Rome is one of the oldest and most popular cities in the world. Even though the city is packed with tourists at all times of the year, it’s still a must-see destination for many people. Due to its popularity, travellers wonder how much does it cost to go to Rome? You might be surprised to learn that your costs won’t be too bad there.
Generally speaking, most people who visit Italy have to make a stop in Rome as it’s the major entry and exit point for the country. The city itself is usually a small part of a bigger Italy or Europe trip so for the purpose of this article, I’m going to suggest four nights. That might seem too long for a lot of people, but the first day/night is when you arrive so you likely won’t do much. At a minimum, you’ll want to do at least two full days.
I’m not going to include any day trips, but you can check out my guide on how much does it cost to go to Italy for more inspiration. Here’s what a Rome trip cost looks like.
Rome trip cost
Local transportation $30
Food and drink $140
Random spending $40
Total $1,390 USD
The above estimate is in American dollars, so use xe.com to find out the average costs in your home currency. I’ve also estimated things above for a solo traveller. If you’re travelling with someone, double all the costs except for accommodations.
If you’re Canadian, you may want to consider applying for one of the best travel credit cards in Canada to help offset your costs by collecting points. For example, the American Express Gold Rewards Card gives you a signup bonus of up to 30,000 American Express Membership Rewards points which have a minimum value of $300 (potentially more if you transfer your points to Aeroplan or Marriott Bonvoy). There’s also the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card that has no foreign transaction fees, a sign up bonus worth $250 and it comes with airport lounge access.
Airfare will be your largest expense when visiting Rome, but isn’t that the case when you fly to any destination? As mentioned, you’ll probably fly to Rome as part of a bigger Italy trip, so don’t worry about airfare costs too much.
I’ve estimated $600 for flights which is about the average cost from North America if you’re not flying during the peak. If you plan on visiting between June – September, flights could be $100 – $200 more. If you have time to spare, you could consider flying into the cheapest European destination you can find and then using a budget airline to get you to Rome. This can save you a bit of money, but you’re also adding a lot of time to your travels so I don’t think it’s worth it.
Like any other city, the price of hotels in Rome can vary quite a bit. Generally speaking, you should be able to find a decent room in the $120 per night range. There are quite a few hotels around Termini station that are clean and affordable.
If you’re willing to spend a little more ($150 – $200 per night), you should able to get a hotel or apartment in the historic center which I think is the ideal location for first-timers as it gives you easy access to all the major attractions. Aventine Hill and Trastevere are nice areas, but I think they’re a bit too far out so choose one of the other locations.
Need some hotel recommendations? Here are some to help you get started.
Private apartment rentals are also pretty popular in Rome. You should look into them if you want a kitchen or a little more space. Seeing how you’re only going to be in Rome for a few days, getting a hotel will likely be easier.
If you have the right credit card, you can save a fair amount of money on hotels. For example, Canadians should consider the BMO World Elite Mastercard since it typically has a sign up bonus of $250 when you charge $3,000 to your card in the first three months of card membership. This card does have an annual fee of $150 but it’s normally waived for the first year so you’re getting $250 for free. There’s also the Marriott Bonvoy American Express which gives you 51,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when you charge $3,000 to your card in the first three months. That’s enough points for up to five free nights at some hotels which could easily have a value of over $650.
Rome has a decent network of public transportation that includes buses, trains and trams, but don’t expect it to be on the same level as cities such as Amsterdam, Barcelona or Tokyo. That said, you’ll have no problem getting around.
Here’s the funny thing, depending on where you stay, you may not need to take public transportation. The historic centre is about a 30-minutes or less walk from every major attraction. If you’re staying near Termini, you might only take transit to the Vatican.
A single ride will cost you €1.50 ($1.60) or you can get a 24-hour pass for €7.00 ($7.60). Tickets can be purchased tobacconists (newsstands), bars, or vending machines at Metro stations and even at major bus stops
To get into the city from the airport, you can take the Leonardo Express train which costs €8 ($8.65) each way. You probably won’t spend more than $30 on local transportation in Rome, but that assumes you’re not taking any taxis.
The saying is that Rome is one giant open free museum and it’s true. But, if you want to go into any sites, you’ll need to pay. The good news is that most of the admission prices are pretty reasonable. Here are some of the most popular attractions you’ll want to check out.
- The Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel tour
- St. Peter’s Basilica
- The Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
- Borghese Gallery and Museum
- Capitoline Museums
- Castel Sant’Angelo
- Trevi Fountain
- The Pantheon
- Spanish Steps
- Piazza Navona
Most people will pay to see 3-4 attractions when in Rome so budget $100. The ones that can’t be missed are The Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel tour, The Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
The reason you want to book a tour for the Vatican Museums is that it allows you to bypass the line. Yes, you’ll pay about double the base admission, but you could end up saving 1-2 hours of waiting in a line and you get an official guide. It’s totally worth it.
For the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, buy a combined ticket online in advance. You’ll want to do this just to skip the lines. The other attractions that are worth paying for, especially if you’re a fan of art are Borghese Gallery and Capitoline Museums.
If you prefer just to do free things, you won’t be disappointed. You can see one of the most overhyped attractions in the world in the Spanish Steps and one of the most crowded attractions at the Trevi Fountain. The Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Largo di Torre Argentina, Piazza Venezia, Piazza del Popolo and Piazza di Siena.
Food and drink
I personally love Italian food so visiting Rome is always a joy for the taste buds. What I’ve learned over the years is that the quality of food can vary quite a bit. I’ve been to restaurants that are packed but once I ate the food, I realize it’s catering to tourists and not very good. My most memorable meal was at a small restaurant in Trastevere just off the main street. It was like an Italian grandmother feeding me. Always read reviews online before you go into a restaurant and keep in mind that service is sometimes already added to the bill
I don’t find food to be that expensive, but it depends on how much you like to eat. Here’s what I estimate you should spend every day on meals.
- Breakfast: $5
- Lunch: $7
- Dinner: $20
That works out to $32 a day, but let’s round up to $35 as you’ll likely have a gelato every day too.
Many hotels offer free breakfast, but even if you need to pay for food, a pastry and coffee shouldn’t cost you more than $5. Lunch can be inexpensive if you get takeaway. The most famous things to get in Rome for lunch are pizza slices and paninis which shouldn’t cost you more than $7.
I like to spend a bit more on dinner and budget $20. However, if you want to get multiple courses and drinks, you’ll want to budget a little more.
Like any other major city, Rome has plenty of shopping opportunities, but I don’t find there to be anything special. Sure, you might spend money on some brands you don’t have at home, but that’s just regular shopping.
Tourist shops are on every block, so if you want a magnet or an I heart Roma shirt, you won’t have any issue finding them. I estimate you should budget another $40 for random spending and that could all go towards snacks or additional attractions.
So how much does it cost to go to Rome? I estimate US $1,390 for 4 nights which includes your flights. You may not need that many days in the city if you’re doing a longer Italian trip, but that’s how much you should budget. For more inspiration, check out my guides to New York, Dubai, Iceland, Croatia, Canada, Disneyland, Austria and Germany.