If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: just outside Rome there is a world to discover. And Castel Gandolfo is just one example of this.
Whether you’re seeking to experience the charm of Castel Gandolfo for yourself or just looking for an escape from the chaotic city center, the charming hilltop town is the perfect place for a Roman respite. Now you can even visit the Apostolic Palace and Gardens for a real treat off the beaten path!
How to reach Castel Gandolfo from Rome
Castel Gandolfo is very easy to reach by regional train from Rome, and costs little more than a coffee or metro ticket. From Termini station you can purchase roundtrip tickets*, and trains depart frequently all day. Depending on where you’re seeking to depart from, you can use the Moovit App to find the best solution for leaving nearest you.
When you purchase your tickets, it’s best to purchase roundtrip as the train stop in Castel Gandolfo is little more than a small overhang. There are no machines or tellers selling tickets.
When you arrive in Castel Gandolfo, the train station is located half-way up the hill, a convenient mid-point between the lake front below and the charming hamlet at top. Expect to do some walking and just follow the street, so wear comfortable shoes and sun protection.
What to do in Castel Gandolfo
Unlike the hustle and bustle of Rome’s city center, Castel Gandolfo is a laid back refuge tucked away in the hills. Relax by the water or take a stroll through the streets. Chances are you’ll end up at a table somewhere with a glass of wine just looking out onto the lake.
Take a dip in the Volcanic Lake
If you’re visiting in the summer, head to the cool, refreshing Volcanic waters of the lake. Lakes tend to be much less populated than the beaches. Get your feet wet, go for a swim, or rent a canoe or paddle boat to explore even further out in the lake and admire the hill from below.
Take a Tour of the Apostolic Palace and Gardens
Recently opened for the first time, visitors can step inside the Apostolic Palace and visit the Papal Gardens of Castel Gandolfo. Known well as the summer refuge for the Pope, the crowning centerpiece of the small hamlet, is the palace – which is now open! For more information on visits and tours, visit the official Vatican Website.
Where to eat in Castel Gandolfo
Being so tiny, there aren’t a lot of options for dining in Castel Gandolfo. But among the few, it’s hard to go wrong.
For a spectacular lake-view restaurant, head to Ristorante Bucci (Via De’ Zecchini n°31 Castel Gandolfo, ristorantebucci.it) where you can dine al fresco on typical Roman favorites in a vine-covered porch that’s cantilevered out over the hillside.
Alternatively, if you find yourself closer to the lake and looking for a hearty, local place for lunch or dinner, head to Da Agnese (Via Spiaggia del Lago 00073 Castel Gandolfo, daagnese.it) which features an Italian barbecue pit for all the meaty summer favorites, like grilled chicken, steak, and even porchetta (slow roasted pork with lard and spices, a delicacy from the Castelli region outside Rome).
Looking for a place to stay in Rome?
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Have you made a day trip to visit Castel Gandolfo from Rome? Share your experiences in the comments below!