The Colosseum is the heart of Rome. When you see it, your traveller's soul shrinks a little. You've seen it in photos, films... but when you look up and see it live, you realise that, at last, you're in Rome.
The Colosseum and the Roman Forum: tickets including guided tour
Perfect if you want to discover the best of Ancient Rome with a specialised local guide. Tickets are included and you can skip the line to the Colosseum and Forum.
This tour lasts 3 hours, is led by a professional guide and is available in English. You will get to see inside the world famous Colosseum, the most famous amphitheatre in the world. I assure you that no matter how many times you see it from the outside and photograph its façade, its interior is, if possible, much more surprising. In fact, my first thought on entering was, but we hadn't seen anything!
The Roman Forum was the central area of ancient Rome (similar to the central squares of the cities we know today). It is a huge esplanade with archaeological remains that, if you manage to enjoy them outside of the hot hours, will leave you impressed.
Adjacent to the forum is the Palatine Hill, which is the most central of Rome's seven hills and one of the oldest parts of the city. A stroll around it is, without a doubt, a journey back in time.
Why choose this tour: this is the cheapest option to visit the inside of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum with an English speaking guide.
Recommended if... you want to access the inside of the Colosseum and visit the Roman Forum with a guide without having to queue for ages and without spending too much money.
Entrance to the Colosseum and the Vatican in a guided tour
The best of Rome in one day at the best possible price. Entrance tickets are included and you can skip the queues at both the Vatican and the Colosseum.
You can't leave Rome without visiting the Colosseum and the Vatican. And having the opportunity to do both visits at a very reasonable price and with an expert guide is the best option to avoid breaking your travel budget.
With this option you will be able to access both the Vatican and the Colosseum skipping the queues (tickets are included) and the guide will accompany you inside both places to explain the anecdotes and stories you should know. The Sistine Chapel, the spectacular Vatican Museums and Ancient Rome will leave you speechless.
After this day of sightseeing, you will have the opportunity to continue touring Rome at your own pace with the peace of mind that comes from having seen the essentials, from the inside.
Why choose this tour: This is the most complete option to see the best of Rome in one day at a very affordable price.
Recommended if... you know you don't want to leave Rome without seeing the essentials with an expert guide.
Tickets and official guide to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, at the best price
Perfect if you want to discover the best of Ancient Rome with a specialised local guide. Tickets are included and you can skip the line to the Colosseum and the Forum.
Tickets to the Colosseum and the Vatican + guided tour
The best of Rome in one day at the best possible price. Tickets are included and you can skip the queues at both the Vatican and the Colosseum. Both visits take place on the same day and you will be accompanied at all times by an expert guide to make the most of the two jewels of Rome.
How to book tickets for the Colosseum
The best thing to do, as with almost all tours in Rome, is to book your tickets online in advance. On websites such as Hellotickets you will find the best price for both entrance tickets and guided tours, and you will also have the right to free cancellation if you have any unforeseen circumstances during your trip.
Keep in mind that the Roman Colosseum can hold up to 3000 people and queues at the ticket office can last for hours. Booking tickets to the Colosseum in advance is the first tip for any visit to the city.
Best of all, buying your tickets for the Colosseum will also give you access to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. Remember that you can also complete your visit by adding a guided tour to your tickets or by taking an audio guide (for me, the guided tour is always the most recommended option).
If you're wondering how much the tickets or tours cost, I'll tell you more in detail later, but adult tickets can be had for around €18 and guided tours are usually no more than €40, depending on whether you book them in high season, whether you want an express tour or a more complete tour that also takes you around the Forum, etc.
Tickets including guided tours of the Colosseum: is it worth it?
Absolutely yes. The dimensions of the Colosseum, the amount of details it preserves, its stories and anecdotes during Ancient Rome and, of course, the walk through the Roman Forum, are not the same with an expert guide.
During a guided tour of the Colosseum you will make the most of your time: you will know where and what to look for, you will understand what you see and you will go home with a lot of memories. If you're going to see the Colosseum once in your life, do it with a guide.
One of the great advantages of visiting the Colosseum with a guide is that, in addition to getting much more out of the monument itself, due to the high demand for tours by visitors, there are many schedules available in English, so you won't have to worry about doing the tour in English.
On the other hand, depending on how much time you have (or want to spend), you can choose between full tours that take you around the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum or express tours that only show you the inside of the amphitheatre.
And of all the guided tours offered at the Colosseum, you can also choose between those that include a visit to the Arena and the Gladiators ' Gate or those that are limited to a tour of the amphitheatre from the stands. As you can see, there are options, budgets and tastes for everyone, so there's no excuse not to join a guided tour - you won't regret it!
How to buy tickets for the Roman Forum
Admission to the Roman Forum is included with admission to the Colosseum and with virtually all of its guided tours. Therefore, despite being a paid area, you won't need to pay extra or buy a separate ticket.
If you decide to take a guided tour, the guide will accompany you throughout the entire route, in the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. If you prefer to visit the Colosseum and the Roman Forum on your own, you can visit the Colosseum and the Roman Forum on different days.
