Where to stay in Rome without a car: 7 Best areas

I love to explore places without a car, and on my website, I cover many topics for car-free travelers. In this article, we will visit Rome and help you find the best places to stay in Rome without a car. 

I will share my recommendations for the top areas to stay in Rome without a car, along with a helpful map. I’ll also tell you where I stayed in Rome and suggest the best hotels in Rome for all budgets.

It is relatively easy to get around Rome without a car. In fact, driving a car in the city center of Rome can be quite challenging due to traffic congestion, limited parking, and restricted zones.

Public transportation, combined with walking and occasional taxi rides, is the most practical and cost-effective way to get around Rome. The city is designed for pedestrians and offers an authentic experience when exploring its historic sites and vibrant street life. 

Rome has an extensive public transportation system, including buses, trams, and an efficient metro system. The metro system is relatively limited compared to other European cities but is still useful for getting to some key points.

You can use Metro Line A to visit Vatican Museums, St Peter’s, Spanish Step, and Borghese Gallery. And metro Line B to visit the Colosseum, Circus Maximus, Testaccio, and Roman Forum. Take care of your belongings and be aware of pickpockets when traveling in public transportation.

You can purchase tickets at metro stations, newsstands, or tobacco shops. Single tickets are usually valid for 100 minutes and can be used on multiple forms of public transportation.

The Leonardo Express train runs directly from Fiumicino Airport to Termini Station in the city center. Trains run every 15-30 minutes, and the journey takes 30 minutes. It is one of the fastest and most convenient options. You can also take regional fl1 train, airport shuttle bus, or taxi.

Many of Rome’s most famous attractions, such as the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and the Pantheon, are located close to each other in the historic city center. Walking is an excellent way to explore these areas while enjoying the city’s architecture and atmosphere. 

Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes! Also be prepared for cobblestone streets, uneven surfaces, and narrow alleyways, particularly in the historic center. 

You can also take a taxi/Uber which is a convenient way to get around, especially if you have heavy luggage. Always ensure that the taxi has a meter and that it’s running to avoid overcharging.

If you plan to visit places outside of Rome, such as Pompeii, Florence, or Venice, you can use the city’s central train station, Roma Termini. High-speed trains connect Rome to other major Italian cities.

Rome also has Bike-sharing and scooter-sharing, providing an eco-friendly and convenient way to explore the city. Be aware of the traffic and safety regulations when using these options.

Tourist buses offer hop-on, hop-off services that can take you to major attractions in the city. These are a convenient option for tourists who want to see the highlights in a short time.

Where to stay in Rome without a car?

The best areas to stay in Rome without a car are Centro Storico, Trastevere, Monti/Colosseum, Prati/Vatican, Spanish Steps, Termini Station/Esquilino, and Testaccio. These are all central, well-connected areas, so you will easily explore the city on foot and by using public transportation.

Centro Storico is the historic center of Rome, and is the most popular area to stay in Rome for first-timers and car-free travelers. It is where you’ll find iconic sites like the Piazza Navona, Campo di Fiori and the Pantheon, and the Trevi Fountain. This area has plenty of B&Bs, and boutique accommodations.

Trastevere is a great base for a local and authentic Roman atmosphere. It is a charming, bohemian neighborhood known for its narrow streets, restaurants, and nightlife. Easy access to the historic center by tram or a pleasant walk across the Tiber River.

Monti/Colosseum also offers central location to book accommodation and is best suited for those who want to stay close to the Colosseum and Roman Forum. It is also a trendy and artistic district with a village-like atmosphere.

The Prati/Vatican area offers a quieter atmosphere compared to the city center. It is known for its close proximity to the Vatican City, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Vatican Museums. It is well-connected to the rest of the city by metro and buses.

Spanish Steps area is a fashionable and upscale area, ideal for luxury shopping and dining. Termini Station/Esquilino is a budget-friendly area and is convenient if you’ll be arriving or departing by train, as Termini is the central train station.

Testaccio offers a more local atmosphere, and is known for its food scene, including local markets and traditional Roman trattorias.

During my trip to Rome, I stayed in the historic center at the popular Hotel Barrett. The hotel has a central location, right next to Torre Argentina and within a short walk from the iconic Pantheon. It is also close to the lively Campo de’ Fiori and Piazza Navona. Easy access to buses and trams.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Rome for car-free travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the most popular areas to stay in Rome for travelers
Map of the most popular areas to stay in Rome for travelers

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Rome, especially for travelers without a car. I’ll also provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Rome have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

7 Best areas to stay in Rome without a car:

1. Centro Storico

Centro Storico (historic center) of Rome is one of the best areas to stay in Rome for visitors who want to be right in the heart of the city, surrounded by its iconic landmarks and attractions. The Centro Storico is not only a convenient base for sightseeing but also offers a charming and atmospheric experience. 

