The 24 Best Rome Tours

Enjoy the efficiency of an organized tour led by experts who bring Rome's history to life.

By Kyle McCarthy, ContributorMay 31, 2019
By Kyle McCarthy, ContributorMay 31, 2019, at 2:52 p.m.
U.S. News & World Report

The 24 Best Rome Tours

Best Rome Tours

From its history to its scenery, Rome is an ideal European vacation.(Getty Images)

Rome is considered one of the world's best places to visit. And for good reason: The Eternal City offers countless attractions from every era and one of the world's most popular cuisines. But given the overwhelming crowds and restricted access to ancient sites, it can be difficult to fully enjoy all that Italy's capital has to offer. Circumvent these obstacles with a guided tour. Using both traveler sentiment and expert opinion, U.S. News selected the top 24 tours in Rome. Whether you're zipping around on a Vespa or savoring Italian wine, you'll have the benefit of fun and informative guides leading the way.

Joy of Rome – Ancient Rome – Colosseum for Kids Tour

Traveling in any busy city is a challenge, especially for those trying to excite children and teens with history and old stones. Joy of Rome's two-hour, family-focused tour of the Colosseum and Arch of Constantine rises to the challenge by engaging all ages. Join a licensed guide, skip the lines and tour the Colosseum's ground floor and first tier while learning the site's fascinating history. Guides regale your family with stories of gladiators and court intrigue and end the visit at a gelato parlor. Travelers of all ages say the expert guides ask and answer questions that enhance vistiors' knowledge and appreciation of ancient Rome. Prices depend on the number of participants, though a family of four will pay approximately 190 euros (around $215). Tickets do not include the entry fee to the Colosseum, which must be purchased separately. Tours generally depart multiple times daily. Joy of Rome also guides family-focused tours that explore the Vatican Museums, as well as standard tours for adults.

Italy Segway Tours – Rome Segway Tour

Hop on a Segway if you're feeling like the Eternal City has an eternal number of sights to see. After receiving your helmet, a poncho and a quick training session, you'll be given a headset so you can follow the lively commentary from the experienced Italy Segway Tours guide. Along the three-hour ride, you'll cruise past sights like Trajan's Forum, the Orange Garden and more. Plus, you'll don a virtual reality headset during your stop outside the Colosseum that reconstructs the famous arena's past grandeur. Travelers appreciate that Segways make getting around and seeing Rome's many sights easier and more fun, especially for families with older teens. Participants must be ages 16 to 70, at least 4 feet, 9 inches tall and weigh 90 to 265 pounds. Tours cost approximately 75 euros (around $85) per participant and up to eight people ride per trip. Tours run daily, though departure times vary by season. The company also leads a night tour, which visits the city's illuminated monuments after sundown, among a variety of other options.

TopBike Rental and Tours – Ancient Appian Way, Catacombs and Aqueducts Park

Reviewers agree this bike tour is an ideal excursion if you want to experience Rome's natural beauty in a fun, active way. Travelers have been using the Ancient Appian Way for 2,300 years and you'll traverse it with a friendly, knowledgeable local. Along the ride, you'll pass archeological sites, Christian catacombs and picturesque Roman aqueducts framing the unspoiled countryside. Riders can choose between mountain bikes or electric bikes for their trip. The tour covers roughly 15 miles, 70% of which requires off-road cycling, so TopBike recommends this tour for intermediate riders. Tour-goers can opt for a 4 1/2-hour tour starting at 55 euros (around $60) per person. A longer six-hour tour follows the same path as the short tour and also includes a guided tour of the Catacombs of St. Callixtus (or Saint Sebastian) and an aperitivo in the Caffarella Valley. Longer tours cost approximately 80 euros (around $90) per rider. Tour departures vary by season. When you're ready to ride again, try TopBike's Panoramic Unusual Tour.

