Genoa is the capital of the Italian region of Liguria and the sixth-largest city in Italy. If you want to eat authentic Italian food, experience its culture, and see streets full of history without the tourist crowds of Rome, then Genoa is the place to visit.
Genoa has been an important harbor city for thousands of years. It was used by both the Romans and the Etruscans as a harbor and the city retains architectural elements from this combination of cultures.
There’s so much more than history on offer here, though. From charming piazzas to high-end boutiques, there’s something here for every type of traveler.
To help you figure out exactly where to stay based on your travel style, we’ve created this guide on where to stay in Genoa. We’ve included our favorite accommodation and activity picks in each area, so you can find the one that’s right for you.
- Where to Stay in Genoa
- Genoa Neighborhood Guide
- Genoa’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
- 1. Molo – Where to Stay in Genoa for Your First Visit
- 2. Piazza Principe – Where to Stay in Genoa on a Budget
- 3. Porto Antico – Best Area to Stay in Genoa for Nightlife
- 4. Nervi – Coolest Place to Stay in Genoa
- 5. Maddalena – Best Area in Genoa for Families
- FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Genoa
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for accommodation in Genoa.
Best Airbnb in Genoa: Private Room in a Medieval Building
If you want to be central to everything, then check out this private room in the heart of the city. The location is absolutely first-rate and close to the Aquarium and Via Garibaldi. Furnishings are simple and modern, providing a comfortable base for your trip to Genoa.
Best Hostel in Genoa: Abbey Hostel
This convent-turned-hostel offers a range of comfortable rooms, including dorms and private accommodation. It’s conveniently located close to the railway station and is a short walk from Via Garibaldi. Accommodation is simple, but it’s great value for money and ideal if you’re backpacking Italy on a budget.
Best Hotel in Genoa: Hotel Genova Liberty
This budget hotel is within walking distance of all Genoa’s best sights. An excellent breakfast is offered each morning, and family rooms are available. Other features, such as an airport shuttle and its proximity to public transport, make this a cosy and convenient place to stay.
Molo is one of the districts in Genoa’s old town and the most picturesque. It’s filled with historical buildings, twisting lands, architectural marvels and museums.
Piazza Principe is the main railway station in Genoa. It’s located north of the Old Town and you can take a high-speed train from this area to almost any part of Italy.
Porto Antico contains the largest port in Italy and is an older part of the city that’s recently received a facelift. It’s now a great place to choose if you’re trying to decide where to stay in Genoa for nightlife.
The neighborhood of Nervi is around 7km west of Genoa’s center. It was once a fishing village but become a part of Genoa long ago. It’s not the most central area, but it is the best area in Genoa to stay in if you’re looking for beauty and quiet.
Maddalena is another district that together with Molo makes up part of Genoa’s Old Town. This area is a little more modern, which is reflected in the architecture and buildings, but it still contains that narrow, snaking, fascinating laneways.
Genoa is a stunning destination serving up Italian charm, history, and culture without the tourist crowds that you’ll find staying in Rome or Florence.
This calm and laid-back destination in Italy has a tangle of neighborhoods that run from medieval and quaint to new and modern. Each one has its own attractions and offers something unique to travelers.
Molo is Genoa’s historic center. This area hasn’t changed much since medieval times and provides an insight into a more authentic side of the city. This is the best place to stay if you’re visiting Genoa for the first time.
Piazza Principe is home to the majority of cheap accommodation in Genoa, making it ideal for anyone traveling on a budget. It’s also within easy walking distance of shops, landmarks, and transport connections.
In the west of the center is Porto Antico, the city’s old harbor. This has been newly renovated and today is a hotspot for eating and nightlife.
Nervi is the coolest area to stay in. It’s full of quirky boutiques and art galleries, and shows a more abstract side to the city.
Finally, Maddalena is a newer addition to the centre of town. Here, you’ll find more upscale buildings and accommodation. It’s close to busier areas but is more residential, making it perfect for families.
Genoa’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
Traveling is a highly personal thing. What one person enjoys in a neighborhood can be a nightmare for someone else. So, have a look through our Genoa neighborhood guide and choose which one sounds best to you!
1. Molo – Where to Stay in Genoa for Your First Visit
Molo is one of the most picturesque districts in Genoa’s Old Town. It’s filled with historical buildings, architectural marvels, and museums. Wandering through this area, you’ll get a good feel for how the city was traditionally, and how it is today.
You can and should get lost in this part of the city; you can easily lose track of time exploring the tiny lanes and shops. It’s also the most convenient place to stay in the city, which is why it’s a great choice when you’re visiting for the first time.
Best Airbnb in Molo: Casa dei Fiori
This newly renovated apartment combines bright and modern furnishings with rustic beams and mosaic floors. The flat is situated in a historic Genovese building, and is ideal for couples or solo travellers staying in Molo. Staying here, you’ll be steps away from San Lorenzo Cathedral and surrounded by alleyways, providing easy access to markets and landmarks.
