We have undervalued Genoa until the day we decide to visit the Aquarium and spend a weekend there with our two sons aged 6 years old and 1 month.
Not only is Genoa the city to set sail from and land in Sardinia or Corsica, but a charming city, full of history and mystery. The Aquarium is – of course – a must-see on many travellers’ itineraries, but there are many other attractions and activities that will impress your kids and the whole family.
So, is Genoa worth a visit?
The answer is: Yes, especially if you are travelling from France to Cinque Terre – for example – you can stay overnight and explore the town.
How to get to Genoa and to the Aquarium
Let’s start at the beginning!
Genoa is the North West of Italy, in Liguria Region. We are just in front of the sea, and somehow this city is the gateway for Cinque Terre (85km far) as many tourists decide to continue their journey to Italy, travelling till the five tiny villages.
Genoa can be easily reached (both by train or by car) from Milan. One hour and a half and you’ll be facing the sea. Once there it’s really quite easy to get to the Aquarium.
- Arriving in Genoa by train: you have to get off at the main station Genoa “Piazza Principe” and walk 15 minutes following the road signs to Porto Antico (the old harbour close to the city centre) or to Acquario.
- Arriving in Genoa by car: take the exit Genova Ovest from the highway, and follow the road signs for the city centre. You’ll run along the harbour and drive for 3km more, till you reach Galata Museum and Aquarium on your right. You can easily park there and forget about your car the rest of the weekend.
- The closest airport is Genoa “Cristoforo Colombo” – 20 minutes drive far from Aquarium so can get there by taxi.
Visiting the Aquarium Genoa
Genoa Aquarium is the biggest in Italy and among the greatest of Europe. It was designed by the famous Italian architect Renzo Piano and opened in 1992 during the massive event of Genoa EXPO, celebrating 500 years since the Genoan sailor Columbus discovered the new world. The exhibition gallery consists of over 70 exhibits and about 12,000 specimens of 600 species, from all the seas of the world. From the rarest species to the most common like dolphins, penguins and sharks, but also jellyfish, seals and multi-coloured tropical fish species.
Genoa Aquarium – Good to know
- opening hours: from March to June + September and October from 9:00am to 8:00pm, last admittance 6:00pm; July and August from 8:30am to 10:30pm, last admittance 8:30pm – from November to February from 9:00am to 6:00pm, last admittance 4:00pm
- tickets: free entrance for babies under 3; kids from 3 to 12 € 20; adults € 28 – check and book online your guided tour or a combined ticket for Aquarium and Galata Museum, as if you plan to visit both museums, you’ll get a fare decrease.
- children facilities: many activities for children and guided tours, we recommend to choose the “behind the scenes for kids” visit that allows families to know the practice of everyday life in the Aquarium deeper. This is a great adventure for kids aged between 3 and 7. They will be guided to discover the secrets of some animals, visiting labs and areas usually not opened to public visitors. On-site there are babies changing tables close to the toilets. Snack bar and caffè on every deck of the museum.
- nearby: it will take at least half a day to visit the Aquarium and when you finish your journey there, you can then visit the huge galleon, or move to Galata Museum (Marine Museum) and the Nazario Sauro submarine.
Information & Booking
Ponte Spinola, 16128 Genova