10 Things to See in Genoa

that kids will absolutely love!

Finally, we are talking about Genoa, and we at Riviera dei Bambini, who are true Genoese d.o.c., can’t wait to tell you what to visit in Genoa with kids. To keep things organized, here are the 10 Things to See in Genoa with Kids!

If you are planning a visit to the capital of Liguria, you are in the right place! Genoa, a city nestled in the Ligurian Riviera, offers a unique experience among historic alleys, imposing monuments, and a gastronomy that seduces every palate. Starting your journey from the pulsating heart of the city, the historic center, you will find yourself immersed in a labyrinth of narrow streets (caruggi) hiding architectural treasures and picturesque corners. The majestic Cathedral of San Lorenzo, with its black and white striped façade, holds millennia-old stories inside. Not far from here, Piazza De Ferrari is the symbol of Genoese elegance, with its fountain dancing in the center and the historic buildings surrounding it. But Genoa is not only about history; it is also about adventure and discovery, thanks to the Genoa Aquarium, one of the largest in Europe, where you can admire marine biodiversity up close. For those seeking an elevated view of the city, the Castelletto elevator offers an unforgettable glimpse of the port and Genoese rooftops. Then, let yourself be tempted by the authentic flavors of Ligurian cuisine: Genoese pesto, focaccia, and pansoti in walnut sauce are just the beginning of a culinary journey that will make you fall in love.

This guide will take you through the 10 unmissable attractions in Genoa, ensuring you fully experience the magic and beauty of this extraordinary city. Whether you are drawn to the historical and artistic richness or urban adventures in the “caruggi“, Genoa has something to offer everyone.

Get ready to discover what to see in Genoa and immerse yourself in the wonders of this fascinating city.

Cosa vedere a Genova

1 ) caruggi Genova

Explore the historic heart of the city

The historic center of Genoa, one of the largest in Europe, is a fascinating labyrinth of narrow streets called “caruggi“, where echoes of the past blend seamlessly with the vibrancy of the present. Here, amidst noble palaces, ancient churches, and lively squares, you can breathe in the authentic Genoese atmosphere.

Immerse yourself in the maze of Genoa’s caruggi, a labyrinth of narrow alleys that represent the city’s most authentic and mysterious soul. These secret places, nestled among ancient tower houses, have witnessed stories, commerce, and daily life of the Maritime Republic.

2 ) Acquario Genova

🐠 A journey into the vastness of the sea

An enchanting adventure awaits you at the Genoa Aquarium, one of the city’s main attractions and the largest aquarium in Italy. Not only that, it is also among the most accredited in Europe, offering an unforgettable journey through the depths of the sea without getting wet.

Located in the heart of the Old Port, this spectacular aquarium offers an incredible voyage through the world’s oceans, showcasing an extraordinary variety of marine habitats and aquatic species.

From colorful tropical fish to mysterious abysses, and from charming penguins to imposing creatures like sharks and dolphins, the Genoa Aquarium provides unique emotions for visitors of all ages. Immersed in this magical atmosphere, you can discover the secrets of the underwater world, understand the importance of conserving marine ecosystems, and simply marvel at the beauty of aquatic life.

The Aquarium is not only a must-visit destination for those exploring Genoa but also serves as an important center for environmental education and scientific research, where both young and old can learn about the importance of marine biodiversity and the challenges it faces. The visit becomes a unique experience that combines wonder, learning, and awareness of environmental issues.

For those deciding what to see in Genoa, the Aquarium is an unmissable stop: an exciting journey into the marine depths that leaves every visitor with memories of a vibrant underwater world teeming with life and colors. Prepare to experience unforgettable moments amidst underwater tunnels, large panoramic tanks, and close encounters with sea creatures. The Genoa Aquarium is a breathtaking window into the mysterious marine universe, ready to offer emotions that will stay with you long after your visit.

3 ) Città dei Bambini e dei Ragazzi

A must-see stop among things to do in Genoa with kids

The City of Children and Teenagers of Genoa is a unique interactive museum dedicated to children aged 2 to 12. Inaugurated in 2008 and renovated in 2022, the museum offers an exhibition space of over 2,000 square meters divided into different thematic areas, all focused on exploring the five senses. Moreover, the new location is situated directly below the Aquarium.

Each thematic area is dedicated to one sense: sight, touch, hearing, taste, and smell. Children can immerse themselves in engaging and interactive sensory experiences, learning about the world around them in a fun and stimulating way.

