10 Best Things to See in Rome (if you have limited time)

So, what are the best things to see in Rome, especially if you only have limited time? I got you!

Rome is a gorgeous city rich in history and culture. Famous for its impressive monuments, archaeological sites, and food, it’s no wonder it’s one of the top destinations not just in Europe but in the world.

I had the opportunity to visit Europe a few years back. Coming from a third-world country with a weak passport, this was a huge deal! So, I immediately filed for a vacation leave and planned my trip to Rome.

However, since I had to stay in Amsterdam for two weeks for work and planned on visiting other European destinations, I only had limited time to visit Rome. So, I carefully created an itinerary that allowed me to see what, in my opinion, are the best things to see in Rome.

The Boho Travels visiting the best things to see in Rome, including the Colosseum!

Rome is such a lovely city—a visual feast everywhere! You can spend a few days or weeks here and probably still won’t see all the beautiful sights it offers.

So, if, like me, you have limited time in this beautiful city and would like to know the best sights to see in Rome, then you’re in the right place!

Read on and, by the end of this blog post, you’ll have the answer to the question, “What are the best things to see in Rome?”

Short on time?

Here are my recommended travel planning resources for your trip to Rome!

✈️ Flights: Book your flights with WayAway [BONUS: Get cashback for flights, accommodations, car rentals, tours with WayAway Plus]

🛌 Hotels & Accommodation: Booking.com & Hostelworld
Budget: Ostello Bello Roma Colosseo
Mid-range: Hotel Regina Margherita
Luxury: Hotel Artemide

🏞️ Tours & Activities: GetYourGuide & Viator

👣 Recommended Experiences:
Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill Guided Tour
– Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica Guided Tour
– Castel Sant’Angelo Guided Tour
– Pantheon Guided Tour

– Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Navona, and Pantheon Sunset Tour

❗️At the very least, I recommend getting yourself a Roma Pass (to skip the very long lines getting into the Colosseum and Castel Sant’Angelo) and free entrance to many tourist attractions in Rome!

🗺️ Getting around: Google Maps

🛜 e-Sim: Airalo
📁 Visas & Other Travel Documents: iVisa
🩺 Travel Medical Insurance: SafetyWing

*These are all travel resources I personally use for planning and booking my trips. If you use them, some of them will earn me a commission at no extra cost to you. This helps reduce the ever-increasing costs of keeping my site up. Thanks!


Best Things to See in Rome

With the many things to see in Rome, it’s not easy to shortlist just a few! And if you have limited time in the city, the task is even more challenging.

But don’t worry, I got you! Here are the best things to see in Rome, especially if you only have a couple of days to spend in this gorgeous city!

1) Colosseum

Inside the Colosseum, one of the best things to see in Rome

When you visit Rome, you shouldn’t miss stopping by the Colosseum. Also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Colosseum is where the gladiators fought in the early days. One of the iconic structures in Italy, the Colosseum is indeed one of the best things to see in Rome.

💡 Pro Tip

BOOK A GUIDED TOUR OF THE COLOSSEUM (including the Colosseum Underground and Arena Floor).

While I loved having had the opportunity to visit the Colosseum and see it up close (without waiting a couple of hours to get in), one of my regrets was not booking a guided tour of this popular tourist spot. I would’ve loved to get more information and insights from a local expert about the Colosseum.

So, if you don’t want to have any regrets, I recommend booking a guided tour of the Colosseum.

Want to save time?

GET YOURSELF A ROMA PASS. The line going into the Colosseum was very long.  But because of our 72-hour Roma Pass, we were able to skip the line and get in super quickly, saving us a couple of hours and making purchasing the Roma Pass worth it!


2) The Roman Forum

Just within the compounds of the Colosseum, you can access the Roman Forum, one of Rome’s most popular tourist attractions.

The Roman Forum was once the center of Ancient Rome, where political, religious, and social events and activities were held.

If you’re a history buff, then you’ll love the Roman Forum. Here, you can also explore the remnants of the Temple of Julius Caesar, the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Septimius Severus, the Temple of Romulus, and the Arch of Titus, to name just a few.


3) Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums, located inside Vatican City, are some of the best things to see in Rome.

The Vatican City, which became the world’s smallest city-state in 1929 and is considered a country on its own, is also bordered by Rome, so you can visit it when you’re in Rome.

Seeing the Vatican Museum convinced me that the Roman Catholic Church is extremely wealthy.

Their art collection was unlike anything I’ve ever encountered, so every stop we made left me mesmerized and awe-stricken. My neck also hurt because the ceilings were extraordinarily well-carved and intricately painted. I couldn’t stop myself from looking up!

The only downside for me was the huge crowd, so we needed to speed things up. I would’ve loved the chance to have more time to admire what I was seeing.

Part of the tour was a short stop at the Sistine Chapel. While there was quite a crowd when we arrived, the experience was still surreal.

Knowing that this is where the Papal conclave happens gave me the chills. We also learned that Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel while standing on scaffolding that he built himself. The intricate details of the painting left us amazed and grateful for such an opportunity to see it firsthand.

