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It is worth stopping for a whole weekend or even a few days longer to discover Genoa the Proud, for a chance to experience and truly savour the homeland of Pesto, Christopher Columbus and all Ligurian capital's cultural wonders.
6 tours to discover the wonders of Genoa with departure from Bristol Palace, one of the city's most elegant hotels, located a short distance from major attractions along the Ligurian coast such as Portofino, San Fruttuoso and Camogli.
Let yourself be enchanted by unique landscapes, fine flavours and unforgettable experiences... live your sensory experience in Genoa:
  • Start discovering the city with the ART & CULTURE itinerary: from Porto Antico to Europe's biggest Aquarium
  • Discover traditional Ligurian cuisine with the FOOD AND WINE TOUR: from Pesto to some famous Recco focaccia as well as fresh fish, every single day
  • The perfect itinerary for sportier visitors who like to stay in shape: SPORT
  • From San Remo and Cinque Terre, Savona and Imperia, Genoa's SURROUNDING AREA will never fail to captivate you with its unmistakable style
  • The most exclusive SHOPPING the best brand names, a stroll through the most exclusive luxury
  • And what better way to admire supremely exclusive views, than a BOAT TOUR behold the Ligurian coastline, dotted with small bays and inlets

Art & culture

Your journey of discovery of Ligurian art and culture will start with a rich and delicious breakfast served in the historic Breakfast Hall at the Bristol Palace, frescoed in Liberty style. In good weather, you'll be able to sip your morning coffee on the spacious and unique terrace featuring marine sail roof drapery.

Upon leaving the Bristol Palace, your journey of discovery of Genoa's wonders will lead you to the historic centre, the very heart of the Città Vecchia (old city), recently restructured, reopened and bursting with history.

The best way to discover Genoa's history and allure is to wander along its "Caruggi", picturesque alleyways of medieval origin, and characteristic "Creuze", narrow streets set between walls. The fascinating city maze will lead you to historic buildings, Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza San Donato, home to the churches of San Donato and San Matteo.

Indeed most of the Città Vecchia and historic centre have actually been declared a UNESCO World Heritage, also in virtue of the sheer number of sites of interests present within the area, including the Catrum, known as the earliest attempt at urbanisation in the city's area, dating back to Roman and Etruscan times, as well as Palazzo Spinola and Palazzo Ducale, both symbols of the ancient Maritime Republic.

The tour now leads us towards the sea, past the Carlo Felice Theatre. Inaugurated in 1828, it is a major attraction for the local population and was fully restructured in 1991. The new theatre is characterised by a polygonal lantern which transports light from the roof to the indoor square and contains four stages, making it one of Italy's most important theatre complexes, completed by a small stage detached from the main facility, the Montale Auditorium.

Upon leaving the theatre you'll come across the solemn and majestic San Lorenzo Cathedral, erected between the 9th and 16th century, which explains its mix of architectonic styles both inside and out.

Stop to admire the Genoese Gothic-style façade with French influences, designed by Galeazzo Alessi, as well as the bell tower, both dating back to the 16th century.
The interior is divided into 3 naves. The left nave contains the San Giovanni Chapel, where the bones of Saint Laurence are conserved, whereas The Cathedral Treasure Museum is located at the bottom of the right nave, which conserves works of sacred art, including the Sacro Catino, which legend identifies as the Holy Grail, and the Arch of Ash of Saint John the Baptist.

As we approach the coast we'll come across two of the city's most famous and important architectonic works: Porto Antico and the Aquarium.

Porto Antico has since become a multi-functional tourist and cultural space. The area is rich in attractions and hosts numerous initiatives: the Aquarium, the Sea Pavilion, the National Antarctica Museum, Città dei Bambini, the De Amicis Library, Bigo the panoramic lift, the Magazzini del Cotone Congress Centre, an outdoor swimming pool, etc. Marina Molo Vecchio is home to a small modern tourist port, with direct connections to the rest of the world thanks to the nearby Cristoforo Colombo airport..

Genoa's aquarium is one of the largest and most modern marine parks in Europe and a major Italian tourist destination. Captivating tanks reproduce Mediterranean and ocean habitats, from the poles to the tropics, populated by over 500 fish species, offering visitors the chance to observe the secret life of dolphins, sharks, penguins, jellyfish, seals and crocodiles. There is particular focus on education, with guided tours suitable for children of all ages, as well as continuous scientific updates.

"Apri l'Aquario con Noi" (open the aquarium with us), is a unique experience, suitable for both adults and children, where you can go behind the scenes and discover the everyday work of aquarium workers, the preparation of meals and feeding of animals, in a highly exclusive context away from the public eye, so that you can admire creatures in all their splendour.

