Average costs in Rome
Stay – If you don’t mind sleeping in a youth hostel, there are many great deals in Rome. Booking a few weeks or months in advance gives you a place to sleep in a dormitory from €15 per person. You don’t have to pay much for a budget room either. The lowest prices for a single room to a room with three beds are between €25 to €30 per night.
A nice hotel with one star usually starts at €50. Two stars cost at least €70. The price of a 3-star hotel lies between €100 and €200.
If you really want a lot of luxury, then fortunately there are more than enough four and five star hotels in Rome. Strangely enough, some hotels with four stars are cheaper than a three-star hotel! The prices are between €70 and €150.
There are only a handful of hotels with five stars. These cost you €200 to €500 per night.
Eat – There is so much choice in Rome that you actually have something for everyone’s budget. A quick bite (pizza, a tasty sandwich, a heated lasagne) usually costs no more than €5 to €10. If you go to a restaurant, you pay more of course. For a pasta you pay between €9 and €15, for meat on the menu you pay at least €15. Soft drinks never cost much more than €2.5, and you can quickly find wine for only €3 a glass.
Don’t forget the ‘coperto’! This is an extra charge that is charged at almost every restaurant. Think of it as a mandatory tip. The ‘coperto’ costs between €2 and €5 per person.
Transport – Rome is gigantic, and if you want to see the most important sights, you will soon walk around for a few miles. That’s why I recommend buying a day ticket or multi-day ticket for public transport.
A single ticket costs €1.50. A pass for 24 hours unlimited use of public transport costs €7, and 48 hours costs €12.50. Using public transportation for three days is priced at €18.
To get to the center from the airport you can book a shuttle bus. From Rome Ciampino to Rome costs € 5, from Fiumicino airport to the center of Rome you will pay €6, and also €6 to go to Vatican City. Private transport can already be arranged for €9. From Fiumicino Airport you can also take the Leonardo Express train to the central station of Rome.
Excursions – Rome has lots of activities and sights. Some are free to see, but most ask for an admission ticket. Rome is one of the most visited cities in the world. So it may well be that you have to wait in line for a while… To avoid this you can buy skip-the-line tickets. They often only cost a few euros more and ensure a holiday without stress. A visit to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel costs €29. The Coliseum, the Palatine and the Romanum forum cost you €22. A hop-on hop-off tour through the city can already be booked for €7 per person. Of course there is much more to see and do in Rome and surroundings. Curious? Then take a look at these activities and tours as well.
Saving money in Rome
Avoid touristy parts – To be honest, Rome is one touristy area after another, but a drink or dinner doesn’t need to be expensive. As long as you’re eating or drinking near a popular tourist attraction, the prices won’t be too bad. Moreover, the quality of the food is often much better!
Don’t go during the high season – The cost of a hotel and even excursions drop in price when the high season is done. As a result, your trip to Rome will immediately become a lot cheaper! Avoid school holidays and June and July. In August it’s often very hot in Rome, so the tourists also stay away.
Lunch heavy and eat light at night – During the afternoon many restaurants offer lunch for very little money. Stuff yourself, and eat less in the evening.
Book in advance – Time is money, right? Avoid waiting in line for hours by booking in advance for the most popular attractions in Rome. Be on time, because tickets are often reserved a few days in advance already. You can also book tickets or tours on GetYourGuide, Tiqets or Viator.
Drink your coffee while standing – The best espresso in Rome you drink while standing! Go to a coffee shop and ask your coffee at the bar. It costs you much less than when you sit down. Sometimes you pay barely €1 for a delicious Italian coffee.
Fill your bottles with water from the fountains – Another tip for the thirsty tourists: fill your bottles at one of the many ‘Nasoni’ fountains. These water-spewing works of art can be found on almost every street corner, and the water is perfectly drinkable.
Things to do in Rome
Be sure to read the article about all the things to do in Rome as well.
The Trevi fountain – There are plenty of fountains in Rome, but the largest and most beautiful is the Trevi fountain. The sea god Oceanus is surrounded by winged horses and some other sea gods. From this gigantic sculpture made by Bernini and Nicola Salvi, gallons of water flow into the beautiful basin every minute. Every day hundreds of tourists throw a coin into the water and then make a wish. Do you have an urgent wish? Then you shouldn’t miss this attraction either!
The Colosseum – The most important monument of Rome is of course the gigantic Coliseum. Once the famous Games were held here, in which gladiators and animals fought mercilessly against each other to the amusement of the screaming public. You always have to wait a long time to visit this monument, so be sure to read this article if you want to bypass the rows. Want to know more about the Coliseum itself? Read this blog post too.
Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II – Not far from the Colosseum, the Palatine and the Roman Forum is this gigantic building. The monument of Vittorio Emanuele II (the first king of modern Italy) is richly decorated with beautiful statues, fountains and an eternally burning flame that is guarded by Italian soldiers. Make sure that you climb to the top! From there you get an exceptionally beautiful view of the eternal city.
The Pantheon – The Pantheon is one of the most visited sites in Rome. I recommend to visit the building with a guide (or audioguide), otherwise it(s not very interesting. In this building are some great Italian names buried, but also the history of the Pantheon is interesting. Since 2018 a small entrance fee is asked to enter the building.
The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore – Rome has dozens -or hundreds?!- of churches. Many of these buildings are impressive, but if there is one church -next to the St. Peter’s Basilica- that you should visit, it is the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica. Unfortunately, you have to wait a long time before you can enter, but it’s more than worth your patience! Once inside, all your senses are overloaded by the beauty and richness of this basilica. Take your time, because there is a lot to see!
The Cimitero Acattolico – An attraction that isn’t really known with the masses is the Cimitero Acattolico or the cemetery for non-Catholics. In the past, all non-Catholics were buried here, and often no expense or effort was spared for decorating their graves! The tombs are adorned with phenomenal sculptures and inscriptions. At the end of this cemetery you can also see a gigantic marble pyramid.
Vatican City – If you’re on holiday in Rome, you can’t skip the Vatican of course. This mini-state is located in the center of Rome and is best known for its impressive museums and St. Peter’s Square and its basilica. If you think that the Colosseum or the Pantheon has long queues, you haven’t seen seen those of Vatican City… Here you can read how to bypass these queues at the Vatican. The museums and the basilica are really too good to skip!
Things to avoid in Rome
Wearing uncomfortable footwear – You don’t go to Rome to sit still, so I advise you to bring good shoes. After all, it’s best to explore the city and its monuments on foot. In addition, some spots are covered with cobblestones or sloping paths, so you’d better not wear high heels!
Not bringing any covering clothes – Most sights and attractions in Rome have something to do with the Catholic Church. To be allowed in here, it’s often asked to cover your shoulders and knees. Always take an extra piece of clothing or cloth with you so that you can always get in.
Waiting in line all the time – I really am not exaggerating when I say that you have to wait for hours for some sights. Plan your visit a little in advance and book tickets for popular tourist attractions such as the Colosseum and Vatican City.
The same is true for your accommodation. Try to book a place a few weeks in advance, or only the most expensive -and often these aren’t necessarily better- hotels are left.
Visiting museums on Mondays – Museums are closed on Mondays in many places in the world. This is no different in Rome! There are of course exceptions, but most museums are unfortunately closed for the day.