This daytrip does the double, giving you the chance to explore two of Italy’s most famous seaside resorts under your own steam. Firstly, you’ll have around an hour and a half to get to know Santa Margherita – although the paintbox houses may have you thinking you’ve touched down in Cuba. Call in at the Castello di Santa Maria Ligure – a 16th-century fortress built to defend the town from pirate raids – and wander up the hill to the Chiesa di San Giacomo. This pretty whitewashed church is really camera-friendly. You’ll then catch the ferry over to iconic Portofino for a couple of hours’ exploring time. Window-shop as you roam the winding streets, and pause for a bite to eat at the harbour – it’s a must-do.
You take the reins on this half-day trip to landmark-packed Genoa, the capital of Italy’s Liguria region. It’s around an hour from the port, and you’ll have three hours of free time to get to know the city known as ‘La Superba’. Check out the Piazza de Ferrari with its impressive bronze fountain, and call in at the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo – AKA St Lawrence Cathedral – to snap some photos with its zebra-striped walls. You can grab a double helping of palaces, too – there’s the Palazzo Ducale and the Palazzo Reale. A bevy of coffee shops and gelaterias hide in the alleyways, so there are plenty of brunching opportunities. In fact, the city’s believed to be the birthplace of pesto – a sampler should be on your agenda.
The largest aquarium in Italy and the second-largest one in Europe is your destination today – it’s home to over 15,000 animals, including sharks, seals and tropical fish. Don’t miss out on a visit to the Biosphere, which is housed in a huge glass globe. Tropical plants like banana and cinnamon trees are grown inside, along with some of the tallest cultivated tree ferns in the world. In the Blue Planet, you can catch glimpses of Moray eels, while the Mermaid’s Lagoon’s where the manatees live. And, in the Deep Sea Room, you can go on a virtual reality adventure to the depths of the ocean. You’ll have three hours inside the aquarium to explore, and there’s a coffee shop serving drinks and snacks.
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