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How to Visit the Colosseum (Best Tickets & Guided Tours)

The Colosseum in Rome is one of the most visited sites in the whole world. So, when planning to visit it, be sure to plan ahead to make the most of your visit.

Read on to find out when is the best time (of the year and day) to visit Colosseum, how to get there, which tickets to choose, the best way to explore it and if you need to take a guided tour.

We have idea for great hotels near Colosseum you would like to stay in.

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Seeing the Colosseum from the outside

Exploring the Colosseum is a must when in RomeExploring the Colosseum is a must when in Rome

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The Colosseum is one of the most photographed sights in the world.

Even without entering the Colosseum you can enjoy stunning views of this great Roman sight. It looks spectacular from outside, and you can capture beautiful photos from every angle.

The outer walls, which are 48.5m high, have three levels of arches, framed by columns topped by capitals of the Ionic, Doric and Corinthian orders.

Climb the stairs just across the Colosseum to take some interesting photos of the whole Colosseum from the distance or take selfies. This is one of the free things you can do in Rome.

On this fun Vespa side-car tour you'll see the Colosseum and hear stories about it (great opportunity to snap stunning photos).

Exploring the Colosseum from inside

The Colosseum was used for wild beast hunts, public executions, and gladiator fights for several hundred years.

It's divided into several sections: five floors of spectator stands, the Arena Floor (where gladiators fought) and the Underground section.

Standard ticket allows you to climb to first and second floors, from where you can look down onto the partially rebuilt Arena and the remains of the underground areas.

The second floor also has a small exhibition charting the monument’s history and a viewing balcony overlooking the Arco di Costantino.

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From Arena floor you can see the Colosseum from gladiators perspective. Tickets for visiting Arena floor are limited, so be sure to book at least week or two in advance! Or opt for one of guided tours that include Arena floor!

What is especially exciting is visiting Underground area which is made of corridors and passages where wild animals were kept and where gladiators used to wait for their battles. Visiting this part of the Colosseum is possible only with a guide on a tour.

For amazing views over the Colosseum and the whole Rome, book these tickets to the Belvedere Attic!

How long does it take to visit the Colosseum

For exploring the Colosseum you'll need at least 1.5 hour (if not visiting Arena and underground). As Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are both larger and more spread areas, you'll need at least 2 additional hours.

So count on at least 3.5 hours for all these sights. If you want to explore more detailed, you'll need more time.

The Colosseum Rome from insideThe Colosseum Rome from inside

Best time to visit the Colosseum

The Colosseum is open all year round, from 8:30am to one hour before sunset. This means that in winter months, the Colosseum closes around 4:30pm and in late spring and summer around 7pm.

Note that last entry is one hour prior to closing time.

The Colosseum is always crowded with visitors but crowds do vary according to how many tourists are in Rome.

If visiting between March and October, it will be pretty much always crowded, whatever time of day or week you visit.

If you come in low season (from November to April), you may find some periods with less crowds. Note that crowds are larger on weekends, especially when the weather is good.

We suggest go visiting in the morning when it's first open at 8:30am, or 1-2 hours before last entry. During the summer, it can become hot and crowded in the middle of the day, so avoid visiting then.

Anyway, be prepared for crowds when visiting Colosseum (for staying just a stone throw from the Colosseum, book Nerva Boutique Hotel).

It's best to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your allocated entry time so you can complete security checks.

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Buy skip-the-line tickets when visiting the ColosseumBuy skip-the-line tickets when visiting the Colosseum

Ways to explore the Colosseum

1. Buying regular tickets (the cheapest)

You can buy tickets at the ticket offices on Piazza del Colosseo (just in front of the Colosseum) and Largo Salara Vecchia (short walk from the Colosseum), but take in consideration that you'll need to face long lines (you'll waste your precious time in Rome, especially if visiting in 1 day).

If you decide to book online, be aware that demand is always high and you need to book well in advance (especially for the period from April until October).

Sometimes, it's impossible to get tickets online as they sell out too quickly.

