Travel Guide To Rome : How To Travel Rome, Italy When You Are Alone & On A Budget
Rome, is many people’s favourite destination and after visiting it I can totally understand why. It’s a city which surprised me the most. When one thinks of Rome, one would immediately imagine world famous colosseum, magnificent pantheon and roman forum. Well these are the main highlights but this city is way more than that. In this travel guide I have included some of the famous best things to do in Rome and also few alternate things which most tourist miss.
Capital of Italy is a true blend of modern and historic era. Walking in Rome is like walking in an open museum where every building, street and sculpture speaks history. Its one of a kind city and should definitely be on every traveler’s bucket list. Moreover, its among the top recommended destinations for solo travellers. You will feel welcomed and its very easy to get around. Food is excellent and plenty of great sights to see.
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Rome is a major city so you can expect it to be little expensive. But don’t worry it is still possible to do it on budget. Keep on reading and I will tell you how.
How To Reach Rome ?
- Fly✈️; There are two airports, Leonardo da Vinci (Fiumicino) which is 30kms from the main city and Ciampino, 15kms from the centre. Former is the main international airport. Latter also have few international and many domestic flights. You can either take an express train from the airport to the centre (termini), should cost €14. Better option is FL1 local train for €8 or buses, will take little longer but cost half the price (€5.8 to €6.9) .
- Train🚆; Main railway station is Roma termini. It has connectivity to almost all major cities in Europe. Once you are in the station, you can either take a metro ( lineA and B ) or a bus from piazza dei cinquecento which is right outside the termini station.
- Bus🚌; There are many bus stations but main one is Tiburtina and most of the buses terminate here. Getting around from tiburtina to the centre is easy. Termini is just 3km away. You can either walk or take a cab. There is also an underground subway, fare €2.
How To Get Around In Rome ?
Rome is a big metropolitan city but getting around is quite easy and convenient, thanks to the excellent public transport. Though most of the main attractions are clustered within a traffic free zone, and are best explored on foot but few sights like Vatican and Appian way are located little far off .
Advice; Avoid local taxis as they are expensive. There is Uber but only Uber Black in Italy which is high end and pricey. You can try FreeNow for relatively lower fare.
If you are on a budget, well even if you are not, I will advice using public transport in Rome. Its very cheap and connects every corner of the city. Tip; tickets are interchangeable i.e. same ticket could be used for metros and buses within the time validity.
- Buses ; They run 24 hours a day, 100 minutes ticket is for €1.50. Or get a 24/48/72 hours for €7/12.5/18.
- Metros ; There are two lines, A and B which runs throughout the city. First metro leaves at 5:30am and last at 11:30pm.
- Trams and Trains are also available. Advice; You need to purchase a ticket before you board the train, metro, tram or a bus. They can be bought from tobacco stores, or vending machines at most of the stations. Don’t forget to validate them once you have boarded, or be prepared to pay a hefty fine of €40 – €150🙈.
Get Insured Before Traveling To Rome
I never ever travel abroad without a travel insurance. Really ! In case something goes wrong , you must have a travel insurance. Frankly speaking, it will be stupid to head off to a new destination without one.
I will recommend World Nomads. Simply because they are backed by reputable insurers, 24-hour assistance providers and offer travel insurance to travellers from over 140 countries.
Even if you don’t get one from World Nomads, make sure to get your travel insurance sorted before you actually start traveling.
Where To Stay In Rome ?
Probably the funnest thing I did in Rome was exploring its cool and distinct neighbourhoods. If you want to escape the usual tourist traps, experience Rome like a local, but still be close to the centre, these are incredible neighbourhoods to stay at.
- Monti ; Its roughly 10 minutes walk from the colosseum, extremely safe and a trendy neighbourhood. It has vintage vibe to it which could be seen in local restaurants, coffee shops and stores. Its where funky, artistic and ‘cool’ crowd hang out lol. Narrow cobbled streets and building are just adorable. Has plenty of budget hostels and hotels. You can also find many airbnb options here .
PS- If you are looking to stay at airbnb, use my code and get upto €38 off .
