A busy Mediterranean naval port in northern Italy, the La Spezia cruise port offers cruisers access to three of the country’s top destinations: Pisa, Florence, and the must-see chain of five cliffside villages known as the Cinque Terre. Cruise passengers also utilize La Spezia as a jumping-off point to other highlights in Piedmont and Liguria. Even if you don’t plan to venture out of town, La Spezia, backed by mountains and home to several museums and a castle, has plenty to offer for a day in port.The Basics
Cruise visitors have a number of day trip options from the cruise terminal. Many La Spezia shore excursions head to nearby Portovenere before arriving in the Cinque Terre by ferry for a day of hiking through areas of Riomaggiore and Vernazza. Others traveler further afield to Tuscany to visit cities such as Lucca (46 miles or 75 km away), with its palatial Guinigi Tower; Pisa (48 miles or 77 km away), with its famous Leaning Tower; and Florence (93 miles or 48 km away), known for its array of Renaissance art. A wine-tasting tour through Chianti also makes a great shore excursion tour to the Tuscan countryside.
Alternatively, some cruise passengers choose to stay in La Spezia, where most of the highlights are within walking distance of each other. Choose a city walking tour to see San Giorgio Castle (Castello di San Giorgio), only a half-mile west of the port; the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption (Santa Maria Assunta), full of artwork; and the Amedeo Lia Museum (Museo Civico Amedeo Lia), a fine arts destination housing paintings by Tintoretto, Titian, and others from the 13th to 17th centuries. Finish up your city tour at the waterfront Technical Naval Museum (Museo Tecnico Navale).
Things to Know Before You Go
Shore excursion tours include port pickup and drop-off so you don’t have to worry about missing sailing times.Most La Spezia shore excursions are full-day trips lasting about nine hours.Opt for a private tour to customize your experience in port and choose the cities you’d like to visit.
How to Get to La Spezia From the Cruise Port
La Spezia cruises dock at Molo Garibaldi, just 1.5 miles (2 km) from the city center. Once off the cruise ship, walk to the Public Gardens (Giardini Pubblici) across from the base of the pier, and you’ll be in town. Alternatively, take a shuttle bus or a taxi for the short journey. The La Spezia Centrale railway station, situated in the Piazza Medaglie d’Oro, offers service to Pisa and the Cinque Terre with trains running a couple times an hour. Ferries also run from La Spezia’s ferry terminal, about a 20-minute walk from the cruise dock, to Portovenere and the Cinque Terre.
The currency in Italy is the euro, and the language is Italian. La Spezia is compact, so you should easily find free WiFi, ATMs, and tourist information.