How To Visit Rome On a Budget: Complete 2021 Travel Guide!

Written By:
Cazzy Magennis
/
Last Updated:
January 18, 2021
Roma, the inspiring, beautiful, eternal capital city of Italy has over 3,000 years of some of the world's most influential art, architecture and culture.
Rome on a budget
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Home to the world famous sights of the Pantheon, the Colosseum, Vatican city and the Trevi Fountain, it is a city of wonders, and one you simply need to visit.

Famous for being over-priced and considered a “tourist trap”, we were worried we would never be able to visit Rome on a budget ... but we were very wrong indeed.

Below we will show you the secret travel tips for having an amazing time in Rome without the huge price tag.

Our budget (drumroll please ...)

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...

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£180! (roughly $250)

This included, flights, accommodation in the centre of Rome for 4 nights, and our spending money. HOW?! I hear you cry … Let us show you.

TAP TO INTERACT

Accommodation in Rome

We stayed at the Al Viminale Hill Inn & Hotel. A wonderful three star, quaint, chic hotel in the Termini area of Rome.

All the major sights in Rome can be reached within a 10 to 15 minute walk from this hotel, which makes it the perfect location in Rome!

The rooms are comfy, with wonderful views of the city, and they offer you a free bar with coffee and tea making facilities that can be used 24/7! They provided fridges which was perfect for storing cold meats and breads to make some sandwiches, & to keep insulin and other medication cool! Staff are super friendly and helpful!

Top Tip: request a top floor room, for the best morning view!

The cost? £64- total price for the whole stay (flights and hotel). Ammmazzzziinng value.

Al Viminale Hotel, Rome
The luxury hotel we stayed in for just £16 a night each!

Our top tip here is to use Booking.com look for your accommodation in Rome! You can then crosscheck the prices against Alpharooms, Agoda & TravelRepublic to find the best deal.

You get major discounts compared to other sites; and we have used them countless times for bookings with no problems- they are trusted websites on Trustpilot and have the best prices for city centre locations in Rome!

**CITY TAX; Rome has a city tax per night per person depending on the hotels rating; ours was €4 per night which equated to €32 for our entire trip**

Other great value hotels in Rome

We know some people couldn't find the exact deal we got with this hotel (I think we got SUPER lucky!), but I've rounded up other great accommodation choices in Rome for three different price ranges.

Don't forget you can use Airbnb too to check for decent deals in and around Rome.

The metro is easy to use as are the trains, so a good way to see Rome on a budget is to stay a little outside and metro or train it into the city.

You can get £25 off your first booking with this link.

Budget accommodation in Rome City Centre

To help widen the choice, I've done some deeperresearch and found other great value hotels which also offer a great location.

1. The Classic Roman GuestHouse Collection

This beautiful hotel offers accommodation in the heart of Rome. It's 450 m to the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps, which makes it a super romantic destination.

WiFi is available, as it an optional breakfast to start your day of exploring, and the rooms are beautifully decorated.

I think this is a perfect place to stay when visiting Rome on a budget, because it's budget friendly!

The cost is 86 pounds a night, BUT with booking.com flash deals when you're a member (happening right now), it's 40 pounds a night. Amazing value.

View prices here
cheap accommodation Rome

2. Hotel Azzura

Another great option for visiting Rome on a budget, this hotel offers air conditioned and comfortable rooms located just 450 m from the Trevi Fountain, so it's in the heart of Rome.

Rooms are nicely decorated and the price includes breakfast. Oh, the price? 39 pounds a night for 2 people with a private bathroom. THAT is AMAZING value, and it's got a view score of 8.3, which means it's good.

Check it out here

Cheap Flights To Rome

One word ... Ryanair.

As much as I can think of countless faults with them as an airline; their low fares cannot be beaten! If you book in advance you can get flights for as little as £30 return.

Remember that the peak season in Rome runs from May to September, so prices may be a little higher- although nothing too extreme with Ryanair.

The cost of our flights? £46 per person return. This includes 10kg hand luggage which is the perfect amount for a city break! No need for a big suitcase.

Other airlines such as EasyJet can offer good discount deals, but I typically find Ryanair cheaper.

Cheap Transport In Rome

Getting to your hotel, and getting around Rome costs very little!

