Rome Travel Tips
A dozen great tips to make your holiday in Rome a lot more enjoyable and a lot less expensive!
Tip #1. Don't visit Rome during the summer: The summer in Rome is hot, humid, crowded and expensive, so, for the lowest prices and the nicest weather, consider scheduling your trip in the spring or fall (even the winter here is not that cold…)
Tip #2. How to save significantly on accommodation in Rome? Just like many other cities in Western Europe, Rome doesn't offer much in the way of decent cheap sleeps, but it is still possible to find a reasonable hotel at a reasonable cost, if you are ready to take one of these two simple steps (or both of them):
A. Compare hotel rates online: By using this free hotel-search feature you can instantly compare the world's leading hotel-booking websites and get the best possible rates for your accommodation in Rome (It only takes a minute, it is free and you don't have to leave details, so visit it now and check out what rates can you get…)
B. Consider staying a bit out of the city: A decent hotel at the city's outskirts (in places like Ostia or Frascati ) will cost you a lot less than its equivalent at the heart of Rome (it may sometimes be half of what you will pay for a similar hotel in the centre), and you are just a 20 minutes' train-ride from the city and its various attractions… On the other hand, you can't enjoy a late-evening stroll through Rome's "centro storico" if you stay at the outskirts, and you can't pop for a quick shower and a nap in your room…
Tip #3. How would you like your coffee? Table-service charges at bars and cafés are far higher (even more than twice) than when you stand at the bar. Locals will normally take their espresso and quick bite while standing.
Tip #4. Drink wine: Good Italian house wine, in a carafe, is usually much cheaper than draught beer, or even soft drinks.
Tip #5. You can visit the Vatican museums for free: Every Sunday (except the last Sunday of every month) there is free entrance to the Vatican Museums from 9 am to 12.30 pm (see link).
Tip #6. How to splurge on great food in Rome without having to break the bank? First of all, many restaurants in Rome, including swanky chef restaurants, offer a reasonable set menu at lunch time, which is something well worth knowing about…
Otherwise, it is highly recommended to avoid the tourist traps and go where the locals go. Here are some "mini-guides" to Rome's best reasonably-priced restaurants and pizzerias, where you can enjoy a lovely meal, in a pleasant ambiance without having to fork out too much money:
Still on the same topic: One of the best ways to enjoy some nice drinks and food at a very good price is at the "Aperitivo", which is the Italian equivalent of Happy hour.
Many café bars in Italy have "Aperitivo" between around 7 – 9pm, and the discounted drinks are accompanied by all sorts of snacks and nibbles (Those ‘nibbles’ alone are sometimes like a whole meal… depends where you go, of course, but some of the bars are really generous).
Tip #7. Take a 'hop on - hop off' bus tour: Whether it is your first time in Rome, or whether you have already been here before, exploring Italy's capital city from the open top of a double-decker bus is quite an experience, especially if you are limited in time. Visit our Rome hop-on hop-off Guide. It provides plenty of useful information about these bus tours (including information about all the attractions and places-of-interest you can visit enroute).
Tip #8. Don't waste your precious holiday time on standing in long queues: Some of Rome's popular attractions like the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and the Colosseum are notorious for the long queues, and since your holiday time is both limited and expensive, do yourself a big favor and buy one of these "Skip the Line" packages. Not only will you save precious time, but in some cases it also includes a professional guide that can make your visit a lot more enjoyable and interesting…
Here are some of the options:
- Skip the Line Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and Raphael's Rooms
- Skip the Line Ancient Rome Half Day Tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
- Skip the Line Crypts and Catacombs Tour - The Underside of Rome
And here is one more tip on the same issue: The entry ticket to the Colosseum is actually a three-in-one ticket which includes the Colosseum itself, as well as the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. The queues at the Palatine Hill are the shortest, and that is where you should buy your ticket and start the visit (The box office is at No. 30 Via di S. Gregorio).
Tip #9. Book your tickets to Galleria Borghese online, in advance: They only allow a limited number of people every two hours, so do yourself a big favor and book your tickets online, from their website, 2 – 3 days in advance (link).
Still on the same topic: The queues at the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel are the longest in Rome, so it is highly recommended to book these attractions online, through the Vatican's website (link).
Tip #10. Tap water in Rome is safe and tasty. The city's water comes from an underground lake and is fresh and low in chlorine, so you can comfortably fill your bottle at your hotel room or at one of the small drinking fountains along the city streets.
Tip #11. Save money on museums, events and public transport with the Roma Pass: Sponsored by the Rome City Council and the Ministry for the Arts and Cultural activities, this pass gives you free entry to 1 or 2 of Rome's most visited museums and / or archaeological sites + concessionary ticket to all other museums and / or archaeological sites + free use of the city’s public transport network + discounted tickets to exhibitions and events.
Tip #12. Enjoy the many free things Rome has to offer. Here is a "mini-guide" to some great things you can do in Rome for free (click here).
Tip #13. Get yourself a couple of good guidebooks and a decent map: After forking out so much money on your flight tickets and accommodation (not to mention the money you are going to spend on shopping and dining), it would be an awful mistake not to invest a few more bucks into a couple of good guidebooks.
The guidebooks below where all written by travel experts who know Rome inside out and the advice and tips you'll find in them are priceless! Fetching free info from the web is great as a complimentary, but it can never replace a good guidebook (just as much a free map can't replace a professional city-map)...