Rome is one of my favorite cities in Europe and even the world because it has so much to offer any kind of traveler! If you are still deciding if Rome is worth visiting, then the answer is yes, three times yes!
Of course, any visit to Rome would be incomplete without visiting the Colosseum! Needless to say, this is one of the most famous attractions in all of Italy!
The Colosseum, also named “the Flavian Amphitheatre” is the biggest amphitheater in the entire world and its construction started in the year 70 AD.
The Colosseum receives over 11,000 visitors every day. During the high season, there may be as many as 30,000 visitors at the Colosseum every day!
It sounds pretty intimidating, doesn’t it? As you can imagine, since it is such a famous attraction the tourist lines to visit the Roman Colosseum can get a little crazy, to say the least! The lines are usually so long, people need to wait for 2 or even 3 hours on average to get their ticket and enter! Except for all this wasted time that could be spent in a better way, the weather is usually hot there, especially if you are going during summer/high season. So why would you want to spend your vacation time waiting in a queue?
Don’t get discouraged, as I am here to offer you my secret tips and solutions for avoiding those long lines!
During the 2 years I spent in Rome earning my Masters, I learned a few useful tips about how to avoid waiting in lines – and the Colosseum is no exception.
Let’s find out how can we skip the lines to Rome’s Colosseum:
Option 1. Visit the Roman Forum First
This may sound a bit confusing, but bear with me. When you buy your Colosseum tickets, you will automatically receive Roman Forum tickets as well. So, essentially, the two attractions become one.
The Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill are located in front of the Colosseum and they are a must-see attraction in Rome as well, even if you are short on time!
Since the Colosseum ticket also gets you into the Roman Forum, you can get your tickets from the box office at the Forum, go visit it first and then head to the Colosseum. This way, your time spent in lines will be greatly reduced as you will be taking the off-the-beaten-path route!
Below is a map of the different entrances to the Colosseum so you can better understand where they are:
During my last visit to the Coliseum ruins I chose to enter through the Roman Forum (Foro Romano in Italian) entrance, which is located at the end of Via Cavour. It is not as frequented by tourists compared to the other entrances. Once you finish your visit at the Roman Forum, you can head towards the entrance to the Colosseum. You will not have to wait in line again because, guess what, you will already have your ticket!
NOTE: Your ticket is valid for 48 hours. This means that you can choose to see one attraction per day if you feel a bit overwhelmed.
PRICE: The Colosseum ticket price is 12€ on the spot.
Option 2: Get Your Ticket Online from Their Official Website
Here is the Colosseum official website. Please note that if you want to buy your Roman Colosseum tickets online, they are going to cost 14€ instead of 12€ at the entrance.
This is because of the 2€ online reservation fee. Apparently, this is common practice for almost all the attractions in Rome and you cannot escape it. But hey, I think it is totally worth it considering that, otherwise, you would need to spend about 2 hours under the hot sun wasting your precious vacation time, don’t you think?
All you need to do now is to print the pdf and show it at the entrance inside the Colosseum.
Children under the age of 18 get free access to the Colosseum, but they do require a ticket as well. You cannot get the free tickets for children under 18 online, as they do not offer them. In case you are a group of adults and children, what you need to do is buy the adult tickets online, then go to the Colosseum, go through security check together and, once you are inside, proceed to the Events desk to get the free tickets for your children. Make sure to bring a valid proof of your children’s age with you!
People between 18 and 25 years old have a free entrance as well, but they do need to book their spots in advance on the official website by paying the 2€ reservation fee.
PRO TIP: Make sure to arrive 15 minutes before the time of your reserved entrance. This way, you will have enough time to pass the security check. This means that, if you book your ticket online, you will get to go directly to the reservation desk. However, you will not get to skip the security check!
NOTE: There is a strictly imposed limit of a maximum 3,000 people in the Colosseum at any given time, which means that even if your ticket has a specific time, you may be asked to wait a bit before entering.
