Getting tickets to the Colosseum in Rome is easier than you can imagine. Continue reading to find a way that suits you!
You have finally arrived in Rome, the Eternal City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and you’ve had a great time till the moment you’ve laid food there. The Colosseum from a distance looks mighty, and you can’t wait to get in and explore it. But the minute you approach the entrance, you’re in for a bad surprise: the line to get tickets to the Colosseum is almost as mighty as the site itself. You are ready to give up and settle for just a photo from the outside.
Don’t give up just yet! There are ways to get into the Colosseum without waiting in line for hours, and some excellent Colosseum tours that you are guaranteed to enjoy.
In this post, I will explain how to get tickets to the Colosseum so that you don’t have to stay in line for hours. But first, let me provide some information on what you can expect when visiting the Colosseum.
Why A Trip To Rome Is Not Complete Without Visiting The Colosseum
Rome is a gorgeous city, one I enjoy visiting any time I have a chance. Apparently I am not the only one, as tourists crowd it any time of year. I don’t think a week would be enough to visit all the main attractions in Rome (read more about the various things to do and see in Rome in this post). Anyways – whether you have just a day there, or a month, you simply can’t skip visiting the Colosseum.
This is one of the symbols of Rome, heritage of the Roman Empire and usually the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the city, and first in the line of places people set to visit when there. Known as the Flavian Amphitheater, it was where the battles between gladiators and wild animals used to take place.
Needless to say, a good traveler wouldn’t dream of going to Rome without visiting the Colosseum – save for those who make it a point to stay out of the tourist track. Don’t get me started on what I think of those obsessed with off the beaten path travel (I have often claimed I am an unsuccessful backpacker, because I am more than happy to go to all the most touristy places). Let me just say this: no sane traveler would dream of going to Rome and skip a visit to the Colosseum. It is – quite simply – a must; no matter how hard it is to get tickets to the Colosseum.
Visiting The Colosseum
I am a big fan of anything underground and / or scary and eerie. That’s why I went to Chernobyl, in Ukraine (doesn’t get more eerie than that) and to Kolmanskop, an abandoned mining town in the desert of southern Namibia. To me, the best part of visiting the Colosseum is getting to the underground. This is the best preserved part of the site.
TIP: Keep in mind that the only way to get to the Colosseum underground (as well as the arena floor and the third ring) is on a guided tour. Regular tickets to the Colosseum don’t allow visits to these parts of the site.
The underground has pretty much remained buried from the end of the Roman Empire until around 100 years ago. There are gorgeous marble coatings; some of the structures built on orders of Domitian and even traces and parts of the elevator that lifted wild animals and gladiators to the arena floor.
Even the channels that used to carry water all the way inside the Colosseum are still visible – apparently water was used to flood the arena to recreate the perfect environment for naval battles! – as well as the sewage system thanks to which various objects testifying to the way of life of the spectators have been found.
To me, this is enough to make me want to invest in tickets to the Colosseum that include a guided tour of the underground! Indeed, while the rest of the Colosseum is certainly nice to visit, it’s a bit bare as throughout the centuries it’s been plundered of its marble and all the other decorations (did you know that in medieval times it was used as a sort of quarry?).
Some very steep steps take to the third ring. Getting there isn’t the easiest thing, but that’s where you’ll get the best view of the Colosseum, as well as that of the Roman Forum and the nearby Constantin Arch. This part of the site can’t be visited with just the standard ticket: you’ll need to get tickets to the Colosseum that include a guide and access to underground, arena floor and third ring. It’s surely more pricey but trust an expert: it’s worth it!
The Roman Forum And The Palatine Hill
There’s little doubt that the Roman Forum is one of the most incredible places to visit in Rome, and it is right next to the Colosseum – so most people visit it on the same day and there are tickets to the Colosseum that also include a guided tour of the Roman Forum (more on that later!). When Rome used to be a Republic, the Roman Forum was a thriving place, with food stalls, temples, brothels and the House of the Senate. The stalls were later substituted with a proper mall and tribunals, and the Forum became a ceremonial center during the empire.
