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Port Of La Spezia Cruise Guide


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Lanni Rey



Welcome to the Port of La Spezia, a bustling and vibrant port located on the picturesque Italian Riviera. Nestled at the head of the Gulf of La Spezia, this enchanting port city offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, rich history, and cultural charm. As one of Italy’s most important cruise ports, the Port of La Spezia attracts thousands of visitors each year looking to explore the region’s iconic landmarks, indulge in delicious cuisine, and immerse themselves in the lively Mediterranean atmosphere. Whether you’re embarking on a Mediterranean cruise or making a stopover, the Port of La Spezia promises a memorable and fulfilling experience. With its strategic location, the Port of La Spezia serves as a gateway to numerous enchanting destinations. From the stunning coastal towns of Portovenere and Cinque Terre to the historic cities of Florence and Pisa, this region offers a plethora of exploration opportunities for cruise passengers. In this comprehensive Port of La Spezia cruise guide, we will take you on a journey through the history of the port, highlight the cruise terminal facilities, provide information on popular cruise lines and itineraries, suggest exciting shore excursions and activities, offer insights on getting to and from the port, and share tips on local attractions, shopping, dining, port services, and amenities. So, whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, this guide will help you make the most of your time at the Port of La Spezia, ensuring a memorable and fulfilling cruise experience in one of Italy’s most breathtaking regions.


History of Port of La Spezia

The history of the Port of La Spezia dates back to ancient times. The natural harbor, protected by a narrow opening between two headlands, has attracted seafarers and traders for centuries. Its strategic location in the Ligurian Sea made it a crucial hub for maritime commerce and military purposes. In the mid-19th century, the port underwent significant expansion under the initiative of the Kingdom of Sardinia. The construction of a naval base and arsenal transformed La Spezia into a major naval port for the Kingdom, used for the maintenance and repair of warships. This development played a significant role in Italy’s unification and later in the World Wars. During World War II, the Port of La Spezia suffered extensive damage from bombings, leading to the reconstruction and modernization of its facilities in the post-war era. The port became a vital center for trade, connecting Italy with the rest of the world and supporting the region’s growing industrial activities. In recent years, the Port of La Spezia has experienced a boom in cruise ship tourism. With its strategic location along the popular Mediterranean cruise route, the port has become a favored stop for numerous cruise lines and their passengers. The terminal facilities have been upgraded to accommodate larger vessels and provide modern amenities to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience for cruise passengers. Today, the Port of La Spezia boasts state-of-the-art infrastructure, including multiple cruise terminals equipped with customs, immigration, and security facilities. It continues to play a vital role in the economic development of the region, attracting not only tourists but also commercial vessels involved in various industries. The port’s rich history, from its ancient roots as a trading hub to its transformation into a thriving cruise port, is reflected in the blend of old and new that can be observed throughout the city. From historic buildings and maritime museums to modern amenities and waterfront promenades, the Port of La Spezia offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into its maritime heritage. In the next sections of this guide, we will explore the cruise terminal facilities, popular cruise lines and itineraries, shore excursions, and other essential information to help you make the most of your visit to the Port of La Spezia.


Cruise Terminal Facilities

The Port of La Spezia offers modern and well-equipped cruise terminal facilities to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience for cruise passengers. Whether you’re embarking on a cruise or making a stopover, you’ll find a range of amenities and services to cater to your needs.


The main cruise terminal, known as Terminal 1, is located in the heart of the port, offering easy access to the city center and nearby attractions. This terminal is designed to handle large cruise ships and is equipped with customs, immigration, and security facilities to facilitate a smooth embarkation and disembarkation process.


Inside Terminal 1, you’ll find a variety of services and amenities to enhance your experience. There are information desks where knowledgeable staff can assist with queries and provide guidance on local attractions, transportation options, and more. Additionally, there are currency exchange counters, ATMs, and shops selling essentials, souvenirs, and duty-free products.


For the convenience of passengers, Terminal 1 also offers Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the building, allowing you to stay connected and share your travel experiences with loved ones. There are comfortable seating areas where you can relax before or after your cruise, as well as restrooms and baby changing facilities for those traveling with young children.


If you’re arriving at Terminal 1 as a disembarking passenger, you’ll find various transportation options available just outside the terminal. Taxis, buses, and rental car services are readily accessible, providing convenient ways to explore the surrounding areas or continue your journey to other destinations.


In addition to Terminal 1, there are other smaller terminals located within the port that cater to specific cruise lines or private charters. These terminals also offer similar services and amenities to ensure a pleasant experience for passengers.


