Although not one of Italy’s best known holiday destinations, Genoa has so much history, fun and sunshine to offer. Read more to find out all about this extraordinary place.
This beautiful city is jam-packed with imposing buildings, winding streets and non-stop culture, and you’ll find it in the heart of Liguria, flanked by the Ligurian Sea in the northwest Mediterranean. Once known as La Superba, this city has welcomed numerous historical figures to its shores, including Christopher Columbus and countless poets, who all fell madly in love with the place. Genoa was crowned the European Capital of Culture in 2004, and there’s just so much to explore in its lively piazzas, including some of the best traditional dishes in Italy, such as its famous pesto alla genovese!
Once upon a time, noble families reigned over this glorious Italian destination, which used to be a bustling trade republic. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these same noble families left an indelible mark on countless enchanting buildings. Unlike Pisa and Venice, Genoa still makes use of its beautiful harbour, which was redeveloped in 1992 to celebrate the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ expedition.
Genoa’s old town is home to a very long list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. As such, we recommend taking a tour of Via Garibaldi to admire the fabulous sixteenth-century residences surrounded by enchanting gardens.
Come get lost in the caruggi and enjoy a spot of shopping in one of Italy’s most beautiful cities. And while you’re at it, why not savour an incredible bite of focaccia while you soak up the lively atmosphere that only local residents are able to inject into their home city.
You might also be pleased to hear that the surrounding area is home to a number of glorious beaches. Although Genoa may not be at the top of your list, it offers a fantastically picturesque, welcoming coastline that’s famous for its fresh air. You’ll no doubt be won over by the excellent swimming opportunities in this compact yet charming setting. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the best beaches in Genoa and the surrounding area, so you can choose where to go, and not waste a minute of your Costa Cruises trip.
Pack your sunscreen and a beach towel and we’ll take care of the rest!
The Ligurian Riviera in Levante is home to some of the most beautiful and characteristic coastal landscapes in the whole of Liguria. Loved by writers who once lived or holidayed in the area – and famous for its literary history in places such as Portofino, Rapallo and Sestri Levante – the seaside here is a real jewel in the crown of the local economy. Huge coloured buildings wedge themselves in between blue seawaters and looming cliffs, all the way along from Genoa to Versilia.
Take the Baia del Silenzio in Sestri Levante, for example, a beautiful city beach surrounded by houses carved into the rockface. The soft, golden sand flows headlong into the blue, warm sea, making swimming a real delight for both adults and children alike. The beach is surrounded by bars offering the perfect opportunity to cool off between swims. Why not rent an umbrella and a sunbed and enjoy a day in complete relaxation surrounded by other visitors looking for a place to relax and recharge? During the high season, Baia del Silenzio tends to get crowded, but it’s such a beautiful location, you’ll hardly notice. And if you’re on the lookout for food, simply stroll inland to enjoy some of the best Genoese and Ligurian cuisine around.
You’ll also find some great sand and pebble beaches in Portofino. In fact, you’re really spoiled for choice here. Relax in total peace and quiet among historical buildings and enjoy a dip in the warm, crystal clear waters before taking a stroll through the luscious parkland, which is just a few minutes’ away from the beach. Come here, rent an umbrella and settle down for a sunny day relaxing on a small stretch of sand lapped by clean waters (the area is constantly monitored by Portofino Maritime Protection) in a charming setting that’s ideal for less experienced swimmers – children included.
Genoa itself boasts over 35 kilometres of delightful beaches, which are all worth a visit. Reachable by bus from the city centre in less than twenty minutes, the district of Boccadasse is home to a small village with a beautiful port and an enchanting pebble beach guarded by tall, historical buildings. And if you want to explore further, we recommend a trip to the small sandy bays of Sturla and the coves of Genoa Quarto dei Mille.
Most of Genoa’s beaches are well equipped with tourist facilities, such as lifeguard towers, bars, toilets and public showers. So don’t worry, you’ll be sure to find the best of Ligurian hospitality wherever you go, without having to struggle to find activities to please the whole family.
We recommend a trip to Bogliasco, Avegno, Nervi and Magra, where you’ll be enchanted by the urban beauty of crystal clear waters overlooked by historical villages. And if you’ve never seen the Golfo del Paradiso before, it’s time for a visit. This gulf is particularly loved by tourists looking for the perfect combination of nature, history and glamourous nightlife.
Looking for a quality beach that isn’t too far from beautiful Genoa? Camogli is the place for you. As tempting as all the other beaches may be, the urban coastline near Genoa offers all sorts of options to tourists looking for a bit of variety. Whether you’re after a party beach or a public beach where you can lay out your towel and jump into the sea, you really will be spoiled for choice around here. The only thing these beaches have in common is their pebbly shores. In the east, near Hotel Cenobio dei Dogi, you’ll find a rocky cove consisting of coarse sand with an amazing view of the bay. The area around here is comprised almost entirely of public beaches, making it the perfect sport for tourists who want to relax without having to rent an umbrella or sunbed.
