, so staying here is a way to stay in touch with the real life of modern-day Genovesi.
But the main draw of this area is the prices. Hotels in Piazza Principe are generally cheaper than in most other parts of the city, and many of the residential buildings in the area are rented out as vacation apartments, creating more supply. This is a great location if you're only spending one night in Genoa before heading somewhere else by train, but it's also a good place to stay if you want to save some money and don't mind traveling a few Metro stations to see all the attractions Genoa has to offer.
Where to stay in Porto Antico
If you're looking for unmissable things to do at night in Genoa, Porto Antico is the place to be. Located close to the historic center of the city, Old Town, this neighborhood takes its name from the ancient port that used to be here. In fact, this is where Christopher Columbus, perhaps Genoa's most famous son, began his voyage to the New World.
It's also full of great family activities. This neighborhood is home to Genoa Aquarium, the Maritime Museum with its real submarine parked outside, a replica pirate ship, and an elevator that will give you a panoramic view of the old city. But since this area also holds the largest port in Italy, it remains a vibrant and living district today, and is a place where people live and work and play rather than being handed over completely to tourists. In fact, the narrow streets of Porto Antico transform completely at night.
Once the sun sets, bars and restaurants in Porto Antico come to life. Think waterfront dining or enjoying a drink in a cool wine bar with a view over the water. This neighborhood often hosts big events like street parties and music festivals, and it's also one of the best places in Genoa to see a show. Or, you could go on a pub crawl and explore the bars and nightclubs this area is known for.
Perfect for night owls, this isn't the place to stay if you prefer a relaxing location with lots of peace and quiet. And the hotels you'll find in the area reflect the character of Porto Antico. More places to crash after a long night out than they are luxurious high-end hotels, this neighborhood definitely appeals more to a younger crowd that isn't as fussy about their accommodation and would rather save their money for having a good time.
Where to stay in Nervi
A former fishing village that has become an atypical and charming neighborhood, Nervi is a coastal suburb located south of the city that has reinvented itself as one of the coolest places to stay in Genoa. The colorful houses overlooking the water help Nervi retain its village atmosphere, and the incredible views of the Mediterranean Sea make this a perennially desirable place to stay.
With great public transport links to the city located north of the suburb, Nervi is easy to reach, yet feels like a million miles away. If you're after peace and quiet, this is a great place to find it. But you'll also find an increasing number of trendy boutiques, cafés, and restaurants serving both locals and travelers who are discovering the unique charm of this neighborhood more and more all the time. For a stay in Genoa that combines the best of the city with more of a beach vacation atmosphere, Nervi is hard to beat. It's well worth the journey out to this suburb to see what it has to offer, and you'll be rewarded for daring to think outside the city walls.
Where to stay in Maddalena
Located next to the Molo neighborhood in Genoa's Old Town, Maddalena offers much of the convenience and charm of its more famous neighbor. Although perhaps not quite as photogenic as Molo, Maddalena certainly has plenty to offer. It's home to the beautiful Palazzo Spinola and the National Gallery it contains, as well as the stunning Palazzo Bianco or White Palace that is part of the city's famous Strada Nuova. So if you want to stay in Genoa somewhere with lots of incredible attractions, Maddalena is one of the best choices you can make.
However, this area is surprisingly quiet given everything it contains. Especially in the evening, when the tourist crowds have gone home to their hotels. This makes it a great choice if you want a quiet night in, though there are still enough cafés and restaurants to give you something to do in the evening. Plus, this neighborhood borders the Old Port and all its great family attractions, making Maddalena an excellent choice to stay in Genoa for families. Close enough to the waterfront to have lots of things to do, it's far enough away that you shouldn't be disturbed by the sometimes raucous nightlife of the Old Port. Therefore, it offers the best of both worlds for those traveling with children.
Where to stay in Boccadasse
Visiting Genoa doesn't mean you actually have to stay in Genoa. As tempting as it may be to opt for a luxury room in a grand hotel in the center of town, there are other options. Nervi is one, with its great coastal location and up-and-coming vibe. But the fishing village of Boccadasse, located east of the city but still within Genoa city limits, is another excellent choice.
This mostly residential neighborhood doesn't offer a lot in the way of attractions. What it has instead is a seemingly infinite charm. Pastel-colored houses overlook the Meditteranean Sea, and ice cream shops and small restaurants make a quiet living from the handfuls of tourists who make it out here. You can expect excellent seafood and easy access to some great beaches here.
In fact, it's almost like a less well-known version of the famous Cinque Terre, though far easier to access from the city. You can reach Boccadasse by train from Piazza Principe Train Station in around half an hour, so you can easily pop into the city to have fun, then retire to this quaint coastal village to enjoy your evening in peace.
As tempting as it can be to focus on the historic center of the city, there's more to Genoa than Old Town. True, if you want to stay somewhere within walking distance of the city's major attractions, Molo or Maddalena are great choices. But if you're willing to travel a little, you could treat yourself to a beach vacation on the Italian Riviera that also allows you to sample everything the city has to offer.
Check out some of the neighborhoods surrounding Genoa, and you'll find a glimpse of a different Italy than the one you'll see in the city. And if that's too slow-paced for you, you can always liven things up with a stay in Porto Antico.
Whichever neighborhood of the city you choose, Bounce will be there to help with convenient, affordable luggage storage that will make any vacation easier. Drop off your bags with Bounce and get ready to explore the fascinating neighborhoods of this beautiful Italian city.