Squeezed in between Monaco and Tuscany, the Liguria region of Italy is the thinest and the smallest of all the regions of Italy. And it is also the region that I am in love with.
The Best Way to Get There
The main airport in Liguria is in Genoa, which is a great city to visit as well, so don’t overlook it. The lack of tourists and the ease of getting around are two great reasons to come here. Plus, of course, the beauty of the region.
Genoa is an easy airport to land in. Actually, based on size, I think is one of the easiest airports to fly into in Italy. It is the smaller airplanes that arrive out on the tarmac, then a quick trip inside to baggage claim and out to the front door for transportation. From here, depending on your budget, you can take a cab to your hotel or take the bus (which stops right out side the door) to the train station. Here there are many more cabs and it is a quick jaunt to the downtown hotels.
The Best Places to Stay
I recommend the BW City Hotel or the Grand Hotel Savoia, which is right beside the train station mentioned above. They alternate between the #1 and the #2 choice of hotels in Genoa on TripAdvisor and both are excellent choices. I do prefer the BW City Hotel’s location, but it is a modern hotel, whereas the Hotel Sovoia is like stepping back in time, into an old world hotel.
The Best Things to Do
Before you get started, you can buy the Genoa pass for 4.50 Euros, which will let you ride all public transportation in Genoa. These can be purchased in the tiny newsstand-looking business across from most of the bus stops. Included in the price of the ticket is the train to Nervi, and the lift and the funicular for 24 hours in Genoa.
Make sure to spend some time in the streets of Genoa:
- Piazza Rafaellae de Ferrari – This fountain in the centre of the piazza will capture your attention and set the tone of what you will experience in Genoa. It is the main hub and vibe of the city and so going here first will help you get your bearings. Look around for the Opera House and Doge’s Palace, and gaze at the lovely fountain. From here, you can easily get to most of the main things to do in Genoa. Find the tiny house where Christopher Columbus used to live — and next to his house is the beautiful remains of a 12th-century cloister. Also take the time to stop by San Lorenzo’s Church, the 1500 year old black and white striped marble church.
- Via Garabaldi – This narrow old lane from the 1550s is entwined with Genoa’s history, and also a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can stroll through the lane listening to the history of the Great Garibaldi who united Italy on a walking tour, if you would like. Also take a peep into the old mansions and baroque palaces, which give a glimpse of the rich Italian heritage of art and sculpture.
- Funicular at Largo Zecca – There are three funiculars in Genoa. Largo Zecca up to Righi Hill is the closest one to Via Garibaldi with a few stops along the way. It takes about 20 minutes and, once on top, there is a fabulous panoramic view, at least one cafe, a castle and a great little gelato shop. From here you can see all the ships in port, as well as the historic Lanterna (the lighthouse). The ride is part of the city transport system, so just use your bus ticket — or you can also take the public elevator to the top of the hill .
- Old Harbor and Port – A large-scale restoration and redevelopment of the old Port of Genova has been done, where they also added new buildings for the Aquarium, the Bigo tensile structure, and the Bolla, a huge crystal sphere with the largest collection of ferns in the world. You can also visit the Museum of the Sea.
The Best Day Trips
1. Bocadasse – Take the bus out to Bocadasse, an old fisherman’s village in the city. It has lots of fishing boats and people lounging by the sea, and is fun for an afternoon to get a gelato. Take the #31 bus to Bocadasse (2.50 Euros). Tickets are across the street in the store near where #31 bus stops, which is near Christopher Columbus’ house.
2. Nervi – Take the train out to Nervi for a day trip down the Passeggiata Anita Garibaldi (promenade), which is named after the wife of the famous General. Walk along the lovely boardwalk either direction to the end and admire the beautiful Liguria sea as it snakes along the coast for about a mile and a half. Once you have had enough sea and sun, you can walk through the charming alleyways into the center of Nervi for typical Italian food and drinks.
About the Author
A value-luxury adventure traveler at heart, Dr. Cacinda Maloney shares her experiences through her travel blog, PointsandTravel.com. As someone who has traveled every six weeks for the last 18 years while working full time, she gets the most from her travel dollars by using frequent flyer miles and loyalty program points to travel for less at luxury properties. She is a scuba diver with over 150 dives worldwide, and is Phoenix, Arizona-based, but maintains an apartment in Santiago, Chile, too.