- Pigento ; I will describe this as Brooklyn of Rome. Formerly it was a working class neighbourhood but now known as a hipster area. Has a bohemian vibe which is reflected in bars, restaurants and architecture.
- Ostiense ; Situated in the south, this neighbourhood is rich in art, culture and cuisine. Has modern yet old vibe to it. Definitely worth the stroll even if you are not staying here.
- Trastevere ; Located on the other side of the river, away from the chaos of city centre, is the coolest and my absolute favourite neighbourhood of Rome. Two reasons, during the day its quite, laid back giving one a perfect opportunity to wander around and photograph beautiful medieval colourful streets but as the sun goes down, everything comes alive. Atmosphere in bars and restaurants is electric. If you want to try best authentic Italian pizza and local craft beer, look no further.
There are tons of budget hostels here, I stayed at Hostel Trastevere and loved it. It was clean, staff was extremely friendly, rooms were spacious. Great Value for money.
Best Time To Visit
High season months are from May to mid September when temperature is at peak, and hoards of tourists are in the centre. Probably not the best time as prices on food and accommodation will be at top and you will have to stand in long lines for almost all attractions. August is the worst month, most locals leave the city, thus I will suggest avoiding August.
Rather I will recommend going in late September to mid December or mid January to early March as these are low season months. Which means less tourist, better rate on accommodation and airfare. Although it will be little chilly but winter isn’t so harsh in Rome like northern Europe .
Advice; Most of the museums are closed on Monday and Vatican museum on Sunday. Weekends attract maximum crowd and I would prefer to avoid it. Tuesdays to Fridays are the best period to explore the city with thin crowd.
How Many Days Do You Need ?
Ideally I will recommend 3 full days and 4 nights including jet lag and travel time. All the main attractions like colosseum, pantheon, roman forum, trevi fountain and few others could be covered in 1 or 1.5 days. One day you should keep for Vatican city and other Rome’s neighbourhoods. If you have an extra day you can visit beautiful Appian valley or even better, spend a day biking around this gorgeous stoned ancient road.(we will get into that later)
What To Eat ? ( Vegan/Vegetarian Guide)
Italian food is not just mouthwatering but very diverse. This means most of the regular restaurants will have one or two vegetarian dishes if not more or they would adjust regular dishes according to your dietary needs. I had no difficulty finding good delicious vegetarian food in Rome. Also because of growing trend, plenty plant based restaurants have opened in the city. Here are few of my favourites;
- Ops! ; Located near the centre, it is a buffet style vegan restaurant. Coolest thing is you pay as your plate weigh, €2.60 per 100 g. They also have tempting selection of cakes, try the chocolate one, heavenly !!!
- Madre Terra; For good gluten free pizza and other dishes go here. On every Wednesday they have PizzaParty day where you can get a big 8 slice pizza for €10 and lucky for me, I happened to be there on that day.
- Come il Latte ; This is one of my favourite gelato shop in Rome, very close to termini station. They have gluten free options as well. PS. don’t be shy from trying many flavours. I had persimmon, little unusual but surprisingly delicious.
- Giolitti ; This is the oldest gelato shop in Rome. Located near Pantheon. Its one of the most famous gelato shops, even Barack Obama have eaten here haha. Although gelato is delicious but you will need to wait in a long que. Its worth it at the end haha !
- Antica Osteria Rugantino; Easily among my top dinner places in Rome mainly due to the vibe of the place and food off-course. I had pasta in red sauce with some grilled vegetables on side and roasted potatoes. If you don’t mind splurging a little for good ambience and delicious food, try Rugantino.
- Vega Food; For all my desi readers, if you are craving for quick Indian snack at a decent price go to Vega. They also serve dosa with chutney ( for a south Indian food lover like myself, nothing could have been better haha)
Advice; Eating out every meal can be little heavy on budget. Rome is not very cheap when it comes to dinning. Cooking few meals in hostels will be more sensible and also will provide a good opportunity to meet fellow travellers.
