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Hotel Helvetia
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Hotel Assarotti
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NH Collection Genova Marina
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Hotel ratings in Genoa
Hotel Serafino
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SCAMPAGNATA
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Flight and hotel Genoa

Introducing Genoa

Situated on the Mediterranean coast, in the Italian Riviera, the historic city of Genoa is the capital of Liguria and home to 1.5 million people, as well as plenty of visitors enjoying package holidays in Genoa throughout the year. The birthplace of renowned explorer Christopher Columbus in 1451, the historically and strategically important city has become one of the busiest ports in Western Europe.

What to know before visiting Genoa?

Arriving for your weekend in Genoa couldn't be easier. There are several flights from the UK to Genoa, including flights from London and regional airports such as Manchester. Genoa Airport (GOA) is just a few miles outside the city centre, and shuttle buses take visitors from the airport to the city's two main train stations in approximately half an hour.

Italian is the main language spoken in Genoa, although you might hear older residents speaking the traditional Genoese dialect. Most people will speak a few words of English. Genoa is one hour ahead of the UK, and the currency in Italy is the euro.

When is the best time to visit Genoa?

Although Genoa is on the Mediterranean, it is still quite far north. Therefore, travellers on Genoa city breaks in autumn and winter should be prepared for cool temperatures and wet weather. In summer, temperatures can reach highs above 30°C.

Fans of the circus might want to visit Genoa just before Christmas, when the city hosts its annual Festival of Circus Art. Watch top circus acts from around the world and try your hand at circus skills such as juggling and clowning.

What to do in Genoa

Once you've chosen your flight to and hotel in Genoa, you'll want to find your bearings in this sprawling and bustling city. Some of the best ways to do this are as follows:

  • Take a ride on one of the railways in the heart of the Old Town, which overlooks the port. The Zecca-Righi funicular, which opened in 1897, makes seven stops on its way to the summit, while the older Principe-Granarolo railway is shorter.
  • Enjoy the best of the Mediterranean on city breaks in Genoa with a boat trip or a day of sea kayaking.
  • Look out for dolphins and whales in the Mediterranean at various times of the year.
  • Take it easy with an evening stroll along Corso Italia, Genoa's main promenade, where you can enjoy drinks or a meal along with a beautiful sea view.
  • Check out the high-end fashion stores on Via XX Settembre, a wide boulevard that runs through the city centre.

What places should you visit in Genoa?

Experience the city's prosperous and successful history with a visit to the Palazzo Ducale on your weekend in Genoa. The building, of which some parts date from the 13th century, is home to fine historic artefacts and works of art and is often used as a venue for exhibitions and concerts. Art lovers will also enjoy spending time at Palazzo Rosso, a 17th-century palace housing works by Van Dyck, Veronese and Dürer.

Learn about Genoa's long and fascinating connection with the sea at the city's Galata Museo del Mare, a maritime museum with reconstructions of historic ships and some of Christopher Columbus's belongings. Continue the aquatic theme with a visit to Genoa's aquarium, the largest in Italy and second biggest in Europe. Different tanks are devoted to plant and animal life of various ecosystems, including the nearby Ligurian Sea, the North Atlantic and the exotic Caribbean.

What to eat in Genoa

Genoa is famous for its simple but flavourful food, including pesto sauce. Made with basil and olive oil, pesto is often served as an accompaniment to pasta and focaccia, a type of flatbread. After a busy day of sightseeing, you'll want to find a good local restaurant. The best dining options are in the Old Town and around the historic port, with many serving fresh fish and seafood caught locally in the Mediterranean.

Souvenirs from Genoa

A jar of genuine Genoese pesto always goes down well as a gift or souvenir of your weekend in the city – make sure to pick up some Italian pasta to serve with it! Alternatively, check out the designer shops on Via Roma, or look for bargains at the Piazza Colombo secondhand book market for a more unusual memento of package holidays in Genoa.