With a privileged enclave in the heart of the Gulf of Poets, in Liguria, La Spezia is gaining prominence by leaps and bounds among the Mediterranean cruises that come to know the treasures of Italy.
If you’re wondering what to do at La Spezia on a cruise stop, you’ll be delighted to know that both this port city and its surroundings have an enormous range of possibilities for you to enjoy your trip.
Beautiful beaches, charming villages, historic buildings or postcard landscapes await you after your landing on the Riviera del Levante.
La Spezia on a cruise scale: plans to enjoy the city
Although many travelers when looking for what to do in the Spezia on a cruise stop quickly imagine visiting one of its nearby towns, those who choose to give a chance to the city, are pleasantly surprised. These are some of the places you shouldn’t miss:
Walking in La Spezia
Before addressing any of its tourist claims, we recommend that you simply enjoy strolling through the narrow streets of the city. Start along the Viale Mazzini, near where cruisers dock at La Spezia and among hundreds of palm trees, before you start strolling in the heart of the city.
There you will quickly fall in love with the warm colours of its façades, its painted wooden shutters and the large number of pedestrian walks that invite you to walk through the city.
Castle of San Giorgio
The visit to the Castle of San Giorgio is usually the main plan to do in the Spezia on a cruise stop, as it is its most popular tourist attraction. Situated at a height that offers exceptional views of the entire bay, this impressive monument stands on a land inhabited since prehistoric times.
Therefore, inside you can visit the Museum of the Castle “Ubaldo Formentini” which treasures pieces from periods such as the Golden Age, the Bronze Age and collections of the Roman Empire. A must-see in Spezia in a day.
La Spezia Naval Museum
If you like cruising, the Spezia Naval Museum may be of interest. Not in vain, this is the largest naval museum in Italy and is one of the most visited attractions in the city. Hundreds of boats of all kinds and from different periods are waiting for you here, ideal for surprising the youngest members of the family on a one-hour excursion in La Spezia.
Cathedral and Churches in La Spezia
La Spezia has numerous churches and religious buildings. The most modern of them, and whose architecture has as many lovers as detractors, is the Cathedral of Christ the King, 1975. You will easily recognize it when you arrive at the port of La Spezia because of its enormous size and, above all, because of its completely circular shape. The light of the interior comes from the great dome which, with a diameter of 50 metres, is supported by 12 apostolic columns.
In addition, the city has several churches worth a visit. Our favourite is the Church of the Abbey of Santa María Assunta. It dates back to the 13th century and has a golden interior that, with the refraction of natural light, creates a beautiful illumination.
Other churches you can visit are the Sanctuary of the Madonna dell’Olmo, the Church of Santa Maria de la Salud or the Church of San Juan y Agustín.
Excursions after a cruise to La Spezia
One of the main reasons for cruisers who stop at Spezia to dock here is to go and enjoy the attractive nearby destinations that can be visited from here. The nearest and most requested is Cinque Terre, but also possible to enhance excursions from La Spezia to Pisa, Florence or Genoa.
Visit Cinque Terre on your cruise stop at La Spezia
You’ve probably seen the famous photograph of that little cove with colorful little houses on the edge of a cliff and you’ve thought that’s Cinque Terre. That’s a very common mistake that happens to many travelers. Actually, Cinque Terre is an extensive airfield covering 5 villages: Vernazza, Corniglia, Monterosso al Mare, Riomaggiore and Manarola, each with a special charm and something to offer you.
How to get to Cinque Terre from La Spezia
Since one of the main plans to do in La Spezia on a cruise stop is the excursion to Cinque Terre, we will tell you how to get there.
- By ferry: This option will offer you, besides speed, a totally different and spectacular point of view. Between June and September it is possible to visit these villages by sea. The price of the ticket starts at 9 euros, but it is possible to get a daily pass that includes all the displacements.
- By train: The train offers lower prices and a very tempting perspective. The Cinque Terre Train Card is best purchased at La Spezia station. With it you can get on these trains as many times as you want and visit Cinque Terre comfortably.
- Walking: If after so many hours of boat you feel like stretching your legs, there is the option of walking to visit the 5 villages. This is an option only indicated for those who are looking for what to do in the Spezia on their cruise ladder and already have some experience in hiking. The reason? It will take you more than 6 hours to complete all the way…and that’s not counting what you spend on stopping to take pictures!
Verenazza awaits you with a tremendous palette of colors that will leave you speechless. Visit the wall that protected the city from pirates, the fortress, the church of Santa Margarita de Antiochia and then climb to the top of the viewpoint to hallucinate with the views.
Also on the edge of a cliff, but without direct access to the sea, this is a perfect place to taste some of the best wines in the area. The most emblematic places you will see in Corniglia are the Church of San Pedro, the oratory of Santa Catalina and the ruins of Corniglia Castle.
Monterosso al Mare
This is the excursion to Cinque Terre from La Spezia farther away. But by taking a direct train, you’ll be there in 20 minutes. Monterosso al Mare is the largest town in Cinque Terre and, although not as colourful as its neighbours, offers an ideal beach to see in La Spezia in a few hours free for your cruise.