Genoa, a port city, was once a medieval power to rival Venice. It still has grand palaces to show it and ornate churches. 

But as much as you’ll want to wander the lanes of the historic centre, it’s hard to resist spending most of your time sampling the local cuisine or shopping at family-run stores to take home a taste of the province of Liguria. 

Here are some ways to enjoy the city without breaking the bank.  

During a trip to Genoa, visit the likes of Gelateria Profumo and the fishing village of Boccadasse

Where to stay

Hotel Le Nuvole

You will be handed your keys at the sister hotel and you can then enter the grand old townhouse, which is located on a busy pedestrianised square in the historic center. Take the elevator to the top floor. Your bedroom (one of 15), may have views of the church next door, or a pavement café below. B&B doubles from £74 (hotellenuvole.it).

Hotel NoLogo

This simple, basic hotel is conveniently located on a pedestrianized street. The 56 rooms are sparsely decorated. However, you can still splurge at nearby cafes or restaurants to save money. A good-value breakfast costs £4 pp. Room-only doubles from £57 (hotelnologo.it).

Valery Guesthouse

A family-run B&B that’s part of a 15th-century ex-convent. There are only two rooms, either sold together to families or groups — or one is kept empty if you take the other, so you’ll never be sharing with strangers. There’s a terrace with great views over the city. B&B doubles from £61 (valeryguesthouse.com).

What to do and see 

Wander the lanes of Genoa, pictured, a city filled with grand palaces and ornate churches

Wander the lanes of Genoa, pictured, a city filled with grand palaces and ornate churches

Centro Storico

Genoa’s historic centre is crisscrossed by caruggi, medieval alleys that link squares and streets lined with shops, churches and cafes. Expect to get lost!

If you need help, guide Barbara Cudia charges from £30 pp for a group of four for three hours (hellogenoa.eu). Take one of 18 public lifts and funiculars (amt.genova.it) to make climbing the city’s hills easy.

Boccadasse

Seaside stroll: Walk to charming Boccadesse, which is the perfect spot for sunset photos

Take a stroll along the seaside to Boccadesse for stunning sunset photos

Follow the locals as they stroll along the mile-long Corso Italia to Boccadasse in early evening. It is the perfect spot for sunset photos — and you can stop off for cocktails or a fried fish snack.

Palazzo Spinola

The Palazzo Spinola National Gallery, built in 1593, contains works by Brea, Tintoretto and Rubens (entry £5.20, palazzospinola.beniculturali.it).

Il Gesu

Pictured is the 'amazingly rich baroque interior' of the 16th-century Il Gesu church

Pictured is the 16th-century Il Gesu Church’s ‘amazingly rich baroque Interior’

The 16th-century Il Gesu church on Piazza Matteotti looks dull from the outside, but has an amazingly rich baroque interior (culturainliguria.it). 

Where to eat

Trattoria Rosmarino

Trattoria Rosmarino is an 'unpretentious' eatery close to the grand Piazza de Ferrari (pictured)

Trattoria Rosmarino, a casual restaurant located close to the grand Piazza De Ferrari (pictured), is Trattoria Rosamarino. 

Genoa is known for its focaccia or pesto. Its restaurants make use of fresh, local ingredients. Trattoria Rosmarino, a casual place to eat lunch or dinner, is located near the grand Piazza de Ferrari. It highlights the best produce from Liguria: a delicious dish of pasta and pesto is £9. Salt cod with potatoes and olives is £12.

Mercato Orientale

At this good-value lunchtime spot, you can dine at a dozen or so stalls under one roof — a starter here, a main there, dessert to take away — so mix and match.

It’s a stunning setting with the sun streaming through the large upper windows. If you want a more formal sit-down meal, go upstairs where 24-year-old wunderchef Daniele Rebosio oversees the kitchen with mains averaging £20 (moggenova.it).

20 Tre

After visiting the 12th-century Abbey of San Matteo (pictured on the right), head to 20 Tre for dinner

After visiting the 12th-century Abbey of San Matteo (pictured on the right), head to 20 Tre for dinner

This restaurant is located just a short walk from the 12th-century Abbey San Matteo. It’s a great place to start if you get lost in the narrow lanes. Your meal might include prawn tartare with apple and vermouth ice cream, home-made gnocchi with monkfish and crunchy asparagus, before a main that will cost about £16 (ristorante20tregenova.it).

Gelateria Profumo

Gelato is a must-have in Italy. It is impossible. This unassuming ice cream shop is worth visiting for its delicious range of flavors that are made fresh every day.

The ices are concealed in metal jars. This gives you more reason to try them before you make a decision. Its sister bakery, villa1827.it, makes the most delicious pastries and cakes in town. 

What do you need to know?

British Airways (ba.com), easyJet(easyjet.com), and Ryanair (ryanair.com all fly to Genoa. Volabus (amt.genova.it) links the airport to the city centre and costs £5 one way. Genoa tourist information: visitgenoa.it.