The Palatine Hill is one of the nicest places in Rome. According to legend, this is where the twins Romolo and Remo were raised by the wolf, and Romolo, having killed his twin brother, founded the village that later on became Rome. Historically, the Palatine used to be the place where the emperors and the aristocrats lived. Many online tickets to the Colosseum include a visit to the Palatine – it’s a great way to complete a tour of Imperial Rome.
Five Absolutely Smart Ways To Get Tickets To The Colosseum And Skip The Lines
Around 11000 people per day visit the Colosseum, a number that rises up to 30000 (yes, you read that right!) in the peak season. The lines to get inside the Colosseum can be long (and boring) and if you have limited time in Rome, or if you are visiting in the summer when it’s terribly hot, you’re probably going to hate yourself for not having found other solutions to get tickets to the Colosseum.
I am a massive fan of getting online skip the line tickets for famous tourist attractions. They usually include a guide, which in the case of the Colosseum is particularly handy as this way you will also have access to the underground, the arena floor and the third ring.
These are the most popular tours and tickets to the Colosseum
- Colosseum skip the line
- Colosseum, Forum and Palatine Hill + Guide
- Colosseum, Arena floor and Underground tour by night
TIP: As of 30 September 2018 all tickets will have a specific entry time and they will be for individuals or group.
Read on for more tips to make the most of your time when visiting the Colosseum and, most importantly, to avoid the lines to get in!
Way N. 1: Buy your tickets to the Colosseum at the ticket office of the Roman Forum
I know, it (seemingly) makes no sense. But let me clarify this: whenever you buy tickets to the Colosseum, regardless of which one you get, you’ll get a pass for the Roman Forum. A tour of the Colosseum usually includes a visit to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. What does this mean? This means that the vice-versa is also true!
So, if you buy tickets to the Roman Forum, you’ll have tickets to the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill as well. In other words: go see the Roman Forum first, and then the Colosseum. The line to the Roman Forum is much much less, and once you are done with your visit you can proceed directly to the Colosseum with your tickets in your hands already. Smart huh?
Tickets to the Colosseum (including access to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill) cost €12.
Bonus: the ticket is valid for 48 hours, which means you don’t have to visit both attractions on the same day if you don’t want to.
If in any case you decide to visit the Colosseum before the Roman Forum, make sure to get there nice and early at least 30 minutes before opening time.
Way N. 2: Buy the official Colosseum tickets online
This is the official website to get tickets to the Colosseum. Online tickets cost €14 – that’s €12 for the actual ticket, and €2 for the online handling fee. The price includes an audio-guide. You can download the PDF of the ticket, which you have to print and take with you.
Bonus: 18 year olds and younger get in for free!
Way N. 3: Buy the Rome City Pass
The Rome City Pass is a good option if you want to skip the lines to get into the Colosseum and other museums in Rome. There are 3 different city passes that offer considerable savings when visiting Rome:
- 72 hours Roma pass: it includes tickets to the Colosseum; it’s valid for 72 hours, but the savings aren’t as great as the two other options below (which I think are actually better).
- Vatican and Rome card: perfect if you also want to visit the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. Not only you’ll save more than €10 compared to the sum of the various tickets, but you will also save on endless hours spent in line.
- Rome tourist card: this is the best option, if you make good use of it. It costs €67.50 and has a 20% discount to many attractions. It includes skip the line tickets to many attractions, including tickets to the Colosseum; transportation from and to the airport and several other discounts. The only issue you may find is that the site is in Italian only, but if you can get around that, it’s the best solution.
Way N. 4: Buy skip the line tickets to the Colosseum
Skip the line tickets to the Colosseum are the best way to avoid standing in line for hours. There are different kinds of skip the line tickets, depending on the kind of tour you want to opt for – group tours, private tours, etc.
Guided group tours
I am a big fan of guided tours when it comes to archaeological sites. A place like the Colosseum deserves an expert guide that is able to give you detailed information about the history and all the technicalities of it.
