Wondering what you could do for 2 days in Genoa? Here is the best Genoa itinerary and cool things to do while you stay in this Italian city.
Imagine a city that ruled the Mediterranean sea for centuries, left influencing buildings like Galata tower in Istanbul; and built some incredible palaces that attract visitors worldwide. Yes, that is Genoa.
The famous Christopher Columbus and other well-known navigators were born in the Republic of Genoa. Make sure you listen to some songs of De Andrè who is one of the most influential Italian songwriters born in Genoa. And let’s not forget the famous Genoa-born Renzo Piano who is the architect behind the construction of Porto Antico.
Still not sure if it is worth visiting Genoa? Add some world-famous dishes like pesto, focaccia, and white wine!
If you follow me long enough, you know that I live in Genoa and the city has no secrets for me. Keep on reading to discover the best Genoa itinerary and the best things to do in Genoa.
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Useful things to know before visiting Genoa
The most popular tours in Genoa:
- 🚶 This tour leads you through the top sites, secluded squares, and hidden spots – you’ll try local Prosecco, coffee, pesto, and focaccia, all with the expertise of a local guide
- 🍲 There’s no better place to learn to make pasta than Italy and this small-group class in Genoa teaches you everything you need to know
- 🛴 Explore the city of Genoa with ease on a Segway during this small-group sightseeing tour
- 🍝 Discover Genoa from a gastronomic point of view on this food tour
- 🚲 Discover the best that Genoa has to offer as you explore the city center on a bike tour
Getting to Genoa
Genoa is located in Liguria, in the north of Italy. It has a small airport so you can easily reach Genoa from Milan, Nice, or Pisa Airport.
From Milan, you will have to take the shuttle service that takes you to Central Station. After 2 hours train ride, you are in Genoa. You can buy your tickets here.
From Nice, you have the Flixbus and it takes less than 3 hours to get to Genoa. Flixbus has a bus stop right outside the airport, so no need for shuttle services. You can buy your tickets here.
Genoa airport has very few destinations, but that’s the most comfortable option because you land 20 minutes drive away from the city center. The easiest option is a taxi and it will cost you around 25 euros. The shuttle bus is a cheaper option and a ticket to Brignole or Principe station will cost you 5 euros per person.
Where to stay in Genoa?
Now you are probably wondering where to stay in Genoa. As Ia local, I can recommend staying in the Area of De Ferrari Square or Principe station to be well connected to the rest of the city. From here you can take public transport or walk anywhere. You can see my accommodation recommendations for Genoa below.
How long to Stay in Genoa?
Maybe you are still planning your trip and you don’t know how long you should stay in Genoa? Well, most of the visitors come here for a quick 2-day trip, because there is a lot to see in the rest of the Liguria. 2 days in Genoa gives you cool insights, but you can easily stay here for one week and crave more.
If this is your first time in Genoa and you are planning to see the rest of Liguria, 2 days in Genoa will be perfect. If you want to use it as a base while you make day trips and want to see more of the palaces & museums, make sure you stay for 5-7 days in Genoa.
How to move around Genoa?
The best way to move around Genoa is by public transport or walking. The old town is full of narrow streets, so your feet can take you to explore the most secret corners of Genoa.
Busses and the metro take you to all the main attractions in the city. The train can be a good idea to skip the traffic and go quickly to places like Nervi, or to move between Principe and Brignole.
Occasionally you can take lifts or funiculars to reach some viewpoints. It is considered public transport and you will need a ticket.
The price for a single ticket is 1.50 euros and it is valid for 100 minutes. The daily ticket is 4.50 euros. Don’t forget to validate your single ticket every time you get onto the bus. The daily ticket needs to be validated just once.
There are no available apps for the taxi, so you will need to find a taxi station nearby. Yes, that’s right, you can’t grab a taxi on the street. You can try to call or ask your hotel to call for you – but it has an additional cost and depends on the location of the taxi driver. Extra price for luggage, during the night and on Sundays. I personally don’t advise using this option.
2 days in Genoa: the best Genoa itinerary and travel tips
In this 2 day itinerary, we will cover the main attraction, food & drinks, hidden gems, best photo spots, historical palaces, and other cool things to do. I truly want to make this unforgettable as I feel very connected to this city and I want you to create the best memories in Genoa.
Day 1 in Genoa – morning
Your best itinerary for Genoa starts with a sweet breakfast at Caffè Mangini, one of the oldest and best-known cafes in the city. This cafè dates back to 1876 and is definitely one of the coolest experiences in Genoa.
From there, walk down the Galleria Mazzini, where you can admire old boutiques and shops and the Teatro Carlo Felice. Head to De Ferrari square which is the main square of Genoa.
One of the best ways to discover Genoa is through its palaces. Once in De Ferrari Square, check out the treasures of Palazzo Ducale and available exhibitions. The entrance fee is 12 euros.
A perfect Genoa itinerary must include at least a place related to Columbus. Walk to the porticos of Via Dante, to arrive at the Columbus house and take the perfect photo of Porta Soprana.Book your Columbus house tickets here
Now it is finally lunchtime! Local food is one of the things that you can’t miss in Genoa. Here I am giving you 2 options. You can try Antica Osteria Ravecca for a comfortable lunch in a typical trattoria – try their seafood and pesto. Or try some street food at the famous Sa Pesta – every respectful Genoa travel guide would recommend you this little place of heaven. Make sure you taste traditional salty pies, different kinds of focaccia, pesto, and everything Liguria has to offer.