You’ll be within walking distance of iconic sites like the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, and the Roman Forum. The Colosseum is a bit farther, but still reachable on foot or short taxi ride.

The Centro Storico is characterized by narrow cobblestone streets, Renaissance palaces, and Baroque churches, making it a picturesque area for leisurely strolls.

There are numerous restaurants, cafes, and gelato shops where you can savor Roman cuisine. High-end shopping can be found in nearby areas like the Spanish Steps.

The Centro Storico offers a vibrant nightlife with many bars and clubs, especially around Campo de’ Fiori and the Jewish Ghetto.

Keep in mind that the Centro Storico can get crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons. It’s a popular area for visitors, so be prepared for larger crowds during the day.

Best places to stay in Rome Centro Storico without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): The Pantheon Iconic Rome Hotel, Autograph Collection, 5-star hotel, centrally located in the historic center of Rome, within easy walk from Pantheon and Piazza Navona. You can also walk to Fontana di Trevi and Spanish Steps.
  • Mid-range ($$): Palazzo Navona Hotel, great 4-star hotel, conveniently located in the heart of Rome Centro Storico, a short walk from Piazza Navona square, Pantheon. It has a 24-hour front desk, Very good breakfast, and family rooms.
  • Budget ($): Navona Street Hotel, great 3-star hotel located in a prime location, within walking distance from the famous Piazza Navona,Campo de’ Fiori, and Vatican. It offers a paid airport shuttle bus and private parking for those who drive.

2. Trastevere

Trastevere is a popular and charming neighborhood located on the west bank of the Tiber River, just south of the historic center of Rome. Staying in Trastevere offers an authentic Roman experience. 

Trastevere is known for its narrow, winding streets, colorful buildings, and a genuine Roman atmosphere. It’s a more relaxed and bohemian area compared to the bustling historic center.

Trastevere is famous for its dining and nightlife scene. You’ll find a plethora of traditional trattorias, trendy bars, and restaurants serving delicious Roman and Italian cuisine. It’s an excellent place to enjoy a leisurely meal or an evening aperitivo.

Trastevere is just a short walk across the Ponte Sisto bridge from the historic center. You can easily reach popular attractions like the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and Campo de’ Fiori on foot.

Trastevere has good public transportation connections, including trams and buses that can take you to other parts of the city.

The neighborhood offers easy access to local markets, such as the Porta Portese flea market and the Campo de’ Fiori market, where you can find fresh produce, antiques, and more.

The area is also home to some historic sites such as the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere.

Best places to stay in Rome in Trastevere without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Villa Agrippina Gran Meliá, 5-star hotel, offering rooms with views of the famous Vatican, Vicolo di Sant’Onofrio, and Castel Sant’Angel. It is within walking distance (10-20 mins) to major sights such as St Peter’s Basilica, Campo de’ Fiori, and the center of Trastevere.
  • Mid-range ($$): UNAHOTELS Trastevere Roma, great 4-star hotel located close to  Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere, Campo de’ Fiori and Roman Forum. Short bus/taxi/Uber ride to major attractions.
  • Budget ($): Hotel Trastevere, 3-star hotel, located in the lively Trastevere area, full of bars and restaurants, within walking distance from Vatican and Piazza Navona. Short distance from Trastevere Train Station for services to Fiumicino Airport.

3. Monti/Colosseum

The Monti district is a vibrant and historic neighborhood located just southeast of the historic center. It is a great area to book hotels if you have a strong interest in ancient history and want to be in close proximity to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.

Monti’s central location offers easy access to major sights on foot. The Metro stations at Cavour or Colosseo can take you to the Vatican easily.

Monti is known for its artistic and creative community. You’ll find art galleries, boutiques, and a hip, bohemian atmosphere. It’s a great place to explore on foot.

Monti is home to a variety of restaurants, cafes, and shops. It’s a great place to sample traditional Roman dishes and shop for unique artisanal products. Piazza della Madonna dei Monti, are charming gathering places where you can relax, have a coffee, or simply people-watch.

