Travel to Rome is not difficult. In fact, you can get into the Eternal City by air, land, and railways.
If you come from a non-European country, the fastest and easiest way to get to Rome is through air travel. On the other hand, if you are in Europe already, then the most enjoyable route would be by train or bus.
Travel to Rome by Air
There are many international flights servicing Rome. However, you will still have to book a flight earlier especially during peak vacation season.
1. Leonardo da Vinci Airport
Most international airlines land at the Leonardo da Vinci airport. If you travel to Rome, it is best to take an airline that will land here. That is because you will have easier access to Rome’s railway systems from the Leonardo da Vinci.
When you arrive at Leonardo da Vinci, you should take the Leonardo Express Train to go to downtown Rome. This train will take you to Rome’s central railway station: the Stazione Termini. From there, you can start exploring the city using its bus and train lines.
If you arrived at the airport at night, there is a night bus that will take you to the Tiburtina rail station. From this station, you can easily go to downtown Rome.
2. Ciampino Airport
Most budget flights arrive at Ciampino. Getting to Rome by way of Ciampino airport would be a little harder though. That is because this airport is not connected to any of Rome’s railway system.
However, you can take two bus coaches servicing the Ciampino to Rome route. The buses will stop at Termini Station.
Travel to Rome by Train
You can get to Rome by way of a train. There are regular trips coming from several key European cities to Rome. The Termini and Tiburtina stations service these international rail routes.
If you want to have a faster train ride, you can take the Eurostar Train. This train services the line connecting Rome to Paris, Munich, and Vienna.
You can also take the InterCity Plus train if you are coming from other Italian cities. This line will have a final stop at the Termini.
International train travel to Rome can be very enjoyable if you don’t mind long hours of travel. You can enjoy the rustic view of the European countryside if you travel to Rome via train services.
You can also take a long-distance bus trip from other European cities to Rome. There are also bus lines from other Italian cities to Rome. These buses will stop at Tiburtina Station. From there, you can easily take a cab or another bus going to downtown Rome.
There are many options available for you if you want to get to Rome. Air travel would be your most convenient option. But if you like to see other European places before getting to Rome, train and bus rides would be your best travel option.
Your Roman adventure will probably start at one of its two airports servicing the city: the Leonardo da Vinci International Airport and the Ciampino airport.
From Leonardo da Vinci airport, which is also popularly known as Fiumicino, going to the city would be fairly easy. That is because this airport is connected to the Rome railways system via the Leonardo Express train.
On the other hand, if you land at Ciampino airport, your choices would be limited to the two special airport bus coaches that will transport you to downtown Rome.
Rome’s City Railways System
Rome’s transportation is fairly dominated by its excellent railway systems. You can literally tour the entire city and its suburbs simply by riding a train.
The train ride to and from Fiumicino airport is fast. The Leonardo Express will take you from the airport to downtown Rome in less than 35 minutes.
Once you hop off the Leonardo, you will be welcomed by the majesty of Rome’s central railway hub: The Termini Station. This is the heart of Rome’s transportation.
Several train routes converge at Termini. There are also regional trains you can take to visit the city suburbs. Some of the most popular suburban trains are the following:
1. Ostia Train – This will take you to the ancient Roman port ruins at Ostia Antica.
2. Pantano Train – This is a cross between a tram and a train.
3. The Viterbo Train – This train traverses the hilly parts of Rome.
4. The Double Decker Suburban – This is the most extensive suburban railways system of Rome.
5. The Metro – This is Rome’s underground railways and you can easily tour the city using this public transport.
Riding a Bus to Tour the City
Buses also play a major role in Rome’s transportation. You can easily take a bus ride while you are in downtown Rome. The public bus service is efficient so you will not wait too long for a ride.
You can also spend a whole night partying at the bars and pubs in downtown Rome and still catch a night bus. Even if it is past midnight, the bus service in Rome will be available for you.
There are also specialized bus services that will take you to the old section of the city. Electric bus lines ply Rome’s ancient alleyways. You can take a ride in one of these buses every day except on Sundays.
The ticketing system of the Metro trains and Rome buses are integrated. This means you can use a Metro ticket to ride a bus and vice versa. Your ticket will be stamped by conductors. You can also take advantage of Rome’s electronic tickets which can also be used on the Metro and in some public buses.
Taking the Taxi
If you prefer to ride a cab, Rome also hosts numerous taxis. You can find a taxi everywhere in Rome. You can also call a taxi company if you want a ride from your hotel.
Riding a cab, however, can be expensive sometimes especially during rush hours when city traffic is heavier than usual.
Rome transportation is one of the most well-managed services in Italy. You will not find it difficult to tour the city because of its efficient transportation system.
Rent a Car
If you’re out to visit one of the most romantic cities in the world, is it a practical decision to rent a car in Rome? It actually depends on your purpose for renting a car and driving. If, for example, you are out on business – then having your own car and braving the streets may be suitable for you.
However, if you’re a tourist who is out to soak in the sights and sounds of Rome, taking public transport or even walking is a much more suitable option.
Tourist Alert: The Pros and Cons of Driving in Rome
If you’re a new driver who is out and about in the streets of Rome, you might be petrified at how seemingly careless some Italian drivers are. What you need to do is be watchful of the locals who have a ‘laidback’ attitude when it comes to driving.
The good thing about braving the streets of Rome by driving through the Italian highways yourself is that there is this sense of being one with the place that you are visiting. You can also explore the city at your own pace. You may even gain access to neighboring countries like France, Austria, and Switzerland!
The downside is that if you are driving through some of the city’s main thoroughfares, you might be too busy steering clear of careless drivers to enjoy the scenery. Also, the incidence of getting caught up in traffic jams and driving through poorly surfaced roads are the other disadvantages of driving in Rome.
Tips if You will Choose to Rent a Car in Rome
Now, if you do want to visit and explore Rome using your own mode of transportation, here are a few tips that you need to remember when renting a car in the city:
1. Make sure that you have an International Driver’s License from the American Automobile Association, Inc. or AAA if you wish to drive to Rome. This license is valid for one year and is usually issued along with an International Driving Permit.
2. Check with your automobile insurance carrier whether international driving is covered with your policy. You can also learn whether there is a need for you to purchase an extended renter’s insurance when you lease a car while in Rome.
Just remember that this is usually not the case – so if the rental company in Rome offers you additional rental car insurance, you would know whether you should decline or pay the extra fee.
3. Create your itinerary first before deciding which international car rental company to go for. This usually depends on which countries you plan to visit while in Rome. If it’s your fervent wish to ‘backpack’ around the world, visiting Rome in a rental car will allow you to visit neighboring countries as well.
4. Before packing your bags for your flight to Rome, make sure that the arrangements for the rental car are made through your travel agent. There are even rental companies that allow you to prepay in US dollars – removing the hassles of being overcharged with a lot of Euros for the rental when you’re already in Rome.
With these tips when you rent a car in Rome, you can rest assured that you will have a well-planned travel itinerary, exploring the romantic and charming “Eternal City”.