Top 3 shore excursions from Civitavecchia cruise port

Civitavecchia cruise port, in the Italian region of Lazio, is your gateway to the Eternal City. Located 90 minutes from the center of Rome, shore excursions from Civitavecchia that include a tour guide and transportation are a popular way to make the most of your time in port.

If you choose to do your own shore excursion, the fastest and least expensive way to get from Civitavecchia to Rome’s central station, Termini, is by train. Tickets can be bought at the station or booked in advance on the Trenitalia website. Buses run from the cruise port to the train station in Civitavecchia.

From Termini central station, there is the option of the hop-on/hop-off bus. This will get you around the main sights of Rome, and you can choose when and for how long you hop off at each one.

Booked shore excursions from Civitavecchia start at the port service center, Largo Della Pace. It is the main terminal for all shuttle buses that transport you from your cruise ship. The shuttle buses are free of charge within the port.

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Rome, steeped in history and tale

Get an insight into the best way to spend your day by reading our ideas for a walking tour on our Rome page here.

So how do you choose between the many shore excursions from Civitavecchia port? And which is the best private tour for you, your family, and your budget? Here are the top 3 Civitavecchia shore excursions popular among cruise guests looking to make the most of their time in the stunning city of Rome.

1. Classic Rome in a day with skip-the-line tickets

This day’s shore excursion will whizz you around the city to the most famous sights. The skip-the-line tickets are essential if you have time to see them all. You need to avoid the queues and keep moving. This day will most likely include Vatican City, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and Piazza Navone. This is probably one of the best and most comprehensive Rome shore excursions you can choose.

Vatican City

A tour of the Vatican museums and St Peter’s Basilica is an unforgettable experience.

St Peter’s Basilica is the largest church in the world and is located in St Peter’s Square (Piazza San Pietro). The church is free of charge to enter. However, the lines are very long, and visiting with a guide will allow you to “skip the line entrance.” The Vatican Museums include Renaissance frescoes and, of course, the unforgettable Sistine Chapel. It gets very crowded, so be patient while shuffling in and out amongst the crowds.

Don’t forget to include the stunning Gardens of Vatican City in your tour.

Good to know before visiting Vatican City

  • There are security checks in Vatican City, and queues can be extensive. Be prepared to wait. Have a water bottle, sunscreen, and a hat to beat the heat. There are public restrooms behind the post office.
  • Check that St Peter’s Basilica is open when you are due to visit. You will not be able to go inside the church on Sunday morning if there is a Pope’s mass. In addition, the Pope’s general audience is held in St Peter’s Square on Wednesday mornings. At this time, you cannot enter the church.
  • The dome of St Peter’s Basilica is open from March to October. There is an elevator which, for a fee, you can take to the roof for around 10 euros per person. Climbing the steps takes longer but is a little cheaper. From the rooftop, it is 320 steps to get to the dome. Do not do this if you are not keen on confined spaces. It’s a tricky narrow climb up and down in the same way.
  • There is a dress code in Vatican City. The general rule is that shoulders and knees should be covered.

Colosseum and Roman Forum

In the heart of ancient Rome, you will visit The Colosseum and Roman Forum. And if you have time, Palatine Hill, Musei Capitolini, and Circus Maximus. There is much more, but you will experience the best of Rome’s ancient history with these focal points.

Wear good walking shoes and the ground can be uneven and there are steps. Long sleeves will help you beat the sun. Fill up your water bottle from the drinking fountain outside the main entrance to the Colosseum. Many of these fountains are dotted around the city, and the water is good to drink.

Piazza Navone, the Pantheon, and Trevi Fountain

The center of Baroque Rome, Piazza Navona, is home to one of the most beautiful squares in Rome. Trendy cafes sit alongside magnificent palaces, spire and lantern churches, and tiny nightspots.

Let your guide give the exciting history of the elaborate fountains, the most famous being Bernini’s Four Rivers Fountain – Fontana Dei Quattro Fiumi. Order a coffee and chocolate truffle and sit outdoors at one of the tables at Tre Scalini.

There are many souvenir shops, street artists, and antique shops around the square to explore. If you have some free time during your tour, head towards some shopping along Via Dei Coronari.