Best Hostel in Molo: Home Genoa Hostel
This hostel is located within walking distance of Piazza De Ferrari, shops, and restaurants. It’s a pretty no-frills hostel, providing simple but comfortable accommodation. Each bed comes with its own reading light and plug socket, which is always a win when you’re staying in a hostel!
Best Hotel in Molo: Hotel Veronese
This is one of the best places to stay in Genoa if you want to be close to everything. The hotel is situated in a 15th-century building with classically decorated rooms and air-conditioning for those hot days. A buffet breakfast is served each morning for a small fee.
Things to See and Do in Molo:
- Marvel at Doge’s Palace and go in to see the museum.
- Check out San Lorenzo Cathedral and its artistic wall drawings, both of which date back to 1118.
- Get lost in the twisting, medieval lanes and keep an eye out for little treasures!
- Enjoy a classic Italian coffee in one of the many cafes and do some people watching.
- Throw a coin into the famous Piazza De Ferrari with its ornate fountain and beautiful fonts of water.
- Check out the markets and historical buildings in the Piazza Matteotti.
2. Piazza Principe – Where to Stay in Genoa on a Budget
Piazza Principe is home to the main railway station in Genoa. It’s located north of the Old Town, and you can take a high-speed train from this area to almost any area of Italy and beyond.
Near the Piazza Principe, you’ll find several twisting medieval streets similar to those that make up Old Town. There are cafes, boutiques, and trattorias hidden in these alleys, so make sure you take the time to explore.
This area is a lot cheaper than other districts while providing easy access to them, so you can save your money without missing any of the action. Its proximity to the train station also makes it ideal if you’re deciding where to stay in Genoa for one night.
Best Airbnb in Piazza Principe: Peaceful Place at Principe
This quiet private room is located in one of the best areas to stay in in Genoa. The space is clean and comfortable and features traditional furnishings. It’s within walking distance of the train and ferry stations and is located in a very safe and friendly neighborhood.
Best Hostel in Piazza Principe: Abbey Hostel
This popular hostel offers a range of room sizes including dormitories, double rooms, or singles. It’s located close to the top attractions of the city, including the aquarium and the famous Via Garibaldi. The atmosphere here is super friendly, and there are common spaces where you can mingle with other travellers.
Best Hotel in Piazza Principe: Hotel Chopin
This Genoa accommodation is ideal for couples and solo travellers. Rooms are clean and cosy, and coffee and pastries are served each morning. Situated within two minutes’ walk from the Piazza Principe train station and the ferry terminal, this hotel is s great base for exploring further afield.
Things to See and Do in Piazza Principe:
- Enjoy easy rail access to other cities like Rome, Turin, and Venice.
- Hop on a train and take a day trip to Cinque Terre.
- Explore the nearby streets for hidden cafes and restaurants that only the locals know about.
- Check out the Biblioteca Universitaria di Genova – the huge library in the city.
- Discover the Villa del Principe and its gardens.
3. Porto Antico – Best Area to Stay in Genoa for Nightlife
Porto Antico contains the largest port in Italy and is an older part of the city that’s recently received a facelift. Today, it’s a bustling and vibrant part of Genoa and hosts the best nightlife in the city.
Shows and events are often hosted right on the waterfront. There’s so much to explore here; check out the marina, museums, and the aquiarium by day, and the bars and music venues at night.
Best Airbnb in Porto Antico: Camera Centrostorico
This bed and breakfast is located in one of Genoa’s best neighborhoods for every type of traveler. The rooms are cheerful, bright, and clean, and there’s an overhanging terrace to relax in that’s filled with flowers and water features. It’s the perfect place to enjoy nature and take a break from the city.
Best Hostel in Porto Antico: Dormire Dai Grimaldi B&B
Each room in this charming guesthouse comes with a private bathroom, and guests have full access to the shared lounge. An Italian breakfast is served each morning. This B&B is ideal for couples or solo travellers, and is ideally located just steps away from the Port and city centre. There are lots of restaurants and cafes nearby.
Best Hotel in Porto Antico: Hotel Galata
This budget hotel is located between the train and ferry station. It offers comfortable bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms and traditional furnishings. The hotel also offers a bar and a sun terrace, where you can enjoy panoramic views over the city.
Things to See and Do in Porto Antico:
- Explore the museum in the huge port complex.
- Take a ferry for a cruise to Sicily or other nearby ports.
- Grab your friends and have a night out in the local bars and restaurants.
- Check out the marine life in the aquarium.
- Enjoy a meal or an evening at Banano Tsunami.
- Climb high in Bigo – a panoramic lift offering unique views over Genoa.