The City of Children Genoa is beloved because here kids can:

Shout like crazy in a soundproof booth
Touch everything they want
Play with a giant nose ;)
Experience different optical illusions
Create music
Build a house in a real construction site
And much more!

The City of Children and Teenagers is not just a place for fun, but also an opportunity to learn and socialize. Children can interact with their peers, develop new skills, and acquire knowledge in a spontaneous and natural manner. Among the places to visit in Genoa, this unique museum will surely be one of the favorites, we’re certain of it!

4 ) Rolli

Discovering Genoa’s UNESCO heritage

Continuing our exploration of the 10 things to see in Genoa, we cannot overlook the famous Palazzi dei Rolli, an architectural treasure that has earned its place on the UNESCO World Heritage list. These extraordinary buildings date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, a period when Genoa thrived as a Maritime Republic. Walking through the streets of the historic center, you will encounter these magnificent residences that once hosted nobles and important visitors to the city. Each palace tells a unique story, steeped in power, wealth, and artistic splendor, with imposing facades, hidden courtyards, and breathtaking interior decorations.

Their beauty is not just exterior: stepping inside, you can admire frescoes, sculptures, and period furnishings that transport you back in time. A visit to the Palazzi dei Rolli offers an immersion into Genoese history, revealing the elegance and prestige that made the city a cultural landmark in Europe. A tip? Don’t miss the opportunity to participate in the Rolli Days Genova, when many of these palaces open to the public.

If you want to delve deeper into the incredible history of the Rolli and why they are called so, we discussed it here.

5 ) A stroll along Via Garibaldi

The noble heart of the city

For art lovers, a must-visit is Via Garibaldi, a UNESCO heritage site renowned for its splendid Palazzi dei Rolli, which house museums and art galleries.

Just a short walk from Piazza De Ferrari, the financial and cultural heart of the city, you’ll find the Museums of Strada Nuova complex on Via Garibaldi in Genoa, where art and history blend in the magnificent Palazzi Rosso, Bianco, and Tursi. Here, you can admire masterpieces of Genoese and European art in an unparalleled architectural setting. But since we’re exploring the city with children, know that on Via Garibaldi and nearby, you’ll find two of the best gelaterias in Genoa and an incredibly chic and crazy patisserie!

An unmissable stop every time I stroll along Via Garibaldi with my son, after enjoying a nice gelato, is the children’s bookstore located in Piazza Fontane Marose, adjacent to Via Garibaldi, on the descent towards Via Luccoli (one of the most beautiful alleys in the Historic Center of Genoa).

6) Lanterna

An illustrious symbol and breathtaking panorama

A trip to Genoa wouldn’t be complete without a visit to its Lanterna, a historic lighthouse that dominates the Genoese skyline and stands as an undisputed symbol of the city. Climbing the Lanterna offers a unique experience, providing breathtaking panoramic views that encompass the harbor, the city, and the surrounding mountains. This centuries-old structure is not only a landmark for sailors but has also become a witness to the history and evolution of Genoa. Standing 77 meters tall, it is among the tallest lighthouses in the Mediterranean and offers adventurous visitors the chance to witness an unparalleled visual spectacle.

Ascending the steps to the top, visitors are guided through a historical narrative that recounts the tales associated with the lighthouse and Genoa’s maritime life. Among the things to do in Genoa, visiting the Lanterna remains an essential experience for those wishing to deeply explore the city, blending culture, history, and natural landscapes into a single, unforgettable perspective.

7 ) Cattedrale San Lorenzo

⛪ Unmistakable with its marinière look

We jest, because indeed the nautical style, the famous stripes, are a classic Genoese look and the Cathedral of Genoa, with its black and white stripes, is truly a worthy representative of the city’s aesthetic ;)

But why should a cathedral intrigue children and be one of the places to visit in Genoa with kids? Because there are 6 incredible curiosities that make the Cathedral of San Lorenzo Genoa unique in the world. We talked about them here, discover them all!

8) Spianata Castelletto

Seeing Genoa from above in one of the most beloved spots by the Genoese

Among the top 10 things to see in Genoa, one cannot miss the most iconic: the view of the city from Spianata Castelletto. And how do you get to Spianata Castelletto? Naturally, there’s the Castelletto Lift, which is not just a means of transportation but a gateway to one of the most breathtaking panoramas that the Superb City has to offer.