Standard ticket costs €16 and covers the first and second floors of spectators area; Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, while full experience ticket costs €22 and covers all areas of Colosseum including Arena floor and Underground sectors.

Note that tickets bought on the official website can’t be cancelled, modified, or refunded.

There are different Colosseum ticket types available, depending on what you would like to see, and regarding that, different prices apply.

2. Buying skip-the-line tickets (easy visit)

Buy one of skip-the-line tickets online to save your time on waiting in front of ticket office and when entering the Colosseum. 

Obviously, these tickets are more expensive than the regular once, but can be bought well in advance and can be cancelled (in most cases). You also have the benefit of 24 hours customer service line in your language of choice.

3 most popular skip-the-line tickets:

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3. Booking a guided Colosseum tour (for the best experience)

Consider taking one of guided tours as the Colosseum is not well marked and you'll be wandering around and not knowing what you are looking.

Joining a guided walking tour of Colosseum is a great way to explore it. You won't only see but hear historical facts of this monument and find out more. 

Variety of tours allows you to choose the one that best suits you. Some tours include a visit to spectator area of Colosseum (plus Roman Forum and Palatine Hill), while others takes you to Arena and underground areas.

You'll love this affordable tour of Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

This 3.5h small group tour will take you to explore highlights of the Colosseum from the top to the bottom (includes skip-the-line entry).

Your children will love hearing stories about gladiators on this family tour of Colosseum.

This private tour of Colosseum and Roman Forum has only excellent reviews and we're sure you'll love it (pick-up included in the price). It's customized to your interest!

Most tours of the Colosseum also feature a visit to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. While these sites are not part of the Colosseum itself, they are located right next to it.

In summer 2023, a new panoramic glass elevator was inaugurated at the site, offering a new viewing experience for special early morning visits.

4. Buying tourist cards/passes (save time + money)

Buying one of Rome city passes is a good choice if you plan to do lots of sightseeing.

For example, Roma Pass which is available in 48h and 72h options, allows you free skip-the-line entrance to Colosseum (or other sight of your choice) plus discounts on 45 other museums, galleries and archeological sites and of course free public transport.

Roma Pass can be bought from one of Tourist Infopoints in Rome (you'll find one on your way to Colosseum at Fori Imperiali). If bought online, it must be collected once in Rome (plus you need to make reservation for the Colosseum).

In our opinion, the better choice would be Rome Tourist Card for visiting the Colosseum as it also includes skip-the-line entrances to Vatican Museums and St Peter's Basilica Dome or Borghese Gallery (plus you'll get free audio guide).

With Rome Tourist Card everything is done online and your tickets are emailed to you. This makes your sightseeing so easy!

5. Visiting the Colosseum at night (unique experience)

Exploring the Colosseum is a unique experience, as it's truly quiet and there are no crowds like during the day. This is possible only in a company of a guide.

The starting time of night tours varies depending on the season; in the summer it's between 7 and 9pm, and in the winter between 5 and 6pm.

These interesting tours give you access to the main areas, the first and second ring, the underground and the arena floor. Book well in advance if you are looking for a specific day, as the number of night tours is very limited.

Below are some excellent options but make sure to check their cancellation policy, as not all of them allow refunds:

Note:

The Colosseum recently introduced a requirement to have visitor names printed on each ticket. Visitors are required to show identification documents that match the name on the ticket eg Drivers Licence or Passport.


The Colosseum is free:

  • for visitors under 18 years and for people with disabilities (plus one family member or helper) - reservation of the ticket and timed entry is needed also
  • on the first Sunday of each month on a first come, first serve basis so expect large crowds on those day (we suggest you to avoid this).

The Colosseum, RomeThe Colosseum, Rome

A few useful tips to make you visit pleasant:

  • Don't miss your time slot: Arrive to the Colosseum at least 15-20 minutes before your booked time

  • You must pass a security check: Prior to entry the Colosseum, you have to go through security check. You are not allowed to bring large backpacks, dangerous items...

  • Remember to bring hat, sunscreen and a bottle of water: During your visit, you will mostly be standing in the blazing sun. Come prepared, stay hydrated, and protect yourself from sunburn.

