10 Practical Tips for a City Trip to Rome

A city trip to Rome is on most people’s bucket list. That’s not surprising because in the ancient streets of Rome, you can stroll past impressive architectural wonders and enjoy the relaxed Italian life. Before your departure, it’s wise to read some practical tips for your city trip to Rome. How do you actually get from the airport to the center of Rome? How do you avoid long queues at busy attractions, and what are the best neighborhoods to stay in? In this article, you’ll find 10 practical tips for Rome so that you can make the most of your city trip!

Plan your city trip to Rome outside the holiday season

One of the best tips we can give you is to avoid the holiday season when you go to Rome. Did you know that around 48 million tourists visit the capital of Italy every year? Rome has always been a popular city, but it gets really crowded during the holiday season. The holiday periods include the Dutch school holidays (spring break, May vacation, summer vacation, and autumn break), as well as holidays that result in long weekends, such as Easter and Pentecost. During these holiday periods, airfares and hotels are often more expensive, just like on weekends. If possible, it’s smart to plan your city trip to Rome outside these periods.

Rent a bike during your city trip to Rome

Many of the popular attractions in Rome are relatively close to each other. So you can see a lot of the city on foot, but the fact remains: you’ll see more of the city if you explore it by bike. We rented bikes from Baja Bikes, an organization that not only offers bike rentals but also organizes tours of Rome. Whether you go solo or with a guide who tells you all about Rome, biking is always a good idea! The traffic in Rome can be a bit hectic, but if you pay attention and follow the rules, you can bike around Rome and see a lot during your city trip.

monument van Victor Emanuel II Rome

Tips to Skip Long Queues in Rome

When you have a city trip to Rome planned, you need to prepare for the crowds. Crowds in the city, especially at famous attractions and museums. You can join the back of the line and wait for who knows how long, but that’s a waste of your time. The waiting times for these queues can sometimes reach two, even three hours. That’s why it’s recommended to buy skip-the-line tickets online in advance for the places you want to visit. Make sure to book those tickets well ahead of time because they tend to sell out quickly, especially during the high season.

Recommended tickets to buy before your city trip to Rome


Explore Rome with a Budget-Friendly Pass

In many European cities, you can purchase a pass to visit tourist attractions for free or at a discounted rate. Rome also offers such a pass – they even have different variants: Rome Tourist Card, Roma Pass, and Vatican City Pass. Depending on what you want to do during your city trip to Rome, you can choose one of these cards.

The difference between the cards lies mainly in which attractions you can visit for free or at a discount, whether or not skip-the-line access is included, and whether or not free public transportation is provided. The best choice is the Rome Tourist Card because it grants you skip-the-line access to the Vatican Museums, the Colosseum, and the Sistine Chapel, which are likely the places you definitely want to see in Rome. With this pass, you’ll save money compared to buying individual tickets for these places. If you purchase the Roma Pass (for 48 or 72 hours), public transportation is free, and you’ll get free admission to one museum or attraction. This pass is cheaper, and it includes public transportation, but skip-the-line access is not included. With the Vatican City Pass, you’ll get skip-the-line access to the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica.

From the Airport to the Center of Rome

Rome has two airports: Fiumicino International Airport (Leonardo da Vinci) and Ciampino International Airport. Fiumicino is the largest airport, serving mainly major airlines. Low-cost airlines like Ryanair usually fly to Ciampino Airport.

If you’re flying to Fiumicino Airport, the train is the fastest way to reach Rome from the airport. From the arrival hall, you can easily walk to the train station, and with the Leonardo Express train, you’ll arrive at Roma Termini station in the center of Rome within half an hour. From Ciampino Airport, it’s slightly more complicated to reach the center, but still manageable. First, take a bus or metro to Ciampino train station, and from there, continue your journey by train to the center of Rome. If you have the choice, flying to Fiumicino Airport is the best option for a relaxed start to your city trip.

Wear Clothing that Covers Shoulders and Knees

In Rome (especially Vatican City), there are many churches and religious buildings where you must be appropriately dressed to enter. Your shoulders and knees should be covered, and you won’t be allowed in if you’re wearing a tank top, a low-cut shirt, shorts, or a skirt with a high slit. The same applies to men, who are not allowed to wear shorts or tank tops. Usually, there are signs at the entrances of these places indicating what is allowed and what is not. So, make sure to bring lightweight clothing that covers you during your city trip to Rome.

Tips to Save Money during Your City Trip to Rome

You can make a city trip to Rome as expensive as you want. If you plan to visit many attractions and several major museums, your trip to Rome can become quite costly. We have some tips to help you save money in Rome.

  • Bring a refillable water bottle because you can find free water fountains all over the city. It’s good for your wallet and the environment.
  • Every first Sunday of the month (between March and October), museums and attractions like the Colosseum can be visited for free. However, expect larger crowds on those days.
  • For a beautiful and free view of Rome and St. Peter’s Basilica, head to Terrazza del Pincio (near Piazza del Popolo). The sunset view from there is breathtaking.
  • The Pantheon is one of the most beautiful attractions in Rome, and the entrance is completely free.
  • Ordering dessert at a restaurant can be quite expensive. In Rome, you’ll find gelato shops on every street corner, which are often much more affordable.


Best Times to Visit Attractions

Vatican City, the Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon are must-visit attractions in Rome. If you want to visit these attractions without too many people around, it’s best to choose the right time. Here are some tips for visiting attractions in Rome.

St. Peter’s Basilica – Visit during opening hours. It opens at 7:00 AM from April 1st to September 30th, and at 8:00 AM from October 1st to March 31st.

Piazza Navona – Early in the morning if you want to photograph an empty square, or in the late afternoon/early evening if you want to experience the lively atmosphere.

Trevi Fountain – Very early in the morning, except on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM when the fountain is emptied for cleaning.

Pantheon – Half an hour before closing time.

Stay in the Best Neighborhoods of Rome during Your City Trip

Rome is like one big open-air museum, and there’s so much to do and see. It’s good to research in advance which neighborhoods are great to stay in and what you can do there. Each neighborhood has its own atmosphere. In our article about the best neighborhoods in Rome, you can read about the differences between the neighborhoods. By staying in one of these neighborhoods, you’ll ensure a fantastic location for your city trip.

Tips for the Best Things to Do in Rome

So much to see, so little time! You’ll likely have to make choices and carefully consider what you want to see and do in Rome. To make the most of your city trip, we’ve already compiled 15 tips for the best attractions in Rome. We provide recommendations for our favorite restaurants and enjoyable places to stay. You’ll also find information about transportation in the city and what to do and see in Rome.