Overall, the cruise terminal facilities at the Port of La Spezia are designed to provide comfort, convenience, and efficiency. Whether you’re arriving or departing, you can expect a seamless and enjoyable experience as you embark on your Mediterranean adventure or explore the enchanting sights of the Italian Riviera.


Popular Cruise Lines and Itineraries

The Port of La Spezia is a popular destination for numerous cruise lines, offering a wide range of itineraries that allow passengers to explore the stunning Italian Riviera and beyond. Whether you’re a fan of luxury cruises, family-friendly vacations, or immersive cultural experiences, there are cruise lines and itineraries to suit every preference.


One of the most well-known cruise lines that includes La Spezia in its itineraries is Costa Cruises. Costa Cruises offers a variety of Mediterranean cruises that often embark or make a stop at the Port of La Spezia. These itineraries typically include other iconic destinations such as Rome, Florence, and Barcelona, allowing passengers to experience the rich history, art, and culture of the Mediterranean region.


Another popular cruise line that visits the Port of La Spezia is MSC Cruises. MSC Cruises offers a wide range of itineraries, including eastern and western Mediterranean routes. These itineraries often include stops in popular destinations like Rome, Barcelona, and the Greek islands, providing passengers with a diverse and memorable experience.


For those seeking a luxurious and intimate cruising experience, Silversea Cruises and Seabourn are renowned for their high-end offerings. These cruise lines provide smaller ships that offer personalized service and exclusive amenities. Their itineraries often feature ports in the Italian Riviera, allowing passengers to explore the hidden gems of the region while enjoying the comforts of a luxury cruise.


In addition to these cruise lines, there are also smaller and niche cruise operators that include the Port of La Spezia in their itineraries. These operators cater to specific interests, such as adventure cruises, culinary-themed journeys, or cultural immersions. Whether you’re interested in exploring the picturesque Cinque Terre, indulging in the gastronomic delights of Tuscany, or venturing off the beaten path to lesser-known coastal towns, there is a cruise line and itinerary available to fulfill your desires.


It is worth mentioning that the itineraries may vary depending on the cruise line, season, and length of the cruise. Some cruises may focus more on the Italian Riviera and neighboring regions, while others may include ports in other Mediterranean countries. It is advisable to research and compare different cruise lines and itineraries to find the one that best suits your preferences and interests.


Overall, the Port of La Spezia serves as a gateway to a wide range of cruise experiences, catering to different budgets, interests, and travel styles. Whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or embarking on your first voyage, there are popular cruise lines and itineraries that will allow you to explore the beauty and charm of the Mediterranean while making unforgettable memories along the way.


Shore Excursions and Activities

When visiting the Port of La Spezia, there are numerous shore excursions and activities available that allow cruise passengers to explore the surrounding region and make the most of their time ashore. From immersing yourself in the natural beauty of Cinque Terre to discovering the cultural treasures of Florence and Pisa, there is something for everyone to enjoy.


One of the most popular and iconic destinations near the Port of La Spezia is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cinque Terre. This collection of five colorful fishing villages perched along the rugged Italian coastline offers breathtaking views, charming streets, and picturesque landscapes. Whether you choose to hike along the coastal trails, take a leisurely boat ride, or simply wander through the narrow streets, a visit to Cinque Terre is a must for nature lovers and adventurers.


For art and history enthusiasts, a shore excursion to Florence is a perfect choice. Just a short distance from the port, Florence is renowned for its magnificent Renaissance architecture, world-class museums, and art treasures. Explore the iconic Duomo, visit the Uffizi Gallery to admire masterpieces by Michelangelo and Botticelli, and stroll across the famous Ponte Vecchio. Florence offers a truly immersive cultural experience that will leave you in awe of its beauty and heritage.


Another famous destination near the Port of La Spezia is Pisa, home to the iconic leaning tower. Take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque Piazza dei Miracoli, where you’ll find the leaning tower, the Duomo, and the Baptistery. Climb to the top of the tower for a unique perspective and capture the perfect photo that will surely be a cherished memory of your visit to Italy.


For those seeking a more off-the-beaten-path experience, consider visiting the charming coastal town of Portovenere. This lesser-known gem offers stunning views of the Ligurian Sea, medieval architecture, and a picturesque harbor. Explore the historic center, visit the beautiful Church of San Pietro, and take a boat ride to the nearby island of Palmaria for a relaxing day by the beach.


In addition to these popular destinations, there are also a variety of other shore excursions and activities available near the Port of La Spezia. Take a wine tasting tour in the famous Tuscan countryside, visit the medieval town of Lucca with its intact city walls, or immerse yourself in the glamorous atmosphere of the Italian Riviera by visiting Portofino or Santa Margherita Ligure.


