Rome Italy skyline - Budget 3-Day Itinerary

3 Days in Rome on a Budget Itinerary & Guide

UPDATED 9/23/23

If you’ve read my How to Spend 2 Weeks in Italy then you’re here to read how to spend 3 days in Rome on a budget. Fantastic. I will break down how to do Rome on a budget in 3 days (with Vatican City) perfect as a first time in Rome itinerary, budget or not. 

I have done this travel myself as a mature solo traveler. So, yes, this 3 day trip to Rome can be done.

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All You Need for 3 Days in Rome

Here are all of the sites you need to successfully book this perfect Rome 3 day itinerary. I even give you my sustainable hotel pick and my budget hotel pick as sustainable and budget friendly accommodation options in the city center ideal for a long weekend in Rome.

I recommend you bookmark and use these sites early to lock in your 3 day Rome itinerary and get the best Rome travel deals.

If you’re a first-time traveler to Italy, also use my Ultimate Italy Solo Travel Guide full of tips on culture, entry requirements, currency, tipping, using electronics, safety, and a lot more.

More Italy Solo Travel

Rome on a Budget (or Not)

Yes, 3 days in Rome on a budget as a solo traveler is doable. To help provide more Rome budget options, peruse my Guide to Budget European Accommodations for additional accommodation-planning.

Let me state here that when I say “budget”, I mean your daily travel expenses could total €100 or less. It’s up to you on where you wish to budget (accommodations, excursions, etc.), and how far in advance you book. Some attractions can be seen without a tour, which will save you money, of course.

The following Rome travel guide and itinerary can work for anyone, budget or not. The key factors that can push you out of the “budget” range is your choice in Rome accommodations and the types of attraction tours you choose. Some attractions can be seen without a tour, which will save you money, of course.

Ok, now let’s get you to spending 3 days in Rome on a budget.

Rome Travel Packing Essentials

Prices in this post reflective at time of writing.

Getting to Rome

If you are flying into Rome, you will more than likely arrive at the Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (Rome–Fiumicino International Airport). If you are arriving Rome by train or bus, you should arrive directly into the Roma Termini railway station, which is centrally located in Rome.

It is ideal if your hotel provides free airport transfer.  If not, there are Fiumicino Airport to Rome city center transfers available.

An easy way to get from the airport to the Roma Termini is the Leonardo Express train service. The Leonardo Express is a non-stop train service connecting Termini Station with Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino airport in only 32 minutes.

Trains depart every 15 to 30, depending on the time of day. The train shuttle service is guaranteed even in the event of strike (it may be substituted with bus service).

You also have the option to take a Rome Fiumicino Airport transfer.

Another option is to take the public Rome Airport Shuttle.  The Airport Shuttle departs every 30 minutes. It could take around 40-50 minutes to your hotel, even longer during peak hours.

You can catch the Rome metro to your ‘Travel Sustainable’ Rome city center hotel from the Roma Termini if you book near a metro stop. If you really want to move around Rome quickly and give your feet a rest, you can buy a 48 or 72-Hour Roma Pass, which includes entry to attractions. 

Getting Around Rome

Although I have provided details on arriving in Rome and Rome transportation in How to Spend 2 Weeks in Italy, know that the Rome historical center can be done on foot. 

However, if you really want to move around Rome quickly and give your feet a rest, you can buy a 48 or 72-Hour Roma Pass.  The cost is €28 to €38.50 (at time of writing this post), respectively, which starts at first point of entry and includes entry to attractions.

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome Italy
Castel Sant’Angelo

Eco Travel Tips

Skyscanner provides a ‘Greener flights’ filter highlighting flights that emit less CO2. Additionally, you can purchase carbon offsets through your airline to lower your carbon footprint.

For flights only 2 to 3 hours in duration to and from Rome, take the train or bus instead. It could also save time and money, and the scenery is much prettier.

Where to Stay in Rome

You’ll ideally want to stay within a 20-minute walking distance West of the Termini train station (but not next to the train station).

If you don’t want to walk you could catch a taxi or rideshare to your hotel that should cost no more than €10 or €12 – confirm with the driver in advance – for a maximum 10-minute ride. 

Eco Travel Tip

If you need to book a rideshare, select the Bolt Green or Uber Green options to support the use of electric cars and for cleaner transportation in Rome.

For ease of arriving and departing Rome, and walking around for the best of what to see in Rome in 3 days, I recommend staying within the city center circle on the map:

Where to stay in Rome Italy map
Where to stay in Rome

Rome Hotels

Rome has many hotel, hostel and other accommodation types across all budget types within the Rome city center map. Going in the off season, or booking well in advance, will get you the best Rome accommodation choices and prices.

Consider booking at a property that either is eco-friendly or sustainably rated, or at least employs these methods into their business.

