Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of people asking the best way to get from FCO airport to Rome and vice versa. I belong to several travel forums where myself and others give advice to those traveling to Italy. Many people give the traveler the cheapest option and let it go. If that is what you want, then you should take the bus. In this blog though, I won’t be discussing just the best price, instead, I’ll be looking at the best deal to get from Rome’s airport to the city center. In my opinion, if you’re a group of two or more, best price and best deal are two separate matters.
Options (prices all one-way):
Bus—Terravision bus, SIT bus, or TAM bus (6-7€)
- Pro: cheap
- Cons: not direct access to hotel—will still need transportation from bus stop where you are dropped at to lodging, slow, have to wait for scheduled departure, have to stow luggage under bus, cumbersome with luggage
Shuttle—your hotel may offer some type of shuttle ( around 20€)
- Pro: generally decently priced
- Cons: may not be available, slow, hotel may have scheduled departure times to accommodate guests from various flights, have to stow luggage under shuttle, cumbersome with luggage, might be difficult to navigate times that shuttle is operating
Regional Train (8€)
- Pros: regular departures, fairly cheap
- Cons: slow (reach Termini station in 55 minutes), not direct access to hotel—will still need transportation from train station where you are dropped at to lodging, have to walk throughout airport to get to train station, have to wait for scheduled departure, cumbersome with luggage
Leonardo Express (14€)
- Pros: regular departures, fast (only about 30 minutes to Termini)
- Cons: not direct access to hotel—will still need transportation from train station where you are dropped at to lodging, have to walk throughout airport to get to train station, have to wait for scheduled departure, cumbersome with luggage
Taxi (48€ to anywhere in city center—flat rate)
- Pros: nearby flight arrival area (right outside baggage), quick, relaxing, easy with baggage, no waiting for scheduled departure (it’s ready when you are), takes you straight to lodging
- Con: may be more expensive than most of the other options
Private Car (prices vary—start at 50€)
- Pros: nearby flight arrival area (right outside baggage), quick, relaxing, easy with baggage, no waiting for scheduled departure (driver is waiting for you with a sign), takes you straight to lodging
- Con: more expensive than other options (please check with your hotel or Airbnb host though; several times our lodging has secured one-way transfer for only 50€ for us)
Why take a car?
Buses are cheap, but you get what you pay for. Shuttles may not be a viable option, depending on where you are staying. Trains are a viable option, especially the Leonardo Express, but I think taxis (or private cars for virtually the same price) are the best way to go.
- Taxis have a set price of 48€ (or I’ve found private cars for 50€) from FCO airport to anywhere in city center. If you have two people at 14€ for train and then have to get a taxi from the train station to your hotel, the train may end up costing you the same (or more!). If you figure two Leonard Express train tickets for 28€ and a 15€ taxi ride from Termini station to lodging (and that’s conservative), your price for taking the train is 43€—for 5€ more you can ride in comfort. If you’re stuck in traffic from Termini station to your lodging, or your lodging is a little further from Termini station (but still within city walls), you may easily rack up a taxi charge larger than 15€ completing eliminating any savings from taking the train.
- It’s private. You’re tired—you’ve just flown across the Atlantic Ocean and been in a little tin can for hours on end—do you really want to be on a bus or train where you’re just one of many people?
- It’s convenient—you don’t have to navigate through the airport to find the departure spot—you just have to walk outside the airport and the cars are waiting for you.
- It’s the “prettiest” entrance to the city. There is nothing like the thrill of driving through the Roman walls. Train tracks go through areas of Rome that are not picturesque…to say the least.
- It’s reasonably comfortable and you’re guaranteed a seat.
- It’s fast—sometimes terrifyingly so (it can feel like you’re in a Formula One race). Taxi drivers don’t want to sit in traffic with you; they want to get you out of their car so they can get a new fare in. Buses are going to sit in traffic. They have a route and no incentive to hurry.
Therefore, if you are two or more people and staying in the city center, I suggest taking a taxi (or private car at the right price) as the best way to get to the Rome airport. The relaxing drive sets the mood for your vacation. In my opinion, any small additional costs spent on this mode of transportation are well worth it…and you may find that for your party size and lodging location that it’s even cheaper than public transportation. Buon viaggio!
Tip: Make sure that you take an official taxi marked with SPQR. Look to see that there is a plaque with the set rate on the side of the car (or right inside) to avoid being ripped off. Don’t take a taxi from the city of Fiumicino, because they don’t have the same set-rates as Rome city cabs do.
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