Whether you prefer to explore historical sites, soak up the natural beauty, indulge in food and wine, or simply relax by the seaside, the Port of La Spezia offers a wide range of shore excursions and activities to cater to every interest and travel style. Plan ahead and make the most of your time ashore to create unforgettable memories of your visit to this enchanting region of Italy.


Getting to and from the Port

Getting to and from the Port of La Spezia is relatively convenient, thanks to its excellent transportation connections and strategic location. Whether you’re traveling from the nearby towns, airports, or other parts of Italy, there are several options available to ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey.


If you’re arriving by air, the closest airports to the Port of La Spezia are Pisa International Airport (PSA) and Genoa Cristoforo Colombo Airport (GOA), both offering domestic and international flights. From these airports, you can easily reach the port by various transportation methods, including trains, buses, private transfers, and rental cars.


From Pisa International Airport, the most convenient option is to take a train to La Spezia Centrale, the main train station in La Spezia. The journey takes approximately one hour, and trains run frequently throughout the day. From La Spezia Centrale, you can take a short taxi ride or transfer to a local bus to reach the port.


Genoa Cristoforo Colombo Airport is also well-connected to the Port of La Spezia. You can take a train from Genoa Brignole or Genoa Principe to La Spezia Centrale, with a journey time of approximately one to two hours. Alternatively, private transfers or rental cars are available for a more direct and personalized transportation option.


If you’re already in Italy or the surrounding towns, another popular option is to travel to the Port of La Spezia by train. Italy’s efficient rail network allows for easy access to La Spezia from cities like Rome, Florence, Milan, and Venice. From the train station in La Spezia, you can then take a taxi or local bus to the port, which is just a short distance away.


For those on a cruise, it’s important to check with your cruise line or travel agent regarding transportation arrangements. Many cruise lines offer pre-arranged transfers from airports or nearby hotels to the port. These transfers can provide added convenience and peace of mind, as they are coordinated to ensure timely arrival and departure.


Once at the Port of La Spezia, the cruise terminals are easily accessible for embarkation and disembarkation. Taxis, buses, and rental car services are available just outside the terminals, providing convenient transportation options for exploring the city or continuing your journey to other destinations.


Overall, getting to and from the Port of La Spezia is a straightforward process thanks to the well-connected transportation network in the region. Whether you’re arriving by air, train, or other means, there are convenient options available to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey to this beautiful port city.


Local Attractions near Port of La Spezia

The Port of La Spezia is strategically located near a wealth of stunning attractions and enchanting destinations, making it an ideal base for exploring the beauty of the Italian Riviera and beyond. From charming coastal towns to historic cities and natural wonders, there is no shortage of local attractions that will captivate the hearts of visitors.


One of the must-visit attractions near the Port of La Spezia is the world-renowned Cinque Terre. This collection of five picturesque fishing villages—Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore—offers breathtaking coastal views, colorful houses perched on cliffs, and charming narrow streets. Explore the trails that connect the villages, take a boat ride along the coast, or simply relax on the sandy beaches. The beauty and uniqueness of Cinque Terre are truly mesmerizing.


For art and history enthusiasts, a visit to the nearby cities of Florence and Pisa is highly recommended. Florence, known as the birthplace of the Renaissance, boasts an impressive collection of architectural wonders, art masterpieces, and renowned landmarks such as the Duomo and the Uffizi Gallery. Pisa, on the other hand, is famous for its iconic Leaning Tower, but also offers a wealth of historical and cultural attractions, including the Piazza dei Miracoli, the Duomo, and the Baptistery.


If you’re looking to indulge in the allure of the Italian Riviera, the charming town of Portovenere should be on your list. Located just a short distance from the Port of La Spezia, Portovenere offers a picturesque harbor, colorful houses, and stunning views of the sea. Explore the narrow streets, visit the imposing Church of San Pietro, and take a boat ride to the nearby islands of Palmaria and Tino for a tranquil and scenic experience.


For nature lovers, a visit to the Apuan Alps and the Marble Quarries is a delight. The Apuan Alps, located northwest of La Spezia, offer breathtaking mountain landscapes, hiking trails, and the opportunity to discover the centuries-old tradition of marble quarrying. Take a guided tour to explore the caves and admire the majestic marble formations that have been carved by hand for centuries.


Additionally, the charming town of Lerici, situated a short distance from La Spezia, offers beautiful beaches, a medieval castle, and a lively promenade lined with restaurants and cafes. Take a leisurely stroll along the seaside, soak up the Mediterranean atmosphere, and enjoy a delicious seafood meal overlooking the stunning Gulf of Poets.


