Rome airport layover. Is it worth going into the city?
Whether you’ve intentionally chosen to have a layover at one of the Roman airports or if your airline requires it the idea of making a quick trip into the city can appear appealing. The question is like almost always is the trip worth it? Obviously any trip into Rome will be entertaining. Even a short visit to the historic centre may wet your appetite for future longer trips or maybe a reminder of past trips.
But is it worth?
But to decide if using your layover to travel into Rome is worth it you need to look at the bigger picture.
If we assume you’ve flown into Fiumicino airport (FCO) than the express train with an one way cost of €14 will be an obvious option. With a travel time of little more than thirty minutes the train can get you to Termini station. Unfortunately the train only runs every fifteen minutes or so. That means if you just miss the train you will have a fifteen minute wait to add to the thirty two minute travel time. Still less than fifty minutes from the airport each way.
Termini a central location
The map will hopefully show that Termini is a central location for a quick trip into the city. Even the Vatican is just over an hour walk from the station. The Colosseum is little more than twenty minutes away.
But is it worth it?
To finally address the question if using your Rome airport layover for a trip into the city is worth it we need to layout some basic guidelines.
On arrival if you’re traveling with checked luggage you’ll need to collect that luggage. This can take awhile. There is luggage storage at the airport
You will then need to collect your luggage and recheck it. Requiring more time.
If you are on one ticket with your luggage being forwarded by the airline you avoid these steps.
For flights with in the Schengen zone you’ll want to be at the airport two hours before scheduled departure.
If you’re flying outside of the Schengen zone the requirement is three hours. This is especially true for flights to the US with it’s heightened security.
Best case this means you’re facing over an hour of travel time. Plus the two hours you need to be at the airport before your next flight. If you are traveling carry on only that means you’ve lost three hours of your layover between travel and the wait before your flight. That’s BEST case. In reality you will spend some time walking to the train station. Dropping your carry on at the left luggage. Picking it up afterwards. You’ll need to wait for the train in both directions. That means a more realistic best case is closer to four hours. Possibly longer
Worst case you’ll waste an hour waiting by the luggage carousel. You’ll lose more time rechecking your luggage. Plus the time to clear immigration on arrival. Two hours traveling back and forth plus the three hour wait before your flight. At this point you’ve spent more than six hours.
Rome airport layover. Worth it?
If you are traveling light with only a carry on even a six hour layover in Rome might be considered worth the trip into the city. If on the other hand you’re traveling with checked baggage not on a single ticket even a much longer layover is likely not worth traveling into the city.
The cost for traveling into the city isn’t just the round trip train ticket. You’ll need to factor in the cost of missing your flight. The tighter your schedule the easier it would be for you to miss your onward flight. The cost to book a last minute replacement ticket can easily bust most budgets. Decide well in advance if this is a risk you’re willing to take.
Note if you do miss your flight don’t expect either your travel insurance or the airline to be much help. They will almost certainly point out you are solely responsible for misssing the flight.