Best places to stay in Rome in Monti/Colosseum without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Hotel Palazzo Manfredi, 5-star hotel, located right  right next to the Colosseum, offering paid airport shuttle bus, easy walk to  Colosseo Metro Station, 
  • Mid-range ($$): FH55 Grand Hotel Palatino, popular 4-star hotel, located in Monti, within walking distance from the Coliseum, Cavour Metro, The Forum, and the Parco di Traiano. Also close to Termini Train Station and Esquilino with its markets and ethnic restaurants.
  • Budget ($): Hotel Centro Cavour Roma, great 3-star hotel located on Via Cavour, within walking distance from Coliseum, Roman Forum, and Via Del Corso shopping street. It is also close to Cavour Metro Station, offering a train to Termini Train Station, which is only one stop away.

4. Prati/Vatican

Prati is a well-known neighborhood situated in the northern part of the city, just across the Tiber River from the historic center. It is an affluent and upscale district with a more modern and orderly layout compared to the historic center of Rome. 

Prati is known for its proximity to Vatican City, the world’s smallest independent state and the spiritual and administrative center of the Roman Catholic Church. St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s Square, two of the most iconic and important religious landmarks in the world, are located here.

Via Cola di Rienzo is one of Prati’s main streets and is famous for its shopping. It features a wide range of high-end boutiques, shops, and department stores.

Prati is known for its elegant and well-maintained residential and commercial buildings. It’s a district characterized by its neoclassical and Art Nouveau architecture.

Piazza Cavour central square is surrounded by government buildings, including the Palace of Justice, which is Italy’s highest court. It’s an area where you can observe the city’s legal and political activities.

Park Adriano, located in the heart of Prati, offers a green space for relaxation and leisure activities. It’s a great place to escape the city’s hustle and bustle.

Best places to stay in Rome in Prati/Vatican without a car:

  • Mid-range ($$): Apollo Boutique Hotel, 4-star hotel located on Via Fornovo, in one of the most exclusive areas of Rome, a short walk from Lepanto Metro Station for easy access to Rome historic center. Within walking distance from Piazza del Popolo and Castel Sant’Angelo. 
  • Budget ($): Eccelso Hotel, 3-star hotel, well-located in Prati, within walking distance from Ottaviano Metro Station and Lepanto Metro Station. Close to Vatican Museums and Castel Sant’Angelo. The hotel offers a paid shuttle taxi to Rome Ciampino airport.
  • Luxury ($$$): The First Musica, 5-star hotel located along the River, within walking distance from Lepanto Metro Station and major sights such as Castel Sant’Angelo and Piazza del Popo.

5. Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps area is a famous and bustling district in the heart of Rome known for its iconic Spanish Steps and the lively Piazza di Spagna. It is also known for its proximity to  Trevi Fountain and Villa Borghese.

The Spanish Steps themselves are a monumental stairway of more than a hundred steps linking Spanish Square at the bottom with the Piazza Trinità dei Monti at the top. The steps are a popular gathering place and a great spot to sit and people-watch. They are adorned with a beautiful mix of azaleas and other flowers during the spring.

At the bottom of the Spanish Steps, you’ll find the famous Piazza di Spagna. This square is a hub of activity and is surrounded by elegant shops, cafes, and art galleries. It’s also where you’ll find the Barcaccia Fountain, designed by Pietro and Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Via dei Condotti is one of Rome’s most fashionable shopping streets, known for its high-end designer boutiques and luxury brands. It’s a great place for shopping enthusiasts.

Keats-Shelley House is dedicated to the Romantic poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley, who both spent time in Rome. It’s located near the Spanish Steps and provides insight into their lives and work.

At the top of the Spanish Steps is the Trinità dei Monti Church, a beautiful Renaissance church with a stunning view over the Piazza di Spagna and the city of Rome. The square in front of the church is a popular spot for taking in the view and photos.

The Spanish Steps area is not only a historic and cultural landmark but also a vibrant center of shopping, dining, and entertainment. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the beautiful city of Rome.

Best places to stay in Rome around Spanish Steps without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Rocco Forte Hotel De La Ville, 5-star hotel, located in Spagna, just above the Spanish Steps, 10 mins walk from The Trevi Fountain, Villa Borghese, Spagna Metro, and Palazzo Barberini. It has 3 restaurants and fabulous breakfast according to guests’ reviews. 
  • Mid-range ($$): Mario De’ Fiori 37, 4-star hotel, located in the most exclusive neighborhood in Rome, a short walk from the famous Spanish Step, Via Condotti, Pantheon and Piazza Navona. Also close to restaurants, supermarkets and metro stations.
  • Budget ($): Hotel Scalinata Di Spagna, great 3-star hotel, located at the top of the Spanish Steps leading to Trinità dei Monti, short walk to The elevator to Spagna Metro Station. 

