It’s not probably one of the most popular tourist destinations yet, but Genoa is a wonderful city and it's worth a visit for a day trip at least. Many are the things to see, including the Aquarium, the largest in Italy and the third in Europe, after those of Moscow and Valencia.
Since the Aquarium is the most popular attraction in Genoa, it can be difficult to enjoy the visit in total relax. This is why we want to share with you our practical guide with tips and useful advice on how to get the most out of your visit to the Genoa Aquarium, discovering the wonders of the undersea world, without any stress!
- Visit Genoa Aquarium: Avoid weekends and public holidays
- Genoa Aquarium: Combined Tickets or Guided Tours, which to choose?
- Galata Museum: spectacular - Biosphere: disappointing!
- 5-star experiences: “Behind the scenes”
- How long does a visit to the Genoa Aquarium last?
- Accessibility and rules to be observed in the Genoa Aquarium
- Aquarium facilities: Cloakroom, shop and restaurant
- Genoa Aquarium with the family: How to become a child again!
- How to get to the Acquario of Genova: Some practical info
- Old Town and Old Port: Top things to do in Genoa
- Where to stay in Genoa?
- Day trips from Genoa: from Portofino to Cinque Terre
- Train from Genoa to Cinque Terre
Visit Genoa Aquarium: Avoid weekends and public holidays
First of all: perhaps it sounds a bit obvious but as with every popular attraction in the world, remember to avoid weekends and public holidays for your visit.
During weekends and bank holidays, the Genoa Aquarium is a super popular destination especially among families with children and there are always crowds of tourists and parents with strollers and prams walking through the aquarium routes watching the pools.
Furthermore, if you're travelling by car, keep in mind that it is very difficult to find parking on weekends, especially in the late morning. If you've already planned a visit on a "critical day" , here are 3 super useful tips to minimize any discomfort:
- Leave your car in the parking area of the Old Port, about 500 meters away from the Aquarium. It’s true, you’ll have to walk just a little bit to get to the Aquarium but you’ll avoid the stress of driving in circles searching for a parking space.
- Buy skip the line tickets: you're probably going to find a lot of chaos inside the building, but at least you'll have saved yourself the hassle of waiting in line.
- Due to the number of visitors during the central hours of the day, we suggest you to arrive early in the morning at the ticket offices, at about 8:30 a.m., or in the afternoon after 3:30 p.m.
Genoa Aquarium: Combined Tickets or Guided Tours, which to choose?
On super crowded days, waiting in line can be quite exhausting and if you're going to stay in Genoa 24 hours only, you would rather spend that time taking a tour of the historical city center, wouldn’t you?
A smart choice is to book an entrance ticket in advance onlinee: it provides priority entry on a specific day and time slot to be selected at the time of booking.
The time slot can not be changed. If you arrive late than the hour indicated, you will be admitted at the first available time slot (during the days of huge affluence you will probably have to wait a little bit longer, so come on time in order to avoid such an inconvenience).
There are different types of tickets to visit the Genoa Aquarium, from the standard one that includes access to the Aquarium only, to the combined tickets that allow you to access more pavilions (including Biosphere or Galata Sea Museum), located along the aquarium route.
Galata Museum: spectacular - Biosphere: disappointing!
To make the most of your visit to the Acquario di Genova we suggest to buy the all-inclusive ticket, even though some visitors have been a little bit disappointed with it.
The Galata Museum and the Nazario Sauro Submarine passed with flying colors, according to many people who said they were "extraordinary and really exciting.".
However, there is some disagreement about the Biosphere (described as "exceptional" by some visitors, "a bit incomplete" or "below expectations" by some others) and about the Panoramic Lift Bigo, described as "not well organized" and with "long and not very flowing lines".
5-star experiences: “Behind the scenes”
The Aquarium also offers other extra experiences, here are two recommended ones; the guided tour "Behind the scenes", which takes you to discover secrets and curiosities about animals in general and the special meeting with the penguins, with the guide explaining you funny anecdotes about the daily life of these cute animals.
Both experiences do NOT include a visit to the Aquarium, to be purchased separately.
How long does a visit to the Genoa Aquarium last?
The average time of a visit in the Genoa Aquarium mainly depends on two factors: the budget as well as the time available.
- If you want to spend just a few hours inside the building and you're on a budget, then we recommend you to buy the only Aquarium ticket or the one that also includes biosphere and panoramic lift: 2/3 hours visit, quick access and no more than 30€ entrance fee.
