When in Rome, do as the Romans do! Not as the tourists do. Here is your local’s guide to how to enjoy the best of Rome without breaking the bank. The “Eternal City” is home to some of the greatest wonders of the world, including the Pantheon, Sistine Chapel, and the Roman Colosseum. Tourist traps are aplenty however and many people complain about being ripped off and taken for more than a taxi ride! Don’t worry - we’ve got your back. Here are all your Rome Travel Tips for saving essential money and time during your trip to Rome.
Public Transportation from the airport, for as little as €2.50! Rome has two airports and getting a cab from Fiumicino or (“Leonardo da Vinci”)/Ciampino airports can cost up to €50!
Bus: Terravision bus from both airports to the city center for €5 single/ €9 return. Buses from Fiumicino Airport run every 40 minutes and take about 50/55 minutes to reach the city. If you are flying into Ciampino Airport, buses go every 20 minutes and take around 45 minutes to reach the center.
Train: Take the Leonardo Express for €14 one way from the Leonardo da Vinci Airport to Termini Station. From Ciampino Airport, you need to get a bus (€1) to the train station then the Regional Roma Termini train (€1.50) to Termini station in the center.
Late flight? Unfortunately, both the last Terravision Airport bus and Leonardo Express train from Fiumicino Airport are at 23.00. If you arrive after 23h, take the Cotral Night Bus from Fiumicino terminals 1 and 2. Buses leave every few hours. Note: Ciampino Airport has no late flights and is closed at night.
For budget backpackers, couples, families and all travelers looking for clever hacks - this is your skeleton key! The Rome Pass gives you free access to tons of Rome attractions, including the Colosseum, Vatican, Sistine Chapel and more. You also get unlimited travel on all of Rome’s buses, trams and metros! The pass comes with free audio guides and skip-the-line access.
Guaranteed money saver right? This is an awesome hack if you are visiting LOTS of attractions, but do the math first and if you do opt for the Rome Pass, pack in as many sites as you can to get your money’s worth!
Don’t throw your money into the Trevi fountain, but save your coins for all the great activities and sightseeing around the city!
Here are some Travel Tips and ideas to guide you on your Rome trip!
Visiting Rome doesn’t have to be expensive! People watching from the Piazza Navona is sure to entertain, or why not take a stroll down Via Margutta? If you’re in Rome on a budget, here are some of the best free activities in Rome:
- Explore Villa Borghese: The lush and verdant Villa Borghese Gardens are open to the public and completely free of charge! Rome’s largest park has ancient temples, rose gardens and a small manmade lake where you can even rent a boat for the day!
- Vittoriano Views: No trip to Rome would be complete without checking out panoramic views over the city from the Vittoriano monument! Take the lift up this mountain of white marble and soak up the city skyline from the Terrazza delle Quadrighe.
- Hidden masterpieces in Churches: museums charge, but churches don’t! Check out the Caravaggio paintings tucked away in the Iglesia de San Luis de los Franceses (Church of St.Louis of the French), near Piazza Navona and the Metro Spagna.
- Free Museums first Sunday of the Month! Rome’s museums and archeological attractions are FREE on the first Sunday of every month from October to March.
A great and cheap way to get an overview of Rome and pack in tons of city sites along the way is with a bus tour! Instead of using up your time and money (and getting lost!) in Rome, invest in one bus ticket, and you can see the city in a day from the Rome hop on hop off bus.
Rome Hop-on and Hop-off Bus Tickets - City Tour
You’re in the culinary capital of the world, which means you won’t struggle to find delicious spaghetti and mouthwatering meatballs. Tasty bites are plentiful, and we’ll help you scout them out.
- Piatta del Giorno: order the plate of the day, typically either a large portion of pasta or a dish with meat. The average cost in Rome is between €10-20.
- Picnics: Rome restaurants can be pricey so to save big, stock up on some Italian bread, salami and delicious snacks in the supermarkets around the city and eat “al fresco”.
- To save big: it will be worth the trek to the Lidl Supermarket on Via della Lega Lombarda on the outskirts of the city. Within Rome center, the best-value small supermarkets are Todis, Tuodì and IN'S.
Happy Hour: Free food with every drink! Yes, you read that right, one of our favorite words in Italian is “aperitivo” (appetizer!). Bar hop around Rome during the aperitivo happy hour and munch your way through the stuzzichini (snacks) and capanes with every drink. The cost is around €10.
Are you looking for the best pasta restaurant in Rome? We’ve got you covered!
In Rome on a budget and want the most bang for your buck?
While the historic old town Il Centro Storico is a handy choice for sightseeing as it is near all the major attractions, it is expensive! For budget accommodation and to rub shoulders with some Rome locals, head off the beaten path. For good value hotels and apartments and a vibrant atmosphere, the Trastevere neighborhood is the winner!
Guidebooks are heavy and don’t help you blend in with the locals! Let your smartphone help your wallet. There are handy mobile apps to locate Rome Street Art, find the nearest public toilet and check what fountains are operating. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Download a free city map so you can roam Rome without Google Maps eating up your data. Or, get your Rome Digital City Tour (Your guide to Rome). Forgot the phrasebook? Use the Google Translate app to scan menus and read them in your native tongue.
Rome Digital City Tour