Eyes of Rome – Colosseum and Roman Forum

With your private guide leading the way, you'll visit the Colosseum, explore the ancient city along paths that served the Roman Senate and learn the legends of the Temple of the Vestal Virgins. Tour-goers value the attentive guides who share history and lore in an entertaining way. Plus, the tour includes pickup at centrally located hotels, skip-the-line attraction tickets, a customizable start time and the ability to modify your tour's itinerary, pace and style. Tickets for the three-hour tour start at 287 euros (about $320) for one participant, plus approximately 35 euros (around $40) per extra adult and 25 euros (roughly $30) extra per child ages 2 to 17. The company also conducts private walking tours of Rome and daytrips to nearby cities.

Free Bike Tours Rome – Sunset Tour

Riders rave about this sunset bike tour, applauding the guides' passion for Rome and the spectacular views of the city in twilight. Departing at 4 p.m. Sunday to Friday, the three-hour ride is custom designed according to riders' interests and skill level. Knowledgeable local guides lead you on Rome's quieter streets past sights of interest. You can either rent a bike from the company for 10 euros (around $11) or you can bring your own bike. As the company's name implies, tours are free and you pay what you feel the tour is worth at the end of the excursion. Tours must be prebooked by email, and are dependent on weather and participation. Travelers who want to ensure a specific departure, or families who need bikes for kids, a bike seat or a trailer, should book a private tour. Free morning bike tours are also available.

Sample Italian staples on this tour from Roman Food Tour.(Courtesy of Roman Food Tours)

The Roman Food Tour – Prati By Sunset

Devoted foodies skip lunch for the more than 20 food and wine pairings on this four-hour evening tour of some of Rome's top eateries. Throughout the tour, you'll feast on gourmet delights, such as homemade pasta, pizza, fresh cheeses and gelato. More importantly, you'll learn tips to enhance your knowledge and pleasure in Italian cuisine. Travelers praise the expertise of the fun guides who explain each dish's origin and quality with gusto. Tours, which are offered daily, cost approximately 90 euros (roughly $100) for adults, 85 euros (about $95) for seniors and 70 euros (around $80) for children. The Roman Food Tour also offers day tours and cooking classes.

Rex-Tours – Ancient Rome Segway Tour

Roll in comfort past many of ancient Rome's major sights on this 3 1/2-hour Segway tour. Rex-Tours' expert guides lead up to six travelers around for an effortless overview of must-see landmarks, such as Trajan's Market, Capitoline Hill and the Colosseum. Reviewers applaud the knowledgeable guides who offer a wealth of information without overwhelming travelers. What's more, guides provide restaurant recommendations and tips for making the most of your visit to Rome, according to tour-goers. Ancient Rome tours depart twice daily and cost approximately 80 euros (around $90) for participants 12 and older. Travelers recommend enjoying the company's evening tour if you're visiting during the summer.

LivItaly Tours – Colosseum Underground Tour

Enjoy swift entry to the Colosseum underground and see the arena floor, Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum on this small group tour. LivItaly leads up to six travelers to the restricted lower level of the Colosseum, where dungeons confined gladiators and their opponents. In three hours, learn about ancient Rome's social order on Palatine Hill and everyday life at the forum. Travelers, especially those with children, agree that having a passionate guide with a deep knowledge of Roman history enriched the experience. Tours depart daily at multiple times. Tickets start at 99 euros (around $110) for adults and 84 euros (about $95) for children. Interested in learning even more about the Colosseum? Book the company's 90-minute Top Tiers Colosseum Tour.

Eating Europe - Trastevere Street Eats for Foodies

Travelers suggest you skip breakfast before this easygoing, three-hour walking tour of Trastevere, so you can savor the street food and sweet treats served at each stop. Mouthwatering bites range from classic supplì, or fried risotto balls stuffed with mozzarella, to trapizzino, a triangle of pizza dough stuffed with Italian fillings, plus wine and craft beers. Foodie guides share each chef's story and culinary traditions, along with tips on how to find and make the best Roman cuisine on your own. Families appreciate the tiered pricing: tickets cost approximately 50 to 80 euros (around $55 to $90), depending on age. Tours run daily except Sunday and three weeks in August. Twilight Testaccio is another tour option that eats its way through the Testaccio neighborhood, which is packed with bars and nightlife.

