Visiting Ostia Antica from Rome

Here are the best excursions to explore one of the city's great examples of ancient ruins and discover this hidden gem of the Eternal City!

Nuria Rozas

Nuria Rozas

7 min read

Visiting Ostia Antica from Rome

View of the Ruins of Ostia Antica | ©Jannis Andrija Schnitzer

There are things to see in Rome that don't appear in travel guides, films or on the main routes to the Eternal City. And there is life beyond the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona. Do you dare to discover it?

In this guide I uncover one of Rome's best-kept secrets: Ostia Antica, the splendid commercial port of the Roman Empire that was buried for ten centuries and which is one of the best excursions you can do from Rome. And take note!

The best rated option

Ostia Antica Day Trip from Rome

Visit Ostia Antica in a small group with entrance to the Archaeological Park included.

On this half-day excursion you will get to know what was a key part of the Roman Empire with an expert guide who will tell you all its secrets.

Ostia was an ancient city and an ancient port located on the Tyrrhenian coast and we are extremely lucky that most of its buildings can still be visited today.

It is not far from Rome, as you will reach your destination in just under half an hour. But best of all, you'll feel like you're travelling back in time as you're surrounded by history.

Recommended if... You are interested in the history of Rome and want to see more than the typical sites, without travelling too far.

The best excursion to Ostia Antica by train from Rome

Group at the Theatre of Ostia Antica| ©Damien Boilley
Group at the Theatre of Ostia Antica| ©Damien Boilley

If you have already decided to save a day of your holiday to visit Ostia Antica during your trip to Rome (which is highly recommended), you should know the best excursion to travel the 35 kilometres that separate these two cities, in an easy and carefree way.

From my point of view, the best way is to do it as part of an organised tour with a professional guide, who will (metaphorically) dust off the history of these ruins, give you a guided tour of Ostia Antica and reveal the secrets of this city, located at the mouth of the Tiber River, from which the emperor Claudius created a magnificent port that reached a population of 100,000 people. Almost nothing, right?

What is the train trip like?

The most popular option among travellers is to book an organised excursion to Ostia Antica by train early in the morning, accompanied by a group of maximum 12 people and an expert guide.

You can book it directly at the click of a button and without leaving your home through Hellotickets. Normally, in case your travel plans change for any reason, this type of excursion comes with a free cancellation insurance, which always gives you peace of mind.

Afterwards, once you arrive at the excavations, you will have plenty of time to explore the well-preserved archaeological park in the company of an expert guide who will tell you all about the history of the site. Afterwards, you will return home by the same transport.

Timetable and duration

The excursion to Ostia Antica by train from Rome starts at 9am and the train journey takes a total of 25 minutes. You will then have to walk for 5 minutes until you reach the Archaeological Park where the ruins are located.

Once there, the tour lasts approximately 3 hours.

In total, therefore, the activity can take about 4 hours of the day.


The price starts from 59€ per person and includes both the entrance to the Archaeological Park and the two train journeys.

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Can you get to the ruins on your own?

Waiting for the Rome Metro| ©Mauricio Artieda
Waiting for the Rome Metro| ©Mauricio Artieda

The answer is yes. If you're someone who doesn't like to rely on anyone but public transport, you can get to the Roman ruins at Ostia on your own. The train is the best way to get there, costing €1.50 for a single ticket.

In this case, take the B line of Rome's metro to the Piramide stop and then take the train to Ostia Antica. It will take between 30 minutes and an hour, depending on where you start your journey.

As you will have to make several journeys, it may be worth buying a day pass on this day.

Timetable of the ruins

If you decide to travel on your own to the ruins it is important to know that they open at 8:30 in the morning and close at 16:00 in winter and at approximately 18:00 in summer.

Nuria's Traveller Tip

Once you arrive at the Ostia stop you have a 5-10 minute walk to the archaeological ruins. Follow the people so you don't get lost. Along the way you will find a fountain where you can refill your water bottle - take advantage and hydrate yourself!

Which is the better option: a hike or on your own?

View from Ostia Antica| ©Andy Montgomery
View from Ostia Antica| ©Andy Montgomery

After reading all the possibilities, you may be asking yourself the million-dollar question: which is the best option for you? The answer depends largely on your budget, how much time you have and how comfortable you want to be.

When to choose a tour

If you don't feel like worrying about trains and subways and you want to get to know the ruins in depth and not miss any of their history with an expert guide, I would definitely recommend you to book the excursion to Ostia Antica by train from Rome

. In short, it is the most comfortable and complete option. Ah! And also the best if you don't have much time and you want to get to the ruins as quickly as possible.

