Different Ways to Tour Rome
One of the first things to decide when planning your itinerary for Rome is how you are going to be getting around Rome. There are different ways to tour Rome, and each has its merits, so often it’s a good idea to combine several. There’s also some unusual ways and means to discover Rome, so if you’re staying a bit longer, or visiting Rome for a second time then it might be worth trying out one of those as well.
Bus Tour of Rome
There are 3 or 4 open top hop-on-hop-off bus tour operators in Rome. They all operate roughly the same 8-10 stop route at the same price of €20 per day. A full tour of all stops will take around 1h40mins and its worthwhile doing the whole tour first before getting off again. The advantage of the open top tours is that you’re getting a high level view of all the main sights in the city, so you’ll get some great photos and also inf
ormation via the on-board recordings through your headset. All of the operators have their main ticket office outside Termini train station, however you will find that across the city magazine stands also advertise sale of the tickets, so you can buy from them and then go to the nearest stop to board the next bus. You can often buy from the sales representatives at the bus stops as well. If you’re limited for time, say only in Rome for two days then this would be your best bet to get around most of the main attractions of Rome in a short period of time. There is also a Christian bus tour “Roma Cristiana” which covers the main churches and the Vatican, departing from Termini station and Saint Peters. www.graylinerome.com
Segway Tours of Rome
Starting at Piazza Navona there is a Segway tour of the main Rome sights. The tours are expensive, but fun and will certainly give you a memorable view of Rome without too much walking! Segway tours do have some limitations, they have a weight limit of 120kg (260 lb), age limit of 16-75 years old, and pregnant woman and those under the influence of alcohol aren’t allowed to ride. The operators tend to run different day time and night time tours lasting 3 hours and the cost is around €70 per person. Tour guides usually speak English.
Time Elevator Rome
This is a very different way to see Rome, but is ideal for kids as there are very few attractions for children in Rome, and this should put a smile on their faces. Using 3 panoramic screens, flight simulation technology and surround sound you visit Rome from its beginnings 2750 years ago, until the present. It’s a 45minute show and covers the main attractions showing what they could have looked like in the past, and what they look like now. Cost is €12 per person. www.time-elevator.it
Food Tour of Rome
For enthusiastic foodies this might be the gastronomic tour of choice. This food crawl around Campo de Fiori, the Jewish Ghetto area, and Trastevere takes in espresso, gelato, street foods and lunch across the city. The meeting point is Piazza Farnese and booking is recommended as numbers are limited. www.gourmetaly.com
Bicycle Rental in Rome
Most of the old town is cycle friendly although can be a bit bumpy on the cobbles. Hiring a bike will save your feet for sure and let you tour the main attractions in Rome in a much shorter period of time. There are many cycle hire shops throughout the city, and your hotel will probably be able to arrange for one to be brought to the hotel for you, just ask your concierge. Prices are around €10 a day. One operator is Monkey Cycles on Via Della Vetrina, phone number is +39 347 89 61 658 if you wish to book.
Vespa Tours of Rome
Tour Rome like a local on a moped or ideally a Vespa! Several operators rent out Vespas and several also do guided tours. It’s a fun but daring way to discover the city, getting around Rome will never be so fast and furious. One of the main operators is located at Termini station www.vespastyleroma.it
Rome Bus Network
For getting around Rome the bus network is good, although the well-known tourist routes are often very busy and have every tourist trap conceived. They can also be slow on heavy traffic routes, stopping frequently at stops, so not always the fastest way to get around. However tickets are cheap, around €1.50 per journey.
Metro and Tram Network
The Metro system in Rome isn’t that helpful if you’re a tourist wanting to see the main attractions in the old city as the Metro only serves the outskirts. However if need to get from Termini station to your hotel then you will probably find a metro station relatively nearby to reduce your walking time. The trains run from 5.30am to 11.30pm and on Friday and Saturday nights to 1.30am. The tickets can be bought at each station and at newsstands throughout the city, and must be stamped when you get on the train to avoid a fine. The tram system again is limited and designed more for commuters.
Rome by Boat
The River Tiber runs to the west and North of the old city and passes several of the main buildings. To be honest its nothing like a boat tour through Paris as the banks are deeper and you’re not going to see much on either shore, however if you like a river cruise or you have children who need entertaining then this might be an option for you. There is a 75 minute hop-on-hop-off tour which covers all of the main bridges, and also a dinner cruise with live music. This not really about getting around Rome but its a different way to see some of the city. www.romeboatexperience.com
Taxis in Rome
Like with most cities taxi trips can be expensive especially at busy times where you can be sat in traffic with the meter running. However, if you’re in a rush to get somewhere and want dropping at the door step then this is a good option. However when I say ‘doorstep’ that is not always the case as some parts of the old town aren’t car friendly and there are one-way systems so a taxi driver may drop you at the top of the street for you to walk the rest. SO for getting around Rome a taxi is one of your best options.
For trips to the airport a taxi can be a good idea because the train and bus system isn’t quite fragmented, meaning several changes and a long time to get to either airport. From the city to Ciampino the cost is set at €30 and to Fiumicino the cost is set at €45.
Standard fares around the city are:
€3 fixed starting fare (€4.50 on holidays, €6.50 at night)
Then between €1.10 – €1.60 per km depending on the length of your journey. The cost per km goes up the longer your journey. Sometimes if it’s a long trip its worth negotiating a set charge at the beginning.
There are taxi ranks in most areas of the city often with a long queue of white licensed taxis waiting. Beware of unlicensed taxis which won’t have a fixed Taxi sign on the roof, or aren’t white vehicles. The standard of licensed taxis does vary, and you are expected to take the vehicle at the front of the line, but if it doesn’t meet your standards then don’t be scared to ignore them and go to another driver, it won’t win him favours with other drivers but he probably won’t turn you away.