Doing Genoa right
Central European Time (CET)
Weather and Transport
Autumn and spring are the best times to visit Genoa. Temperatures reach 30°C from June through August, with frequent rain showers from mid-August. Forget rental cars, Genoa’s streets are too narrow for anything bigger than a Vespa. Your feet are your best friends when it comes to reaching most sights, and there’s always the bus or funicular. Buy your multi-purpose 90-minute tickets from tobacconists and newsagents.
Eat and Drink
Fish features prominently on many Genoan menus. If that suits you, angle for trying capponada (traditional seafood salad) at least once. Prefer things less fishy? Steer towards vivid green pesto and plain focaccia, flavored with nothing but olive oil. Adventurous foodies love Romeo Viganotti on Vico dei Castagna. This tiny chocolate shop has goodies with some out-there flavors (we dare you to try the onion!).
Most of the nightlife in Genoa is centered around the redesigned port area, as well as the medieval quarter. The latter’s atmospheric bars have an old-worldly feel to them and you’ll see locals and tourists alike spilling out onto the ancient piazze. Get involved! For great steaks and live music, try the aptly named Live Music Club, or for cool indie bands, top DJs, cabaret and avant-garde theatre try La Claque.
Make a splash at the Aquarium of Genoa
The ocean and its residents are ready to add an underwater twist to your time in Genoa. Europe's biggest (and possibly best) aquarium is packed with predators like sharks, crocs and piranhas, but with 70 rooms, 12,000 animals and sea creatures across 3,000 m2 of exhibition space, there’s loads more to see. Built inside an old ship in the harbor, the entire aquarium is a pretty spectacular sight!
Visit the Opera
Opera is to Italy what Justin Bieber is to Canada, and that’s a very, very popular national treasure. Treat your ears to the very best of Italian classical music and opera with a visit to Genova in Concerto. Set in the Lower Church of San Giovanni di Pré this musical journey, performed by the Virtuosi della Commenda, makes for a magical night at one of the most impressive locations in the city.
Fish Festivals and Supermaggio
If you like action, the streets of Genoa come to life every May for Supermaggio. This month-long festival brings lots of people and even more live events to the city, ranging from music and dance to talks. At the end of May, attend workshops, talks and tastings at the biennial Slow Fish festival – a special event to help raise public awareness about the issue of sustainable fish in the Mediterranean.
Cinque Terre and Portofino
See all the picturesque villages of Cinque Terre by hopping on a train from Genoa, which stops at all of them. There are no buses and you’re not allowed to drive into them, which makes for a much more magical experience. You can see Portofino in the same day, but this colorful coastal town is worth a day trip on its own. Just avoid August if you can, it’s peak season and insufferably hot.