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How to Enjoy Rome on a Budget

The Eternal City is, for many visitors, the ultimate sophisticated city break. And while it’s perfectly possible to burn through mountains of euros in a relatively short space of time, those who are careful with their money will have an equally enjoyable experience for a fraction of the cost.
Colosseum Rome


Getting to Rome is straightforward and flights are available at good prices. Sometimes splitting your journey up and getting separate onward cheap flights to Greensboro or Birmingham, or wherever else you’re heading afterwards, can work out less costly. Whether you book in advance or at the last minute, make sure you compare prices online.
Once you’re in Rome, the good news is there’s no real reason to spend money on transport to get around – just get a good map and take to the streets on foot. All the major attractions are within walking distance of one another and it’s a great way to get a feel for the city, a lot of which is actually pedestrianised. For trips further afield take a bus.


ome has held bustling open-air markets since the third century BC. They’re a great place to browse and people watch without spending a penny. The city’s oldest still-functioning market is the Campo de' Fiori, which has been attracting bargain hunters for more than 140 years.
Nowadays visitors can find traders selling everything from handbags to iPhone covers. Other markets of note include the Porta Portese clothes market on Sundays, the Mercato delle Stampeantique book market, and the Mercato di Testaccio food market.


Many of Rome’s most beautiful sights are free – the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, and Trevi Fountain all cost nothing to visit. Churches are also a good bet for those on a budget. Santa Maria del Popolo and Il Gesu are both free, with the former having the added bonus of displaying a couple of Caravaggio paintings. At the Vatican, St Peter's basilica is free to enter.
Trevi Fountain Rome

Eating and Drinking

Avoid buying sit-down food and drinks from areas popular with tourists. For example, a coffee at a cafe in the Piazza Navona costs around £5.50. Stick with bottled water and takeaway coffee. Food-wise, the cheapest options are pizza and pasta from bakeries, trattorias and pizzerias.


Staying in Rome is never going to be cheap. One option is to stay outside the city. Another is to book a few nights in a hostel. Some of the best include Alessandro Palace on Via Vicenza, the Pop Inn on Via Marsala, Pensione Ottaviano on Via Ottaviano, and Colors on Via Boezio.
For those able to stretch to hotel accommodation, some of the best budget options include the Relais Palazzo Taverna on Via dei Gabrielli, the serene Hotel Santa Maria in Vicolo del Piede 2, the eco-conscious Beehive on Via Marghera 8, the family-oriented Residenza Cellini on Via Modena, the modernist Suite Dreams on Via Modena 5, and the Daphne Inn Via di San Basilio 5.

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