Food Tours of Rome - Jewish Ghetto and Campo de' Fiori by Night Food Tour

Combine sightseeing with snacking and drinking on this four-hour evening tour of the Jewish ghetto and the Campo Marzio area. Fun, knowledgeable guides make seven stops for food and wine between explaining major historic attractions like Piazza Navona and Campo de' Fiori. Stop in delis, family-run shops and restaurants to sample more than 10 items, such as gourmet cheeses and hams, pasta, espresso, and gelato. First-time visitors especially appreciate this informative introduction to the city. Rates start at 89 euros (around $99) for adults and 75 euros (about $85) for children ages 7 to 12; children 6 and younger can join for free. Food Tours of Rome can accommodate some special diets with advance notice. The company also offers a dessert and sightseeing tour of Rome, among a variety of other options.

Take a look at Rome's underground thanks to Dark Rome's Crypts and Catacombs tour.(Courtesy of Dark Rome)

Dark Rome - The Original Crypts and Catacombs Tour

Explore a 2,000-year-old civilization from below ground on this 3 1/2-hour tour of crypts and catacombs. Every afternoon, groups of up to 20 depart Piazza Barberini by bus to see where the Christian era began to flourish. Explore the catacombs where the faithful hid, look under the Basilica of San Clemente, examine pagan churches and other shrines to the dead. Expert guides with archeological backgrounds explain how the ancients lived, their beliefs and the death rituals of the Eternal City. The stellar online reviews mention that while some of the material is "dark," kids love the tour and the engaging guides. Travelers also say being underground in the heat of summer is a bonus. Expect a lot of walking and climbing up and down narrow stairs in small spaces. The tour costs approximately 70 euros (around $80) per adult and 65 euros (about $72) per child ages 2 to 14. Dark Rome also offers evening underground tours of the Colosseum, among other options.

EcoArt Travel - Rome by Segway - Ancient Rome Segway Tour

EcoArt's Segway tour glides between lesser-known ancient Rome sights, from the Knights of Malta Keyhole to the Mouth of Truth in just 3 1/2 hours. Your group of eight participants receives a personal iPod loaded with facts and legends to review at each attraction. Travelers say friendly tour leaders will customize stops, answer questions and take photos for you as well. Note that using Segways requires that travelers be 16 to 70 years of age, weigh 100 to 250 pounds and have enough mobility to go up and down stairs easily. Tickets cost approximately 80 euros (around $90) per person. EcoArt also conducts a variety of other Segway and van tours of Rome.

Tours of the Vatican with Francesco & His Team – Off the Beaten Path Vatican Tour

This three-hour guided tour focuses on the Vatican's lesser-visited museums and sights as well as the Sistine Chapel. Francesco or one of his licensed guides will whisk your group of up to 14 past the long lines and through security for a leisurely tour that promises a reprieve from the constant crowds – a major plus for reviewers. Among the areas you'll visit are the Gallery of Paintings, which houses works by the likes of Raphael and Caravaggio, and the Carriage Pavilion, home to historic popemobiles. You'll also tour the New Wing (Braccio Nuovo), which features beautiful sculptures, mosaics and artworks confiscated by Napoleon and returned after his defeat. Plan to book ahead as the price is determined by tour date and the number of people in your party. Francesco and his colleauges also offer a Vatican night tour, as well as Colosseum tours.

Miles&Miles Tour Company – History & Fun City Tour – Half Day

If you only have a day to sightsee your way through Rome's top attractions, this private five-hour van tour may be just the ticket. The knowledgeable, friendly guides effortlessly navigate traffic to provide an overview of top sights, such as the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. Rates, which do not include entry fees, begin at 350 euros (roughly $390) for up to seven travelers, making it a cost-efficient option for groups. The company will book skip-the-line tickets to any site on advance request; however, guides stay with the vehicle while you tour. The staff speaks fluent English and Italian, adding local insights and cappuccino breaks along the way. Travelers say the hotel pickup and a hassle-free day in the city makes it worth the fee.

