How To Get From Rome To Bologna

Are you looking for the best way of getting from Rome to Bologna? You are in the right place. I have traveled between the two cities myself several times, using all sorts of means of transportation available, and in this post I will share what you need to know for a hassle free journey.

Bologna is quickly becoming a favorite tourist destination in Italy. Bologna received more than 2.5 million overnight tourists before 2022 – and numbers definitely grew in the last year. Many more visited the city on a day trip, usually from Florence on Milan. Bologna deserves more than one day (last time I visited I spent three full days there, and wish I had more time).

Mind you, the distance between Rome and Bologna is 305 kilometers (189.6 miles). It’s quite a distance for a day trip, but still, getting between the two cities can be done easily thanks to Italy’s efficient public transport and road network. Almost certainly, the best option is to take the train from Rome to Bologna, but there are other options at your disposal, too.

Make sure to also read my posts A Perfect One Day In Bologna Itinerary and 26 Best Things To Do In Bologna, Italy.

one day in Bologna

How To Get From Rome To Bologna

Take the train from Rome to Bologna

Bologna is a very easy journey from the Italian capital. That’s because both cities are located on the nation’s high speed rail network. Taking the train from Rome to Bologna is the easiest way to travel from the capital to the city in Emilia Romagna.

There are two different high speed train operators which you can choose between, both of which offer direct services – Italo and Trenitalia. This makes visiting Bologna from Rome possible on a day trip.

Trains on the high speed railway reach speeds of up to 300 kilometers per hour.

Other than the high speed network train from Rome to Bologna, there’s also the Intercity trains and slower regional (Regionale Veloce, or RV) trains. The latter make more stops and sometimes are not direct, either, meaning you’ll have to change trains at some point.

The train from Rome to Bologna leaves either from Rome Termini or Tiburtina Station, both of which get you to Bologna without any need for transfers. You’ll arrive at Bologna Centrale railway station.

Make sure to read my posts How Many Train Stations Are There In Rome?, How To Use Rome Metro and A Guide To Rome’s Public Transport.

How long does the train from Rome to Bologna take?

The fastest train between Rome and Bologna takes just over two hours – that’s the non-stop Frecciarossa train, which is run by the government-owned Trenitalia. The Intercity train takes much longer – over four hours, as it makes several stops. Italo’s high speed service takes two hours 12 minutes.

An RV train from Rome to Bologna will take upwards of four hours, and will make many stops between the two cities.

what to see in Bologna a day in Bologna

How much does it cost?

The cost of the train from Rome to Bologna will vary depending on which train you choose and which class you travel, and how much in advance you book. The cheapest trains are the Intercity which start at little over €22 for a one way ticket, but the much faster and more comfortable Frecciarossa starts at €29,90. Italo trains start at €23,90.

It’s always a good idea to book as far in advance as possible for these trains. That means you’ll have a better chance of getting a good seat, and you’ll also be more likely to get a better deal. Also, for the price you pay, you get a comfortable train with facilities like Wi-Fi and toilets.

things to do in Bologna

How frequently does it run?

The first Trenitalia train from Rome to Bologna leaves at 5:10 am, whereas the first Italo train leaves at 5:40 am. The last departures are at 8:10 pm (arriving in Bologna at 10:35 pm) and at 8:40 pm (arriving in Bologna at 11:03 pm) respectively. There are departures every 15 to 20 minutes throughout the day so you will never be stuck.

You can check the schedule and prices of the trains to Bologna on the official website of Trenitalia or Italo, or on the Omio app here.

things to do in bologna from rome to bologna

Take the bus to Bologna from Rome

Buses offer up an affordable alternative to high speed trains between Rome and Bologna. They may take longer (much longer in some cases), but for those on a tight budget and with time to spare in their schedule, it may be the best option.

The route between the cities is mainly connected by two popular bus companies: Itabus and FlixBus (there are others). Tickets for both can be booked online or purchased on your day of travel at the bus station.

Buses generally leave from Rome Tiburtina Station, arriving at Bologna Central bus station (right next to the main railway station, so it’s easy to get around once you arrive).

How long does the bus take?

The journey between Rome and Bologna by bus takes approximately four and a half hours. That however depends on the time of day and the company you choose to travel with.

How much does it cost?

