Genoa's much-vaunted aquarium is one of the largest in Europe, with more than 600 species of sea creatures, including sharks. Moored at the end of a walkway is the ship Grande Nave Blu, a unique floating display with exhibits of coral reefs. The aquarium’s 'cetaceans pavilion' may concern some visitors: while the dolphins do not perform tricks and the aquarium fulfils its international legal requirements, including rehousing abused dolphins, animal welfare groups claim keeping dolphins in enclosed tanks is harmful.

Buy tickets online to save a few euros and to avoid long, hot queues (and harassment from street traders) in summer; a combination ticket (adult/reduced €57/40) gives you access to other port attractions, the Galata Museo del Mare, the Biosphere and the panoramic lift. Note that the last entrance is two hours before closing.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Genoa attractions

1. Biosfera

0.03 MILES

A giant glass ball housing a humid mini-ecosystem with tropical plants, butterflies and birds, the Biosphere is an innovative addition to the port,…

2. Porto Antico

0.15 MILES

The port that once controlled a small empire is now one of the most popular places to enjoy a passeggiata (evening stroll). Superyacht lovers are…

3. Palazzo San Giorgio

0.18 MILES

One of the most famous monuments on Genoa's waterfront is this mural-covered building constructed in 1260. St George is one of Genoa's patron saints, and…

4. Porta dei Vacca

0.21 MILES

This monumental gate was one of three built from 1155 as part of a defensive wall system. It's characteristic circular towers are shared by the other…

5. Old City

0.23 MILES

The heart of medieval Genoa – bounded by ancient city gates Porta dei Vacca and Porta Soprana, and the streets of Via Cairoli, Via Garibaldi and Via XXV…

6. Galleria Nazionale di Palazzo Spinola

0.24 MILES

This gallery's paintings are wonderfully displayed over four floors of the 16th-century Palazzo Spinola, once owned by the Spinola family, one of Genoa's…

7. Primo Piano

0.29 MILES

A beautiful historical space that runs a program of modern and contemporary shows along interesting curatorial themes. The focus is often on photography…

8. Galata Museo del Mare


Genoa was rivalled only by Barcelona and Venice as a medieval and Renaissance maritime power, so its 'museum of the sea' is, not surprisingly, one of its…