Entrance Fee: Vatican Museum Entrance Fee: 17 EUR (18 years old +), 8 EUR (children aged 6-8 years old); 8 EUR (students), 8 EUR (members of the clergy)

💡 Pro Tip

BOOK A GUIDED TOUR OF THE VATICAN MUSEUMS, SISTINE CHAPEL, AND ST. PETER’S BASILICA AHEAD OF TIME.

We got so busy with work that we made the mistake of putting off buying tickets for the Vatican Museum & St. Peter’s Basilica Tour up to the last minute.

So, we spent an entire night looking for a tour organizer that could accommodate us, but we couldn’t find one! We asked ourselves, “How committed are we to doing this?” We decided to brave it through, wake up super early, and head to the Vatican, even without the certainty that we’d be able to get in or if we were going to take that long line.

The lines at the Vatican were super long. We were almost going to give up when someone approached us asking if we wanted to join their guided tour, which would also allow us to get in 30 minutes earlier than the crowd. 

While writing this, I’m thinking—what went inside our heads? That could’ve been a scam! LOL! But, you know, sometimes you must trust people, be quick on your toes, and stick to your commitment. You may just be surprised at where it will lead you.

While you can do it the way we did – and by that, I mean trust that the universe will conspire to make things happen for you – I’m all for it! That’s a great adventure, too!

But, if you want to be sure that you can get inside the Vatican, plus have an English-speaking guide to the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica, I invite you to book a guided tour ahead of time!


4) Peter’s Basilica

After touring The Vatican Museums, we headed to St. Peter’s Basilica. I’ve read about it countless times when I was younger, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be able to see it in person.

At one point, I knelt and prayed on one of the pews. While praying for people dear to me, I was slowly engulfed in overwhelming gratitude. A spillover from meeting the fantastic team in Amsterdam that I helped build, seeing old and new friends, and bonding with the incredible HR team, having had the opportunity to visit Europe, visit so many beautiful places, and be inside the St. Peter’s Basilica – all these made me extremely grateful and feel blessed.

I took as many pictures as possible to share my experience with my family and friends. I want them, too, to see that dreams do come true. You just have to know what you are looking for, and the universe will surely deliver.

Entrance Fee: FREE


5) Castel Sant’Angelo

I knew Castel Sant’Angelo would be beautiful, but I didn’t realize it would be jaw-dropping, which is why Castel Sant’Angelo is definitely one of the best things to see in Rome.

Entering Castel Sant’Angelo reminded me of the colors of the underground mosque in Indonesia, but its inside was Rome’s own. The designs were so deliberate and well-preserved that you’d forget you’re tired!

Every floor, ceiling, and wall is unique and beautiful. We stopped and appreciated each beauty as if we would not see it again anytime soon.

When you reach the top, you will have a bird’s eye view of Rome—indeed, one of the best things to see in Rome. It made me feel like I’m such a tiny speck in this universe, and there’s so much more I still need to explore and discover to experience God’s greatness.

Entrance Fee: 16 EUR (adults); 4 EUR (18-25 years old), 2 EUR (under 18 years old)

💡 Pro Tip

BOOK A GUIDED TOUR OF CASTEL SANT’ANGELO. While I enjoyed exploring Castel Sant’Angelo, one thing I wished we had done differently was we should’ve booked a guided tour. Castel Sant’Angelo is full of history, and it would’ve been great to learn more about it from a local expert.

So, if you don’t want to have regrets, like I did, I recommend booking a guided tour of Castel Sant’Angelo.

Want to save time?

GET YOURSELF A ROMA PASS. The line getting into Castel Sant’Angelo can be pretty long, depending on what time you’re visiting it.

But because of our 72-hour Roma Pass, we were able to skip the line and get in without having to wait in line.

If you want to save time and skip the lines, get your Roma Pass here


6) The Pantheon

The Pantheon is, in my opinion, one of the best things to see in Rome. 

The Pantheon, one of Rome’s most notable structures, was impressive. I couldn’t take my eyes off the stunning ceiling, and the perfectly carved details were enthralling. It was like being in a different world, a world I was unaware existed.

While being mesmerized by the Pantheon, I had a thought bubble. As an Asian, I am super happy and amazed visiting and exploring different Asian countries, but Europe is a different monster!

Ours are interesting ancient designs, and theirs are classically beautiful. Even just walking around makes me realize how different the world I grew up in is from the world I’m currently exploring – at least in terms of structures.

With the people, though, we’re all equal. It’s lovely to know that Europeans, in general, are very kind and accommodating to someone who doesn’t look like them at all.

Entrance Fee: 5 EUR (adults), 3 EUR (18-25 year-olds), FREE (children)

💡 Pro Tip

BOOK A GUIDED TOUR OF THE PANTHEON. While I loved my experience exploring the Pantheon, one of the things I hoped I had done differently was to book a guided tour of this historical place. 

Yes, you can definitely explore the Pantheon on your own or with a guidebook or an audio guide. But learning about this place and getting insights from a local expert while exploring the Pantheon would be an amazing experience.