Get combined tickets to the Colosseum and the Vatican
Yes, you read that right. There is a way to save time and money by getting tickets to the Colosseum and the Vatican together. Both are not to be missed during your trip to Rome, so I encourage you to get tickets that will give you access to both attractions.
During the visit, you will be accompanied at all times by an expert guide and you will also have priority access, so you can skip the queues at the Vatican and the Colosseum.
From my point of view, it is a very good idea to do both visits in one day and leave the rest of your days in Rome for the simple enjoyment of its gastronomy, the eternal strolls through its narrow streets, the nights in Trastevere...
Visit the Colosseum Arena
If you are planning your visit to the Colosseum, you should know that there is the option of descending to the amphitheatre's own Arena, to get a unique perspective of its stands and a much more detailed view of its tunnels and underground galleries.
This part of the visit is, for me, the most interesting: you will feel like a real gladiator and you will complete the experience by visiting a unique part that not everyone has access to (the capacity is more limited and you can only visit it as part of a guided tour, accompanied by an expert guide). For more details, you can read my article about the visit to the Arena and the underground of the Colosseum.
How much does it really cost to enter the Colosseum?
You can get a single ticket for €17 at the box office, but you will have to wait in long queues in the sun. It's best to buy tickets online in advance to get a good price for Coliseum tickets.
An express tour of the Colosseum, which lasts about an hour, costs around €40 and for a little more (€46) you'll get full access to the guided tour of the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.
Are there any discounts to enter the Colosseum?
There are no discount coupons or free tickets to the Coliseum as such, but there are reduced rates for teachers, children, art students and people with disabilities.
If you want to know more details about what you can see for free or how to get cheap tickets to the Colosseum, please click here.
Colosseum opening hours and opening days
The Colosseum is open all year round with the exception of Christmas and New Year's Day. Although the opening and closing times are always the same, please note that the last admission of visitors will be one hour before closing time.
My recommendation: if you have decided to buy your ticket at the ticket office, get up (very) early. You can check the opening hours of the Colosseum here.
To control the influx of tourists, whether or not you buy your tickets in advance, you have to select an admission time. The last admission is one hour before closing time and you have to be at the preferential ticket office (no queues) 30 minutes before the selected time.
You may only enter the Colosseum15 minutes later than your chosen time. Once inside, you will have no time limit beyond the monument's opening hours.
Get your tickets to the Colosseum with the Roma Pass
There are so many things to see and do in Rome that if you're going to be in the city for any length of time, you've probably already considered purchasing a pass like the Roma Pass, which allows you to save time and money on your visits to the most emblematic monuments.
The Roma Pass includes free admission to the Colosseum with an audio guide and allows you to avoid the queues. You can also visit St. Peter's Basilica and other museums with preferential access and audio guide with 20% discount. It also includes the transfer to and from Ciampino or Fiumicino airports.
You have the option to buy it for 48 or 72 hours and during that time you can use all city transport for free. As well as discounts or preferential access at certain museums, with this card you can choose one or two museums of your choice for free entry. Read more about it here: Rome Pass and other passes.
Buy tickets for the Colosseum at the box office
If you decide to buy your tickets on the day at the ticket office, even though you may encounter long queues, I recommend you go early (even before the ticket office opens at 8:30) or buy them at the ticket office on the Palatine Hill, where there are usually fewer people.
If you still decide to buy your tickets "the old-fashioned way", i.e. at the ticket office, I recommend you bring a hat or cap and a soft drink or bottle of water, as the wait is usually under the sun (there is very little shade in the area).
Best day of the week and time to enter the Colosseum
As for choosing your entrance time: avoid the hot hours (which in Rome are very, very hot hours). The Colosseum has more shade than the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill; keep this in mind if you're going to visit them on the same day.
Another tip I can give you is to avoid public holidays and week ends as much as possible. They tend to be more crowded than usual and this can dampen your experience as you will have to "negotiate" walkers in the Roman Forum.
How to get to the Colosseum
The Colosseum is within walking distance of the centre of Rome, so if you are staying in a central area I recommend the walk; it is beautiful and Rome is a city to be discovered on foot. As a guide, Google tells us it's a 20-minute walk from the Colosseum to the Trevi Fountain.
In any case, you can take a taxi to Piazza del Colosseo 1 or, if you are a bit further from the centre and don't want to spend too much, take the metro line B to the Colosseo stop or use buses C3, 60, 81, 85, 87, 175, 628 or tram number 3.
The Colosseum is Rome's most emblematic monument, so you won't have any trouble getting there whether you ask on public transport or get disoriented on foot. If you want to organise a visit to the Colosseum in detail, here is my article on how to get to the Colosseum.
How long does the visit to the Colosseum last?
Although it would be ideal to have all the time in the world to visit each of Rome's monuments, the truth is that when we go on a trip we are almost always watching the clock. That's why it will help you to know that the estimated duration of the visit to the Colosseum in depth is between 2 and 3 hours approximately. You can see it in less time, but at least 1 long hour to go without rushing.