As we head back towards the city centre you'll come across "Strada Nuova", formerly Via Garibaldi, constructed in the mid 16th century, and home to a unique museum path featuring: Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Doria Tursi, historic abodes now owned by the municipality which contain works by artists the likes of: Caravaggio, Veronese, Guercino and Van Dick.
As we return towards the port and walk along the seafront towards the Genoa Lantern which dominates over the city, you'll come across Galata Musei del Mare, yet another testament, needless to say, of Genoa's sea heritage. The Mediterranean area's largest maritime museum is dedicated to the history of seafaring, and contains reproductions of all kinds of vessels, instruments, nautical maps and interactive points. The museum offers visitors an immersive experience and insight into the life of sailors.

The last stop on this tour of Genoa will lead you to a truly iconic place in the city, on the opposite bank of the Porto Antico: the symbolic Lighthouse of Genoa.

A staggering 77 metres in height, the historic lighthouse stands on the remains of a hill, originally erected to guide inbound ships and control their movement.

Today the Lanterna stands as magnificent as ever, stoic in the face of war and wear. It consists of a tower with two overlapping and slender volumes, each crowned by a gallery, one of which is accessible via an internal staircase. The summit offers one of the most spectacular views of the city's sunset.

What better way to conclude a tour of Genoese art and culture, than taking a moment to relax and sip a refreshing aperitif on the Bristol Palace terrace, one of the city's renowned places of aggregation.

Food and wine tour

Set out on a journey of discovery of Ligurian cuisine, its tastes and perfumes, internationally renowned delicacies and unexpected flavours which will captivate you and tantalise your senses.

What better way to start this journey than with two of Genoa's world-renowned specialities: pasta and pesto and a nice piece of focaccia, available in an array of flavours: with olives, onion, cheese, sage, etc.

Focaccia with cheese, better known as Recco, after its municipality of origin, deserves a special mention here. It is the only focaccia in Italy to have obtained PGI certification (Protected designation of origin), an honour which has not even been bestowed upon Neapolitan pizza. It has been crowned as a Ligurian Speciality, and offers a truly unique flavour.

Other typical first courses include filled pasta such as ravioli, traditional pansotti filled with chard, ricotta and egg, torta Pasqualina which is a savoury puff pastry pie filled with artichokes or boiled chards, courgettes, eggs and cheese, vegetable minestrone à la Genoese, served with some farinata which is a wafer thin focaccia made from chick pea flour baked in a wood oven.

Fish obviously also reigns supreme among typical dishes from this maritime city, with flavours that will conquer even the most demanding of palates, including stockfish à la Genoese, served with calamari, fresh anchovies and sardines. Cappon magro, a truly special dish bursting with flavour, is a seafood salad served on a bed of crackers flavoured with vinegar, salt and garlic. it contains fish, prawns, tuna, boiled vegetables, boiled eggs and artichokes.

What better way to conclude our journey through Genoese cuisine than with some Genoese Christmas pandolce. Similar to panettone, it presents a flatter shape and contains lemon rind and sultanas.

Sport

The Bristol Palace is the perfect way to stay in shape, experience the outdoors and come into contact with nature. Genoa and the surrounding area offers the perfect setting for all this. There is no shortage of sports and activities, indeed this is the perfect region for all kinds of pursuits.

Thanks to the surrounding hills, the first step to keeping fit is to go hiking. The "Via dell'Amore" is one of the most famous routes which start from Cinque Terre and leads venturers along terrain with breathtaking landscapes.
The "Sentiero Azzurro" is another famous path which starts from Vernazza, along which you will discover typical Ligurian mule tracks and terraced hills. Then there's "Acquedotto storico di Genova" (Genoa's historic aqueduct), which starts from the aqueduct and leads you along panoramas dominated by uncontaminated nature despite its close proximity to the city. This route will also take you on a journey of discovery of Medieval ruins and monuments of exceptional beauty and in an excellent state of conservation.

Liguria's territory is particularly well suited for mountain biking, with more or less difficult and intense routes. One of these is suitable for everyone, combining history and nature: the "Giro dei Forti di Genova" (a ride among Genoa's fortresses), along which you can discover Genoa's defensive structures dating back to Medieval times, second only to the Great Wall of China in virtue of their sheer size.

Starting from the city's eastern periphery next to the Marassi Monumental Cemetery, a long stretch of asphalt meanders softly up to the first Fortresses on the hills, with many more to come along the route. The most famous, Forte Diamante, is one of only a few which can be visited by the public. Inside it presents the most fascinating structure and you can also admire the spectacular descent towards the very heart of Genoa, from a breach in its basement.

In addition to mountain sports, Genoa also offers an array of sea sports and activities in the surrounding area. The Levante beach is only a short distance away and is home to some beautiful inlets. What better way to keep fit that by swimming in the Mediterranean? Swimming is not the only sea sport in Genoa, indeed the Porto Antico is full of sailing schools, including the Yacht Club, one of the most famous in Italy.

After a day of sport and fun, relax and admire the sunset on the terrace of the Bristol Palace, while sipping some fine wine selected by our sommelier and savouring traditional dishes and our chef's selection.

Surrounding areas

While staying in Genoa you simply must visit the Ligurian coast, witness its breathtaking panoramas and exceptionally rare naturalistic landscapes.

