How to Spend 3 Days in Genoa
The Ligurian coast is home to Italy’s largest seaport as well as some of the country’s tiniest fishing villages. Take in both these extremes by spending a day in bustling Genoa, then heading out along the coastline to explore picturesque Portofino and the Cinque Terre. Here are a few ways to make the most of a 3-day stay.
Day 1: Genoa
A historic maritime republic and modern-day shipping center, Genoa is a fascinating blend of old and new. Begin your visit with a journey into the past: take a walking tour through the old city’s narrow carruggi alleys, stopping by the San Lorenzo Duomo. To pair sightseeing with cuisine, sample the city’s traditional street foods on a food tour of the historic center. Finish up at the opulent Palazzi dei Rolli, Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale), and Royal Palace before returning to the city’s present at the revitalized port. End the day with a family-friendly attraction or two, such as the Aquarium, the Biosfera (a tropical garden biosphere), or Bigo (a panoramic elevator).
Day 2: Portofino
For many travelers, Genoa is the gateway to the Italian Riviera, and Portofino is one of the region’s crown jewels. The pocket-size harbor lined with pastel-colored houses and backed by steep wooded hills has become a favorite destination for the jet set. Wander around the town center, packed with pretty cafés and upscale boutiques; walk up to the sunny yellow Church of San Giorgio to enjoy sweeping views of the harbor; or explore the surrounding marine reserve and coastline by kayak or private boat. Alternatively, set off on a guided hike from the town to the beautiful Benedictine abbey in the secluded bay of San Fruttuoso.
Day 3: The Cinque Terre
On your final day, venture farther along the Ligurian coast to the five colorful fishing villages known as the Cinque Terre. Perhaps the most popular day trip from Genoa, these hamlets clinging to the coastal cliffs are among the most charming in Italy, and are easily visited via footpath or the scenic local train that connects all five. Guided tours depart from Genoa and La Spezia.