Genoa is one of the oldest cities in the world. The city was the capital of one of the most important shipping kingdoms in Europe for 7 centuries, the Republic of Genoa. That’s why lavish palaces, plazas, and churches line its streets. It is still a major port over the Mediterranean. We know what you are wondering. Are there beaches in Genoa?
The port occupies Genoa’s center. It’s there in the middle of the city, next to the Old Town. Thus, to go to the best beaches in Genoa and Italy, you have to get out of the city center. No worries, there’s an extensive transport net that will take you everywhere in no time. Besides, you know what Italy means: delicious food, outstanding views, lovely people, and culture!
Beaches in Genoa City
San Nazaro, Roma and Lido di Genova Beaches
The closest beach to Genoa City Center is San Nazaro. It’s a small pebble beach on Corso Italia, the coastal avenue leading south of the city. From Genoa’s center, it’s a half an hour walk. This is an organized beach, with umbrellas and recliners to rent. However, if you don’t want to pay, bring your own towel and enjoy the free area.
Next to Nazaro, you’ll find Roma and Lido di Genova, two pebble beaches. You can walk between the three in 15 minutes. Thus, find your favorite spot and relax. The bathrooms, restaurants, pools, and other facilities are close to Corso Italia. Bus 31 departs from Genoa Brignole central station and takes you there in 15 minutes.
Boccadasse Beach is the closest free beach to Genoa City center. Granted, it’s picturesque and all, but it gets really crowded. It’s a small beach with a lovely Italian neighborhood around. Bring a towel and lay it over the pebbles. Boccadasse is one of the few free beaches in Genoa. To get there, walk 6 minutes from Lido along Corso Italia. The bus from the center stops here too.
As small and crowded as it can get, you can bathe in Boccadasse. Even in October! You can also have a coffee or grab vermouth in one of the bars overlooking the beach. Try the ice cream from Antica Gelateria Amadeo. So considering it is still an urban beach, Boccadasse is a nice stop on the coastline.
Vernazzola is the best beach in Genoa. It’s also our favorite! At twice the size of Bocadasse, it’s the biggest and most relaxed. Again, it’s a pebbled beach, but wider. Besides, from the sea, you can see mountains. A traditional Italian neighborhood surrounds the bay. Since it’s got two stone piers at each end, the sea is calm.
Vernazzola is just a 10-minute walk from Boccadasse. Thus, less than 20 minutes from the closest beach in Genoa City center, San Nazaro. The walk there is nice, so if you want to spend time at the beach, this is your best option. A big section of the beach is free. Don’t worry about food. We had a bite and coffee at the café next to the beach while enjoying a killer sunset.
Sturla is one of the Beaches in Genoa City we don’t like. Sorry, but we have to be honest. To get there from Vernazzola, walk along Via Trittone for five minutes. The beach is pebbled and long, with some hard sand. There’s a river flowing into the sea, ruining the coastline. Since the neighborhood around is big, it feels overcrowded and a bit dirty.
There’s a busy sports association too. Apparently, it’s a great beach to windsurf. We like it at night. The beach is mostly empty and the lights of the buildings make it shine. Besides, a couple of the restaurants on the beach are actually good. The same can be said for late afternoon. Grab something to eat and enjoy the sunset.
Porticciolo di Nervi Beach
Nervi is the farthest from Genoa, a wonderful place with a weird beach. Il Portico di Nervi is the small town next to it. Built over 100 years ago, some of the palaces are pretty interesting. Besides, the sandy beach is cute. However, a massive pier blocks the view of the sea. Therefore, when looking out, all you see is a wall.
Nervi is perfect to walk around and enjoy the views. The sea promenade and marina are great. Gorgeous villas and restaurants line the seafront. From Sturla, it’s an hour’s walk along the coastline. The views are brilliant, so go for it on a sunny day. If not, the bus from there takes 20 minutes. From Genoa Brignole the train takes 25 minutes.