Best Things To Do In Rome
Now our food, accommodation, and transit is sorted, lets get into real deal : Things to do in Rome
It won’t be wrong to call it a symbol of Rome. A must visit when in Rome. It’s the largest Amphitheatre in the world and one of the most prominent world’s historic monument.
It was built in 80AD and today is among the Seven Wonders of the modern world. You can’t visit Rome without a visit to Colosseum.
More than 6 million tourists visit Colosseum every year and in order to avoid the long lines which can take several hours, I will advice to buy the tickets online. A combined ticket will give you access to Palatine Hill, Roman Forum and Colosseum. You can buy them here.
- Roman Forum
Roman Forum was ancient Rome’s main square. Today home to many historical ruins.Another must see when in Rome. I will say going to Rome without walking through Roman forum is like visiting Florence without going to Duomo or Paris without Eiffel tower.
There is so much history here that you can easily spend few hours strolling through temples and other ruins.
Located between Trevi Fountain and Plaza Navona, this Italian masterpiece was built in 126AD and even today is very well preserved. Entrance is free. The ambience outside the building is very lively, filled with tourists, locals and street artists.
- Trevi Fountain
A Hollywood’s royalty, possibly the most famous fountain in the world is Trevi Fountain. It attracts thousands of tourists through the day. The myth is if you throw one coin in the fountain, you will return to Rome. Two, you will fall in love with an attractive Italian and three, you will marry a person you meet there. Whether or not you believe in it, its a fun little way to test your luck haha.
Tip; If you want to avoid the crowd and get a perfect click for your instagram, consider visiting between 3am -5am. I didn’t have the energy to wake up that early but hey you do you. How many times will you come to Rome after all?
- Piazza Di Spagna And Spanish Steps
Piazza di Spagna which means square of Spain (as Spain embassy is located in the square). It sits below 135 Spanish steps and is one of the most renowned piazza of Rome.
Once you are in the centre its impossible to miss it.
- St. Peter’s Square and St. Peter’s Basilica
It is a magnificent grand square located in Vatican city just outside St. Peter’s Basilica. Can hold upto 3,00,000 people at a time. Its huge. Two sides of the square are surrounded by 284 columns top of which sits impressive statutes of 145 saints. Art is mesmerising.
Tip; Don’t forget to get a picture at Rome and Vatican border. How many people can say they have been to two countries at once?
St. Peters Basilica is the largest church in the world and probably the most iconic landmarks in Vatican. Entrance to the church is free but to get stunning views of Vatican, I will suggest visiting St. Peter’s dome. You can either take stairs (€8) or an elevator for €10.
- Sistine Chapel
If you know a little about art and history, you must have heard of Michelangelo. Well sistine Chapel is a jaw dropping masterpiece by Michelangelo and you must visit this once in your lifetime. More than a chapel itself its the ceiling which grabs every visitors attention.
In order to avoid waiting for hours in long lines, consider skip the line ticket.
If you plan on visiting Vatican Museum as well, I will suggest buying a combine ticket for both.
Other Things To Do In Rome
- Appian Way
Looking take a break from hustle bustle of the main city and away from the usual crowds? I will suggest spending half a day biking around the Appian way. It was strategically the most important road in ancient Rome, connecting Rome to southern Italy. The road was mainly used for transferring military supplies from and to Rome.
It is 10miles long, situated outside the city, but its connected well with public transport. You will find many locals coming here for picnics and bike rides. There is one small cafe from where you can rent a bike, €4 for an hour and €7 for two hours. Or get a guided tour.
- Hamam ( Traditional Turkish Bath )
Well yes Turkish bath in Rome. Sounds ironic but this has been part of roman culture since ages and quite popular among the locals. What could be a better way to pamper yourself after all the walking you probably will do? A perfect way to end your wonderful trip if you ask me. There are many options to choose from. I went to AcquaMadre. It was very relaxing and good value for money.
Somebody very well said “Rome was a poem pressed into service as a city.”
Have a wonderful time ! If you still have any questions or need suggestions, leave it in the comment down below⬇️or DM me in any of my social media.
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