Whether you’re backpacking through Europe, going on a cruise, or don’t have a lot of time off work, you might have just a single day to visit Rome. That’s not a lot when you consider all there is to see and experience in the Eternal City.

It’s true that you might miss out on some of the deeper, more cultural significance of the city by only doing it one day, but you can still hit the high points if you plan carefully and time it right. You might be exhausted afterwards, but here are some ways that you can experience Rome in just one day.

Book a Tour

This is probably one of the most efficient ways to see the major highlights. Depending on your tour itinerary, you could see the Vatican museums and Sistine Chapel in the morning, have lunch at one of Rome’s many incredible restaurants, then look at monuments like the Coloseum, triumphal Arch of Constantine, and the ruins of the Roman Forum for the remainder of your tour.

Most tours will let you walk around and take photographs as well. The price for one of these single-day tours isn’t bad considering what you’re getting, and you’ll see all the major points of the city without any hassle on your part.

Time Everything Right

Booking a professional tour is by far the simplest solution for seeing the high points. However, if you decide to go without, it’s most important to time it right. The last thing you want is to plan everything to the minute, only to realize that a few of your destinations will be closed when you arrive.

For example, most churches are open from 7:30-12:30 p.m., then closed for a few hours, and then reopen from 3:30 or 4:00 until 7:30 p.m. Additionally, the Vatican Museum is only open from 8:20 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. in the fall and winter and until 3:20 in the spring and summer. Some museums and churches are also closed to the public on Sundays. Factor this into your plans so you don’t miss anything.  

Have a Transportation Plan

If you’re trying to see everything in Rome in a single day, you can’t waste time trying to hail a taxi or figure out bus routes. You need a solid plan before you arrive.

You’ll likely be doing a lot of walking, so wearing sensible shoes is a good first step. However, you can’t walk everywhere. It’s two and a half miles from the Vatican to the Colosseum, for example, and you simply don’t have time to walk that distance.

Taxis are fairly affordable in the city, so it might be a worthwhile medium for convenience’s sake. However, if you’re on a budget, you’ll want a good idea of bus routes to save money on your trip.

Make a List of Priorities

Your idea of a great visit might be different from someone else’s. You’ll probably want to add in the Colosseum, Vatican, and Sistine Chapel, but if there’s anything else you’d really like to see, add it to the list as you plan your visit.

Here are some other great sights you might consider on your trip:

  • Pantheon
  • Roman Forum
  • Trevi Fountain
  • St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Piazza Navona
  • Galleria Borghese
  • Palatine Hill
  • Castel Sant’Angelo
  • Campo de’ Fiori
  • Capitoline Hill
  • National Roman Museum
  • Santa Maria in Trastevere
  • Altare della Patria
  • Catacombs of Rome

It’s not likely that you’ll be able to see all of these sights in a single day, so make a list of priorities and factor those into your plan.

You might only have a day to visit the Eternal City now, but if you want to truly experience it, try to come back in the future. You could spend a couple of weeks seeing the sights and experiencing the city. Rome in a day is possible, but it shouldn’t be your last visit.