Are you thinking about heading to the Eternal City for the weekend? Luckily there is so much to explore and options for every budget in Rome. If you are wondering the cost of a weekend in Rome, I’ve broken down each expense into three categories of travelers: On a Shoestring, Average Joe and Big Spender.
Transportation to Rome
If you are already in Italy, Rome is very easily and affordably accessible by train. All roads lead to Rome! For travel by plane, I checked the price of departure locations in Europe for a flight Friday to Sunday: London €115, from Madrid €90, Paris €80, Berlin €55. Average flight cost between those 4 flights is €85.
Tip: Always carry on your luggage! You can save yourself the pesky baggage fees of budget airlines.
Transportation to/from Airport
On a Shoestring: Bus for €3-€8 operated by public transportation and private companies.
Average Joe: The Leonardo Express is a 20 minute train that runs directly from FCU to Termini station for €14. I don’t know why this €14 annoys me so much… probably because Prague manages to do the same thing for €3 and Paris pulls it off for €10… and probably because I know I could be getting 14 espresso shots instead. It’s hard to say if I’m more or less annoyed by this €14 or 50 cents when “Two-Buck Chuck” became “Two Dollar and 49 cents Chuck”… but that’s another grip entirely.
Big Spender: Expect to pay at least €50 for a private taxi, depending on where your hotel is located and traffic conditions.
Other considerations: Rome is a very walkable city, but if you do need to catch a bus or metro a single ride only costs $1.50 ($12.50 for a 48 hour pass). Be sure to validate your ticket on the bus!
Shoestring: If you have no personal boundaries and are still riding that hostel wave, there are numerous options. From my quick peruse of Hostelworld.com, you can get a decent hostel for $20 a night (two nights = €40). I’ve stayed in many a hostel from Slovenia to Morocco and it’s always a great budget option.
Average Joe: I’ve stayed at the Albergo Cesari several times. In the off-season, a room is usually about €75 a night (which is a steal for the gorgeous and spacious room with breakfast included). They even delivered a complimentary fruit basket to our room! I know this hotel can get up to €250 a night in the summer though. An average accommodation is about €120 a night. Two nights = €240
Big Spender: If I had an unlimited budget, I’d be resting my head at the modern, boutique hotel JK Place, or St. Regis Roma for classic luxury. Depending on the time of year and the type of suite you fancy, a night at either hotel can range from €500-€2,100 a night. Two nights = €1,000
On a Shoestring: I once stayed in Amsterdam for four days and had the same pre-made salad from the grocery store for dinner… Every. Single. Night. My food expenditure was about €40… for the ENTIRE TRIP. You can do this in Rome too, but that’s really no way to live when you can get the Roman specialty, cacio e pepe, for about €8 (€13 if you go to Anthony Bourdain’s recommendation, Roma Sparita).
If you are truly on a shoestring, go to the market and just make meals at your hostel. Do as the Italians do and pick up a pastry for around €2 to start your day. Luckily, wine is cheaper than water… unless it’s from one of the 2,500 public drinking fountains.
Average Joe: Assuming your breakfast was included in your hotel, meals should cost you around €30 a day (depending on how many courses you have and wine/water you drink).
A very important Italian word for all budget types to know: Aperitivo (appetizer). It’s the Italian version of happy hour/tapas and your drink is served with a plate of snacks… FO FREE!
Meccanismo Bistrot in Trastevere had the most generous one I’ve seen to date. The plates were filled with bruschetta, meats and even a little lasagna. I also love the atmosphere at Bar del Fico. Their aperol spritz is about $8 and they offer a small buffet of homemade potato chips and snacks.
Big Spender: If you have the dining tastes, appetite and finances of a Roman God, you’ll want to make a reservation at the three-Michelin-starred restaurant La Pergola. Main courses start €55, but why settle when you could get the 10 course prix fixe menu for €230?
Assuming you don’t go to one of the most expensive restaurants in town, you can still eat exceptionally well with a €250 allowance for the whole weekend.
Gelato and caffé
There are certainly variations in price, but the cost only ranges by a few dollars at different restaurants and gelaterias. It really comes down to quantity you consume… 4 gelato cones a day would start to add up. A small cup will usually only get you one flavor so plan accordingly. Get all details on gelato in Rome here.
Approximate costs for the weekend: €25
Budgeter Tip: Always drink your espresso at the bar because it costs more to sit at a table. Want more tips on coffee, Italian style? Find that here.
Museums and Attractions
For discounts or free entry to over 45 museums and monuments, consider a Roma Pass if you are a Roman History buff and want to see multiples sites (€28 for a 48-hour pass). Also, on the first Sunday of every month all Italian state museums are €FREE.99! Of course, there are more museums in Rome than you could possibly see in a weekend. Luckily, many spots around the city such as the Pantheon, St Peter’s Basilica and Piazza Navona are free 365 days a year.
So what’s the cost of a weekend in Rome?….
On a Shoestring: Taking the bus from the airport, walking everywhere, not eating out for every meal, sleeping in a hostel and only seeing the free sights: €196 (liberal allowance of €25 for caffé and gelato included because those are luxuries you just shouldn’t have to life without)
Average Joe: Taking the Leonardo Express, using the bus a few times, accommodation and eating out for lunch and dinner: €476
Big Spender: Using taxis, staying at 5 star hotels and eating at the swankiest of ristortantes: €1474–€€€€€. Depending on how long you ran rampant in the designer shops between Via del Corso and the Spanish Steps.
Well, that was a lot of math for a Thursday afternoon! Time for an Aperol spritz aperitivo!