Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   What to do in Rome in 5 hours?? (

tflulgjura May 15th, 2012 06:15 PM

What to do in Rome in 5 hours??
My husband and I are going to Albania from USA, and we have to wait in Rome for 5 hours. I have never been to Rome and would love to go outside the airport, even if it's to a little cafe to have a cappuccino. We won't have luggage to recheck but I am still worried if it will be enough time. Let me know if you have any suggestions at all. Thanks :)

wayfinder45 May 15th, 2012 08:33 PM

You could take the train from FCO to Rome's Termini station (it's the Leonardo Express) which runs every half hour I think and takes about 30 minutes to get to Termini. Then you could take a short metro ride to the Colosseo stop and have your cappuccino near the Colosseum. You might only end up with an hour and a bit downtown, assuming your flight arrives on time at FCO.

Rastaguytoday May 15th, 2012 08:42 PM

It took some looking to even get this far.

Ostia Antica is near the airport. A short taxi ride should get you there.

Here's the wikitravel link.

I'd search this community.

It's tight to go and come back, but if you really want to.

traveller1959 May 15th, 2012 10:58 PM

I agree that you have basically two options:

1) The short taxi ride (5 min.) to Ostia Antica. Ostia Antica had been the old port of Rome. It is now an impressive array of Roman ruins, including a theatre. It will be nice and relaxing to stroll over the grounds. A medieval castle is nearby. There is a restaurant inside the premises. Or you proceed to a café at the beach of Ostia.

2) You take the airport train to termini and then the metro. You can either visit the Colosseum or the Forum Romanum (which is the heart of ancient Rome). Cafés are abundant in Rome and virtually everywhere. Or, if you are able to spend a little more money, you hire a taxi for a sightseeing tour through Rome.

tflulgjura May 16th, 2012 02:59 AM

Thank you so much for your responses, very helpful. I'm adventures so I am willing to try either one.... Now the hard part...convincing my husband haha:) thanks again

socaltraveler May 16th, 2012 06:25 AM

Is it 5 hours, or have you counted the time you will need to re-enter the airport and go through security, get to your gate, etc? I am with your husband, and would probably not leave the airport on that time frame. If I did, I would go no farther than Ostia Antica, certainly not take a chance on traffic to and from Rome. Actually I would be having that cappucino IN an airport cafe, especially after a long flight from the US.

Gina_07 May 16th, 2012 07:02 AM

I was also going to suggest Ostia Antica. It would be very hectic to go all the way to Rome. You won't be able to enjoy the cafe in such a rush. Even if you do not have to recheck luggage, make sure you are back early enough to pass through security. What if the train is delayed on the way back to the airport, who knows?

Sand22 May 16th, 2012 07:08 AM

I'd suggest taking the train to Termini and then switch to the blue line and get off at the Colosseum (it's only 1 or 2 stops). The Colosseum stop is literally in front of the Colosseum so you can spend some time over there and then just hop back on the train and head back to the airport. I agree with the other posts that you shouldn't chance being in a taxi and getting stuck in Rome traffic. Have fun!

tflulgjura May 16th, 2012 07:17 AM

Ahhh I know, I'm beginning to be sceptic about it too, I can't afford to miss our flight...we are going for a wedding the next day and we HAVE to be there. The layover is 5 hours, so technically we only have what about 3 hours maybe to spare. I have been to many parts of Italy but never Rome and I really wanted to just go around and take a few pictures and say that I've been in Rome :) I guess we have to plan a real trip to Rome

tflulgjura May 16th, 2012 07:22 AM

I am waiting for some feedback from someone who will be in the same situation, I'll see if they can pull it off and what they say. It's not really a big deal, it's just something I want... Not need!! I have this vision in my head of myself in a cute outfit in Rome haha...I'm silly

fmpden May 16th, 2012 07:38 AM

I always view 5 hours as a sucker play. You would think you should have enough time to do something but you really don't. I assume you are counting the time between your plane landing and the other taking off. Lets look at you time line. OA is out of the question because of the difficult of catching a return cab. Lets go to Rome.

From the time you plane lands till you are in Rome is a solid hour and many a bit more. And of course the return will be about the same. Down to three hours or less. If it is an afternoon departure the airport can get to a real zoo at that time so I would plan at least a hour to get through security and to your gate. Down to two hours. Now you could catch a cab to the Pantheon, walk a bit, quick hike pass the Trevi foundation, little gelato, and a cab back to Termini. A quicker option would be a cab from the airport to Rome and back. The taxi fare is fixed at 40E and the train is 28E for two each way. You might gain an extra 30 minutes with a taxi. Either way it will be a fast two hours.

kybourbon May 16th, 2012 08:31 AM

The local train from the airport to Rome's Tiburtina station is more frequent (departs every 15 minutes - 8€) than the Leonardo Express (departs every 30 minutes - 14€) to Termini. You could take the local train and get off at Trastevere (travel time 26 minutes) where you could enjoy a cafe/restaurant or hop the tram at the Trastevere train station that takes you to Largo Argentina. Piazza Navona is a few minutes walk from there. You could also stay on the local train one more stop to Rome Ostiense train station (travel time from airport is 32 minutes) where you could switch to the metro to the Colosseum.

