Ostia with its ancient ruins, sun, sand, dunes and sea, bathing establishments and good fish restaurants is a popular destination.
Ostia is a district of Rome and the Romans think of Ostia as the sea. But Ostia also has important archaeological excavations to offer. On the Tiber River in ancient times was a rich trading city for the supply of Rome. Even though the excavations of Pompeii are far larger and more extensive, the excavations of Ostia Antica are a good alternative to save time and money. After the visit, you can take your time to visit the sea. Enjoy a few hours on the beach and a good meal.
A day trip to Ostia
It takes half a day to visit Ostia Antica. If you also go to the sea, it becomes a day trip. In the morning you visit the archaeological area of Ostia Antica and then you go to the sea. There you can have lunch and enjoy the afternoon on the beach.
Ostia Antica · The ruins of the ancient trading town
Founded in the 4th century B.C., the trading town on the Tiber River was an important centre for supplying ancient Rome with goods that came to Rome by sea. In its heyday, Ostia Antica had 75,000 inhabitants. There was a large market and a theatre where concerts still take place today.
At that time the city was situated almost directly at the sea and on the north side was the Tiber River. The coastline has shifted over the centuries.
The area is quite extensive and it takes 2 – 3 hours to visit the main areas. Here you can get a good idea of life in ancient times.
The excavations are closed on Monday, on January 1st, May 1st and December 25th. The opening times are mainly based on the length of the day:
From the beginning of winter time to end of February: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
8:30 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.
April – September: 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
October 1st – end of summer time 8:30 am – 6:30 pm
The entrance closes 1 hour before.
Local train Roma Porta San Paolo – Ostia Lido, station Ostia Antica
Tickets are available at the museum box office or in advance on the Internet. No reservation is required. The excavations are a national museum and the same access rules apply as for all national museums: free admission up to 18 years and for people with disabilities, reduced admission for EU citizens up to 25 years. Free admission for all on the 1st Sunday of the month.
Ostia Lido · Roman bathing resort by the sea
Ostia is an administrative district of Rome with about 100,000 inhabitants. Ostia Lido with its sandy beaches is a popular excursion destination for the Romans. The coastal strip of Ostia begins in the north at the mouth of the Tiber in a marina and extends several kilometres to the neighbouring municipality of Pomezia in the south.
When the Romans think of Ostia, they think of sandy beaches, sun, sea and fish restaurants.
The center of Ostia Lido
Ostia has a small centre by the sea with a pedestrian zone, shops, restaurants, bars and ice cream parlours. It is about 800 metres from Lido Centro station to Piazza Anco Marzio, where the pedestrian zone begins. From here, you can get to the “Pontile di Ostia” , a viewing platform that reaches into the sea, in just a few minutes.
Restaurants on the beach
In Ostia you will find bathing facilities and free beaches. Most bathing facilities offer not only sunbeds and umbrellas, but also restaurants. If you want to lie on the beach, you pay entrance and can rent sunbeds and umbrellas.
Unfortunately, the water in Ostia is not always of consistently high quality. If you want to swim, it is advisable you opt for a bathing facility with a swimming pool.
We would like to introduce you to three bathing establishments that are very well-maintained and where you can eat. All three establishments are located near the terminus of the local railway from Rome to Ostia.
The Dopolavoro ATAC is the bathing establishment for the employees of the Roman transport companies. It is open to the public and has a well-maintained infrastructure.
Gambrinus is a very nice bathing facility directly opposite the terminus of the local train. Gambrinus has a beautiful swimming pool suitable for children and adults.
Gambrinus has a bar and an elegant restaurant for dinner. In the restaurant, you can enjoy a well-kept meal under large parasols. The service is fast and very friendly. For the restaurant, you have to make a reservation during the weekends.
La Marinella is the southernmost bathing facility of Ostia Lido. Marinella also has a beautiful swimming pool.
The Marinella offers a self-service restaurant. It also has an elegant restaurant with excellent cuisine.
If you like, you can start here with oysters and raw fish and then continue with traditional fish dishes or innovative creations. The ribbon noodles with lobster are impressive, the mussel pan and the fish soup are excellent. Here you can finish your meal with lemon sorbet or a pistachio semifreddo.
At the free beaches there is no developed infrastructure with toilets and showers and possibly there is also no rescue service. Sometimes there is also the possibility to rent sunbeds and umbrellas on the free beaches.
There are only a few free beaches in Ostia Lido. There is a large area of free beaches in the south of Ostia. These are the so-called “Cancelli”, a dune landscape with extensive sandy beaches. Here you can lie beautifully in the sun or walk along the coast.Via Litoranea Bus 07, 061, 068
You can not only eat well in the above-mentioned bathing facilities in Ostia. In Ostia you will find everything from street food to specialty restaurants.
The McDonalds, right opposite the Pontile on the Piazza dei Ravennati, is a quick stop. If you feel like a hamburger or a steak by the sea, you can also go to the Old Wild West just opposite. For sausages or Wienerschnitzel, go to the Wienerhaus in the pedestrian zone.
Pesce fritto e baccalà
If we can’t think of anything better, we like to go to the Pesce fritto e baccalà. Here you get fried fish and there is a daily changing pasta dish. The whole thing is rounded off by a lively sparkling house wine from the barrel.
The Pesce fritto has only a few tables, so you first have to order at the checkout and then get a table assigned. For the small hunger a portion is sufficient. If you are not alone, it is worth it that everyone orders something different. Here you eat with your fingers anyway.
Soul kitchen beach restaurant
One might think that the name of the restaurant here is somehow a programme. In fact, We really like the atmosphere here in the evening. The view of the palm trees and the beach is very charming.
With the shirt-sleeved waiters, one gets the impression of being served by the lifeguard. Nevertheless, the food is usually served without any major casualties. Here you get raw fish and tartare and of course the normal programme of Mediterranean seafood. The price of the restaurant is higher.
A star in the firmament of the fish sky in Ostia is Michelino in Piazza Anco Marzio. To be honest, our rating is not so much for the service, which is often not so lively, but the quality of the food is really extraordinary.
Michelino is a big fishmonger in Ostia, where you can also eat in the shop. However, at the Piazza Anco Marzio, there is no shop, one can only eat here.
If you love oysters and raw crustaceans, you’ve come to the right place. Michelino has a large selection of constantly fresh oysters and other raw fish. For the smaller purse there are very tasty cold and warm preparations. There are no fried or roasted fish dishes at Michelino.
How to get there
Most Romans drive to Ostia by car, either through the motorway to Fiumicino, on via del Mare or via Cristoforo Colombo.
If you are travelling by public transport, you can generally take the local train from the Porta San Paolo station to Ostia. The normal city ticket can be used for the journey.
Porta San Paolo railway station is located next to the Piramide metro station on Line B and the Ostiense regional station. Numerous bus lines and tram line 3 stop here.
Our tip no. 1: If you take the Metro B, it is better to change at the Basilica San Paolo station. All you have to do is take the escalator down from the one platform and up again from the other. At the pyramid, the paths are much longer!
Our tip no. 2: You can pay the fare contactless directly at the turnstiles “Tap&Go” with a credit card or a suitable phone. More information about this in our Metrebus article.
The journey from San Paolo to Ostia Antica takes 23 minutes by train. It takes 27 minutes to Lido Centro and 34 minutes to Colombo. The train leaves every 10 – 15 minutes from 5:40 to 23:30, last departure in Ostia at 23:23.