BONUS: Even though you will get the official audio guide included with your ticket, I also recommend checking out this free one, which I find very interesting!
PRICE: The online ticket is 14€ (12€ entrance fee + 2€ online reservation fee)
Option 3: Join a Guided Tour with Skip-the-Line Access
If you want to join a guided tour of the Colosseum, there are 2 different options you can choose from: a group guided tour or a private one. Let me tell you about each of the two options:
- JOINING A GUIDED GROUP TOUR:
Having a knowledgeable, patient guide to explain all the fun facts and historical information to you about such an important attraction will be a big plus to your visit! Another great benefit to this kind of tour is that a Colosseum guided tour also gets you skip-the-line access to the attraction because groups usually have a separate entrance.
With this fast track ticket, you will be able to go in through a special entrance with an express security line!
As you can already guess, there are sooo many different Colosseum tours to choose from! So how can you pick the best one for your visit?
I recommend selecting a small guided tour that will give you access to special areas that are not available to the general public without a guide. For example, your tour will also include a visit to the underground area and to the third level of the Colosseum which offers a spectacular view!
PRICE: Approximately 40€ per person, depending on your chosen tour
NOTE: There is also the option of taking a combo tour of the Colosseum and Vatican Museums with skip the line entrance to both! For example, these combined Colosseum tour tickets cost more or less 100€ per person (which I think is a good deal!) depending on the date.
- GETTING A GUIDED PRIVATE TOUR:
If you would prefer to take your time with a private guide and discover the Roman Coliseum without being part of a group, this exclusive private tour is the perfect option for you.
Even though it will be a bit more expensive, booking this kind of tour will also provide you priority, skip-the-line access using a special entrance. On this private Colosseum tour, your expert guide will take you to some exclusive areas that are usually closed to the public. Plus, you can ask all the questions you want because the guide will be there just for you!
PRICE: starting from 74€ per person. For example: it will be 165€ per person for 2 people, 95€ per person if you are in a group of four and so on. In short, if you are a bigger group of friends, it will be cheaper!
Option 4: Get Access with One of the City Passes
Buying a city pass can be a great solution if you want to visit some other important attractions in Rome other than the beautiful Colosseum. There are some passes that include skip-the-line access to the Colosseum, but how do you know which one is the perfect one for you? Let’s see:
You can choose from 4 different tourist passes in Rome right now, but the fact is that only 3 of them are worth it and will actually help you save some money. In case you want more details, I recommend reading my article which includes a comparison with sample calculations for each of the passes here.
In order to save you some time, I created the following compacted list:
- Roma City Pass – this pass allows you to get into various attractions with skip-the-line access. It also provides roundtrip transportation for the airport, and many other useful advantages. Another great benefit of this pass is that it’s completely mobile, no need to print any paper or pick it put from an info point! Roma City Pass costs 67.50€ and, in my opinion, it is worth the investment. Check out this post which shows you how much money you can save with this pass.
- OMNIA Pass – This pass is a great option in case you want to visit Vatican Museums as well, as it offers skip-the-line access to both of these attractions. In short, you will be able to save at least 10€ per person with this pass!
- Roma Pass – This pass offers free entrance to the Colosseum, but you will only save 1.50€ if you use it, which I do not think is really worth the effort.
PRICE: 29€ to 113€, depending on which pass you choose
Option 5. Join a VIP Colosseum at Night Tour That Gives Underground Access As Well
The Colosseum by Night tour is 2 and a half hours long and it starts at 9:30 PM. This is way past the Colosseum hours (8:30 AM – 7:00PM), and means the place will be completely empty by then, which creates a special atmosphere. This unique package also includes an interesting Colosseum underground tour during which your knowledgeable guide will show you around while telling you tales about the Roman Colosseum history!
NOTE: There are only a limited number of groups allowed inside for this special Colosseum night tour, which means that it will be an even more special experience for you! Although it costs more, you really get your money’s worth!
Sadly, this tour did not exist while I lived in Rome. I would’ve loved to join one and experience the Colosseum at night!