For location, price, amenities (including no pre-payment and free-cancellation), and customer reviews and ratings, my Rome budget hotel recommendation for over 50 single travel is Hotel Antica Locanda. It is in a fabulous location, has a roof top patio, and could be booked at €75/night, depending on time of year and how far in advance you book.

Rome Budget Tip

There are Rome hostels that could start from around €20/night, depending on what amenities and location you want. Note, these are usually a bed in a dorm room.

Private rooms in hostels can cost the same, if not more, than a budget hotel.

For the same conditions, plus employing eco-friendly and/or sustainable operations, here are my Rome hotel recommendations for over 50 single travel (i.e., where I would stay), “budget” and higher:

Eco Travel Tip

In addition to’s Rome Sustainable Travel properties, Green Globe and Green Key Global also have eco-friendly certified lodging options.


Solgaard Carry-On Closet-blue
Solgaard Carry-On Closet
Allbirds Ecofriendly shoes
Allbirds Eco-friendly Shoes
Solgaard Juice Bank
Solgaard Solar Bank
Totes Eco 'Brella
Totes Eco ‘Brella

Must Do Rome Attractions

If you have never been to the historic center of Rome, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the following are attractions that would a shame to miss.

You can easily do 3-4 Rome highlights in a day without being too tired.  Some of them are free.  The reason why I suggested the following “musts” on separate days is due to popularity and  crowds. 

St Peters Square Vatican City
St. Peters Square, Vatican City

Therefore, I suggest you do the Vatican City (all four activities) and the Colosseum and Forum first thing in the mornings. Get your tickets online in advance and make Vatican reservations and Colosseum/Forum/Pallatine Hill reservations in advance  – the sooner the better – to avoid the line headache.  

These activities are big draws and lines can accumulate quickly so I encourage your ticket is for the first tour of the day and show up at least 30 minutes before the first tour starts. 

If you can get in and out before the crowds accumulate, you’ll have more time to enjoy the rest of the day in Rome and not waste half your day standing in lines. That is not the way to spend the day in Rome.

Via Sacra sign and Colosseum Rome Italy
Via Sacra, Colosseum

Rome Day 1

Rome Day 2

Rome Day 3

  • Piazza di Spagna & the Spanish Steps
  • Trevi Fountain
  • Piazza Navona
  • Pantheon

Rome Events Calendar

If it helps in planning what you would like to see, here is a list of annual events held in Rome

Rome Dining

My rule when eating abroad is: anything you eat outside of your own country has no calories.  Drop the diet and repeat after me:  “I’m on vacation.”

My Italy eating rule is: gelato should be eaten at least once a day. With my rules in mind, here are some tips on dining in Rome to get your started:

  • The Piazza Navona, Trastevere & Gianicolo areas have good rated restaurants to check out.
  • There are many small cafés to pop into for coffee or inexpensive pizza or calzone for a bite on the go.
  • Consider getting drinks and dinner after your Dolce Vita stroll.
  • Gelatto, and lots of it.
  • Here is a good link to research wine bars in Rome.
  • Katie has some good advice where to eat in Rome.
  • If you’re on a budget, check out cheap eats in Rome suggestions.

People on Spanish Steps Rome Italy
Spanish Steps

Rome in 3 Days Itinerary

Depending on how much you want to see (and spend) is completely up to you.  Rome has plenty of options, as I have outlined above.

The itinerary below includes staying at my suggested Rome budget hotel, but does not include other meals.

That said, here is my recommended 3 days in Rome on a budget itinerary that shows what a single traveler over 50 can see and do in a few days (with Vatican City, of course), possibly at €100 or less, if you book well in advance, and choose the right tour or entry tickets for the top Rome attractions and museums to meet your tastes and budget.

Rome Day 1

  • Vatican City:
  • Ponte Vittorio Emanuell II Bridge
  • Gianicolo Hill (Janiculum) for sunset and sweeping view of Rome
  • Dine in the Trastevere area
  • Hotel

Rome Day 2

Rome Day 3

  • Borghese Gallery (buy ticket for reservation)
  • Stroll the park to the Villa Borghese
  • Palazzo Barbarini
  • Trevi Fountain – grab lunch / people watch
  • Pantheon – FREE to enter and get an audio guide
  • Piazza Navona – grab a drink or lunch and people watch
  • Walk along the Tiber to Piazza del Popolo
  • Stroll “La Dolce Vita Dolce Vita” – walk with the locals (usually 5-7pm) Via del Corso from Piazza del Popolo to the Spanish Steps.  Take in some window shopping and dinner.
  • Piazza di Spagna / Spanish Steps
  • Hotel

Rome Day 4 – Extra

Let Me Hear From You

I would love to hear if this post on how to spend 3 days in Rome on a budget was helpful to you. Post me your thoughts or questions in the Comments section below. Thank you!

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