4. Nervi – Coolest Place to Stay in Genoa
Nervi is a coastal suburb that offers astounding views along the coast, as well as a laid-back vibe that attracts visitors who like peace and quiet. Once a fishing village, this suburb has become an alternative destination, and one of the coolest places to stay in Genoa.
While there are easy transport connections providing access to the centre of Genova, you’ll be spoilt for choice by places to discover here. From coastal cliff-walks to quaint cafes and gelaterias, you’ll never run out of things to do!
Best Airbnb in Nervi: Room Over the Garden
The best thing about staying in Nervi is the proximity to the sea, which is why this Airbnb is a great choice. Sleeping four guests in total, visitors have access to the kitchen and lounge area. The sea is just five minutes away, and there’s an outdoor patio for enjoying the sunshine.
Best Hotel in Nervi: Hotel Esperia
Each room in this hotel has air-conditioning and enjoys sea or mountain views. The on-site restaurant serves an amazing free breakfast each morning, and meals can be enjoyed in the onsite garden during summer. The hotel is just 100 yards from Nervi’s beach and the coastal walkway, and the nearby train station means you can easily explore further afield.
Best Hotel in Nervi: Ancient Porticciolo – Nervi Genova
This extremely popular beachfront property is one of the coolest places to stay in Genoa. It offers beach views, air conditioning, and comfortable, colorful rooms. It’s the perfect place to just relax and take in the scenery.
Things to See and Do in Nervi:
- Wander along the Passeggiata Anita Garibaldi, a 2km walk which goes along the cliffs over the Mediterranean Sea and is the pride of the area.
- Sit in a little café and watch the ocean and people go by.
- Take the train into the center of the city to explore the rest of Genova.
- Eat and drink to your heart’s content at the many great restaurants and gelaterias.
5. Maddalena – Best Area in Genoa for Families
Maddalena is another district that together with Molo makes up part of Genoa’s Old Town. This area is a little more modern, but still contains those narrow, snaking, fascinating laneways.
This area is more residential and slightly quieter than other destinations in this guide. For that reason, it’s our top recommendation for where to stay in Genoa with kids. You’ll also find lots of family-friendly activities here for kids of all ages.
Best Airbnb in Maddalena: Apartment 2 Rooms
This family-friendly accommodation in Genoa is situated in a traditional Genovese building and has its own private balcony. It’s got all the comforts of home including a full kitchen, wifi, and laundry facilities. The apartment enjoys a central location close to top restaurants and public transport connections.
Best Hostel in Maddalena: Ostellin Hostel
This hostel is situated in a stunning building and features marble floors, frescos, and ancient fireplaces. The hostel is suitable for anyone from digital nomads to families with young children, and provides comfortable accommodation in the heart of Genoa.
Best Hotel in Maddalena: Hotel Cairoli
This family-friendly hotel is the perfect base for a hassle-free vacation in Genoa. Rooms are bright and colourful, and features such as kids TV networks and colouring blocks are sure to keep everyone entertained. There’s an onsite restaurant and outdoor terrace where you can enjoy a free breakfast (depending on the room rate). You’ll be within walking distance of Genoa’s top attractions, including the port and aquarium.
Things to See and Do in Maddalena:
- Explore Via Garibaldi’s antiques shops and outdoor cafes in search of souvenirs or just the perfect cup of coffee.
- Sample local dishes at one of Maddalena’s exquisite restaurants.
- Take a stroll to see the elegant mansions like Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Rosso and head inside to see their stunning, old-master collections.
- Get lost in the narrow streets and keep an eye out for old-style bakeries and food counters selling delicious fried fish.
- Wander down to the port and watch the boats in the bay.
FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Genoa
Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Genoa and where to stay.
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Genoa
So there you have it! Those are the best neighborhoods in Genoa, Italy – for any travel style and budget. Fortunately, the city is pretty compact, so you’ll be able to visit each area throughout your stay.
If you’re still unsure where to stay in Genoa, we highly recommend Piazza Principe! It’s close to the city centre while retaining budget-friendly rates on food and accommodation. Plus, the train station makes it easy to travel and explore further afield.
While Italy can be very safe, it’s super important to make sure you get travel insurance!
And don’t forget to take out Travel Insurance for your trip! I have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. They’re easy to use, professional and relatively affordable. They may also let you buy or extend a policy once you’ve started your trip and are already abroad which is super handy.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
Over to You
Do you own an awesome hostel, hotel or apartment? Want to be featured in our list? Email [email protected] to find out how.
Find out how YOU can support the site.
We work hard to put out the best backpacker resources on the web for free! It’s all about helping out our tribe of awesome backpacker readers (that’s you!). Please visit the link to find out how you can help keep the site going 🙂
For the sake of transparency, some of the links in our content are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation, buy a piece of gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. We only link to stuff that members of the Broke Backpacker team has actually used and never endorse products or services that are not up to scratch. Thanks for your support!