  • Go to the bathroom beforehand: Note that that lines for the restrooms at the Colosseum are very long. So it's best to avoid them, if you can.

Stadium of Domitian on Palatine HillStadium of Domitian on Palatine Hill

Don't forget Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

Once you explore the Colosseum, head to Roman Forum which is only a short walk away. Tickets are usually included as part of the Colosseum entrance (some allow re-entry, some don't). There are multiple gates where you can enter the Forum. The one closest to the Colosseum is the busiest, but it's not problem if you are going with your guide on a tour.

The Forum is dotted with ruins of ancient Rome's most important buildings, which makes it one of the most fascinating and probably the world's best open-air museum. Just wander around and read the signs explaining each ruin.

On Palatine Hill, you can see hundreds of ruins of imposing temples and palaces constructed for ancient Roman's high society, with the most notable being the Domus Flavia, House of Augustus, Farnese Gardens and Stadium of Domitian.

How to get to Colosseum

The Colosseum is easy to reach from anywhere in Rome.

The Colosseo metro stop (line B - direction Laurentina) is just across the entrance to Colosseum, as well as bus stop (take buses to Via dei Fori Imperiali; buses no. 60, 75, 85, 87, 271, 571, 175, 186, 810, 850, C3, and 117; buy bus tickets at tobacco store).

You can even take tram line 3 that passes by the Colosseum (Piazza del Colosseo tram stop).

The Colosseum is situated about 1 km from Piazza Venezia from which Via del Corso (long shopping street) leads to Piazza del Popolo. 

From Spanish Steps, walk to Via del Corso (just a few hundred meters) and from there take one of the buses that stop right in front of the Colosseum. 

From the Pantheon or Piazza Navona, you can walk to Corso Vittorio Emanuele and then take a bus to the Colosseum.

From Villa Borghese or Piazza del Popolo, take the metro line A (from nearby Flaminio station) to Termini, and from there take line B to Colosseum.

If coming from Vatican, take metro line A to Termini, then change to line B and ride for 2 stops.

It's possible to visit Colosseum even if you are visiting Rome in a day. From Termini Station (if you are arriving by train from Florence or Naples, or taking Leonardo Express from Fiumicino Airport), take metro B and ride for 2 stops.

Staying near Colosseum

The Monti area north of the Colosseum, is particularly attractive and well served by public transport.

Monti is one of the best Roman neighbourhoods for sightseeing and great base for exploring Rome. Close to Termini station and only a short walk from the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Piazza Venezia, this part of Rome has everything you need.

It's made of narrow streets packed with cosy cafés, eateries and small independent boutiques. In this vibrant but not overcrowded part of Rome, you can experience everyday life of Romans.

Via Cavour takes you from Basilica Santa Maria di Maggiore to Imperial Forums in the south.

Right in the middle of this street, you'll find Cavour metro stop from where you can take line B to Termini and change there to line A to reach Spanish Steps, Fontana di Trevi and Vatican.

While it's crowded during the day, the area around the Colosseum get quieter at night. You'll enjoy having a late-night stroll around Colosseum when it's lit up.

Choose hotel with panoramic rooftop or apartment with front-row views over the Colosseum to make your Rome stay unforgettable.

Hotel Nerva near the ColosseumHotel Nerva near the Colosseum

We loved staying at these hotels near the Colosseum:

Monti Palace Hotel

Hotel with great location on Via Cavour (only 10 minutes walk from Colosseum). You are spoilt for choice of excellent cafĂ©s and restaurants in the area. Rooms are comfortable and very clean with daily housekeeping service. You'll love breakfast here - it's rich buffet with a choice of eggs, bacon, cereals, yogurts, freshly baked pastries, coffee, teas, fruits...

Boutique Hotel Nerva

This is small boutique hotel on a quiet street in historic centre with homely atmosphere and helpful and warm staff. It has great selection of room types. The breakfast is super delicious! This hotel offers excellent value for money! You'll love staying here!



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