- If you can spend more time visiting the Aquarium and stay in Genoa for more than one day instead, then take the all-inclusive option: about 6 hours visit and the ticket price is about 50€.
Accessibility and rules to be observed in the Genoa Aquarium
First of all, the Aquarium is almost totally accessible to wheelchairs visitors and to those with reduced mobility, thanks to the lifts and the fast tracks available.
That said, keep in mind that on days of huge affluence lines at the elevators can be long (also because they are sometimes used by visitors who don’t really need it); furthermore, please remember that some aquarium pools and showcases are arranged on several levels and can only be admired from a particular height.
- Like any other tourist attraction, some rules must be observed here as well:
- You can't take pictures with flash, tap on the pool screens, eat food and drink inside the exhibition halls.
Aquarium facilities: Cloakroom, shop and restaurant
The cloakroom is located immediately after the entrance to the Aquarium (the service costs 2 € per item ). Inside the building there is also a shop where you can buy gadgets and souvenirs and an outdoor bar/restaurant with a wide picnic area.
Eating here is a bit pricey compared to other places downtown, it may be better to go elsewhere for lunch.
Genoa Aquarium with the family: How to become a child again!
The Genoa Aquarium is the perfect experience to live with the family; children will be enchanted and parents will be amazed too! A place suitable for children of all ages who will remain speechless in the face of the huge pools, in such a perfect combination of light and sound.
The dolphin pool is an almost emotional experience, you will stay with your nose stuck to the pool windows all the time! And almost at the end of the Aquarium route you will find a swimming pool where you can feed some types of breeds and turbot.
The only inconvenience for those travelling with strollers is that on busy days it is a bit difficult and uncomfortable to get around and fully enjoy the visit.
There are a few benches all along the route: stop a minute and take a short break if you find a free one.
How to get to the Acquario of Genova: Some practical info
The Aquarium is located in the area of Porto Antico of Genoa, in the historical city centre. If you arrive by train, the attraction is 10/15 minutes walk from Genoa Piazza Principe station. Coming by bus instead, you can easily reach it with the lines 1 (from Ponente and Val Polcevera) and 13 (from Levante and Val Bisagno) that leave you just in front of the Aquarium.
Old Town and Old Port: Top things to do in Genoa
To those who stay in Genoa for just one day, we recommend to split the visit in two steps: go to the Aquarium during the morning and then spend the afternoon and evening sightseeing the city.
Do you love walking around? The historic center of Genoa is perfect to be experienced by foot.
What to do and to see in Genoa? Drop in at Piazza della Vittoria, with its imposing Arc de Triomphe, and walk along Via XX Settembre, the shopping lane, until you reach Piazza de Ferrari, the very heart of the city.
Three are the highlight attractions not to be missed in your mini itinerary: the Royal Palace in via Balbi, the area of Porto Antico and the Genoa Cathedral of San Lorenzo.
If you know Fabrizio de Andrè, one of the most popular Genoan songwriters, and want to pay him homage, then you should go to Via del Campo and stop for a coffee at the not too far bar "La Cattiva Strada".
If you are tired after the visit to the Aquarium, an alternative option to discover the beauties of Genoa is to get the classic tourist bus that takes you around the city's attractions in about an hour.
You can get on and off the bus where and whenever you want or enjoy the view just by sitting on board. A fast, smart and comfortable solution for those who want to optimize the time of visit, such as for those who are cruising in the Mediterranean and stop over in Genoa cruise Port.
Where to stay in Genoa?
The city centre is definitely the best place to stay: it is close to the Aquarium, the Old Port and the most beautiful city streets (via Garibaldi for example) and everything is very close by. In the historical centre (Caruggi) you can also find budget hotels and B&Bs.
Best Hotels in Genoa
- Lowest price guaranteed and customer care in English
However, all or almost all of the city centre is blue parking (paid) area, so if you arrive by car make sure the hotel has a parking space for its guests.
Day trips from Genoa: from Portofino to Cinque Terre
During the summer months you can easily go from Genoa to Portofino by boat and there are many boat tours and 1 day ferry excursions available that take you among the pearls of the Riviera Ligure.
Train from Genoa to Cinque Terre
The easiest way to get from Genoa to Cinque Terre (Italy) is by train, taking the local train towards La Spezia or the express directly to La Spezia plus the local back to Cinque Terre.