PRICE: 79€ per person. I honestly believe this is one of the best options out there for experiencing the Colosseum, as it allows you to see it during a special time with no huge lines. It is really special!
BONUS: A Secret Place for Unforgettable Pictures with the Colosseum
During my time of exploring Rome as a local, I got the opportunity to find out about a lot of lesser-known tips and tricks, including this secret spot where you can take the best photos with the Colosseum in the background! Do you know where I was when I took this picture?
In case you do not know, I will share this location with you, as I think it offers the BEST view for your pictures of the Roman Colosseum! So, here is how you can take the same picture as me:
-> Take the metro to the “Colosseo” station, which is located right in front of the Colosseum
-> After getting off of the metro, take the escalator located on the left side of the turnstiles (don’t pass the turnstiles yet, the escalator is before them!)
-> Go up the escalator
-> After getting off the escalator, you will see this exact place.
BONUS: Look out for the pedestrian bridge once you get up there, it also provides a great spot to take photos!
If you would like to see a video of how to get to this place and my experience at the Colosseum, check out the highlights on my Instagram page – the one called “Rome”. I have many other tips about Rome there which I recorded during my last visit! And while you’re there, don’t forget to follow me!
Bonus 2: Great hotels near the Colosseum in Rome
Luxury ($230 USD and above): Only 0.6km from the Colosseum is The Inn At The Roman Forum. You can’t do better for comfort and luxury. This hotel has all the amenities and a rooftop bar so you can enjoy views of the Colosseum at night. I also recommend Relais Terme di Tito, which is just 100 m from the Colosseum. You’ll get terrace views and breakfast provided daily.
Middle ($115-$230 USD): At Hotel Forum (.6 km from the Colosseum), you can stay directly opposite the Roman Forum. You’ll get amazing views from the rooftop bar. Breakfast is also included. If you’re looking for a place right across from the Colosseum, you should check out B&B Colosseo Panoramic Rooms. You’ll also get an amazing view along with modern décor.
Budget (up to $115 USD): For more of a budget option that’s just 350 m from the Colosseum, I recommend Hotel Lancelot. Get your camera ready for some Instagram-perfect pictures on the terrace. There is a bar and restaurant on site and they offer great breakfasts and coffee so you’re fueled up and ready to head out sightseeing. Another option that’s a bit further from the Colosseum but in the heart of Rome is Hotel Paolo II. Each room has AC and free Wi-Fi and you’re close to lots of public transportation to get you where you need to go.
Bonus 3: Practical info about the Colosseum
When is the Colosseum open?
The opening hours of the Colosseum actually change throughout the year. It always opens at 8:30 am, but closes one hour before sunset, so it’s open later as the days get longer. For a complete list of closing times depending on the date, you can check out the Colosseum official website. But to be on the safe side, you’ll want to hit the Colosseum before 4:30 pm. The ticket office closes an hour before the official closing time as well, so it’s best you don’t try to show up 15 minutes before closing.
Also, keep in mind the Colosseum is closed on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and May 1st so factor that into your plans if you’re visiting Rome around those times.
How much does it cost to enter? Is there any way to get a cheaper price?
The cheapest ticket option for Rome Colosseum tickets is to wait in line and pay 12€. However, as I mentioned before, if you book online, you can skip the line but you’ll pay an extra 2€ reservation fee. I recommend paying the extra 2€ since you get to skip the line, which usually takes about 2 hours. Definitely worth the extra euros to save time!
If you’re an EU citizen between 18 to 25 years old, you can get a half-price ticket and children under 18 years old enter free. As I mentioned earlier, you will still need tickets for kids. Get the adult tickets online and then proceed to the Events desk once inside to get the children’s free tickets. It’s also free for people with disabilities and their companion, as long as you have proper certification of the disability.
How do I get to the Colosseum?
There are several ways to get to the Colosseum:
One is via the metro. From the main train station, Termini Station, you get on Metro Line B. It’s 3 stops (about 7 minutes) and you get off at a stop named Colosseo (Colosseum in Italian). Once you get off the stop, you’ll just need to cross the street. This option costs 1.50€.