I had a very short glimpse of this when a guided tour group was also treading the path that we were on while exploring the Pantheon. While I only got to listen for about a minute to the local guide, I knew that I made the mistake of not booking a guided tour of the Pantheon.

So, if you want to avoid having regrets like I did, book a guided tour of the Pantheon.


7) Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is another must-visit place in Rome. Built in 86 AD as a stadium for athletic competitions, walking around Piazza Navona is like visiting an open-air museum. 

At Piazza Navona, you’ll find the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers) by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Fontana del Moro (Fountain of the Moor) by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and Fontana del Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune) by Giacomo della Porta, Antonio Della Bitta, and Gregorio Zappalà – making it one of the best things to see in Rome for any art and history lover.

Entrance Fee: FREE


8) The Spanish Steps

La Scalinata di Trinita dei Monti, more famously known as the Spanish Steps, was designed by Francesco de Sanctis. Housed in Piazza di Spagna, this 135-step iconic staircase, decorated in Roman Baroque style, is one of Rome’s most popular tourist spots.

Entrance Fee: FREE

💡 Pro Tip: Visit the Spanish Steps early in the morning, as it can get quite crowded as the day progresses.


9) Trevi Fountain

Just a 10-minute walk from Piazza di Spagna, you’ll find one of Rome’s biggest attractions, the Trevi Fountain.

I’ve seen photos of the Trevi Fountain since I was a kid. And seeing it in real life was surreal and a tad overwhelming. To me, its intricate and beautiful artwork in Baroque style makes the Trevi Fountain one of the best things to see in Rome.

Entrance Fee: FREE

💡 Pro Tip: Don’t forget to throw a coin over your shoulder when you visit the Trevi Fountain (don’t worry, the coins collected from the Trevi Fountain are donated to Caritas, a Catholic charity). People believe that doing so will mean you’ll return to Rome one day!


10) San Pietro in Vincoli Basilica

San Pietro in Vincoli Basilica (Basilica of Saint Peter in Chains) is not usually included on the list of the best things to see in Rome, but I think it should be.

Known to hold the chains believed to have been used to imprison Saint Peter in two different instances, San Pietro in Vincoli Basilica also houses the sculpture of Moses by Michaelangelo, the burial monument to Pope Julius II, and these intricate frescoes, making it one of the best things to see in Rome.

Entrance Fee: FREE

💡 Pro Tip: If you have more time, you should also visit Villa Borghese, the Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, and Domus Aurea.


Map of best things to see in Rome (if you have limited time)

Here’s a link to the map of the best things to see in Rome (if you have limited time).  

Where to stay in Rome

👉🏼 Budget Option: Ostello Bello Roma Colosseo is a hostel at the heart of Rome. Guests love staying here because of the friendly staff, walking distance to some of the best things to see in Rome (including the Colosseum), its cleanliness, and safety.

👉🏼 Mid-Range Option: Guests love staying at Hotel Regina Margherita because of its friendly staff and location. It’s in a quieter area in Rome. It also has a bus stop in front and near Policlinico Metro Station. Plus, there are nearby restaurants and bars in Rome for those who want to unwind after walking all day!

👉🏼 Luxury Option: Located in Monti, Hotel Artemide is just a 10-minute walk to Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. Guests love staying here because of its welcoming and helpful staff, walking distance to the Trevi Fountain, Spanish steps, and Colosseum, and many restaurants and pubs nearby.


FAQs: Best Things to See in Rome

Here are the frequently asked questions about the best things to see in Rome:

When in Rome, you shouldn’t miss visiting the Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Castel Sant’Angelo, and St. Peter’s Basilica.

The answer varies from person to person. Personally, I think the Colosseum is the number one must-see in Rome.

Definitely! While you won’t be able to see everything there is to see in Rome, spending three (3) days in Rome is enough time to explore the top tourist attractions, enjoy a drink or two, and people-watch in one of the piazzas.

  • Day 1: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, Pantheon
  • Day 2: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, Castel Sant’Angelo
  • Day 3: Villa Borghese, Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, Domus Aurea, and Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli

Yes, Rome is a walkable city! Walking around Rome is charming and romantic. Many of its tourist attractions are pretty close to each other, so it’s easy to see the best sights on foot, as long as you plan your itinerary well. 

Four (4) days in Rome isn’t too much. We spent four (4) days in Rome during my last visit, and we had the chance to see the best things to see in Rome. We also had some free time to explore the food scene, have some drinks, and go shopping! 

Yes, it is! Spending two (2) days in Rome will be enough for you to see the highlights, including the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Castel Sant’Angelo, Colosseum, Roman Forum, Vatican Museum, and St. Peter’s Basilica.


The Wrap-Up: Best Things to See in Rome (if you have limited time)

Rome is a beautiful city full of history, culture, and romance. I hope this guide on the best things to see in Rome helped you plan your trip to this beautiful destination. I hope you’ll have a fantastic time in this gorgeous city, as much as we did! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to help!


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