A short 10-minute walk away from Piazza Navona is the two-thousand-year-old Pantheon, the most complete of the original remaining Roman buildings. Stop for a cappuccino on Piazza Della Rotonda to take in the site of this ancient wonder. Imagine a busy Roman market where there are now tourist tables, cafés, and souvenir shops.

Entrance inside the Pantheon is free, and there are seldom queues. Follow your instinct and look up towards the only light source – the oculus – at the center of the incredible dome. Inside the Pantheon, you will find the grave of the renaissance artist Raphael.

If you want to experience shopping at its best before you cruise from Rome, walk Via del Corso. One of the central and most elegant shopping streets, it ends at Trevi Fountain. The fountain is probably the most famous site in Rome.

Remember to turn your back and throw a coin over your shoulder into the Trevi Fountain. It’s a wish to return to the city!

2. Maremma and a taste of Tuscany

Yes, the beautiful Tuscan landscape is reachable from Civitavecchia cruise port. But it is a fair distance to drive, so book a tour with a reputable company that can get you back to your cruise ship in time.

Carved into the Monte Argentario peninsula, Maremma hugs the west coast of southern Tuscany and stretches inland to the Apennine mountain range. Beguilingly discreet and somewhat less well-known to foreign tourists, Maremma is a real gem.

Ideally, this shore excursion from Civitavecchia includes a cooking lesson with a local chef at a Tuscan farmhouse. It is a beautiful experience worth the long day to get you there and back. Driving time is about 1.5 hours each way. Highlights of the region are visiting the towns of Pitigliano and Sovana.

3. Private half-day Vatican City full tour with skip-the-line tickets and free time shopping in Rome

Vatican City, the smallest country in the world, covering just a 2-mile radius of Rome, gives a fascinating insight into Italy’s cultural, religious, and artistic influences.

If this is your first visit to Rome, you will not want to miss visiting Vatican City. The challenge is the crowd. Always packed, getting tickets before you arrive is essential, and there is no better for a quick entry than if you are in a guided group. However, you will have to wait even with “skip the line” tickets. Just not as long as simply turning up.

It takes about 4 hours to tour the Vatican. This includes the fascinating Cistern Chapel, where the genius of Michelangelo is confirmed with his painting of the ceiling, completed in 1541. And his work as a sculptor is represented in St. Peters Church with the group “Pieta.” Further on in your tour, you will discover his architectural talents in his design of Piazza del Campidoglio. It is indeed a full tour and an unforgettable one at that.

After the tour of the Vatican, you will have free time to enjoy the best shopping in Rome at your own pace. Head to Via del Corso for famous brand names or Via Condotti for luxurious goods, where you will be spoilt for choice. We recommend you also sample the best gelato in town at the oldest gelateria, Giolittis on Via Uffici del Vicario.

Tips when booking your shore excursion

Shore excursions are expensive. When planning your cruise, budget for shore excursions in the ports where you feel you would rather have a planned tour with a guide than doing your excursion; this is often in ports of call such as Civitavecchia port, far from major sights. Consider the following when choosing your cruise shore excursions:

  1. Look carefully at the terms and conditions before booking an excursion. Ask for free cancellation if you book with an external supplier, not the cruise line. You need to be sure you can get a refund if your ship does not visit the port for any reason, for example, due to poor weather conditions at sea.
  2. Does your independent tour operator offer a guarantee to get you back to the ship in time for your departure from the port? If, for any reason, you are late, will they cover your expenses to get you to the next port? These are questions you should ask before you book.
  3. A cruise line shore excursion offers the reassurance that the ship will wait for you if you are delayed getting back to the port at the end of the day. However, cruise lines often charge more for a similar excursion offered by an independent tour operator.
  4. Choose a small group tour if you want a more personal shore excursion experience. With fewer excursion guests, the time can be tailor-made to suit your group, and often you can fit more sightseeing into your day.

Meet the author: Sarah has created and booked hundreds of travel itineraries for thousands of customers during a career in the travel industry that spans 20 years. Having worked hand in hand with cruise lines, hotels, airlines and tour operators worldwide, she offers inspiring & detailed insights in the world of travel and tourism.