Beaches near Genoa
Best Beaches East of Genoa
The next beaches are some 25km to the east of Genoa. First Camogli, a pebbled beach with a little town. Then, sandy but small Rapallo. Our favorite is Santa Margherita, a long beach. Besides, superb architecture dots the city. From there, go to Portofino. The seaside town is stunning! Stop in Bahia di Paraggia, a splendid tiny sandy beach in the middle of the hills.
The best beaches near Genoa and in northern Italy are in Monterrosso al Mare, part of the Cinque Terre. The town is in Liguria, on a gulf surrounded by hills. The sandy beach is long and has everything you need, including restaurants, bars, and places to rent umbrellas. A bit further south are the beaches in Cinque Terre National Park. Travel with time so you can enjoy them!
Best Beaches West of Genoa
Beaches southeast of Genoa are better than those at the northwest. Northwest, the first is Arenzano, half an hour from the city. The small town has a long pebbled beach, with both a private and a public section. To the north is Cogolote, a long and narrow pebbled beach. Closest to the center is sandy. Besides, the town itself is interesting.
From Cogolote up north, there are several little coves in the middle of the hills. Our favorites are Vesima and Azzurodue. Though small, both are pretty. From there to Varazze, there are several extra narrow long beaches next to the train. Arenzano is the biggest town. The beach is long and nice. As small as it is, the town itself packs a couple of interesting buildings.
The Nicest Beach near Genoa
Some of the best beaches in Liguria are between Portofino and Santa Margharita. You can walk between both places by the sea. Be sure to stop in Paraggia Beach, one of the best sandy beaches near Genoa (our favorite). It is sunny even in the afternoon. The whole walk takes one hour. Portofino and its beaches will take your breath away.
The other path from Santa Margarita to Portofino is on the hills. It takes 1.5 hours. The paths are green and lovely. It can get hot, so remember to bring a hat. You can also stop in Paraggia Beach, then continue to Portofino. Once there, walk to the end of the bay and up to Castello Brown. Finally, go to the Portofino lighthouse for memorable views.
How to Choose
Choosing the best beaches around Genoa depends on how much time you have. If you are short on time and are craving some beach, we suggest going to Vernazzola Beach. Without a doubt, the best urban beach in Genoa. The previous ones are too small and crowded. Walk a bit more or take the bus, and enjoy Vernazzola. You can be back in the city in no time.
However, if you have time, we strongly suggest going to Santa Margarita and Portofino. The seaside town is one of the nicest in Italy. Thus, it is better not to rush and stop by any of the little beaches. The best is Paraggi Beach, almost empty by late afternoon. If you have more time, go to Cinque Terre and spend a day or two in Monterrosso al Mare.
The Best Beach Hotels near Genoa
Genoa City doesn’t have beach resorts. In fact, the best beach hotels are in Liguria, next door. We like the Grand Hotel Miramare in Santa Margherita. It’s a grand hotel overlooking the gulf with splendid gardens and a seawater pool. The best beach hotel in Monterroso and Cinque Terre is the fantastic Hotel Porto Rocca, on a massive rock overlooking the sea. Epic views, class, and privacy.
In Portofino, book a room at the classy Hotel Piccolo Portofino. The elegant palace sits on the coast and has a private rocky beach. The best rooms have balconies with epic views of the sea. Hotel Argentino is a couple of meters from Paraggi Beach. It’s a sparkling simple family hotel with personalized service. The homemade breakfast is delicious.
How to Get to the Beaches
You can walk from Genoa city center to San Nazaro, Roma, Lido di Genova, Boccadasse, Vernazzola and Sturla Beaches. It takes an hour. Buses leave Genova Brignole frequently and take you to these beaches in less than half an hour. Buses depart from Genoa Principe too. To get to Porticciolo di Nervi you must take a train from Genova Principe or Brignole. It takes 30 minutes.
To get to the beaches north of Genoa City you must take a train or bus. Again, they leave from both train stations and take around one hour. To get to Monterroso di Mare in the Cinque Terre Park, you have to take the train. The train goes along the coastline and stops in all of the towns. The journey lasts between 1 to 1.5 hours.