One could spend a lifetime in Rome and never see all of its wonders and sites, but sometimes, as a visitor or resident, you just need a break from the busy city life. Fortunately, there are quite a few day trips that you can easily take to escape the Eternal City for a few hours. All of these spots are reachable by bus, train, or shuttle taxi – definitely a worthwhile option if you are traveling with a group!
1. Santa Marinella
This beachside town lies just a 45 minute train ride from the center of Rome. In the summer, colorful beach umbrellas dot the sand as families flock there to take advantage of the beautiful rocky coastline and clear, warm water. The water stays shallow for quite a few meters, and beachgoers have been known to set up volleyball nets out in the water. Santa Marinella also has a cute downtown area, with quite a few restaurants specializing in incredibly fresh seafood.
2. Ostia Antica
This port city of Ancient Rome is said to rival Pompeii for its archaeological wonders. Though not preserved by a volcanic eruption, Ostia Antica has managed to stay in pretty good shape, giving visitors an unparalleled view of the structure and layout of an ancient Roman town. Wander through the streets, find the taverns, stores, and homes, and spend some time in the amphitheater. Ostia Antica is easily accessible by train from the city center, or by pre-booked Rome shuttle taxi if there is a large group of you going.
Frascati is one of the Castelli Romani – a collection of hilltop towns in the rolling hills south of Rome. This adorable town is home to many massive villas with incredibly manicured gardens. Spend an afternoon wandering the villas, tasting the local Frascati wine, and grab a bit to eat on the edge of town that looks out over the entire Roman plain. You can even spot St. Peter’s and the Vittoriano monument from your perch on the cliffs of Frascati! There is a direct train from Roma Termini station to Frascati – it takes about 35 minutes.
4. Castel Gandolfo
This is another of the Castelli Romani towns, but with two added bonuses. Castel Gandolfo sits on the Alban Lake, making it an access point for water sports enthusiasts in the summer. And it is also home to the pope’s summer residence. The papal residence provides an escape from the city heat, and also houses a large farm and dairy production, which provides holy milk to many of the city’s bars.
5. Lake Bracciano
For an aquatic escape north of the city, catch a bus or train up to one of Lake Bracciano’s 3 towns – Bracciano, Trevignano, and Anguillara. These tiny towns have fresh fried fish and waterfront access. The water is clear, warm and refreshing all summer long, and though the beaches are a little rockier, tend to be much emptier than anything on the Mediterranean. While you will see a few boats out on the water, most water sports on Bracciano are limited to the non-motor variety, as the lake itself is a source of water for the city of Rome!