You can also get a metro day pass for 7€. For updated prices and the available daily passes for Rome public transport, I recommend checking out their official website.
A tram line also passes by the Colosseum. This would typically be more of a scenic route since the tram doesn’t go to most areas frequented by tourists. Tram line 3 has a stop at the Colosseum.
There are also several bus lines that run right past this tourist attraction. The following lines all have stops near the Colosseum: 75, 81, 673, 175, and 204. There are tons of bus lines in Rome, but bus stops usually have a large sign that shows all the lines that pass through there. Buses are usually really crowded though and can be a spot for pickpockets. The cost is the same as for the metro and a day pass for the metro is also valid for the buses.
You can also take a taxi to any tourist destination. To get a taxi, find a taxi stand (with an orange taxi sign) and wait for one to come. If you’re somewhere in central Rome, it should be about 8-15€ to get to the Colosseum. Also, there is no need to tip the driver.
You can check an estimate price to get to the Colosseum from specific locations in Rome using this taxi fare calculator.
Via Hop On Hop Off Bus
Some tourists also choose to use “hop on/hop off” tourist buses. These hit all the big sites, so if you’re looking for an easy way to get from place to place without getting lost, this could be a good option. Most companies let you choose between 24- to 72-hour tickets.
While these tours might seem a little cheesy, they offer an easy way to get to all the big tourist sites if you’re short on time. A 24-hour pass usually costs around 20€. One big benefit to this option is that you don’t have to worry about pickpockets or trying to navigate metro or bus lines in Italian.
Is there anywhere to eat with a view of the Colosseum?
There are plenty of options near the Colosseum to grab a bite to eat or a coffee. If you’re looking for a special night out, you can’t do better than Ristorante Aroma at Palazzo Manfredi. Located right across the street from the Colosseum, the views from this rooftop restaurant are breathtaking at sunset. But be warned. This is a pricey option. The food is to die for, but it’s probably not the best place for a quick snack.
If you’re willing to walk for a good view, head towards Piazza Venezia (about 15 minutes walking on Via dei Fori Imperiali). On a terrace behind the Vittorio Emmanuel II Monument you’ll find Caffetteria Italia. Good food, reasonably priced, and great for a quick bite or some coffee. You’ll also get a great view of the Colosseum from afar.
Walking around the Colosseum can be exhausting. If you’re tired and just need a place to sit down, right across the street is Oppio Caffe. This is a perfect option for coffee, lunch, or a snack that won’t break the bank. There’s outdoor seating and you can enjoy the view of the Colosseum while you eat.
Is the Colosseum safe to visit?
Due to the numbers of tourists coming in and out of Rome every day, there are people looking to take advantage of unobservant foreigners. The number one thing to be careful of is pickpockets or people who grab purses. These people tend to hang out near tourist destinations or on public transportation lines that tourists are likely to use.
You can consider using a traveler’s wallet that you wear under your clothing. If you’re on public transportation or in a big group of tourists, hold on to your bag or purse at all times. You might also want to wear your backpack on your front so you can see if anyone tries to open it.
You should also be very wary of people who come up and talk to you. Sometimes con artists work in pairs and while one distracts you, the other may be stealing your wallet.
The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to only carry what you need. Don’t bring all your credit cards, all your cash, or your passport out with you. If your wallet does get stolen, you don’t want to end up completely stranded.
What should I know about the history of the Colosseum before visiting? When was the Roman Colosseum built?
Although you can learn much more from audio guides or a guided tour when you arrive, there are a few things you should know before you visit this epic building!
Almost 1,950 years old, the Ancient Rome Colosseum was built by Emperor Vespasian as a gift to the Roman people. It was built around the year 70 A.D. The Colosseum was essentially a giant stadium to showcase huge spectator events. These included the infamous gladiator fights where gladiators fought to the death. They also sent animals into the center ring to fight or featured executions of condemned criminals. Up to 80,000 people attended these brutal, violent shows at once. It was basically like a football stadium of its day, only much, much more violent.