These are just a few examples of the many local attractions near the Port of La Spezia. Depending on your interests and the duration of your stay, there are numerous other hidden gems to explore, including the medieval town of Lucca, the glamorous resort of Portofino, and the picturesque coastal towns of the Italian Riviera.


With its prime location and proximity to these captivating attractions, the Port of La Spezia offers cruise passengers a gateway to an unforgettable journey through the stunning landscapes, rich history, and cultural treasures of this beautiful region of Italy.


Shopping and Dining Options at the Port

The Port of La Spezia offers a delightful array of shopping and dining options to enhance your visit and cater to your culinary and retail desires. Whether you’re looking to indulge in authentic Italian cuisine or explore local shops for unique souvenirs, there are plenty of choices available to satisfy your appetite and shopping cravings.


When it comes to dining, the Port of La Spezia does not disappoint. The city is teeming with charming trattorias, seafood restaurants, pizzerias, and gelaterias, offering a variety of flavors to suit every palate. Indulge in fresh seafood dishes like pasta alle vongole, frittura di pesce, or enjoy traditional Italian pizza and mouthwatering gelato. Additionally, don’t miss the opportunity to savor Ligurian specialties such as pesto Genovese and local wines from the nearby region. Many restaurants in La Spezia pride themselves on using locally sourced ingredients for an authentic and delicious dining experience.


If you prefer a more casual dining experience, the port area is dotted with cafes and bars where you can relax and enjoy a cup of Italian espresso or indulge in aperitivo, the Italian tradition of enjoying a pre-dinner drink accompanied by a selection of savory appetizers. Sitting at one of the outdoor terraces, you can soak in the vibrant atmosphere while watching the ships come and go at the port.


When it comes to shopping, the Port of La Spezia offers a variety of options for retail therapy. Explore the local fashion boutiques for the latest Italian designs, browse artisan shops for handmade crafts and ceramics, or venture into the bustling markets to discover fresh produce, spices, and local delicacies. Don’t forget to taste the Mediterranean flavors of Ligurian olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and regional cheeses, which make for wonderful souvenirs to bring back home.


The port area also showcases a number of specialty stores and souvenir shops, where you can find a range of unique items to commemorate your visit. From locally produced artwork and jewelry to maritime-themed souvenirs and traditional Italian ceramics, there is something for every taste and budget.


For those interested in shopping for high-end brands and designer labels, nearby cities like Florence and Milan offer excellent options. Take advantage of day trips or pre/post-cruise stays to explore the world-famous shopping districts like Via de’ Tornabuoni in Florence or the Quadrilatero della Moda in Milan, where you’ll find renowned fashion houses and luxury boutiques.


Overall, the Port of La Spezia presents a wonderful blend of dining and shopping opportunities, allowing you to savor the flavors of Italian cuisine and discover unique treasures to enjoy during and after your visit. Indulge in the vibrant culinary scene and explore the local shops to truly immerse yourself in the flavors and culture of the region.


Port Services and Amenities

The Port of La Spezia offers a range of services and amenities to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience for cruise passengers. From convenient transportation options to helpful information centers, the port strives to provide everything necessary to make your visit a seamless one.


One of the primary services offered at the port is efficient transportation. Taxis, buses, and rental car services are readily available just outside the cruise terminals, providing convenient options for getting to and from the port. Whether you’re exploring the local area or continuing your journey to nearby towns and attractions, these transportation services make it easy to navigate the region.


Inside the cruise terminals, you’ll find helpful information centers staffed by knowledgeable personnel. These information centers can provide you with maps, brochures, and guidance on local attractions, transportation options, and other essential information to help you make the most of your visit. Whether it’s recommendations for the best restaurants or tips on popular shore excursions, the staff at the information centers are there to assist you.


For added convenience, the port provides Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the terminals, allowing you to stay connected and share your travel experiences with loved ones. This service is especially valuable for those who rely on internet access for communication and planning while on their cruise.


In terms of amenities, the Port of La Spezia offers clean and modern restroom facilities for passengers to freshen up during their time at the port. They also provide baby changing stations for families traveling with young children.


Furthermore, the port has a variety of dining options available within or in close proximity to the terminals. Whether you’re in the mood for a sit-down meal, a quick snack, or a refreshing beverage, you’ll find a range of options to satisfy your cravings. From local Italian cuisine to international favorites, the dining choices cater to a variety of tastes and preferences.


Additionally, the port is equipped with efficient customs, immigration, and security facilities to ensure a smooth embarkation and disembarkation process. These facilities are designed to prioritize passenger safety and security while maintaining efficient operations.