Terravision offer a bus to Rome Termini station for €4 each way; this operates from both airports in Rome, and the station is the perfect location to reach your onward destination.

If you are in the vicinity of Rome, you will not need to use buses or the metro- put on your best walking shoes and everything is within distance, you will be surprised at how close everything actually is.

If however, you're taking a trip a little further out, hop on the metro for €1.50 per journey.

Cheap as chips!

Rome On A Budget: The Best Things To Do

The best thing about Rome is that a lot of the major sites cost nothing! And the ones that do require a fee, can be reduced if you have an EU passport. Here are my top 6 sights for visiting Rome on a budget.

1. Trevi Fountain

A trip to the beautiful Trevi Fountain is free. Although you may want to spend 5 cent to throw your coin in the fountain! Don't forget your camera to take an iconic photo.

There are lot's of great places to eat around here, but they are a little pricey because of their location.

2. Colosseum/Roman Forum & Palatine hill

The cost? €13 without an EU passport, and €7.50 with a passport. This is an absolute bargain for arguably three of the best sites Rome has to offer! The ticket is valid for 2 days so if you are getting a little tired- go home, refresh and head back the next day! 

TOP TIP: Head to the Colosseum after 3pm- we queued for 15-20 minutes, which flew by, compared to the hour long queues at the start of the day.

We would also suggest buying your tickets at the entrance for Palatine Hill- there is virtually no queue and you can complete these two venues before heading off to the Colosseum at 3 o'clock!

Alternatively, for just €23 you can purchase this tour and skip any queues altogether. Do what suits you.

visiting the Colosseum in Rome on a budget
The Colosseum is a must-see in Rome!

3. The Vatican City

To walk around the city..it's FREE! To visit the infamous St Peter's Basilica, it won't cost you a penny, and even if you aren't religious; it's a magnificent church full of history, extraordinary architecture and art & it's the world's largest!. 

TOP TIP: you have the opportunity to go into the Dome, it costs €6 to walk up the steps (only do this if you are capable- it's steep!) or €8 to take the lift, we took the lift, as it is a killer on the feet! You will be greeted with the most AMAZING views of Rome, it is not to be missed, and the perfect location to take some great photos.

4. Pantheon

A trip to visit the Pantheon is free, so another great Rome on a budget sight. Doesn't cost a penny to view this wonderful building. Once you're finished you can walk to Piazza Nova to sit by the fountains and indulge in some famous gelato, which is cheap.

The Pantheon, Rome
The Pantheon is almost 1,900 years old!

5. Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel

These are quite expensive unless you are a student! Full price is € 16,00 and reduced price is  € 8,00. If this is something you are interested in, then it is definitely worth an investment.

For us, it wasn't worth the money and we were quite satisfied with what we had already seen. But I do here it is beautiful, and it can be included in some package tours which are listed below.

TOP TIP- On the last Sunday of every month, it is FREE to visit the Museums from 9am to 12.30pm! So check your calendar and take advantage.

6. Spanish steps

Free! Unfortunately under construction when we visited; but a great location to grab a gelato from the many stores within its vicinity.

It also features a long road of designer shops finishing with the House of Valentino, which if you love designers is perfetto- unfortunately designer stores didn't fit within our budget.

7. Something different?

Rome has so much to offer and with over 900 churches to its name, there are some special gems that often get overlooked! The perfect way to discover these and other hidden gems of Rome is to take a FREE Rome walking tour, and yes, it really is free! You book online in advance and have the choice of a day tour or an evening tour.

We opted for the evening tour as the weather is a good temperature at this time! The tour runs from 5.30-7.30pm and is a wonderful, informative tour of the streets of Rome ending at the Trevi Fountain! You can check out more about this tour here.

8. Top Choice- [secret spot]- Rowing boats & bike hire at Borghese lake.

It costs €3 for a 20 minute row boat trip, and the lake is beautiful and it's super cheap to rent out bikes to explore the surrounding gardens and sights! ( Around €12 for an hour!)

Cheap thrill and honestly a beautiful and hidden gem of Rome. I don't know why this doesn't make the tourist guides as often.

Don't miss it.

Borghese Lake, Rome
The Hidden Gem of Rome! It can't be missed!

Saving money on souvenirs

If you want to bring your family and friends back a gift from Rome,  you can do so at a low cost! Fridge magnets are €1 and key chains are also €1. I love to collect key chains from every city I go too- but now my keys are getting a little heavy!

