The most famous Roman Amphitheater in the world – the Colosseum – is one of the most iconic landmarks in Rome, Italy, and needs no introduction. Even if you are visiting Rome for a day, the Colosseum is absolutely not to be missed!
One of the most frequently asked questions we get from our readers is how to visit the Colosseum, i.e. which Colosseum tickets or tours to book.
In this guide, we share an overview of all the best Colosseum ticket options and what they include, as well as recommended tours if you decide to visit with a guide.
Further below, you can find more information about all the different levels and archeological sites included with (some) Colosseum tickets, such as the Arena Floor, Colosseum Underground, but also the Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill.
This guide and our experience-based tips for the best Colosseum tickets and tours will give you all the information that you need in order to easily plan your visit. Find out!
PRO TIP: If you don’t have the time to read through all the options and are just looking for the best way to visit the Colosseum, we recommend this highly-rated guided tour. It brings you to all levels of the Colosseum (including the Arena Floor & Underground), the Roman Forum, and the Palatine Hill. We did this tour and loved it.
Good to know: The Colosseum is located in the center of Rome, so getting here is simple. You can simply walk here in about 20-30 minutes from the historic city center or take a metro if coming from further.
However, Colosseum tickets must be bought before your visit! Booking a few days in advance is highly recommended, especially if you want to be able to pick a time slot.
Colosseum Tickets – Best Options
Good to know: All Colosseum tickets include entry to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill (all these places together are also known as Parco Archeologico del Colosseo). You’ll have to choose the specific time slot to enter the Colosseum; the rest is flexible.
The chances of getting official tickets for the Colosseum upon arrival are practically non-existent, not just in the high season. So if you want to be sure that you can visit inside, you really have to reserve your Colosseum tickets online in advance.
Here is an overview of Colosseum tickets:
- Regular ticket (not always available)
- Last-minute ticket (pricier, but somewhat better availability).
- Regular ticket + ancient Rome multimedia video (somewhat better availability).
- Regular ticket + Arena Floor (these are very popular and tend to sell out even faster).
- Regular Ticket + Arena Floor & Underground (better availability – this is a guided tour because you can only visit the Colosseum Underground with a guide!).
Good to know: Children under 18 pay just a few euros and EU citizens under 25 get very big discounts. So be sure to select the right tickets and bring your ID with you!
Please note that Colosseum tickets are usually released only about a month – a month and a half in advance. So if you are too early, you may not be able to book them yet. On the other hand, don’t wait until the last day either or you may not find a suitable time slot anymore.
TIP: If you are looking for last-minute Colosseum tickets, try here. Alternatively, look for a guided tour. They usually have better access to tickets that are not available to the general public, plus you can book a tour long in advance or at the very last minute. You can find more information about guided tours further below.
Important to know if traveling in the high season: In the peak summer travel season, there is often very limited availability of Colosseum tickets. All the websites, including the official site and all the official resellers, show practically no availability at all. If that’s the case, don’t panic. You can still visit the Colosseum with guided tours (which we recommend anyway). See also our hand-picked selection of Colosseum tours further below and if you find an option that suits you, book asap!!!
PRO TIP: This Rome Tourist Card is a combined ticket that includes entry to all the top sights in Rome (Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica + Dome). This card allows you to choose time slots for all the top attractions in one go and will save you time and money.
If you want to make the most out of your visit to the Colosseum, consider going with a guided tour. You won’t have to worry about tickets, which entrance to take, or where exactly to go inside the Colosseum. Not even to mention trying to navigate the huge archeological site of Forum Romanum and Palatine Hill.
I can’t even tell you how many times I saw people sharing frustrating stories about their individual visits to the Colosseum. The worst is when you miss certain places/levels because you pass a turn or some staircase without realizing it and are not allowed to turn back. On top of that, you have the Forum and Palatine Hill which is an enormous site. A visit here is overwhelming without knowing where to go, or understanding what all those ruins are or which ones are significant and what’s the story behind them…
We have been to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum on our own several times and it was an enjoyable visit – we saw it, ticked the box, and were happy. But recently, we wanted to see the Colosseum Underground (this level can only be visited with a guide) and so we booked this guided tour. It was an incomparable experience. We learned so much in such a short time! It’s only now that I realized how little did we actually see in the past.
PRO TIP: If you want to not just see the Colosseum and Roman Forum, but actually understand what you are seeing, do yourself a favor and go with a guide!
TIP: Please note that there are tons of different options when it comes to guided tours of the Colosseum. However, not all Colosseum tours visit all levels, so if you want to stand on the Arena Floor or explore the Underground, be sure to double-check what’s included when you book!
Here is an overview of some of the best Colosseum tours:
- Regular Tour (includes Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill).
- + Arena Floor (includes everything as above, plus access to Arena Floor).
- Arena floor & Special Gladiator’s Gate Access (an excellent tour that includes everything as above and a bit more).
- + Arena Floor & Underground (an all-in tour).
- VIP Night Tour (a very unique experience that includes all Colosseum levels and more).
Why Visit Colosseum?
Built almost 2,000 years ago as an entertainment arena, the Colosseum is the world’s largest amphitheater and the symbol of Rome. It’s simply #1 among all the must-see places in Rome!
A visit here is like taking a trip back in time. As you explore different levels of the Colosseum or stand on the Arena Floor, it’s easy to imagine the infamous gladiator fights and the roaring crowds of 50,000-80,000 spectators.
A tour of the Colosseum Underground gives you a unique insight into the working of this entertainment arena. Here, you can see where gladiators waited for the battles and where wild animals were kept and the mechanisms used to bring them upstairs or flood the arena with water in order to recreate sea battles.
In addition, as already mentioned, your Colosseum tickets also include entry to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. These are the oldest ancient landmarks in Rome with origins dating from around the 10th century BC. This is where the city was born!
