Hands up, I had never heard of Genoa in Italy until very recently. I mean everyone knows Rome, Venice, Milan, but Genoa? No I don’t… geddit?
I was heading out to see Cinque Terre (see full post here) and Genoa was the nearest airport. So I figured I should spend some there on the way back to break up the journey. I didn’t really know what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised!
Genoa, or Genova in Italian, is a lovely city with so much to see and do. There’s plenty of beautiful architecture to see all over the city, especially the museums on Via Garibaldi.
There’s also gorgeous 360 views from a lookout point called Spianata di Castelletto. It’s a really pretty city to look out over so I massively recommend walking up to this platform if you’re visiting.
There’s also a ton of things to see in the city centre such as Porta Soprana (the old gates to the city), the fountain in Piazza De Ferrari, the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo… Honestly there’s so many cool things to see that you can easily spend a day just wandering around looking at all of the amazing buildings.
The harbour is quite a spectacle as well with the old historic port, lots of waterside restaurants and even a pirate ship! Because why not, right?
As there are hardly any tourists around everything feels a lot more authentic than nearby cities like Florence or Pisa. For example, the intimate little trattoria I had dinner at was completely locals (See full post of Cavour 21 here).
Also, the rabbit warren of back streets that weave through the city are historically beautiful and make you feel like you’re in another time, it’s insane. And in the evening I really liked exploring the night life with all of the tucked away bars and buzzing little piazzas full of locals.
Kamun Lab was a cool little place I checked out which specialised in different kinds of beer (try the ginger beer, it’s fab).
But you have to be careful at night, and it’s worth taking the main roads instead. It’s not dangerous or anything, just a bit rough around the edges, so I think it’s better to be safe than sorry. But this edge is part of the city’s charm.
I stayed at Manena Hostel during my visit, which is a really chilled out and easy-going kind of hostel.
The dorm rooms are bright and breezy with chalk boards above every bed to write your name which I thought was a pretty cool idea.
Everything feel really easy there with a very welcoming host who gave me a free map and marked all of the sights on there, even recommending places to go for lunch. I love that kind of thing, it makes your experience at a hostel so much better! Locals know best after all. There’s also nice, friendly people staying there and even free garlic!! (Jackpot.)
Definitely a hidden gem, Genoa is full of Italian culture, low-key bars and awesome restaurants. As well as those amazing views. I massively recommend a visit if you’re in this part of Italy.
Have you been to Genoa? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!