When to choose to go on your own

If the most important thing for you is the price and being able to go at your own pace, this is your best option.

Also if you have all the time in the world to take the underground and bus transfers to get to the village and you are not interested in taking the guided tour, although then you won't be able to appreciate the true richness of the ruins!

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Which monuments will you visit in Ostia Antica?

The Theatre of Ostia Antica| ©Wikimedia
The Theatre of Ostia Antica| ©Wikimedia

Did you know that the town of Ostia is commonly known as "The best Pompeii" because of its good preservation? If you have made the excursion to Pompeii from Rome and you liked it, no doubt you will also like Ostia Antica. Moreover, the latter is a lesser-known place in Rome.

Main points of interest of the ruins

  • The open-air amphitheatre - you'll be amazed!
  • The Piazza delle Corporazioni, the commercial epicentre with mosaics of the different guilds.
  • 18 temples dedicated to the Persian god Mithras.
  • Neptune's Baths.
  • The Thermopolium (the ancestor of today's restaurants).
  • A Jewish synagogue.
  • A Christian basilica.

Where to eat in Ostia Antica

Orata Dish| ©Shu Tu
Orata Dish| ©Shu Tu

Most excursions to Ostia Antica don't include lunch, so I suggest you bring a sandwich or, my favourite option, go and sample the delicious dishes at the Monument to 1884 restaurant.

You'll love it because the place is as curious as the ruins, which also give you a free shot of limoncello, a very rich liqueur typical of Italy, with the entrance to the ruins.

Among the specialties of the house, I recommend:

  • Homemade ravioli stuffed with fish
  • Prawns in clay
  • Pasta with seafood following traditional recipes

Luxury diners: from Fellini to Elisabeth Taylor

As the waiter told us, the tavern, which was founded almost 140 years ago, became one of the favourite haunts of Romans on their trips out of town after the end of the Second World War.

The great film genius Federico Fellini himself tried cappelletti (a type of stuffed pasta) during the shooting of the film 'Amarcord' in the 1960s. He wasn't the only one, as all kinds of celebrities have passed through this restaurant, including Benito Mussolini, Elisabeth Taylor, the Dalai Lama and, in recent years, Arnold Schwarzenegger. There must be a reason!

Practical information about the restaurant

  • Where: Piazza Umberto I No. 8, Ostia Antica.
  • Average price: from €14 for pasta and between €14 and €20 for fish and seafood dishes.
  • Opening hours: from 12.30pm to 3.30pm for lunch and from 7pm to 11pm for dinner.
  • **Suggestions:**the meats are not at the same level as the fish, and leave room for dessert.
  • Recommended if... you want a legendary restaurant and feel at home. In summer, sit outside on one of the tables on the terrace.

Book your excursion to Ostia Antica

When is the best time to visit Ostia Antica?

Touring Ostia Antica| ©isafmt
Touring Ostia Antica| ©isafmt

The Eternal City is one of the few capitals in the world where any time of the year is a good time to visit, as are its ruins. However, I wouldn't particularly recommend July and August as they are the hottest and most sweltering months of the summer.

But the archaeological park of Ostia Antica is the exception that proves the rule: you can go any month and you won't get scorched to death, because it has wonderful shadows. You don't know how much you'll appreciate them!

Spring in Ostia Antica

Spring in Rome is one of the best seasons to visit Ostia Antica: there are more daylight hours and the weather is perfect for a whole morning of sightseeing. The icing on the cake? If the walk gives you an appetite, you can enjoy a plate of pasta on the terrace of the restaurant I've recommended.

Summer in Ostia Antica

During the summer in Rome it gets very hot, very hot! The thermometers usually go up to 35ºC and can even reach 40ºC. My advice is that, if you go on your own, take the opportunity to visit the town early in the morning (remember that it opens at 8:30AM) and avoid the central hours of the day.

If you're heading back to the centre of the Eternal City soon and your guts are growling, check out my article on where to eat in Trastevere, the capital's most genuine and picturesque neighbourhood, to get your energy back.

Winter in Ostia Antica

If you're not afraid of freezing, visiting Ostia Antica during the Roman winter can have its charm. Besides, it is the lowest and best-priced season of the year in Rome.

However, I recommend that you book the tour (if possible) on a day when it doesn't rain, so check the weather first.

Autumn in Ostia Antica

One of the most photogenic seasons in Ostia Antica is autumn in Rome, when the trees in the park lose their leaves and fill the site and the ruins with colour, transforming them into a beautiful orange landscape. The monuments, surrounded by greenery, look spectacular!

What's more, the good thing is that you won't find crowds of travellers either.

Book your trip to Ostia Antica