Genoa: how to organise a trip to the Aquarium

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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 travelers’ 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 your are travelling from France to Cinque Terre – for example – you can stay overnight and explore the town.

aquarium genoa dolphins

How to get to Genoa and to the Aquarium

Let’s start from 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, traveling 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 to Genoa by train: you have to get off at the main station Genoa “Piazza Principe” and walk 15 minutes following the roadsigns to Porto Antico (the old harbour close to the city center) or to Acquario.
  • Arriving to Genoa by car: take the exit Genova Ovest from the highway, and follow the roadsigns for the city center. 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 specimen 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

It happens during a “behind the scene tour”

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 museum, 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 the visit the huge galleon, or move to Galata Museum (Marine Museum) and the Nazario Sauro submarine.

genoa aquarium the galleon

Information & Booking

Genoa Aquarium
Ponte Spinola, 16128 Genova
web site: http://www.acquariodigenova.it/en/plan-visit

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Liguria for kids

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B&B Il Tulipano: 44.154541, 9.796212
Riviera di Ponente: 43.925030, 8.114189
Riviera di Ponente: 44.014336, 8.181174
Aquarium Genoa: 44.410221, 8.926671
Galata Museo del mare: 44.413670, 8.923390
B&B Portici di Sottoripa: 44.412319, 8.927589
Locanda Lorena: 44.046142, 9.845638
Hotel Sporting Portovenere: 44.059500, 9.842140
Fiascherino: 44.066200, 9.924900
Train Station La Spezia: 44.111200, 9.813140
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B&B Il Tulipano
Via Rì, 2, Ricco' del Golfo di Spezia, SP, Italia
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Riviera di Ponente
Out of season in Italian Riviera: itinerary for kids among small fishing villages
Cervo, IM, Italia
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Riviera di Ponente
Out of season in Italian Riviera: itineraries for kids along the Liguria's western coast
Alassio, SV, Italia
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Aquarium Genoa
Acquario di Genova, Ponte Spinola, 16128, Genova, GE, Italia
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Galata Museo del mare
Calata De Mari, 1, Genova, 16126 GE, Italia
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B&B Portici di Sottoripa
Via Antonio Gramsci, 1, Genova, 16124 GE, Italia
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Locanda Lorena
Isola Palmaria Liguria, Italia
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Hotel Sporting Portovenere
Via Olivo 345 Liguria, Italia
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Fiascherino
One of the best beach of the Gulf of Poets
Fiascherino Liguria, Italia
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Train Station La Spezia
Stazione FS Liguria, Italia

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About Author

I was a convinced single & traveller, then I met a Toad and we packed together…now we travel in 4, as a toddler & a pet joined the team!

  • And so did i!! It’s amazing, the old harbor district for firts!!!

  • Love from Scotland

    I love that it is open late! Most of our attractions here in scotland close so early, its hard to find things to do in the evening!

    • Really? i didn’t know!! Actually late opening is great especially for summer, there are many couples that prefer to visit the Aquarium late in the evening and have an aperitivo there!!!

  • Great tips! I personally don’t enjoy going to this sort of places, it breaks my heart to see these beautiful creatures in cages 🙁

    • I can understand your point and somehow I agree with you, but there are “hospitals” for animals in danger or that are suffering (especially tutrles that were injured by boat or plastic bag) and thanks to Aquarium’s job can be back to sea

  • Ahhh you got to hold a starfish! What a cutie it is! Glad you had such a fun day 🙂 🙂

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  • Conversations of Us

    Never knew about this aquarium in Italy and this will probably a relaxing and fun one to go to. Thanks for the suggestion! 🙂

    • 🙂 Thanks to you!! Yes, this is the best in Italy and it competes with the one located in Valencia i think as being the biggest in Europe!!!

  • aCajuninCali blog

    Wow! Holding a starfish must have been incredible. Good to know you have to opt for the behind the scenes options to do that.

  • verushka ramasami

    Thanks for the write up. Love that the closing hours are rather late.Perfect for travellers who want to cram alot in.

    • Hi Veruska absolutely!! Closing and opening hours are the best!! Especially if you visit them with kids!