As with so many major cities, visiting Rome can be a costly affair. Starting with accommodation… it is near impossible to find a decent hotel for less than £100 per night if you are looking for something nearish the town center. And in addition you will have to pay a city tax of 6 Euros per person per day for the duration of your stay (and this is not included in your hotel fee when booking). But don’t despair. There are ways to see it all, even if you are visiting Rome on a tight budget.
Yes, certain sights and experiences in Rome will come with a hefty price tag. But with some careful planning, there is no reason for you to miss out on anything, even if you are visiting Rome on a budget.
Visiting Rome on a budget: Carry a water bottle around
There are plenty of water fountains and water dispensers dotted around town, all with crisp cold drinking water for free. So no need to buy bottled water five times a day (this not only helps your purse but also the environment, think of all those discarded plastic bottles that end in land fill).
Near the coliseum we even found a water dispenser giving out still and sparkling water (hubby was in heaven after that and on the look out for another one with sparkling water for the rest of the trip).
Visiting Rome on a budget: Be an early bird
I am not saying that you have to be up at the crack of dawn (you are on holiday after all), but it certainly helps beating the crowds.
If like me you are used to getting up early, chances are you are up anyway. So rather than pottering around the hotel for ages, why not get out early and get ahead of the other tourists. This approach has served us well twice during our trip. First on Sunday morning where we managed to get into the Coliseum for free. It is actually free all day every first Sunday of the month. However the queues can be horrendous, so being there on time meant we were ahead of the crowds.
Second time lucky was getting into St. Peter’s Cathedral. Again this is free admission all day, but first time we came past it on Friday, the queue span once around St. Peter’s Square, so certainly not worth joining. Getting there early on Tuesday morning meant a wait time of about five minutes rather than hours (and this only because the elderly couple ahead of us couldn’t quite deal with the airport style security checks). I simply wasn’t prepared to wait for hours if visiting Rome for only a few days. So if getting there early hadn’t done the trick, I would have splashed out buying a ticket to skip the queue (obviously a thing to be avoided if visiting Rome on a tight budget).
On both occasions going there early not only saved us standing in line for ages, it also meant that it is a lot less crowded inside, giving you a better chance of actually seeing something.
Visiting Rome on a budget: Plan ahead and check before you go
It is worth checking the internet before you head to see the sights. As already mentioned above, the coliseum is free of charge every first Sunday of the month, but this is not the only place offering free entry. First Sunday of a month seems to be a popular one for various museums, but also last Sunday of the month was free at some of the sights. Not saying book your travel accordingly, but if it coincides, why not make the most of it.
Visiting Rome on a budget: Enjoy the view
Go up to the Villa Borghese gardens for stunning views over Rome. Totally for free.
There are also plenty of fun things to do up there, like people watching and riding a Segway, but at 10 Euros for 30 minutes (or 15 for a full hour) this doesn’t come cheap (the Segways, not the people watching obviously).
Over to you. Any more tips how not to break the bank when visiting Rome on a budget?