Looking for a way to do cheap Rome? From time to time, we try to highlight fun things to do in historically expensive cities. Make a note: Rome is a foodie paradise, so this post might seem a little heavy on the culinary delights. One insider tip you cannot ignore – at any dining establishment in most Italian cities – you will pay more if you sit down than if you takeaway your eats.

Most locals will take their food to be consumed while wandering and unless your dogs are really barking, we recommend you do the same. It can be quite a bit more expensive to sit down to dine. We hope you don’t mind! Especially during the day at peak sightseeing hours, just walk and nosh. Save those sit down meals for leisurely dinners.

Sample the gelato!

Or in English – eat ice cream! Italian ice cream can be just what the doctor ordered when you’re hot and tired and need a quick pick-me-up. This classic Roman treat is low cost and high payoff!

Cheap rome is a visit to Trevi fountain

A visit to Trevi Fountain is a classic tourist to-do. The tiny square it sits upon can get overrun during the day, so a visit at night is a great idea. It’s lit up brightly and is a pretty spectacular sight. Furthermore, Rome is chock o’block with fountains all over the city. Don’t limit your fountain visits to just one – they’re everywhere! Don’t forget to throw a coin in the any fabulous fountain and make a grand wish!

See the archaeological sites for free (with one caveat)

Each first Sunday of the month is a free admission day for all public museums, monuments and archaeological sites (yes, the Colosseum – we said all of them!) But here’s the thing – if you do plan to be in town for this admittedly amazing deal, in the summer months you really shouldn’t try to see them all. The lines will be long and the waits even longer. Just choose one or two highlights and then visit some of the smaller attractions for a stress-free day.

Go for a walk in Trastavere

Or any neighborhood around the city center, really. Trastavere will not disappoint you if cobblestone streets and romance is your travel jam (and really, who’s isn’t if you’ve come to Italy?) But we can’t stress enough that just losing yourselves in the historic streets is a way to truly experience the real Rome and get the most bang for your sightseeing buck. There are trattorias and pizzerias everywhere to sample inexpensive fare – you could also manage an impromptu pub crawl with the number of craft breweries that have popped up over the years.

Have a “local” cappuccino

When in Rome, you must sample the delectable coffee and many locals take theirs at the historic Sant’ Eustachio café. Many a film features the outdoor dining on the square; we advise you grab the coffee and go for a budget version (remember that sitting down is a premium activity).

Skip the walking tour and just catch a tram

While Rome is far from the only city to have a city tram that is as good as any hop-on-hop-off tour, it does have one of the best. Tram 3 will take you through Trastavere, straight past the Colosseum and San Giovanni and drops you right at the Villa Borghese. The trip takes a little more than an hour and a half, which is a perfect respite for tired feet and will give you a chance for some stellar people watching as a bonus!

While away the afternoon in cheap Rome

Once you’re at the Villa Borghese, you can relax in the beautiful gardens for free! The park is a huge 226 acres and it’s such a pleasant respite from the hustle and bustle of Rome. We simply can’t recommend getting lost in a wander here enough!

Visit another Michelangelo masterpiece

The full Vatican tour is expensive and (some would say) a real commitment in terms of time just to get to the Sistine Chapel. If that’s not on your personal bucket list or if you’re not super into Catholic ornaments and pomp & circumstance, you can visit one of Michelangelo’s masterpieces in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Pietà is impressive and absolutely free.

Suss out free concerts

Rome holds an impressive array of free open-air concerts around the city every summer, often on iconic piazzas. You might also catch a free movie night or play under the stars. Keep your eyes peeled for flyers around town, or duck into a tourist office to get the low-down on where the freebies are while you’re in town.

Hang around like a student at the Spanish Steps

One of the most iconic meeting places in the city, if you’re jonesing for a McDonald’s break on your trip you might visit the one right at the foot of the steps. The fast food giant went in mid-80’s to a veritable firestorm of local outrage. Seems quaint now, if not a bit oddly located. Keats fans might also want to duck into the house at the bottom right where he lived and died (it’s now a popular museum and a bargain in its own right – just 5 euro for adults).

Other European cities that can be explored on a budget include: Paris, London, and Prague. Don’t forget to visit our Europe Summer Flights page if you’ve procrastinated buying airline tickets for your vacation. Do research for your specific city pairs using our best time to buy flights tool. You can still find decent airfare if you follow our tips!

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