Visiting Ostia Antica from Rome

Here I explain the best excursions to visit one of the great examples of ancient ruins in the city. Discover this hidden gem of the Eternal City!

Nuria Rozas

Nuria Rozas

8 min read

Visiting Ostia Antica from Rome

View of the Ostia Antica Ruins | ©Jannis Andrija Schnitzer

There are things to see in Rome that do not appear in travel guides, movies or in the main routes of 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 the best kept secrets of Rome: Ostia Antica, the splendid commercial port of the Roman Empire that was buried for ten centuries and that 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 admission to the Archaeological Park included.

In 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 coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea and we are tremendously lucky that most of its buildings can be visited today.

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

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

The best excursion to Ostia Antica by train from Rome

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

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

From my point of view, it is best to do it as part of an organized 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 excursion like?

The most popular option among travelers is to book an organized excursion to Ostia Antica by train early in the morning in which you are 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 excursions have a free cancellation insurance, which always gives 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 transportation.

Timetable and duration

The excursion to Ostia Antica by train from Rome starts at 9 am and the train ride 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 about 3 hours.

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


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

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Can you reach the ruins on your own?

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

The answer is yes. If you are one of those who do not like to depend on anyone, only on public transport, you can get to the Roman ruins of Ostia on your own. The train is the most recommended option to get there, with a single ticket costing 1,50€.

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

Since you will have to make several trips, it may be worthwhile to buy a day pass on this day.

Schedule 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 about 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!

What is the best option: a tour or going 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 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 want to get to the ruins as quickly as possible.

When to choose to go on your own

If for you the most important thing 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 make the transfers by metro and bus to get to the village and you are not interested in doing the guided tour. Although then you will not be able to appreciate the true richness of the ruins!

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What monuments will you visit in Ostia Antica?

The Theater of Ostia Antica| ©Wikimedia
The Theater 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 amphitheater - you will be amazed!
  • The Piazza delle Corpore, the commercial epicenter with mosaics of the different guilds.
  • 18 temples dedicated to the Persian god Mithras.
  • Neptune's Baths.
  • The thermopolium (the ancestor of our current 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 do not include lunch, so I advise you to bring a sandwich or, my favorite option, to come and taste the delicious dishes of the restaurant Monumento al 1884.

You will love it because the place is as curious as the ruins that, in addition, gives with the entrance to the ruins a shot of limoncello, a very rich liqueur typical of Italy.

Among the house specialties, I recommend:

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

Luxury diners: from Fellini to Elisabeth Taylor

According to what the waiter told us, the tavern, which was born almost 140 years ago, became one of the favorite places for the Romans when they traveled out of town at the end of the Second World War.

Federico Fellini himself, a great genius of cinema, tried cappelletti (a type of stuffed pasta) in the 1960s during the filming of the movie 'Amarcord'. He was not the only one, since all kinds of figures have passed through this dining room, such as Benito Mussolini, Elisabeth Taylor, the Dalai Lama or in recent years Arnold Schwarzenegger. It must be for 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.
  • Hours: from 12:30 to 15:30 for lunch and from 19:30 to 23:30 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 in the fresh air at 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 well as its ruins. However, in particular, I would not recommend July and August because 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 will 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 have recommended.

Summer in Ostia Antica

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

If you return early to the center of the Eternal City and your guts are growling, take a look at my article on where to eat in Trastevere, the most genuine and picturesque neighborhood of the capital, to regain energy.

Winter in Ostia Antica

If you are not afraid of freezing, visiting Ostia Antica during the Roman winter can have its charm. Besides, it is the lowest season and with the best prices of the whole year in Rome.

However, I recommend you to book the excursion (if possible) on a day when it is not raining, so check the weather first.

Autumn in Ostia Antica

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

Besides, the good thing is that you will not find overcrowding of travelers.

Book your excursion to Ostia Antica