Riding the Castelletto Lift is like taking a journey through time and space. Inaugurated in the early 20th century, it retains its vintage charm with its iron and glass structure, transporting you directly into the Art Nouveau elegance of the past.

But it’s at the end of this short yet evocative journey that the real magic awaits you: a panoramic view that embraces the entire city, from the Old Port to the surrounding hills, offering an unparalleled spectacle at any time of the day.

Don’t miss the chance to experience this unique adventure. The Castelletto Lift is not just a convenience for residents but a true tourist attraction that encapsulates the authentic soul of Genoa.

Among the things to visit in Genoa, exploring the panoramic hillside areas with lifts, funiculars, and cog railways is certainly a must. If you’re curious, we talked about it here.

9) Boccadasse

The seaside village that takes you out of the city while still being in the city.

When there’s a sunny day, whether in summer or winter, a visit to Boccadasse is a must, the picturesque seaside village of Genoa. Among its colorful houses, narrow alleys, and crystalline sea, this small village offers a magical atmosphere: despite being in the city, you breathe a unique, relaxed, and welcoming vibe, perfect for taking a break from routine and enjoying a moment of tranquility. Climb up one of the crêuze and you’ll also discover Capo Santa Chiara, another beauty of Genoa!

In just a few bus stops, you find yourself at the beach or in the square, the bustling heart of Boccadasse Genoa, where you can sit at one of the many outdoor tables and sip on a coffee or an aperitif, immersed in the beauty of the place. Another ritual for the locals is a quick lunch break with a conetto di frittini, the inevitable focaccia, or a huge gelato to indulge in a taste of the sea in any season before heading back to the office.

10 ) Parchi di Nervi

An oasis of peace just steps away from the urban vibrancy.

Situated in the district of Genoa Nervi, just a few kilometers from the city center, the Parks of Nervi are a lush oasis of great beauty and charm overlooking the sea. With their flourishing gardens, historic villas, and the picturesque Anita Garibaldi promenade that runs alongside them, these parks offer a unique experience to visitors of all ages.

The Parks of Nervi host a rich collection of plants from around the world, creating a true botanical paradise. But if you’re here with children, come to the parks equipped with a picnic blanket, lunch, and a ball or bicycle: the parks are the ideal place to spend a day relaxing and enjoying wellness. Additionally, there is a large playground area for children with a space dedicated to the little ones.

In Nervi, the climate is always incredibly mild, so every sunny Sunday afternoon, the parks are bustling. But don’t worry, just reach them by train or bus and there’s plenty of space for everyone: they cover an area of about 92,000 square meters!

Fun fact: Why are they called Parks of Nervi and not Park?

Because they originated from the combination of 4 parks belonging to private villas including Villa Gropallo, Villa Saluzzo Serra, Villa Grimaldi Fassio, and Villa Luxoro, which are now owned by the Municipality of Genoa and used as museum facilities. They are among the places to visit in Genoa because they offer visitors a fascinating journey through history and art.

While you’re there, here’s what to see in Genoa Nervi besides the parks:

  • The Nervi Promenade, also known as the Anita Garibaldi Promenade, a scenic path along the coast for about 2 kilometers offering breathtaking sea views;
  • One of the extraordinary museums in Nervi: the Wolfsoniana, GAM Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Genova, Museo Giannettino Luxoro, and Museo Raccolte Frugone;
  • Nervi Beach for a dip among the rocks;
  • The Marina for a dinner or aperitif.

In Conclusion

Limiting ourselves to just 10 things to see in Genoa wasn’t easy: we wanted to show you much more, but keep following us. Visiting Genoa is much more than just a stroll: it’s a journey through centuries of history, art, and culinary traditions. Let yourself be enchanted by its hidden treasures and extraordinary beauty. Immerse yourself in the timeless charm of Genoa, a city where history and modernity blend perfectly.

Above all, let Genoa seduce you with the flavors and aromas of its cuisine because after exploring the architectural and cultural wonders, there’s nothing better than taking a break in typical Genoese trattorias to taste local delicacies such as pesto alla Genovese or freshly baked focaccia, pansoti with walnut sauce, or vegetable pies…

Hotels in Genoa for Children

Are you looking for a hotel in the center of Genoa? Perhaps one that is just a few steps from the train station and metro, convenient for you and your children to explore the city on foot. Here, you will find a hostel perfect for families, offering family rooms with private bathrooms, a cozy bar, a dedicated playroom, and a calendar full of fun events for all ages.
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