For those who require additional services, such as medical assistance or special accommodations, the port works closely with the cruise lines to address and meet the specific needs of their passengers. It is recommended to communicate any special requirements or concerns prior to your arrival at the port for a more tailored and personalized experience.


Overall, the Port of La Spezia strives to provide a range of services and amenities that contribute to a seamless and enjoyable cruise experience. From transportation and information centers to dining options and security facilities, the port aims to ensure that each passenger’s visit is comfortable, convenient, and memorable.


Tips for Cruise Passengers at Port of La Spezia

If you’re planning to visit the Port of La Spezia, here are some helpful tips to make the most of your cruise experience:

  1. Plan Ahead: Research and plan your shore excursions and activities in advance. This will help you maximize your time at the port and ensure that you don’t miss out on any must-see attractions.
  2. Check the Weather: The weather in the Italian Riviera can be unpredictable, so make sure to check the forecast before heading out. Bring appropriate clothing and footwear for both rain and sunshine, as the weather can change throughout the day.
  3. Be Mindful of the Crowds: The Port of La Spezia is a popular cruise destination, especially during peak tourist season. Expect crowds at popular attractions, such as Cinque Terre and Pisa, and plan your visits accordingly to avoid long lines.
  4. Respect Local Customs: When visiting churches or other religious sites, dress appropriately and be mindful of local customs and traditions. Keep in mind that Italy has a conservative culture, so it’s important to respect the local norms and etiquette.
  5. Use Local Currency: Although many establishments accept credit cards, it’s always a good idea to have some local currency on hand for small purchases, tips, and souvenirs. There are currency exchange counters and ATMs available at the port and in the city for your convenience.
  6. Follow Safety Guidelines: Exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas. Keep your valuables secure and be cautious of pickpockets. It’s also advisable to carry a photocopy of your travel documents and leave the originals in a safe place onboard your cruise ship.
  7. Try Local Cuisine: Indulge in the flavors of Italian cuisine during your visit. Don’t miss the opportunity to try regional specialties like pesto Genovese, fresh seafood dishes, and authentic gelato. Venture away from tourist areas to discover local trattorias and restaurants for a more authentic dining experience.
  8. Learn Basic Italian Phrases: While English is widely spoken in tourist areas, knowing a few basic Italian phrases can go a long way in enhancing your interactions with locals. Simple greetings and common phrases like “thank you” and “please” can help to create a positive and friendly atmosphere.
  9. Stay Hydrated: The Italian Riviera can get quite hot during the summer months, so it’s important to stay hydrated. Carry a reusable water bottle and refill it regularly to avoid dehydration. It’s also a good idea to wear sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
  10. Embrace the Local Culture: Take the time to embrace the local culture, traditions, and lifestyle. Explore the local markets, engage with the locals, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere. Be open to new experiences and create lasting memories of your time at the Port of La Spezia.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable cruise experience at the Port of La Spezia, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of the Italian Riviera.



The Port of La Spezia, located along the stunning Italian Riviera, offers a gateway to a world of beauty, culture, and adventure. Whether you’re embarking on a Mediterranean cruise or making a stopover, this charming port city promises an unforgettable experience for every visitor.


With its rich history, strategic location, and modern facilities, the Port of La Spezia has become a prominent destination for cruise lines and travelers from around the world. From the moment you step off your ship, you’ll be greeted with a range of services and amenities designed to enhance your visit. Whether it’s efficient transportation options, helpful information centers, or comfortable dining and shopping choices, the port strives to cater to your needs and ensure a seamless experience.


Once you venture beyond the port, a world of attractions and activities awaits. Lose yourself in the enchanting beauty of Cinque Terre, marvel at the artistic treasures of Florence, or witness the iconic leaning tower of Pisa. Explore charming coastal towns, sample delicious Italian cuisine, and immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of the region.


As you navigate the Port of La Spezia and its surroundings, it’s essential to plan ahead, respect local customs, and be mindful of crowds. Embrace the opportunity to try local cuisine, learn a few basic Italian phrases, and take the time to soak up the vibrant atmosphere.


Whether you choose to embark on an adventure to the nearby Cinque Terre, indulge in art and history in Florence, or simply relax and enjoy the captivating beauty of the Italian Riviera, the Port of La Spezia offers a truly memorable experience for all. It’s a destination that combines the best of Italy’s history, culture, and natural wonders, creating an experience that will stay with you long after your cruise is over.


So, as you plan your next cruise or consider a stopover at the Port of La Spezia, prepare to be captivated by the charm of this extraordinary destination. Pack your bags, embrace the Mediterranean lifestyle, and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime.