WHAT TO DO IN ROME IN 2 DAYS
So, are you planning your Rome itinerary that covers all the top places to see in Rome in 2 days and important travel tips for your trip?
This 2-day Rome itinerary covers some of the most popular tourist places in Rome and the best things to do in 2 days Whether you visit in the spring, summer, fall or winter – this itinerary is great for any time of the year.
Rome is like no other city in the world – full of (sad) history and culture, beautiful people, stunning architecture, and great food.
Of course, there are many more great reasons to visit Rome, and you will learn about a few of them in this post. Before talking about the best places to visit, you´ll find some important travel information so that you are perfectly prepared for your trip.
While I admit that two days in Rome is not enough to see all the best places, it is still enough time to get a good overview of the city and this fun 2-day Rome itinerary will allow you to see the best in a short time.
Better to have two days in Rome than none, right? Before starting with the best places to see, you´ll find a quick guide with the most important travel information.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR 2 DAYS IN ROME
Rome, the eternal city, has a lot to offer to its visitors. It‘s charming and interesting. I cannot say it has become my favorite city, but I (and my two cousins) really enjoyed our trip.
Visiting Rome means being transplanted back to ancient times. There is so much history, and as the Roman Empire used to be the most powerful in its time, so much fascination.
2 days in Rome is probably a minimum to visit (though almost one full day is for a trip to Vatican City and 2 days in Rome itself).
Here are some facts and tips for your Rome trip
The currency is Euros (€). Shops often advertise that EC/Credit Card payment is possible, but the reality is that once we wanted to buy something (including tickets for the hop-on and hop-off buses), it did not work because of a broken “card machine.“ This happened regularly and it was a bit frustrating and disappointing.
I don’t want to assume too much, but we figured that credit card payments were not allowed to avoid paying taxes to the government. I might be wrong, but definitely withdraw money and have cash on you to avoid problems or book tickets in advance.
Disclaimer: Talking about money….This post contains affiliate links which mean I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.
How to Get Around in Rome in 2 Days
Rome can be wonderfully explored on foot. The main attractions are quite close to each other and if you are used to walking, you can enjoy these places as a pedestrian.
We got tickets for hop-on and hop-off sightseeing buses (we stayed in Rome for more than two days, and walked each day at least 15-20 km), and used the buses when we were tired or to save time. I admit that I love those sightseeing buses and regularly use them to get a good overview of the city.
The public transportation in Rome is apparently really good, and you can use buses to get around easily and cheaply.
In my experience, there is no real need to use taxis.
Where to Stay in Rome for 2 Days
Rome is one of the busiest cities in Italy – full of tourists at any time of the year. Accommodation can be pricey though you will not find many of the typical 5-star hotel chains you see everywhere else where you have crowds of visitors.
Luxury Hotels in Rome: There are some amazing 5-star luxury hotels and here are two of the best-rated luxury hotels in Rome. St. Regis is one of the few hotel chains that also have a property in Rome – the hotel is popular because of its central location (it is within walking distance to Rome attractions like the Spanish Steps etc.). Click here to find out more and get the best rates.
Mid-Range Hotels in Rome: Here is a 3-star hotel that is popular – find out more about the Suites Farness Design Hotel.
Budget Hotels: Here are a few budget hotels that might be the perfect choice for you:
We were a group of three and were looking for a big room with three beds – we were really, really happy with our hotel. It was not spectacular but the location was good and so was the value for money. St. Peter Bed in Rome here
If you prefer staying at an Airbnb, first-time users can save money with using my link.
So, now it´s time to talk about the main tourist attractions to visit in Rome in 2 days.
THINGS TO DO IN ROME IN 2 DAYS
We visited Rome in the winter – and had a blast. The weather was mild (I definitely don’t recommend visiting in the summer when it can be very hot) and crowds were gone though it was still busy and lively.
While Rome is busy at any time of the year, wintertime has the least crowds. While spring and fall are also good to visit, winter also means lower accommodation costs and shorter lines (standing in lines might play a big role when visiting Rome) – Rome it is a perfect winter destination. These activities can all be done at any time of the year – but I guess, winter might be the best idea.
DAY 1 IN ROME
Start your 2 days in Rome itinerary with a trip to the Colosseum…
Learn About Rome´s History at the Colosseum – Around 9 am
Of course, the Colosseum is one of the main tourist attractions in Rome and a must-see for 2 days in Rome. It is even a great place if you visit Rome with kids.
Considering that it‘s almost 2,000 years old, it has probably been a fascination since the beginning. However, there is a cruel and tragic history behind it, as the Colosseum used to be a venue for gladiator fights. But despite its bloody history, it is a very impressive place to see in Rome.
The architecture is one of the most distinctive in any European capital. While looking at it from a distance is nice, you should get a ticket and explore the inside – keep in mind that it is one of the main Rome attractions, so there will be tons of other tourists visiting as well.
So, buying an online ticket in advance is a good option to avoid the line (as this one includes “skip the lines” already).. We got extra audioguides (and my cousin was able to answer all my additional questions) and learned about its history in a nutshell. If you don’t have such an awesome cousin, you could book guided tours in advance.
Just a stone‘s throw away is the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, which you should add to your Rome itinerary.
Stroll the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill – Around 11 am
If you have a ticket for the Colosseum, it normally includes the entry fees for this Rome sight as well which is another must-see place in 2 days in Rome.
The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill used to be the center of public life during the Roman Empire and include a lot of Ancient Rome´s most important structures. The remains paint a picture of how important this place used to be, and if you have a good imagination, you can picture what life was like in Ancient Rome.
You´ll also have great views of the Colosseum and it is not as crowded as other Rome attractions, or maybe because of its size it felt less busy, but I felt a bit lost without a guide. Again, with the Colosseum ticket, you also have access to this Rome activity and there is no extra ticket needed.
From there, you could take public transportation, a taxi, or just walk to the next highlight of Rome‘s famous landmarks.
P.S. Yes, I was wearing this spring look in the winter – the sun was shining and the weather was about 17 degrees Celsius (we never know about the weather for sure, but isn’t it great that you can visit a European capital in January/February and it looks like that?)
Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II – Around 2 pm
This building has become one of my favorite sights and is….another top place to visit in 2 days in Rome. Its symmetry is astonishing. Though I haven’t seen it in many top 10 lists for Rome, it has made it on my list. We did not visit the museum inside, but instead, climbed some of the stairs and enjoyed the great views from there. You can take a lift and get to the very top (which we didn‘t due to a lack of time).
Apparently, the building was considered to be very ugly by the Romans and is often compared to a wedding cake because of its structure (that is what I was told by the audioguide of my hop-on and hop-bus tour), and though I don’t like wedding cakes much, I loved this building.
It was created as a monument for the first king of united Italy (completed in 1925) and is probably one of the most modern-looking buildings in Rome (yes, I seriously did not see many new buildings, so I have perceived this 100-year-old building as modern!).
Check out Pantheon – Around 4 pm
From there, you could visit the Pantheon, which is quite close and another main attraction to visit in 2 days in Rome. Honestly, I was not too impressed. Maybe, I was in a bad mood when I entered because, just a few seconds before, my ice cream fell and I was sad over the waste of my valuable, delicious Italian gelato).
However, you could add it to your list, but it did not make it on my top 10.
Relax at Piazza di Spagna – the Spanish Steps – Around 6 pm
The Spanish Steps are another tourist magnet and visiting is a must do in 2 days in Rome. Though we visited in January (when we assumed Rome wouldn’t be crowded with tourists), it was so busy.
We even had issues finding our way to climb down! Since spring 2019 it is not allowed to sit on the Spanish Steps anymore.
It was a bit of a disappointment, to be honest, but I am sure it will be much better now that you can actually walk down the stairs and so it has made it on the list of the best places to visit in Rome.
The truth is that I believe as a first-time visitor, it is a must-see sight. And if you don’t visit on a Sunday (as we did), it might be less busy. The shops were open, so we wandered around that area instead and checked the Spanish Steps off our list!
Okay, one great way to end the day is to head to the nearby Trevi Fountain.
Make a Wish at Trevi Fountain – Around 7.30 pm
I mentioned that I didn‘t like the Spanish Steps that much because it was crowded, but I have probably never seen any other place that was as crowded as the Trevi Fountain (maybe exaggerated but it was really busy).
That place was jammed with people from all over the world – it gets even busier in the evenings. However, this place is magical. Fontana di Trevi is a real tourist magnet, possibly because it is a free thing to see in Rome, or maybe because it has a long history and is one of the most famous fountains in the world. It might even be just because it is ridiculously beautiful and the area around it is special.
Regardless of why other people visit, you should definitely visit! It is a great place to end your day. There are many cafes and restaurants close by, too, so you´ll find something to your fancy.
Have your drink on a bench in front of the fountains instead of in a cafe, and don’t forget to throw in a coin if you want to visit Rome again. The myth says that throwing a coin with your right hand over the left hand should ensure that you´ll visit Rome again.
This will probably be a busy day, but sticking to a tight schedule will allow you to see many of Rome´s sights within two days. Check out ideas how to spend your evenings in Rome.
Tip: With 2 days in Rome you might be able to visit twice. Early in the morning, it tends to be less busy and you can manage to take a picture without other people in it.
DAY 2 IN ROME
After spending the previous day outside of Rome, it is time to explore Rome again.
Enjoy Castello del Angelo – Around 9 am
Our accommodation was close by, somewhere between Vatican City and this popular landmark and tourist destination in Rome that is a gorgeous place to visit in 2 days in Rome.
Castello del Angelo is located close to the Tiber River and a popular place where you can find musicians and small stalls selling souvenirs. You can also visit the museum inside and enjoy great views of the city.
Enjoy an Espresso at a Rooftop Bar – Around 11 am
Wondering what else to do in Rome in 2 days? Head to some of the great rooftop bars here.
For amazing views of St. Peter‘s Basilica in Vatican City, any of them would do (we went for an espresso at Atlanta Star – a four-star hotel with a lovely view of Vatican City and Rome). I guess, there aren’t many rooftop bars that can claim to offer views of two countries.
Stroll the Tiber – Around 2 pm
The day is probably almost at an end, but if you have some energy left, invest the time in exploring an UNCROWDED place in Rome (well, kind of).
When you stroll the Tiber River, you will have the place almost to yourself – a rarity. I am into strolling rivers. It may sound weird, but I have fallen in love with places where I basically just strolled along the rivers.
The river is not as dominant as in other cities, but you could ride a bike (wherever you get those from), stroll, have a drink, picnic, or whatever here.
Read more: Visit Appia Antica – A day trip from Rome
End the Day in Travestere – Around 5 pm
For the second night, I definitely recommend dining in the Trastevere neighborhood.
If you want to enjoy a hip, easy-going vibe, plan in some time to stroll through Travestere and pick one of the numerous restaurants to dine in (it is actually also quite affordable).
This area is probably one of my favorite areas in Rome. The cobblestone streets with their many shops, boutiques, restaurants, and cafes are really charming. Thus, I recommend not only coming for a quick dinner, but also plan in some time to stroll the neighboorhood before having, some hopefully, great food.
If you spend your last evening here, you will probably have a great last memory of Rome!
DAY TRIPS FROM ROME IN 2 DAYS
I have named this itinerary “2 days in Rome itinerary” as I am aware that the third day is not really a day in Rome. However, somehow it is – and thus it ended up on this itinerary.
Depending on whether you are an early bird or not, you could start your day with a tour of Vatican City and then end your day in one of the places you liked the most in Rome (I always try to keep some spare time on my last day, so I can revisit the place I enjoyed the most).
Explore Vatican City
Vatican City isn’t really a place in Rome, but somehow it still is. This tiny country (the finest in the world, to be more precise) lies within Rome, and crossing countries is made easy.
The home of the Pope is probably one of the most extreme places I have visited so far – so much “bling-bling“ and pomposity that it felt unreal.
You can visit the Sistine Chapel for free, but I strongly recommend getting tickets for the museum as well and planning in at least half a day for this place.
Have I mentioned that it gets extremely busy and crowded? Well, like all of Rome, this is the case (though, Vatican City isn’t part of Rome), so make sure you book your tickets in advance (even in January, there were long lines – which you can skip with “Skip the line“ tickets).
Hopefully, this guide has helped you getting some ideas how to see the best places in Rome in 2 days.
We visited these places at the end of January and they are all available throughout the year (unless there are unforeseen events, or, they can be closed bank holidays) so whether you visit Rome in January or February (or even in December or March), Rome is a great winter destination (for non-hikers) and 2 days in Rome (plus one day in Vatican City) is the minimum time to spend in the Eternal City that is so rich in history and full in stunning buildings/architecture.