You can also immerse yourself deeper into the culinary culture of the city on these tours:
Day 1 in Genoa – afternoon
In the afternoon your Genoa itinerary takes you to the oldest area of the historic center – Molo. Here you will find church Santa Maria di Castello – one of the oldest churches in Liguria.
As soon as you get out of the church, the tower of Embriaci stands tall and proud. Your next stop is one of my favorite hidden gems in Genoa: Campo Pisano. Do you remember when I said that Genova ruled the Mediterranean Sea? Campo Pisano is a place where Genoa celebrated victory over Pisa. Today you can admire a little square with colorful houses and a famous Risseu – a typical Ligurian mosaic.
It’s time to see one of the best places in Genoa – The cathedral of San Lorenzo. This beautiful Duomo dates back to 1118 and it is built in the typical Gothic-Ligurian style with black and white horizontal bands. Bring your camera this is one of the best photo spots in Genoa. Inside you can admire a bomb of the British Navy that landed inside the church and didn’t explode. It is still considered a miracle of God.
Visiting Genoa wouldn’t be complete without making some aperitivo. From San Lorenzo, walk through the Vigne Church to arrive at Piazza Lavagna. This is where locals come to have a good time, meet up with friends and enjoy some of the best aperitivo in Genoa. Consider Vermentino wine or Asinello – it’s a liquid gold of Liguria.
After head to Piazza Banchi – the square where the first bank in the world was born. Take a look at the beautiful facade of Palazzo San Giorgio and don’t miss the biggest aquarium in Europe – the Aquarium of Genoa.
This is where you choose your dinner spot. Vico Palla – famous for seafood or Cavour 21 – great homemade pesto.
Day 2 in Genoa – morning
The second day in Genoa starts with breakfast in Caffehin. Try their special coffee and brioche with pistachio.
After breakfast, walk down to discover via Balbi. Snap a picture of the Trogoli of Santa Brigida and visit the Royal Palace. Learn the history behind this famous landmark of Genoa and discover the Mirror gallery. You will see Risseu in the garden. The entrance fee is 10 euros.
Tourists often miss Santissima Annunziata dal Vastato, but this is one of the most beautiful places in Genoa for Baroque art. You will find out why the philosopher Montesquieu defined it as “the most beautiful Genoa Church”.
Just a short walk away from the church, you can discover the medieval heart of Genoa: Carmine. This is one of the most authentic and picturesque areas of Genoa. Imagine, the locals chatting from the balconies, kids playing football, and the clothes of the locals hanging under the windows. This is Piazza della Giuggiola, and it’s one of the most “instagrammable” places in Genoa. Don’t miss the church of San Bartolomeo dell’Olivella.
Once you finished, treat yourself to some focaccia or farinata in Le Bontà del Grano and go to Via Cairoli. While walking the Via Cairoli take a look at the church of San Siro, which was originally the cathedral of Genoa. Next, head to one of the most popular places in Genova: via Garibaldi. The street is famous for its palaces – Rosso, Bianco, and Tursi are the most popular.
Time to grab some lunch, right? Restaurant Da Maria is famous for its pesto. If you still haven’t tried pesto, you have to visit Maria – it’s like entering the home of Italian nonna. An alternative option is Il Mugugno. Mugugno is a dialect expression that defines one of the favorite activities of Genovesi: complaining about something. Luckily the food here is excellent and you won’t find anything to complain about! Pesto is always on the menu, but you might want to give a chance to their fish ravioli.
Day 2 in Genoa – afternoon
After lunch, it is time to see one of the most loved places by the locals – Belvedere Castelletto. On your way, make a stop in the “Bottega Storica” Pasticceria Profumo. This place is a paradise for Ligurian sweet tooths since 1827 and they produce everything in their laboratory with 100% fresh, seasonal products. Here you will find the best souvenirs from Genoa for your family and friends.
Now its’ time to go to Piazza Portello to take the Liberty-style lift to visit the best viewpoint of Genoa. In Belvedere Castelletto, refresh yourself with granita in Don Paolo – an authentic Sicilian corner in Liguria.
Take a taxi or train to the most romantic place in Genoa: the Nervi Promenade. The promenade is the best spot to take a picture of the old village of Nervi and catch a dramatic sunset on the Mediterranean Sea.
You can finish your day 2 in Genoa with dinner or aperitivo in the old fisherman village of Boccadasse. Don’t forget your camera, because this is one of the most epic places to take a photo in Genoa. Treat yourself like royalty in Ristorante Capo Santa Chiara to finish your trip in the most luxurious and sophisticated way. Or get a table with a view of Boccadasse in Vittorio al Mare and try their fritto misto or Pata Negra.
And this is the end of your 2 days in Genoa.
Further reading for 2 days in Genoa
Other popular regions of Italy
I am sure that after reading this article, you noticed my love for Genoa and that’s why I want you to have the best time here. This itinerary for 2 days in Genoa guarantees that you visit the main attractions, discover hidden gems, eat like a local, and take some epic photos on your way.
I would love to hear your thoughts, so if you have any feedback or additional tips, leave a comment below. Also, check out my Instagram for regular travel videos and travel inspiration. Or explore other destinations on this travel blog.
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