Genoa Tours and MSC Shore Excursions

Genoa tours, Portofino | MSC Cruises

Guests sailing with MSC Cruises can appreciate this thriving port city from all angles on a Genoa holiday. A choice of MSC shore excursions provide the ideal platform from which to appreciate complex historic tales and ancient maritime sights. Visit Genoa and the Ligurian Coast up-close.
Our Genoa excursions put the city’s highlights in the palm of your hand, including Genoa Aquarium, which houses over 600 species within a sci-fi-like glass bubble masterminded by visionary architect Renzo Piano. Guests can stroll across the grandiose Piazza De Ferrari, close to the city streets known as caruggi – mysterious narrow lanes that bring the city’s past to life. Experienced guides can pick out details of the exquisite gothic Cathedral of San Lorenzo, widely known for its black-and-white-striped facade and soaring bell tower.

Excursions in Genoa

Thanks to a varied selection of Genoa tours led by informed guides, you certainly won’t be short of things to see in Genoa. Get to know the tales behind the city’s historic centre or visit the key Genoa attractions you’ve read about in the guidebooks, like the futuristic-looking aquarium, the stepped lanes known as caruggi and the striking Gothic cathedral and lighthouse, both dating back centuries and providing a window into the past.

Genoa tours, aquarium | MSC Cruises
Genoa tours, aquarium | MSC Cruises
Genoa tours, aquarium | MSC Cruises

Dive into the deep-sea delights of Genoa Aquarium

Genoa Aquarium, the largest in Italy, perches on the harbour front, an otherworldly glass orb at the end of the pier. It was designed by Italian ‘starchitect’ Renzo Piano and is home to around 600 different species, with around 12,000 animals in its care.


Penguins, seals and sharks all call the aquarium home, and there are chances for visitors to walk past the enormous tanks via luminous walkways, as well as witnessing these marvellous creatures’ well-earned feeding time.

Genoa tours, Palazzo San Giorgio | MSC Cruises
Genoa tours, Caruggi | MSC Cruises
Genoa tours, Palazzo Ducale | MSC Cruises

Peek into the past around Genoa Old Town

Time travel is possible in Genoa Old Town, the port’s historic centre. The area is known for its caruggi (snaking, puzzlingly narrow streets) and grand structures like the opulent Palazzo San Giorgio, Porta Soprana (two towers marking a welcome to visitors entering from the east) and the Doge’s Palace (a former aristocratic home-turned museum), which all date back to Genoa’s time as a Mediterranean powerhouse.


Visitors can see the Christopher Columbus House, a rebuild (likely 18th-century) of the explorer’s childhood home.

Genoa tours, Portofino | MSC Cruises
Genoa tours, Portofino | MSC Cruises
Genoa tours, Portofino | MSC Cruises

The diamond in the Ligurian Sea, Portofino

The name Portofino is thought to have come from ‘Portus Delphini’, a title believed to have been given by Roman historian Pliny the Elder meaning ‘port of the dolphins’. This town on the Ligurian Coast sits on a peninsula jutting out into Mediterranean, its medieval townhouses painted in chalky shades of yellow and red.


An excursion here is an opportunity to hike rugged trails up to Castello Brown for unbeatable views, to relax in a traditional cafe on the harbourfront or to kayak the gleaming waters.

Book your cruise to Genoa (Portofino)

Get to know Genoa like a local with meticulously planned itineraries from MSC Cruises. Whether you’re seeking historical escapades from monuments like Palazzo San Giorgio, fine art at Doge’s Palace, Genoa, or show-stopping scenery on the Ligurian Coast, a Genoa cruise can supply it. But why stop there? Eat perfect pizza in Naples, sample clubbing culture on party island Ibiza or dip into Marseille’s street art scene – just a few of the possibilities with MSC Cruises.

Why choose MSC Shore Excursions to Genoa

Ancient history, first-rate cuisine, local culture, outdoor beauty on your doorstep… There are so many reasons to start booking your Genoa tours with MSC shore excursions. And don’t forget that our knowledgeable local guides will help you further unlock this magical city.

Genoa tours and excursions FAQ

In which language Genoa excursions are conducted?