If you are looking for comfort and a spot of pampering, you’ll have to venture a little further south to La Rotonda bar. Here, you can rent sunbeds and umbrellas while enjoying some much-needed creature comforts. And we’ve not even mentioned the menu yet. This bar-cum-restaurant sits perched atop a cluster of rocks and, in addition to its amazing views, offers a vast selection of cocktails that somehow taste that bit better when sipped at sunset!
The beach winds down to the centre of town and the Church of Santa Maria Assunta. Here, the coastline consists mainly of large pebbles, and alternates between private facilities and public areas where you can put up your own umbrella. This is also a great place to rent a kayak or small boat for a different water-based experience. A few bathing establishments also offer swimming lessons.
Camogli knows how to take care of its guests. Head inland, towards the centre of town, and you’ll soon stumble across a huge selection of restaurants, bars and, with a little luck, terraces looking out directly at the sea under shady awnings.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can always take a ferry to beautiful San Fruttuoso Beach, which is located in Portofino Marine Natural Park and considered by far one of the best spots in Liguria. Here, you’ll find two fairly different beaches, but both come with sand and pebbles and are surrounded by irresistible turquoise waters. They’re also both equipped with establishments renting out sunbeds and umbrellas, so that you can make the most of your day on the beach with the kids!
Santa Margherita Ligure
Santa Margherita Ligure is a small town in Liguria, not too far from Genoa. You’ll find it nestled between Rapallo and Portofino. It’s a fairly striking location thanks to the spectacular hills to the west of the city, which are covered in dense Mediterranean vegetation and make for a truly amazing view. The coast here spans more than four kilometres and features vast stretches of flat beach, as opposed to isolated coves. What’s more, Santa Margherita Ligure has been awarded a Blue Flag for its water quality. So, what are you waiting for? Get ready to dive right in!
The vast majority of the coastline here is free to access, with a few seaside facilities open to rent sunbeds and umbrellas. Here, you can make the most of public toilets, showers, changing rooms, cabins, bars, beach volleyball courts, play areas, restaurants and walkways to assist those with limited mobility. A few private beach establishments even have swimming pools!
Further along the coast, separated by nineteenth-century breakwaters, is Santa Margherita Ligure harbour. Here, you’ll find lots of yachts and motorboats, making a stroll along the port highly recommended. This is the place to come if you want to wander through a genuine seaside town – given that there aren’t many left in Liguria – and enjoy a beautiful port that has remained unchanged for centuries.
Baia del Silenzio
Sestri Levante is also called the ‘City of the Two Seas’ and is divided by the Baia delle Favole and the famous Baia del Silenzio. A source of great inspiration for many Italian and international poets and artists, the Baia del Silenzio is considered a real point of reference for people visiting Liguria during the holiday season. A quick glance at a photo will tell you why.
As well as once being home to numerous famous figures – including the writer Hans Christian Andersen, the composer Richard Wagner and the scientist Guglielmo Marconi – this horseshoe-shaped beach boasts golden sands, which separate the nearby buildings from the crystal clear waters.
Winner of a number of awards thanks to its beauty, the Baia del Silenzio is considered one of the top ten best beaches in Italy. Characterised by historic buildings, sunshine, clean waters and great beach facilities, this particular spot never disappoints. Come and enjoy an unforgettable view while you watch the sun set over the Baia del Silenzio. Enjoy an aperitivo at one of the many restaurants Sestri Levante has to offer and savour the local cuisine in peace and tranquillity. You will thank us for recommending such an amazing day out upon your return to the ship!
Welcome to Arenzano, a small Ligurian town on the coast of the Riviera di Ponente, near Capo San Martino. Here, you can really admire historical Liguria’s traditional beauty while you enjoy the very best local cuisine and hospitality. Arenzano is surrounded by Beigua Regional Park, with its mottled mountain reliefs and dense Mediterranean vegetation. Arenzano’s coastline differs from the surrounding area thanks to its proximity to the mountains and sea. In fact, a few headlands directly overlook the bay, offering a wonderful view that few other spots in the region can beat. In this area, you’ll find plenty of hidden coves, small equipped and public beaches and areas where you can sit back and enjoy a peaceful distance from busier spots.
Come and rent a sunbed and umbrella from one of the many beach resorts, which are also equipped with bars, restaurants, swimming pools and children’s play areas, allowing the children to have fun in complete safety, without you having to move too much!
