The first question asked by most people flying into Rome is – “How do I get from the airport to my hotel?”Rome’s primary airport, Leonardo da Vinci, nicknamed Fiumicino or FCO, is 16 miles from the city center.
The most popular way to get to the city center is to take the train, which leaves every half hour from 6:30am to 11:30pm. The ride usually takes 30 minutes, tickets costs 11 euro, and you can buy tickets at the kiosk on the train platform using a credit card.
Make sure to validate your ticket before getting on the train or else face a fine. To validate your train ticket, stick it into one of the yellow machines on the train platform. If you don’t have time to validate it, or you forget, immediately find the conductor and explain your situation. Sometimes you can get by with a written in validation: Write the day’s date and the time that you boarded the train on the ticket. This is not a technically valid form of validation, but it works most of the time. Note that all trains in Italy operate under this system of validation.
If you don’t want to take the train or you arrive after the last train has departed, there are several other options. The most economical is to take the COTRAL bus, which runs until 1am. To save money, purchase your ticket from a newspaper stand, known as a tabacchi, rather than on board. Tickets cost 7 euro onboard, and 4.50 at the newspaper stand.
Taxis offer another comfortable but expensive option. Usually around 40 euro, and there is an extra charge for each bag. Other charges are added on holidays and late night.
If you have a large group, it might be a good idea to use the one of the airports shuttle services. These cost around 40 euros and can be booked in the airport.
Rome’s Train Station: Roma Termini
The train and COTRAL buses run from the airport to Roma Termini, Rome’s primary train station. The train station is filled with useful resources during the day, but it can be a sketchy place at night. If you arrive at Roma Termini at night it is best to catch a taxi. Taxis are available in front of the train station, or by calling 06-0609.
During the day, the train station is filled with busy shops and restaurants. The tourist office, with English-speaking professionals, is located near track 24. Information booths dedicated to helping travelers use public transportation have workers who can at least provide information in English if not speak it.
If you have a lot of luggage and don’t feel like navigating the busy streets, a taxi is by far the best solution. Taxi’s are plentiful during the day and line up directly in front. There will be an official representative who is in charge of getting you your taxi. He will be standing at the front of the line of taxis.
Inner-city buses are also located in front of the train station. It is best to get a route map from the tourist office in order to find the bus that runs to your hotel. You can purchase tickets at the outdoor ticketing machines or at newspaper stands. A ticket allows you to use all public transportation for 75 minutes from the moment of validation.
Both Metro lines can be accessed at Roma Termini. The Metro is very efficient, with elevators to help travelers with luggage navigate the station. However, the stops are few and far between, so double-check the proximity of your hotel to the nearest Metro stop.
Above ground Trams also run to Roma Termini. These have regular stops and offer a good solution to budget-travelers. All public transportation can be crowded, and sometimes it just isn’t worth cramming yourself and your luggage among the throng. This is usually the case during rush hour.
Written by Mattie Bamman for EuropeUpClose.com