More than that, with a guided group tour you don’t have to worry about standing in line to get your tickets to the Colosseum. Indeed, you will enter the site through a gate reserved to groups, and security checks will be more lax and thus faster.
The issue, then, is picking the guided tour that best suits your interests and needs. I recommend picking one that gives you access to areas that are normally closed to the those who only have the basic tickets to the Colosseum – ie the underground, the arena floor and the third ring.
Guided group Colosseum tours cost an average of €45 per person depending on the tour. A guided tour of the Colosseum normally lasts around 3 hours.
These are the best guided group tours with skip the line tickets to the Colosseum:
- Skip the Line: Colosseum, Forum & Ancient Rome Guided Tour
- Ancient Rome Skip-the-Line Tour with Colosseum Underground
- Ancient Rome Tour: Colosseum Underground, Arena & Forum
- Ancient Rome Tour: Colosseum Underground, Arena & Forum
- Colosseum and Ancient Rome: Skip-the-Line Originals Tour
- Colosseum underground guided tour
- Colosseum: Priority Entrance + Arena Floor, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Package
- Colosseum S.U.P.E.R – seven unique experiences in Rome
- Colosseum + hop on hop off bus 48 hours
Guided private tours
If you like the idea of visiting the Colosseum on your own pace but with an expert official guide, you may opt for a private guided tour. Much like the other option, you won’t have to wait in line, you will be able to visit the parts of the site that are closed to the public, you won’t have to move in a group and the guide will be at your disposal. Private Colosseum tours prices depend on the number of persons in a group. The starting price is usually €70.
These are the best guided private tours with skip the line tickets to the Colosseum:
- Colosseum and ancient Rome private tour
- Colosseum private tour with arena floor access
- Colosseum and Roman Forum skip the line private tour
- Skip the line private tour: the Colosseum for families
Way N. 5: Buy night-time tickets to the Colosseum with underground access
If you think that the sight of the Colosseum during the day is amazing, try picturing it at night. I once saw it from the plane as I was landing in Rome and let me tell you, it was splendid! Needless to say, I wholeheartedly recommend visiting the Colosseum at night – of all the various options I have given to get tickets to the Colosseum and skip the lines, this is the one I recommend the most!
Night time Colosseum tours start at 9:30 pm and last around 2 and a half hours. At this time, the Colosseum is virtually empty so you’ll be in for a special, private experience.
The guided night tours give you access to the main areas, the first and second ring, and the arena floor. And you’ll also have access to the undergrounds.
TIP: only a handful of groups can access the Colosseum at night, so as I have said the experience is very private. The other side of the coin, however, is that places fill up quickly so if this is something you want to do, make sure to book well in advance.
Night-time tickets to the Colosseum cost around €87 per person.
These are the best night-time Colosseum tours:
- Colosseum by night tour with Colosseum underground
- Underground Colosseum, Arena Floor, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
- Colosseum and underground arena night tour
- Colosseum underground by night
Other useful information for visiting the Colosseum
How to get to the Colosseum
The Colosseum is in (errr) Colosseum Square. The best way to get there is to either get subway B getting off at Colosseo, or the cablecar n. 3.
The Colosseum is open every day from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm in the winter, and 7:15 pm in the summer. You can get in as late as one hour before closing time.
Keep in mind that the Colosseum is closed on the main Italian national holidays – 1 January, 25 December, and the morning of 2 June (it opens at 1:30 pm).
Prices for tickets to the Colosseum
Tickets to the Colosseum cost €12 and include a visit to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. Tickets are valid for 48 hours after purchase, with one entry per site.
You can get in for free each first Sunday of the month – though I hardly recommend this as the line is humongous and the site terribly crowded.
Please beware that as of April 2016 new security policies have been adopted, which means that anybody wishing to visit the Colosseum, including those who have skip the line Colosseum tickets, have to go through the metal detector. Security checks can take up to one hour, so keep this in mind when you plan to visit. Also remember that backpacks and large bags aren’t allowed.
Have you ever been to the Colosseum? What are your best tips to make the most of it and how did you get tickets to the Colosseum?