Probably your best bet is to hire a limo or taxi to town (taxi is set fee from the airport of 40€).

nytraveler May 16th, 2012 09:44 AM

Do you have 5 hours between flights? - if so leaving the airport makes no sense. Just get a book and a place for a decent snack there. (Esp true if you are ariving on an intrnational flight and need to go through pasport control.)

If you really have 5 hours to do something - that is 9 hours between flights - then I would grab the train to Rome, pick out one key sight to see and then have a decent lunch or dinner.

socaltraveler May 16th, 2012 01:46 PM

Again, with that time frame (and the time your itinerary says your plane lands is certainly not the time it will be after the plane taxs to the gate, you disembark, go through passport control, etc), and the fact you are attending a wedding the next day (is there a later flight to Albania that day should you miss your flight?), add in the costs of getting to Rome, this is a lot of trouble for a picture of yourself in a cute outfit. OK, I'm too old to want to do anything other than find a comfortable place to sit (near my departure gate), have an espresso or a glass of wine.

tflulgjura May 16th, 2012 03:56 PM

:) I agree with you^ your calculations make sense. I am 25 and a newlywed and a dreamer haha, but you are right though, it does sound like a lot of trouble. I have been in the Rome airport several times before and never even thought to go out of the airport, I was perfectly fine browsing through the airport, people watching :) but since this time I am with my husband and I don't know when we will get the chance to visit Italy next I thought maybe I could do that, the romantic side of me was hopeful

mscleo May 16th, 2012 04:30 PM

Don't stress yourself out - stay in the airport. Although you say you have five hours, you really don't - not with getting off the plane, going thru Customs, then having to go back thru security when you re-enter the airport. Stay in the airport, have a nice lunch, read a book, people watch...and when you have another chance, visit Rome properly!

pctraveler May 16th, 2012 05:31 PM

I agree with those suggesting you stay put. I suspect that the flights between FCO and Albania are infrequent, so I would wait for the next time. We had a similar situation a few years ago in Brussels and did take the train in to the city center, but we were only going on to Florence, so we really didn't have a problem with the timing...also, as I recall, the Brussels airport was not nearly the mad house that FCO is.

ggreen May 16th, 2012 05:54 PM

Ah tflulgjura, I was following this thread to see what you would decide. I myself wouldn't feel comfortable with as you say really only 3 hours to get into Rome and back - but I understand the impulse! <i>Especially</i> since you're a newlywed and it's such a romantic city...

You say you don't know when you'll get a chance to visit Italy next. But you have (at least) two things going for you: you're only 25 (lots of time yet to return); and now you have this sound advice from Fodorites, so the next time you have to transfer at FCO, hopefully you can manage for a little more time!

I can tell you that for me, somehow it ended up being 20 years between one visit to Rome and the next. But it was just the same; just as great! And since he'd never been there before, my boyfriend really appreciated having a few days to explore. ;)

(I can also tell you that when I was in China, I wanted <i>so</i> badly to see the terra cotta warriors in Xi'an. And I had a multiple-hour layover at the airport there, so it seemed so... possible! But I found out from Fodorites that the airport and the warrior site aren't at all near one another, and in the end it turned out I had all kinds of delays with both legs of my flight. So... next time! LOL.)

Buon viaggio!

tflulgjura May 17th, 2012 03:50 AM

Ah grazie mille ggreen :)
I am hoping it won't be 20 years haha till I go visit Rome. My original plan was to get another flight that had a 9 hour wait and I believe that would have been plenty. But this trip I am going to too was last minute I just booked my tickets 2 days ago. My sister in law was supposed to get married in September, and then changed it to June. So really I didn't have a chance to play around with the tickets I had to book whatever was available, plus I can only take a week off work so I can't afford to spend a day or two in Italy, we need/want to spend all the time in Albania with the family. If we would have gone in September we could have stayed 2 weeks and able to spend a few days in Italy. But I guess it never goes how you plan. However, we will be going probably every year or so to Albania since my husband has all his side of the family there, and I am positive that one of those time I will spend some time in Italy,visit cities I haven't been too. I love Italy, I have fond memories there.
To as what I am gonna do with this situation I am not sure yet I guess, I am flying in from Amsterdam not straight from USA so I will have time there to freshen up and rest just a bit. I guess we will see when we get there. We are on a very tight, crazy would be logical for us to rest, because as soon as we land in Albania, we drive an hour to get to my in laws, then we go to a party, then the next morning the wedding!! Ahhh So basically no sleep! Like I said the logical thing is to rest in the airport, maybe sleep but am I the logical one?! Umm...we shall see. I'll keep you posted :)

traveller1959 May 17th, 2012 05:05 AM

Of course I would go.

Spending five hours at an airport is a torture...

If money is not an issue, I would take a taxi and drive into town. I would stop at the Pantheon - a stunning Roman structure (which needs just a few minutes to visit). Then I would leave the taxi at the Forum Romanum and I would stroll over the Forum. Then I would take another taxi to bring me to the Collosseum. You would have enough time to go inside. Then I would hire a third taxi to bring me back to the airport.

If you want to save money, you can take the train to Termini.

I cannot image to spend boring five hours at the airport when one of the world's most beautiful cities is 30 minutes away.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:39 AM.