Genoa Holidays

A historic Italian port

Comprising verdant terraces along northern Italy’s hilly coastline, Genoa is the capital of the Italian Riviera and the country’s best-kept secret. The largest city along the scenic Ligurian coastline, it’s a place that truly deserves its nickname ‘La Superba’.

Genoa holidays are a wonderful opportunity to explore this pretty port. Its sunset-hued pink, orange and red buildings stretch for 15 miles along the waterfront, where photogenic boats bob about in the harbour. There are also some magnificent palaces (some of which are listed as Unesco World Heritage Sites), domed cathedrals, grand piazzas and baroque mansions to visit. Genoa was hugely significant as a trading port during the Middle Ages, and has Italy’s largest and best-preserved medieval town centre, where atmospheric lanes wind up and down the hills.

Besides its many attractions, holidays to Genoa can act as a springboard for day trips to smaller towns along the coast. One of the best is a boat tour to pastel-painted Portofino, where you’ll be rewarded with magnificent vistas of coastal villages and stately villas. Offering the romance of the Italian Riviera, a hefty dose of fascinating history and an easy gateway to explore the rest of Liguria, Genoa is perhaps the ultimate Italian city break.

All resorts in Genoa

Three tips for a top trip

Ride a funicular
Genoa’s medieval centre is largely walkable, but taking a trundling trip uphill on one of the city’s historic funiculars is a charming way to enjoy the view.
Catch the fort train
For some of the best views of Genoa’s fortifications, hop on the historic narrow-gauge railway from Genoa to the village of Casella. Some of the train’s carriages date back to 1929.
Travel by boat
It’s well worth taking a relaxing, scenic boat trip to the one of the picture-perfect towns nearby – Rapallo or Portofino are good choices.

Best attractions to see in Genoa

Impressive architecture

Genoa’s fabulous Cathedral of San Lorenzo is clad in black-and-white marble, flanked by carved lions and houses an unexploded World War II bomb, which fell here in 1941.

Magical streets of Genoa

Take a stroll through the streets of Via Garibaldi and discover the charm of its Unesco-listed palaces. With 42 to choose from, the historic beauty of this area is enchanting.

Renzo Piano’s work

At the port you’ll see the Biosfera, a globe-shaped greenhouse, and Il Bigo, a suspended cabin, both masterminded by the acclaimed Italian architect Renzo Piano.

Your Genoa questions, answered

Genoa is ideal for a weekend break, but it also has more than enough to fill a longer trip if you combine it with Rapallo, Portofino or the coastal villages of Cinque Terre.

While the main draws are Genoa’s monument-packed medieval city filled with fine architecture, there are also beaches nearby and boat trips that run whale-watching tours.

Eating is practically a sport here – expect plates piled high with seafood and pizza, as well as the world’s best pesto (it originated here), cheese-topped focaccia and ‘farinata’ (chickpea pancakes).