Colosseum Levels & Tickets Explained
When choosing which Colosseum tickets to book for your visit, you should know that there are several levels that you can visit, and not all tickets are the same.
Regular tickets give you fast-track access to all the main areas of the Colosseum, Levels I and II, including the museum and the higher levels of the amphitheater. All Colosseum tickets also include access to the nearby archeological sites of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
In addition, it’s also possible to visit the Arena and/or the Underground levels inside the Colosseum. You will need a different ticket for the Arena and the underground level can only be visited with a guide. These tickets/tours also include everything that is included with a regular ticket.
Good to know: In the past, you could also visit Level III of the Colosseum (at the very top, also known as the top tier). However, the top tier has been under reconstruction for quite a while now, and our Colosseum guides said that it’s not clear if/when it will reopen to the public.
Below, you can find more information about all the Colosseum levels and tickets.
Here are more details and info about all these places/tickets:
The Main Floors of The Colosseum
Regular Colosseum tickets include fast-track timed entry to the Colosseum and its main levels: the ground floor (first order) and the first floor (second order), or Levels I and II.
Inside, you can walk around different levels of the amphitheater and visit a museum showcasing all kinds of ancient Roman artifacts and pieces of art that were found here. This ‘museum’ is located inside the Colosseum and is just a small part of the building.
Once again, with the standard entry ticket, you can see the Arena and also the underground of the Colosseum, but you cannot visit these levels.
The regular Colosseum tickets also include a one-time entry to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill – see below. You can find more info and book regular tickets here.
Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill is a large archeological site located just next to the Colosseum and accessible with all its tickets.
Palatine Hill is the birthplace of the city of Rome and the Roman Empire. It was also the place where the rich and the famous lived during the glory days of the Empire.
The Roman Forum, at the foot of Palatine Hill and just next to the Colosseum was the economic and political center of Ancient Rome. Here, you can see some impressive remains of ancient temples, palaces, and important buildings.
You could spend hours wandering around here. But without a guide or some background info (guidebook, audio guide), it’s often difficult to understand and truly appreciate what you are seeing.
Colosseum Arena Floor
In the past only accessible to VIP guests, the partially reconstructed Arena floor has only recently opened to the general public.
Standing here, you can see the Colosseum from the gladiators’ perspective. It gives you a very unique view of the amphitheater and how enormous it is. Just try to imagine how it must have felt to stand here when the Colosseum was filled with over 50,000 people, all shouting and cheering waiting for the ‘show’ to begin.
Because the gladiator arena floor is only partially covered, from here you also have a very good view of a big part of the underground level below.
While you can see the Arena with a regular ticket, you’ll need this ticket in order to enter it. The availability of these tickets is rather limited, so be sure to book at least a week or two in advance!
TIP: If the tickets are sold out, you may still be able to visit this level with a guided tour (just make sure that the tour actually includes the Arena access!).
The Colosseum Underground (aka hypogea) is a sort of ‘backstage’ located under the Arena Floor. It is a network of corridors, narrow passages, and dark cells where wild animals were kept and where gladiators used to wait for their battles.
The underground level was connected to the main stage by innovative mechanics and sort of ancient elevators which were used to bring gladiators and animals to the main Arena.
As you stand here, try to imagine that this area was totally dark and you were deafened by the earsplitting noise of the crowd above. Not even to mention the roaring and the smell of wild animals, or the blood of fellow gladiators…
A visit here is a truly unique experience that gives you a much better understanding of what the Colosseum is really about.
Good to know: This part of the Colosseum has been closed for years and only opened to the public a few years ago. It is only possible to visit this part of the Colosseum with a guide. See here for the best tours that visit the underground level.
So How to Visit the Colosseum?
There is really not one ‘best’ way to visit the Colosseum, so choose the tickets or tours that align with your interests, time, and budget.
If you are looking for the best-value guided tour, then consider this highly-rated experience that – in addition to all the standard places – includes the Arena floor & special Gladiator’s Gate access.
If you want to see all levels, then book a Colosseum tour that includes the Arena Floor and the Underground (we went with this tour and thoroughly enjoyed the visit).
If you are short on time or rather go on your own, you can see the impressive interior of the amphitheater and visit the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill with a regular ticket. In that case, consider this Rome Tourist Card that includes Colosseum tickets as well as all the most important sights at the Vatican. With this card, you can often get Colosseum tickets even if they are not available individually!
READ ALSO: Tips & Tricks for Visiting Rome
Yes, if you want to be 100% sure that you can visit the Colosseum inside, you have to reserve timed-entry tickets in advance. The chances of getting a ticket on the day of your visit are very slim.
Which Colosseum levels you can visit, depends on the ticket you get. With general admission, you have access to the first and second floors including the museum. If you want to visit Arena Floor, you need a different ticket. Colosseum Underground can only be visited with a guide. All Colosseum tickets include entrance to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
The Colosseum is located in Rome, Italy, whereas Coliseum is one of the largest theaters in London’s West End. So the correct spelling for the ancient gladiators’ arena in Rome is Colosseum.
With skip-the-line tickets or a guided tour, you need about 1 hour for the Colosseum. We took a tour that included the Arena Floor and Colosseum Underground and were in and out of the Colosseum in about an hour. However, you should count at least 1-1.5 hours for a visit to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, plus the queue. So realistically, you need at least 2.5-3 hours for the Colosseum.
More travel inspiration and information for your visit to Rome:
- Must-sees: Best Things to Do in Rome
- Practical info:
- How to plan your visit:
- Nice to see if you have more time:
If you found this post useful, don’t forget to bookmark it and share it with your friends. Are you on Pinterest? Pin these images!
More travel inspiration for Italy: