Sometimes forgotten by tourists, the city of Genoa is yet full of charm and an ideal place for a getaway by the sea. We give you the best areas to stay in this charming Italian city.
Having long played a central role in the maritime trade, with other trading powerhouses Venice and Ragusa (today’s Dubrovnik), Genoa is certainly among the most beautiful places to visit in Liguria. Home to majestic palaces, beautiful churches, and impressive baroque buildings, Genoa is full of visual gems. A haven of history and beauty, the city known as the “Superba” is best enjoyed by simply wandering along the narrow streets and alleyways of the historic center. If the Italian city is bound to seduce you, what about the seaside? Don’t miss the small fisherman village of Boccadasse, an unavoidable destination during a stay in the capital of Liguria.
So where to stay in Genoa? It all depends on what you are looking for. If you prefer to stay in the very heart of Genoa’s historic center, then you should head for the old town. Looking for something more atypical? Head to the old port or Boccadasse. Since Genoa is not the most touristic Italian city, accommodation in the city remains generally accessible.
Molo, the medieval district of Genoa
The old town of Genoa is, in reality, made up of three districts: Molo, Maddalena and Prè. The latter having had its share of issues in the last few years we recommend the first two. The ideal place to stay in Genoa, in the heart of the city, Molo has many historical buildings and museums to visit, notably the Doge’s Palace and the San Lorenzo Cathedral. Feel free to wander through the age-old historic center and succumb to the charms of its incredible architecture. Staying in Genoa in Molo is the best option if you want to access everything on foot. You will have many options as far as accommodation, though you will find the more expensive hotels in Genoa here because of the touristic potential.
Maddalena, the baroque district of Genoa
Photo credit: Flickr – Ralf Steinberger
Maddalena makes up the rest of the old center and is in many ways similar to Molo. however, this district is more recent which is readily apparent in the architecture. Its most notable draw is its maze of tiny streets near via della Maddalena, which are quaint and might give you an idea of how is taws to live in Genoa centuries ago, before large arteries were carved out and alleys were widened. You will find a plethora of palaces in Genoa, and nowhere is this more apparent than in Maddalena, where it seems like every other building was originally a palace. This of course explains why this is not the cheapest area to stay in Genoa, though you will have a selection of very elegant hotels and home stays.
Porto Antico, the old port of Genoa
Photo credit: Flickr – Daniel Jacobs
Porto Antico is a must-see during a visit to Genoa, and it is also a good place to stay during a trip to the capital of Liguria. Indeed, the old port of Genoa is the largest port in Italy and stretches across no less than 22 km! In this huge complex that extends over the sea, you can find an aquarium, a museum devoted to the ocean, six marinas, and an array of bars and restaurants. One of the city’s best and liveliest places to visit, Porto Antico is also an ideal area to stay in Genoa. The Port is still quite active and popular for ferries and cruises. You can find many ferry boats leaving from Genoa to Sicily for instance, mainly via Palermo
Boccadasse, the small fishing neighborhood
Photo credit: Flickr – unita36
If you are looking for an atypical and charming neighborhood to stay in Genoa, head east of the city, towards Boccadasse. This lovely and picturesque fishing village looks is certainly a great place to live while staying in Genoa, as it is inside the city limits. You will have the pleasure to discover a myriad of colorful houses overlooking the sea. A quite simply sublime setting to explore from various points of view. Though this is clearly not the ideal place to swim, the village has a small shingle beach and many cafés and restaurants with terraces. Stay in Genoa in this area and you will be sure to relax in a peaceful environment, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Bogliasco, Rapallo and the coastal villages East of Genoa
Genoa is a lively city, that depends on its port and industry more than it does on tourism. As a result it feels more “real” than some other Italian cities where the tourism industry becomes dominant in the Summer, meaning cheaper prices and a more authentic experience, but also meaning it can be noisier and not as “prim and proper” as some areas of Florence for instance. If the activity and noise of the city are a nuisance to you and you feel like getting some quiet time after a busy day trip in the old center of Genoa, then maybe the villages on the coast East of Genoa will suit you. West to East, Between Genoa and La Spezia, Genova Nervi, Bogliasco, Camogli, S.Margherita Ligure or Rapallo all offer a break from the hustle and the bustle of the city and all have beautiful lungomare, seaside corniches or promenades to idly walk down to enjoy the view and the breeze. These cities are not as touristy as their Southern pendants of Cinque Terre so make for great home bases if you want to visit them in addition to Genoa. You will find a few hotels and Airbnbs in each of these small cities, with varying prices but generally cheaper than the old city of Genoa or the very popular Cinque Terre.
Main photo credit : Flickr – Luca Volpi
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