Genoa's MSC Shore Excursions are offered in 5 languages (English, German, French, Spanish and Italian), depending on guide availability. The confirmed language will be communicated during your cruise.

Are Genoa tours always available to be booked?

Because Genoa excursions are highly popular, they may not always be available. Therefore, we strongly advise booking your Genoa tour in advance to ensure availability.

Can Genoa excursion programme be changed?

MSC Shore Excursions in Genoa provides an overview of the available tours. The final excursions descriptions and prices will be confirmed on board. Please note that MSC Shore Excursions programs and itineraries can be affected by local conditions or unexpected events, which may impact the timing of the tour. Additionally, the program may be subject to change due to local regulations or other restrictions.

What is there to see in Genoa Old Town?

The Old Town of Genoa is packed with historical sights, opulent palaces, ancient churches, smart public squares, and fascinating museums, and all are close enough to visit in just one day. The area is also located next to the cruise port, and MSC Cruises offers a number of tours that allow you to explore the historic centre and its sights in various forms – by walking, Segway, bike and coach.


Grand Palazzo San Giorgio is a highlight of the Old Town, and there’s further impressive architecture to be found at Palazzo Ducale (also known as Doge’s Palace). The Christopher Columbus House (a recreation of the famous explorer’s childhood home) is another favourite to visit. Set aside some time to simply – and slowly – wander the snaking, medieval streets (known as caruggi).


Many of these sights are covered on a walking tour on MSC Cruises’ ‘Historical Centre’ shore excursion. Alternatively, there are more options for exploring various segments the Old Town on other excursions, including ‘Protectors: Discover Genoa by Segway’ and the ‘Genoa Panoramic Tour’, which features a coach tour.

How much are Genoa Aquarium tickets?

Genoa Aquarium is Italy’s largest aquarium and houses around 600 different species (including sharks, seals and penguins) from across the Mediterranean and far beyond.


Fixed date tickets for Genoa Aquarium currently start at €22 for visitors aged 13 and over, €14 for children aged 4-12 years and free entry for children aged three and under. People aged 65 and older or those with disabilities can get a reduced ticket price, starting at €18. Open ‘flexi ticket’ prices start at €32 for those aged 13 and over, €23 for children under 13, and €28 for people aged 65 and over and those with disabilities.


A simple way to experience the aquarium is on an MSC Cruises shore excursion. The ‘Aquarium’ excursion transports guests directly from the ship to the venue, and allows guests to explore the wonders of the aquarium at leisure over several hours. For something that goes a little deeper, the ‘Behind the Scenes at the Aquarium’ excursion provides the chance to view some of the marine wildlife enclosures up-close, and also gives information about the aquarium’s valuable conservation work.

Does MSC Cruises offer a Genoa food tour?

One of the shore excursions that MSC Cruises offers is ‘A Taste of Genoa, Diocesan Museum and Pesto Demonstration’, which allows guests to sample pesto Genovese and teaches them how to make the world-famous sauce that the city and surrounding region is known for. This lesson takes place within the Diocesan Museum, itself located within the beautiful Cattedrale di San Lorenzo. If you need something to accompany your pesto, fear not, as you’ll also be sampling some traditional focaccia, another favourite of the region and a bread that Genoa residents take very seriously – which shows in the finished product.

Does MSC Cruises offer a Genoa bus tour?

MSC Cruises’ ‘Genoa Panoramic Tour’ transports visitors around the city’s main sights and attractions from the comfort of a coach, with several stops along the way to allow guests time for exploration.


The tour moves through the Old Town (past important sights like the Christopher Columbus House and Palazzo San Giorgio) before a drive along the seafront, offering views across the Mediterranean. The next destination is the Boccadasse district. A stop here allows visitors to walk around the pretty neighbourhood, with its harbour and small beach backed by colourful houses.


Back on the coach, guests will be taken through the Albaro district, home to some of Genoa’s most regal homes and palaces, before heading back to Piazza de Ferrari in the heart of the Old Town. Another stop here allows visitors to explore nearby sights before a final drive up to Castelletto, a hill with an observation deck to allow for viewing of the stunning city views below.