Italy’s largest port is one of the most interesting cities in Italy, if not Europe. The narrow alleyways of the medieval old town are littered with hidden gems. Admittedly there is a gritty feel to some parts of the city, and deep in the old town the atmosphere feels more reminiscent of Tangiers than an Italian city. But Genoa is criminally underrated and delightfully (for you and I) under-visited, so here are my top reasons to visit Genoa as soon as possible.
Corso Italia and Boccadasse
This 2 mile seaside promenade is a lovely walk from the old port (see below) to the beautiful hamlet of Boccadasse. The walk takes in beaches and historic buildings, including a 13th century monastery along the way. There are plenty of bars and restaurants to stop for refreshments on hot days and a dip amongst the colourful houses at Boccadasse’s bay is the highlight of the walk.
Take a cruise
Independent travellers might scoff at the idea of cruising between cities, but short cruises that start and finish in different locations can make an interesting way of getting between destinations. MSC Cruises use Genoa as their base city so many of their Mediterranean cruises start and finish here. Since MSC have flexible embarkation and disembarkation ports it’s even possible to use them as a luxury ferry, with a few extra ports thrown in for good measure. Indeed it can sometimes work out cheaper to cruise between cities than to take a ferry. One night cruises with MSC from Genoa to Barcelona could be found in October for as little as £39pp. This includes meals, entertainment and first class facilities such as heated swimming pools. The GNV ferry that runs this route costs around £120 for the cheapest cabin, no meals and far inferior facilities.