Why choose a cruise to La Spezia?
Located on the rugged Ligurian coast, La Spezia is one of Italy’s most overlooked but charming destinations. Just a short journey to the beautiful Cinque Terre, the port city is a popular jumping-off point for exploring some of the region’s most scenic coastal areas. A La Spezia cruise offers the chance to enjoy a mix of attractive scenery, cultural sites and great food.
While it can be tempting to dock and dash for the Italian Riviera, take the time to wander around La Spezia’s old town and stop off at one of the traditional trattorias for some authentic Ligurian cuisine. Visit in March to experience the city’s annual celebration of the patron saint San Giuseppe, where a huge market fills the port and the naval base is open to the public.
A guide to La Spezia’s hotspots
As a major Italian port town, no trip to La Spezia would be complete without spending some time on the picturesque waterfront. Take a leisurely stroll along the promenade to watch the coming and going of the boats and cruise liners, and explore the pretty public gardens.
If it’s culture you’re after, head to the 15th-century Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, with its age-worn architecture and paintings, or take a trip to the 13th-century San Giorgio Castle to see centuries-old artefacts in the archeological museum. Also worth visiting is the Naval Technical Museum, which houses some fascinating artefacts and displays.
The city’s prime location on the Ligurian coast means it’s often used as a stop-off for exploring the wider region. One of the most popular day trips for La Spezia cruise passengers is the Cinque Terre – a stretch of attractive fishing villages known for their rainbow-coloured buildings. The closest village is Riomaggiore, where the famous coastal pathway ‘Lovers’ Walk’ begins.
Excursions to the stunning coastal town of Lerici are also common, where you can spend the day relaxing on the beach or exploring the medieval castle. If you want to tick a major landmark off your holiday wish-list, take the hour-long train ride to Pisa to see the iconic Leaning Tower.
Cruise lines that sail to La Spezia
- P&O Cruises
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises
- Royal Caribbean
- MSC Cruises
- Oceania Cruises
- Celebrity Cruises
The best time to visit La Spezia
The Liguria region enjoys a Mediterranean climate with lots of sunshine and temperature highs of up to 30°C or more in the summer. Peak season is from May to September, when many festivals and events take place. A great time to visit is March, when the yearly San Giuseppe Fair takes over the port, with food stalls, live music and entertainment. The famous Palio del Golfo rowing race takes place in August, while the International Jazz Music Festival in July sees world-famous musicians flock to the city.
The average temperature in winter is 12°C, which means sightseeing is still possible. This time of year also sees less crowds and hotel prices are much lower.
Did you know?
- La Spezia is home to Italy’s biggest naval base
- After Genoa, La Spezia is the second biggest city in the Liguria region
- The city is a major cruise hub and jump-off point for the world-famous Cinque Terre
- Liguria’s coastline is known as the Italian Riviera, home to some of Italy’s most beautiful scenery
- La Spezia dates to pre-Roman times, and many historical artefacts can be seen in the archaeological museum at the San Giorgio Castle