When should I go to the Colosseum?
The biggest pain about visiting the Colosseum is the crowds. There’s always going to be loads of people, but there will be fewer if you come during the low season (November, December, January, and February).
It’s also better to go mid-week if possible. Crowds are biggest in the middle of the day, so consider getting to the Colosseum right at 8:30 am when it opens or one hour before the last entry (two hours before the official closing time). There will still be people, but much less than in the middle of the day.
PRO TIP: If you do decide to come in the middle of the day, make sure to bring a hat and some water as during the summer months it is HOT and there is no shade.
How long should I expect to spend at the Colosseum?
Once you’re inside, you can expect to spend about an hour roaming around the Colosseum. There are two tiers to wander around and occasionally there is a special exhibit on the second-level. This could add some time to your visit as well.
If you’re going to see the Roman Forum at the same time, this also takes about an hour. You can hit these back-to-back or take a break and visit one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Some tours include Palatine Hill as well, which will add another hour on to your visit. If you want to hit all three, factor in about an hour for each site so three hours total.
If this sounds completely overwhelming, don’t worry! The tickets are good for 48 hours so one day you can do the Colosseum, then the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill the next.
What facilities does the Colosseum offer?
The Colosseum is wheelchair accessible. The entrances have ramps and there is an elevator to the second tier as well. If you need to use an elevator, make sure you tell the cashier when you purchase your ticket. There are also handicap-equipped toilets.
Bathrooms are located to the left of the ticket booths. Because of the number of people, there may be a line so it might be best to hit a café bathroom before you head in.
You can’t bring luggage into the Colosseum and there is no place to store it at the site. Make sure you don’t bring anything larger than a backpack or you might be stuck outside holding your bag.
NOTE: There are also no cafes inside the site, so make sure you eat before you go!
What should I bring to the Colosseum?
There is a security checkpoint before you can enter this tourist destination so make sure you aren’t carrying anything dangerous on you. As I mentioned, you can’t bring large bags or luggage, but you should also avoid carrying any kind of knife (even a pocketknife won’t be allowed in). Also, don’t bring too heavy of a bag since you are going to be walking around a lot.
You should definitely bring a water bottle, but make sure it’s not glass as they don’t allow those in either. If you’re going to the Colosseum during the summer months, I recommend bringing a hat and wearing sunscreen because there’s no shade once you get inside.
The one thing you can’t forget is your camera! The pictures you can get inside the Colosseum are amazing. I use an Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II – it’s tiny, light and it takes great pictures!
What else is near the Colosseum?
If you’re already hitting the Colosseum, as I mentioned, you definitely want to hit the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill as well while you’re there.
Once you’re finished up there, you can walk 15 minutes and see the Victor Emmanuel II Monument. This also has the tomb of the Unknown Soldier under a beautiful statue.
The Pantheon, another must-see site, is about a 25-minute walk from the Colosseum or 20 minutes on the 85 bus.
If you’re looking for something a bit closer, you can stop by the Basilica di Santo Stefano Rotondo, which is just 10 minutes walking from the Colosseum. This is a circular church from the year 740 and can be a quiet place to check out after dealing with all the crowds at the Colosseum.
The Colosseum in Rome is one of the most beautiful attractions in the city and, even though everybody goes there, it is totally worth it! I know the lines can be crazy for the Colosseum, but don’t let this change your mind about visiting, because now you know 5 different ways to avoid the lines there!
If you follow the tips I provided you will get to enjoy the most famous attraction in Rome without standing in line for absurd amounts of time. Plus, I have shared with you my secret spot for taking the best pictures with the Colosseum!
I hope you will have the best vacation in Rome and the most special visit to the Colosseum using my special tips!
If you have any questions, leave them in the comment section and I will get back to you as soon as possible!
As always, I wish you happy travels,
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