If you are organising your visit and you want to plan your visit and adjust your time, I recommend you my article about the duration of the visit to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.
Where to eat near the Colosseum
You won't find any food inside the Colosseum, but you might find a street stall nearby for a snack.
However, my advice is to hold your hunger until you finish the combined visit to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum (if you start early, it is feasible) and then look for a restaurant further away from the area to save on price and gain in quality. In any case, don't worry: I have prepared this list with the 5 best places to eat near the Colosseum so you won't leave hungry.
Visit the Colosseum with children
The Roman amphitheatre is a great place to visit with children (remember that children under the age of 18 are free of charge); especially those who like Roman stories will have a great time running around the corridors.
Remember to bring plenty of water and liquids to keep them hydrated and protect them from the sun with hats, sunglasses and sunscreen. To organise your family trip, I recommend you read my article on visiting the Colosseum with children.
Virtual tour of the Colosseum
If you want your trip to Ancient Rome through its amphitheatre to be even more complete, the virtual reality entrance option is available. There are also no queues and an audio guide in several languages and virtual reality goggles at your disposal throughout the visit. It is an ideal option if you are looking for a different experience that takes you directly to the first century without leaving the Colosseum steps.
This guided tour of the Colosseum is, without a doubt, the most original and informative (and surely a good choice if you are travelling with your family, as the younger ones won't want to miss any of the virtual reality details). During the tour of the Colosseum, in addition to the guide's commentary, you will wear virtual reality goggles, which will represent the steps of the Colosseum as they were in Ancient Rome. It is a totally immersive and very complete experience.
What to bring on your visit to the Colosseum and other tips
If you are already convinced that a visit to the most famous amphitheatre in the world is a must on your trip to Rome, you just need to take into account the following points to make your visit much more comfortable and adapted to your needs.
I leave this information here, but if you want to know more details, you can consult my guide on tips for visiting the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.
- You can enter the Colosseum with a small or medium-sized backpack, but you will have to pass through the metal detector. Forget camping backpacks, bulky bags or suitcases and trolleys; you will have to leave them at the ticket office at the entrance for an extra charge.
- The Colosseum is accessible for people with reduced mobility: there are three wheelchairs on the first floor and five wheelchairs at the main entrances to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.
- When you discover the immensity of this architectural monument, you will want to take a thousand and one photos: I recommend that you set aside some time for this before or after the visit and look for a good perspective from the surrounding corners.
- It is essential to bring plenty of water, sun cream and protection from the sun. There are many sunny areas in the Colosseum where it is very hot and the high temperatures can spoil your visit.
- If you are interested in an in-depth visit to the Colosseum, you can rent an audio guide, hire a virtual reality tour or, for the TOP level, consult the info on guided tours.
- If you want to use the official audio-guide or video-guide, you will have to ask for it at the ticket office. The first lasts one hour and 10 minutes and the second lasts 45 minutes. The audio-guide costs approximately 5.50 euros and the video-guide costs 6 euros; both will be returned at the end of the visit.
Ana's Traveller's Tip
Get up as early as you can to visit the Colosseum with a reasonable number of tourists and you'll enjoy a more relaxed and less hot visit.
What you should know before your visit to the Colosseum in Rome
What is probably one of Rome's most iconic monuments was commissioned in 72 AD by Emperor Vespasian (a professional soldier before he became emperor) and was used as an amphitheatre for shows that were free for the people to attend. The main events at the Colosseum in Rome were the famous gladiator fights and wild animal fights.
The Colosseum is one of the most visited monuments in the world; of the six million tourists a year who visit Rome, five million do not leave the city without strolling through its 80 arched entrances, observing its three tiers of columns (Doric, Ionic and Corinthian, for a refresher in Classical Culture), walking the galleries, watching the arena from a grandstand that held 55,000 spectators and marvelling at the network of underground rooms where the animals were kept.
The history of this marvel of Roman architecture (its name comes, incidentally, from a huge statue of the "Colossus of Nero" that stood next to the amphitheatre) could fill libraries, but it is best to discover it by exploring its nooks and crannies. To do this, the first step is to get your tickets for the Roman Colosseum.
If you are interested in visiting the Colosseum, you will also be interested in
If you are interested in visiting the Colosseum and ancient history, you might also be interested in visiting Pompeii. You can read this post I made about Pompeii Day Trips from Rome.
If after visiting the Colosseum you want to continue walking the streets of the city, the best thing to do is to hire a guided tour so you don't miss anything. There is also the option of taking a guided tour of the city at night, where you can see all its illuminated splendour. In this guide, I'll summarise what I consider to be the highlights of the Best Rome Tours.
Frequently asked questions
Is the underground part of the Colosseum accessible?
Yes, you can visit the underground area of the Colosseum and have a look at the area where the gladiators waited before going out to fight.
How much do tickets to the Colosseum cost?
17€ for adults for the standard ticket. A full guided tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill costs €46.
Is there anything worth visiting near the Colosseum?
In fact, yes: you can visit La Salita del Grillo and the Trajan Market, the Mamertina Prison and the Basilica of San Clemente.