The water in Arenzano is clean and the seabed is brimming with spectacular marine life. This is the place to come if you’re looking to fit some diving into your stay in Liguria. From Arenzano to Punta Ivrea, there are so many good spots to explore Liguria’s underwater community. Here, you’re bound to encounter some truly spectacular species of fish, as well as colourful rocks and posidonia reefs. About one kilometre west from Arenzano port is the Haven shipwreck, which sank in 1991 and is a coveted destination among divers intrigued by this underwater giant.
The night life in Arenzano has a lot to offer. When the sun sets, local bars light up the coastline and play great dance tunes. Why not stroll along the promenade dedicated to the famous musician Fabrizio de André while you’re at it?
Vesima is a small beach located between Arenzano and Terrarossa. Despite being small in size, a lot of tourists choose to come here for a day out. The pebble coastline owes its grey colour to the nearby mountains, which descend slowly into warm, turquoise waters. Vesima is also famous for being a pet-friendly beach. Here, everyone can enjoy a day out with their pets without having to worry about leaving them at home. The area is equipped with drinking fountains and poo bags to help owners keep the sand clean, so that everyone can make the most of the facilities while leaving the area in a good condition for the following day.
Pet owners will also find everything they need for their beach holiday, including umbrella and sunbed rentals, and excellent restaurants and bars. One of the local eateries also sells eco-friendly, organic products, and it’s definitely worth a visit with your four-legged friend!
The area also has a few small facilities offering dog behavioural and training services, as well as emergency vet clinics in the event of a minor accident.
Paraggi Beach is unique thanks to its golden sands, which are unlike the pebble beaches you normally find in this part of the world. A famous bay near Portofino, this beautiful location has been awarded a Blue Flag thanks to its clean waters, making it the perfect place for a dip in the Ligurian Sea.
It might be a fairly small beach surrounded by green hills, but Paraggi boasts some of Liguria’s best seaside culture. The seabed is also clean and suitable for less experienced swimmers – children included.
Paraggi is a public beach, but there are several places open if you want to rent a sunbed and umbrella, as well as everything you and your travel companions might desire for a worry-free day out at the beach. Bars, restaurants, public toilets, changing rooms and more: you’ll find everything you’ll need for a great experience!
Near the shores, you’ll find a pedestrian area dedicated entirely to local tourism. This is a great place to visit whichever bar or restaurant takes your fancy and treat yourself to a delicious local meal.
What’s more, Portofino Natural Park is just a short distance from Paraggi Beach and offers natural and cultural attractions that will make straying from your usual beach day worth it. We recommend visiting the Eremo di Niasca, a church constructed in the first half of the nineteenth century on the ruins of a medieval building dedicated to St. Anthony. It was once home to hermit monks but has since been purchased and converted into a mill. The ruins have also been partially restored by the local park association.
Less than three kilometres from Rapallo is beautiful Pozzetto Beach. This is a famous meeting point for Ligurian locals looking to enjoy a diving holiday. Pozzetto used to be a local secret, but it wasn’t kept for long! Word of its beauty soon spread to tourists, who now flock here in their thousands – especially during the hottest months of the year.
The sand here is dark and mainly consists of pebbles. However, it’s still a very pleasant place to spend a day surrounded by the sun and sea. Pozzetto is partly a public beach and partly owned by bathing establishments providing umbrella, sunbed and boat rentals. There are also several bars and restaurants open serving up excellent local cuisine.
This is the place to come if you want to dive into Liguria’s crystal clear waters. You’ll never want to leave!
Baia delle Favole
Welcome to the Baia delle Favole in Sestri Levante. This enchanting stretch of coastline owes its name to one of its most famous guests: the fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen. The Baia delle Favole is a real rarity comprised of beautiful sandy beaches that slope gently into shallow, clean waters, making it the perfect spot for children and less adventurous swimmers.
Part of the bay is public, while the rest is dotted with beach facilities renting umbrellas and sunbeds. The coastline is also home to bars that switch on their lights after sunset and draw in the crowds of holidaymakers on the hunt for a good night out.
Capolungo is located in Nervi, near Genoa. Once a destination for wealthy international tourists, the beach now boasts a beautiful stretch of coastline perched among the rocks. Here, you can enjoy some of Liguria’s best sunsets.
We also recommend visiting this spot if you’re passionate about photography and want to catch a glimpse of some truly unique landscapes, in an area of the world Fabrizio De Andrè loved so much, he dedicated many of his beautiful songs to it!
Visit Genoa with Costa Cruises
Set sail for Genoa with Costa Crociere! Whether you’re hoping to immerse yourself in the divine atmosphere of the Baia del Silenzio or looking for the perfect shot of Camogli, Genoa looks forward to welcoming you with its multiple cultural and seaside attractions. What are you waiting for? Book your Costa Cruise today and come and explore ‘La Superba’!