Private Tours of Rome – Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Basilica

This private Vatican tour includes skip-the-line access to the complex and a guide who shares the Vatican Museums' top attractions in just three hours. See the artistic highlights in the Gallery of Ancient Roman Sculptures, the Gallery of Tapestries and famous works painted by Raphael. You'll then experience Michelangelo's masterpieces in the Sistine Chapel. Your guide will make sure you see the Pietà in St. Peter's Basilica, the Apostolic Palace and the famous balcony where the pope delivers his blessings. Travelers praise the excellent guides who tailor the tour to groups' interests and keep children engaged. Rates vary depending on your itinerary and group size. The company suggests you book at least one month in advance to ensure a specialist authorized by the Vatican is available. Private Tours of Rome also offers tours of the Colosseum and Trastevere, among others.

Explore the city the way locals eat with Secret Food Tours Rome.(Courtesy of Secret Food Tours Rome)

Secret Food Tours – Historical Centre Rome Food Tour

Dine your way through the historical center of Rome visiting cafes, markets and shops for a total of eight stops. During the 3 1/2-hour tour, you'll walk through neighborhoods like the Campo de' Fiori and the Jewish quarter with an enthusiastic guide who ties together history and insights about traditional dishes. The focus is on Italian-style dining: savoring the perfect cappuccino, sampling fresh pizzas and homemade pastas, pairing wines with a variety of cheeses, gelato and more. Travelers praise the guides' knowledge of Roman cuisine and the amount and quality of the food. Tours depart at multiple times Monday through Saturday. Tour prices start at 69 euros (about $80) per adult and 59 euros (around $65) for children 12 and younger. Secret Food Tours also operates special tours in the evening and on Sundays.

The Roman Guy – Privileged Entrance Vatican Tour with Sistine Chapel

Hoping to see the Vatican sans enormous crowds? This 3 1/2-hour tour from The Roman Guy convenes at 7:30 a.m., allowing you to enter the Vatican Museums nearly an hour before they open to the public. First, relish the tranquil Sistine Chapel, which welcomes upward of 25,000 visitors a day during the summer. Afterward, follow your guide to museum highlights, including Raphael's paintings, the Borgia Apartments and the Gallery of the Maps, then skip the line at St. Peter's Basilica. Travelers rave about the knowledgeable guides and say the opportunity to see the Sistine Chapel without the crowds is worth the tour price. The tour costs approximately 90 euros (roughly $100) per adult and 75 euros (around $85) for children 6 to 17. Groups are capped at 14 people. The Roman Guy also offers tours of the catacombs and a Roman food tour.

Rolling Rome – Rome Squares and Fountains Golf Cart Tour

Avoid Rome's congested traffic and keep the family entertained on this three-hour, private golf cart tour of the city. Whizz past major sights in the historical center and piazzas Venezia, Navona and del Popolo, plus the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and more. Since the tour is customizable, you can also ask the guide to take you to lesser-known spots in the city – a highlight for reviewers. Along with the knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides, reviewers appreciate the golf cart's ability to avoid traffic using Rome's narrow back lanes. Tours, which can accommodate up to seven participants, depart daily at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tours cost approximately 250 euros (roughly $280) for up to three people and an additional 75 euros (about $85) per person for groups of four or more. One week's advance reservation is recommended. Rolling Rome also offers daylong golf cart tours, as well as a variety of Segway and electric bike tours.

Bici & Baci – The Grand Tour of Rome

Do as the Romans do and see the city from a Vespa scooter. On this four-hour tour, you'll cover roughly 20 miles with your guide, zipping by beautiful sights like the Pantheon, Circus Maximus and Piazza Venezia. Though you'll pay more for the tour than you would if you were to rent a Vespa on your own, travelers agree that the professional guides and fun sightseeing stops are worth the added cost. Plus, you don't have to worry about refueling or navigating Rome's hectic streets on your own. The Vespa Grand Tour departs three times daily year-round. Rates start at 120 euros (about $135) per person. The company also offers a Vespa tour that explores Rome's famous filming locations, as well as a variety of walking and Segway tours.