One last thing….I warn you now- you will be bombarded with the words “selfie stick” on every step you take in Rome. I met a girl in the queue who bought one, it didn't work, she wasted €5.

Bring one with you, and just politely say no to those selling (its illegal for them to sell- so do not encourage it!)

Eating out on a budget

Our top choices for saving money when eating in Rome.

1. Le 2 Colonne

We arrived to Rome hungry and eager to sample our first pizza. We took a walk around the Termini area and came across a cute little outdoor pizzeria beside the wonderful Santa Maria Maggiore building. The restaurant was called “Le 2 Colonne” and we had two massive pizzas, a coffee and water for a total of €23, we added on 2 euro tip and spent a total of €25! It was a little above what I'd expect to pay for pizza, but for its nice location, lovely staff, and massive pizzas, we left full and satisfied.

cheap restaurant in Rome

2. Queen Chips Amsterdam

If this doesn't cure hunger pains, I don't know what else will! It costs €5 euro for a jumbo cone of chips with one sauce topping. When I say jumbo, I mean jumbo! We ate here on two occasions, and shared a jumbo cone. The chips were fresh and yummy! A perfect on the go lunch or snack!

Amsterdam chip company in Rome
Our favourite place for cheap food in Rome!

3. Panini shops galore

 They are everywhere, and with a range of prices, but as a guide, I wouldn't expect to pay anymore than €4 for a panini! I found a lovely little shop in the back roads that sold the most delicious paninis for €3.50!  Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the cafe as my hunger pains had taken over me, but if you search you will find your own hidden gem!

4. DIY lunch

Rome has lots of wonderful sights to enjoy- so stop at the shop, buy some bread and sandwich fillings and make yourself a packed lunch to enjoy at any location! Cheap and cheerful!

5. Pane & Salame 

This is the number one rated restaurant in Rome on TripAdvisor. Unfortunately, the queue was long to get seated and we were super hungry so we had to give it a miss! It isn't overly expensive, and the food looks delicious, so if you are lucky enough to get a seat, give it a go! It is located by the Trevi Fountain, so take in the view, throw in a coin then grab a bite!

Pane & Salame
Number 1 rated on TripAdvisor!

What did we drink in Rome?

Water

Water fountains are ALL over Rome, and they are drinkable. So refill your bottles of water frequently to enjoy a free drink!

Soda

Some restaurants charge up to €3 for a can of coke/diet coke etc. Head to a supermarket and get one for as low as 90 cents and stock up so you can bring them with you on your sightseeing trips.

Alcohol

Wine is cheap cheap cheap, in a supermarket you can get a  big bottle of Wine for €1.50. Grab this, two plastic cups and create your own romantic picnic in Rome!

Drinking out in Rome isn't cheap, but the student area of Rome (Trastevere) does great deals on cocktails and most places in Rome offer a happy hour, so it's best to drink then if you are going to drink out. Alternatively, buy alcohol in, we bought a 700ml bottle of vodka and the famous limoncello and some apple juice for less than a total of €10, and tadaa, we made our own homemade apple-tinis to enjoy at our hotel. We also splashed out on a bottle of champagne for €10,(but you can get it as cheap as € 1.99), so drinking in Roma does not have to break the bank!

drinking budget champagne in Rome
You can drink Champagne in Rome, even on a budget!

A few last tips…

  1. There are supermarkets that the locals use, and then there are supermarkets that are tourist traps. Find a local! You will know it's local because it will be big, busy and have locals in it! This is where prices are cheap, whereas the tourist trap ones are overpriced and you will feel pressured into buying something when you enter.
  2. Pizza by weight! A lot of pizza is sold by weight in Rome- which is perfect if you just want a light snack and it will also be light on your budget too. Some people avoid the less “pretty” looking places that advertise cheap prices because they think there is something wrong with them, I am here to tell you 9/10 there is not! The pizza is yummy and the prices are great and you will often find this is where locals will eat.

Final thoughts

We have proved to you that Rome can be done successfully on a budget, what are you waiting for? Plan your next adventure now!

If you've been to Rome add have more to add then join us in the comments below. If you fancy visiting other areas of Italy, then I recommend checking out my other Italian travel guides below:

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