We propose truly fascinating itineraries. The first starts in Genoa and leads you on a journey of discovery of the Riviera di Levante, with Portofino, Cinque Terre and La Spezia. The second itinerary leads you through Savona and onwards to major attraction such as Imperia, San Remo and Ventimiglia.
Starting from Bristol Palace, Nervi is the first town you'll come across along Riviera di Levante if you choose the first itinerary. Despite Genoa's sprawl, the town has maintained its popularity thanks to its particularly mild climate, perfect even for winter stays.

After Bogliasco and its colourful waterfalls, Sori and Recco, we come to the first of the Riviera's most famous towns: Camogli.

Camogli is nestled on Gulf Paradiso, right next to the Portofino promontory, part of a breathtaking landscape. Here we have the San Fruttuoso monastery, a place of extraordinary beauty hidden by the promontory, where you can admire the wonderful Mediterranean scrub. An unforgettable postcard of the area.

Upon reaching the other side of the Portofino promontory, the Camogli road branches off towards Santa Margherita Ligure and Rapallo. On the junction for Portofino, the road leads through fairytale landscapes, past the hamlets Pedale and Paraggi, the latter considered to be Liguria's most beautiful beach. We then come to Portofino, one of the region's most beautiful places, populated by fishermen's huts. This symbolic town is nestled on the very tip of the promontory.

After stopping to savour the fish dish of the day at the seafront restaurant, our journey continues along the Gulf of Tigullio, past Zoagli, Chiavari, Lavagna, famous throughout the world for its slate used to make blackboards, as the hamlet's name suggests in Italian.
Sestri Levante is located at the end of the Gulf of Tigullio and marks the beginning of the region's wilder side which stretches from Cinque Terre to Portovenere, all the way to La Spezia.

Monterosso al Mare marks the beginning of the Cinque Terre, where nature has created a perfect harmony of sea and mountain landscapes. The area is devoid of any roads to avoid ruining this wonder of nature, so the only way to discover Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore as well as other nativity scene like towns on the sea is along paths or by train.

As we approach the end of Riviera di Levante we reach Portovenere, just before La Spezia. An absolutely unmissable town, home to the Church of San Pietro. It is unique in the world in virtue of its astonishing position: nestled on a sheer cliff edge, it offers truly remarkable views.

Now that we have concluded the first tour, let us set off on a second journey of discovery which will present a different side of wonderful Liguria.

Riviera di Ponente is the coastal stretch which leads from Genoa towards Ventimiglia, taking us past the towns of Cogoleto, Arenzano, Pegli and Sestri Ponente which has become a veritable neighbourhood of Genoa, up to Varazze and Celle Ligure, both famous coastal towns, constantly growing in virtue of their winning mix of history and modernity.

In stark contrast with Riviera di Levante, Riviera di Ponente is renowned for some of the most famous seaside towns including: Loano, Finale Ligure, Noli, Spotorno, the exclusive Bergeggi, nestled on the slopes of Mount Sant’Elena, Vado Ligure, with its beautiful and wide beach, and Savona, the city which reigns supreme in Liguria's Ponente, perennially in competition with Genoa.

Albenga is one of the last towns under the province of Savona. Here you can admire one of the Riviera's best conserved historic centres, in addition to the splendid seaside hamlet Laigueglia and the long sandy beach of Alassio.

The province of Imperia is rich in many other interesting locations including: Andora, Diano Marina and Arma di Taggia.

As you approach the end of Riviera di Ponente, you'll come across two of Liguria's most famous towns, on the so-called Riviera dei Fiori, a major attraction for hoards of visitors from abroad. San Remo requires no introduction, with its eponymous Italian music festival, is also home to the famous Ariston Theatre at the end of the "Vasca" or via Matteotti, a long pedestrian road, considered to be the most sophisticated in San Remo. The city also hosts the classic Milan-Sanremo race, its very own Casino as well as villas and gardens including Villa Ormond, immersed in an enormous park rich in exotic plants, Villa Nobel, Alfred Nobel's private residence since transformed into a museum on nineteenth century discoveries and inventions. Lastly we have Villa Zirio, home to the Symphonic Orchestra, one of Italy's oldest music foundations.

Then we have Ventimiglia, the last Italian city before the French border, with its famous red rocks and the refined gardens of Villa Hambury.

All the staff at Bristol Palace is on hand for any information you may need, or to organise a made-to-measure tour around Liguria's most secret, one-of-a-kind and wonderful places.

Boat tour

A wonderful way to admire the Riviera di Levante, a splendid coastline dotted with marvellous and famous towns: Gulf Paradiso with Recco and Camogli, the suggestive San Fruttuoso Bay, the Gulf of Tigullio with Portofino, Levante and Bonassola, right up to the Cinque Terre Regional Marine Reserve. The tour will take you past numerous towns (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia and Vernazza) up to Monterosso, where you can alight and explore for approximately 3 hours.

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Our staff is always available to assist you during the reservation process and offer you the best solution for your stay. Contact us at +39 010 592541 or via email at bookingbristolpalace@duetorrihotels.com