Scooteroma offers an iconic way to zip around the city and see all of its major sights.(Courtesy of Scooteroma)

Scooteroma Tours – Scooteroma Shuffle

Relish the breeze on the back of a Vespa as you buzz through Rome's distinct neighborhoods away from the tourist crowds. The focus of each four-hour Scooteroma Shuffle tour is to explore beyond the main sights to experience the city's street art and street food. Many reviewers say the tour is a great way to see the gems that exist outside the city center. Plus, with someone else in the driver's seat, you can relax and enjoy the scenery. Rates, determined by date via online booking, cost approximately 220 euros (about $245). Three-hour abbreviated tours begin at 160 euros (around $180), with two departures daily year-round. Scooteroma also offers twilight and countryside Vespa tours, among other options.

City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Tours

Rome's top attractions are spread out, but City Sightseeing buses cover them efficiently. Buses make eight different stops at famous sights like the Colosseum and the Spanish Steps. The double-decker buses run every 10 to 15 minutes, subject to traffic, providing a basic commentary via headset in 13 languages. Travelers say while the tours provide an efficient way to get your bearings, buses run irregularly and many are in need of updating. City Sightseeing offers a variety of ticketing options, ranging from one-day to 72-hour validity. A one-day ticket costs approximately 25 euros (around $28) for adults and 10 euros (about $12) for children ages 5 to 15. City Sightseeing also conducts daytrips to nearby cities, such as Florence.

City Wonders – Tuscany from Rome With 3-Course Lunch & Wine Pairing

If you want to visit Tuscany while in Rome, but don't want to drive the 175-mile journey yourself, consider this 12-hour excursion from City Wonders. You'll depart from Rome at 7:30 a.m. via an air-conditioned coach to see famous hilltop towns, such as Montepulciano and Pienza. You'll also visit the Abbey of Sant'Antimo before enjoying a three-course lunch and wine pairing in famed Montalcino. Travelers say guides are informative and thoughtful, giving tourists plenty of time to explore the towns and take pictures. All agree that leaving the driving to a professional made the trip worthwhile. Tours are offered Monday through Saturday. Tickets start at 129 euros (about $145) for adults and 119 euros (around $135) for children 2 to 14. City Wonders also offers a variety of tours in Rome, including Colosseum and Vatican tours.

With Locals – A Day Like a Roman Tour

Camaraderie with a local who shares your interests is what makes A Day Like a Roman Tour special. For three hours, you and your companions will walk through the city, snack on pizza and gelato, and discuss life in Rome. Travelers appreciate having a friendly Roman to show them aspects of Italy's capital they would not see otherwise. You select your personal guide based on mutual interests, such as food, sports, architecture or history. You have to book ahead to arrange a tour and guides are happy to customize tours to meet your needs and negotiate any additional costs. Ticket prices vary depending on the number of people in your party, but start at about 40 euros per person (around $45) for two adults. If you appreciate the local experience, the company offers several other Rome tours, such as a Pope, Pizza, Prosecco Tour and a street art tour.

Through Eternity Tours – Rome in a Day Tour with Colosseum & Sistine Chapel: Essential Experience

Conquer Rome in just seven hours with Through Eternity Tours. With your skip-the-line tickets, you'll visit the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. Professional, engaging guides – all fluent English speakers – allow you to set the pace, absorbing as much history and archeology as you want at each stop. Travelers say you'll see much more on the tour than you would if you were to visit each site on your own as guides point out unexpected gems along the way. Rates vary depending on the number in your party, but expect to pay approximately 525 euros (around $585) for two adults, plus taxi fares. The company offers discounts for students and children. Bring stamina, a water bottle and wear comfortable shoes. When you're ready for more, try one of Through Eternity's other tours, such as the Domus Aurea Tour (Nero's Golden House).

Kyle McCarthy, Contributor

Kyle McCarthy is the author of a dozen Frommer guidebooks, contributor to many publications, ...  Read more

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