A one-way ticket on a bus from Rome to Bologna starts at €8 with Flixbus. The average price is more like €15, with the more expensive options being €18.

Some buses feature free Wi-Fi, others have plush seats, some even have table seating, and in some cases you might be able to choose exactly what seat you want to sit in. These options all depend on what bus company you go for.

How frequently does it run?

Currently, there are 23 bus departures per day from Rome in the direction of Bologna. This also includes bus services that run throughout the night. Generally speaking, the earliest bus leaves at 6:00 am while the latest is at 11:55 pm.

You can check the schedule and prices of the bus to Bologna from Rome on the Omio app here.

Piazza Santo Stefano things to do in Bologna

Drive to Bologna from Rome

If you don’t want to use public transport, or if you want to set of on a road trip after you visit Rome, then there’s always the option of driving yourself. This is ideal for those who want to travel at their own speed, and who want to see some of the sights of Italy along the way. You can stop over in Florence, for example, or other spots in the beautiful region of Tuscany.

However, once you arrive in Bologna, you won’t need a car at all. The city is fairly compact and access for vehicles is limited; it’s confusing, too, with one way streets and a city center that’s difficult to navigate. Unless you’re dead set on driving, and you’re an experienced driver, it’s probably best to hop on the train or bus instead.

If you do want to drive though, don’t worry: the route is pretty straightforward (though quite long) and there are plenty of rental car companies in Rome.

Check out the prices of car rental in Rome here.

Make sure to also read my posts A Useful Guide To Renting A Car In Italy and What You Need To Know About Driving In Italy.

How long does it take to drive to Bologna from Rome?

It’s long, alright. Expect to spend four to five hours on the road – and that’s not even factoring in any stops for food, bathroom breaks or enjoying sights along the way.

The distance by car is around 380 kilometers (236 miles), so get ready for a long journey and don’t try to drive there and back all in one day. Also, don’t go over the speed limit as there are speed cameras everywhere along the way!

How much does it cost?

It’s not necessarily the cheapest option. The tolls alone cost around €30. Then there’s the fuel, which is going to be around another €45. After that, you’ll also have to consider parking prices both once you arrive in Bologna, and at any sights you visit along the way.

The cost of hiring a car starts at €30 per day for the cheapest option, but can quickly be steeper depending on the time of year you travel and the type of car you choose. It’s a good idea to book in advance in order to get the best deal possible on your rental car.

That said, if what you want is the freedom to travel as you like, then this isn’t a terrible price considering you’ll be able to go at your own pace.

Check out the prices of car rental in Rome here.

Travel to Bologna from Rome by private transfer

If public transport doesn’t cut it for you, but you don’t really like the idea of driving yourself over 200 miles, then a private transfer may be a good option. In this case, a professional driver will pick you up from your accommodation in Rome, or from Rome airport and whisk you all the way to wherever you want to be dropped in Bologna.

It’s certainly not the cheapest option, but if you’re traveling as a group or as a family you may be able to save money. You won’t have to buy multiple tickets for the high speed train or bus, instead you’ll just split the cost of the private transfer between yourselves.

As with self-driving, a private transfer from Rome to Bologna will take around 4.5 to five hours. Driving in general does depend on traffic, which is dictated by time of day and whether or not it’s the weekend or a holiday. The cost of a transfer starts at €120 per person.

You can book your private transfer to Bologna here.

things to do in bologna train from Rome to Bologna

Join a guided day trip to Bologna from Rome

Tours, like private transfers, take the hassle out of traveling. You won’t need to worry about schedules or missing the bus, and you also get the bonus of having a knowledgeable guide to show you around the sights of the city.

Most tours from Rome to Bologna are private or semi-private – it’s not a common day trip to take actually. Groups can be as small as two and at most have 14 people in total. They’ll pick you up from your accommodation (or from a prescribed pick-up point) in Rome and head to Bologna, after which you’ll be taken around the city – usually all in the space of a day.

Tours last around 12 hours, including travel time. The costs vary depending on what’s offered, but they are not cheap. The starting price is usually around €400 per person but the price varies with the size of the group and it may end up being cheaper if there’s a few of you traveling.

You can book your guided day trip Bologna from Rome here.

Check out my post The Best Day Trips From Rome.

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Discover how to get from Rome to Bologna - via @clautavani

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