6. Termini Station/Esquilino

Termini Station (Stazione Termini) and the Esquilino district are great areas for budget travelers and those who want to stay close to the train station.

Termini Station is the main railway station in Rome and one of the busiest transportation hubs in Italy. It is named after the nearby Baths of Diocletian, which are a short walk away.

The station is a major transportation hub where you can catch trains to and from various destinations in Italy, including international connections. It’s also the primary terminal for the Leonardo Express train that connects Rome’s Fiumicino Airport to the city center.

Esquilino features various historic sites, including the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, which is one of the four major basilicas in Rome and known for its beautiful mosaics.

The neighborhood offers a mix of architectural styles, from ancient Roman remains to Art Nouveau buildings. It’s also a place where you can experience the city’s diverse culinary scene, with many restaurants and markets offering international and Italian cuisine.

The Esquilino market (Mercato Esquilino) is a popular spot for fresh produce, spices, and international ingredients. It reflects the district’s multicultural population.

Best places to stay in Rome in Termini Station without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): NH Collection Palazzo Cinquecento, great 5-star hotel located right next to the  Termini Metro and Train Station. Easy access to major sights on foot and public transportation.
  • Mid-range ($$): UNAHOTELS Decò Roma, popular 4-star hotel located just a few steps from  Termini Train Station, easy access to  bus, metro and tram. It is only 2 metro stops from the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain. The hotel offers a daily buffet breakfast and private parking.
  • Budget ($): Hotel Balilla, great 3-star hotel located within walking distance from Vittorio Emanuele Metro Station, Porta Maggiore, offering luggage storage space for guests. It is also close to San Giovanni Metro Station, Sapienza University of Rome, and Santa Maria Maggiore.

7. Testaccio

Testaccio is a historic and vibrant neighborhood located on the left bank of the Tiber River, just south of the city center, Testaccio offers a unique and authentic Roman experience. 

Testaccio is named after Monte Testaccio, a large artificial hill made up of fragments of broken ancient Roman pottery (amphorae) that were used for transporting goods like olive oil and wine. The hill itself is an archaeological site and a testament to the city’s ancient trade history.

The neighborhood is renowned for its food culture. You’ll find traditional Roman trattorias and osterias, offering dishes such as pasta alla carbonara, coda alla vaccinara (oxtail stew), and trippa (tripe). The Testaccio Market (Mercato di Testaccio) is a popular spot to explore and sample fresh produce, cheese, meats, and street food.

Museum of the Liberation of Rome, located in Testaccio, tells the story of the Italian Resistance during World War II and the liberation of Rome from Nazi occupation.

Testaccio is home to the Pyramid of Cestius, an ancient Roman pyramid built around 12 BC as a tomb for Gaius Cestius. It’s one of the best-preserved ancient pyramids in Rome and an interesting historical site.

Monte Testaccio, also known as Monte dei Cocci, offers a unique perspective on ancient Rome and is a popular site for archaeological tours.

The neighborhood has a lively nightlife scene, with numerous bars, clubs, and entertainment venues that come alive after dark. It’s a popular destination for those looking for a night out in Rome.

Best places to stay in Rome in Testaccio without a car:

  • Mid-range ($$): San Anselmo, 4-star hotel located in Aventino, featuring rooms with views of Sant Anselmo Church. Within walking distance from Piramide Metro, San Saba Church, and Circo Massimo.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel Abitart, 4-star hotel located in the heart of the Ostiense close to Testaccio, Ostiense Railway and Metro Station, offering metro to all of Rome, including Fiumicino Airport. Within only a 10 mins walk from Eataly Roman, a high-end Italian food market.
  • Budget ($): Hotel Villa San Pio, popular 3-star hotel located in Aventine Hill, within walking distance from Circo Massimo Metro Station. 

In conclusion, Centro Storico, Trastevere, Monti, Prati, Spanish Steps, Termini Station, and Testaccio are the best places to stay in Rome without a car. These areas offer easy access to major sights and amenities both on foot and by public transportation, so you don’t need a car while staying there.

I also recommend reading articles below to know more about Rome:

There you have it, my recommendations for the popular areas that you can stay during your car-free trip to Rome. I hope you found my article helpful and enjoy your holiday!

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality travel guides.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

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