Once the scene of historic sporting events, gladiator battles and wild animal fights, the magnificent Colosseum is a Rome icon and an absolute must-see when exploring the city.
A visit to the Colosseum is one of our favorite things to do in Rome, and we’ve visited it many times over recent years. One of the best ways to experience the Colosseum is by taking a tour. It’s incredible to stand in front of the arena and listen to the history behind the Colosseum – the tours really allow you to walk in the footsteps of ancient history and imagine what once was.
We’ve put together this list of the best Colosseum Tours in Rome – these are our favorite tours for maximising your visit to one of Rome’s greatest sights.
The Best Colosseum Tours in Rome
We’ve visited the Colosseum in Rome many times, both with individual ticket entry and guided tours and highly recommend joining a tour to get the most out of your visit.
Due to its popularity, demand is generally very high year-round for tickets and tours of the Colosseum. This is especially true during the busy summer months so we highly recommend booking your tour in advance if you are visiting during popular months.
Best Colosseum Tours in Rome tip – the busiest months for tourism in Rome are between April and early November so make sure to book your tickets well in advance if you are visiting during this period.
Our top Colosseum tour picks are (we’ve included more details further on in the article):
Best Colosseum/Roman Forum/Palatine Hill Tour: a combined tour of the three adjacent sites is one of the most popular choices for first-time visitors to Rome. The tour includes priority/skip-the-line access to the Colosseum and the nearby Roman Forum and Palatine Hill (both of which are also Rome must-sees) – check prices now!
Best Access All Areas Tour: get access to the arena floor, the underground section and some of the upper floors of the Colosseum that are not accessible with a regular tour – check prices now!
Best Combo Tour: a whistle-stop tour of Rome in one day. This tour includes stops at the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Colosseum, together with a walking tour featuring the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain. Includes skip-the-line tickets to the Vatican and Colosseum – check prices now!
Best Colosseum Evening Tour: this tour provides a unique opportunity to experience the Colosseum’s Underground and Arena Floor by night – check prices now!
Best Colosseum Tour for Families: join a small group tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum with a fun guide who specializes in tours for families with children – check prices now!
Ticket-only options: if you decide to visit on your own there are lots of ticket-only options available – you can even buy on the day you visit but this will likely require an extremely long wait in the ticket line. If you want to purchase skip-the-line tickets in advance, we love this combination of priority entrance to the Colosseum and a Rome sightseeing bus tour – check prices here – or this Rome Tourist card which includes skip-the-line access to the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. There is also a guided tour of St Peter’s Basicila included (make sure to upgrade to access the Basilica Dome when you are reserving) – check prices here!
Is a Tour of the Colosseum in Rome Worth it?
Our first visit to the Colosseum was with a standard entrance ticket and we thought it was incredible. Only when we returned and took a guided tour did we realise just how much we had missed out on!
A guided tour adds so much to the experience of visiting the Colosseum. We learn so much and enjoy our visit so much more with a knowledgeable guide showing us around.
- Depending on the tour you choose, it will either skip the general admission line or have fast-track access via the quieter Gladiator Gate which saves a lot of time when entering the Colosseum.
- The guides have a wealth of information and really do add so much to your visit. There is very little information available about the Colosseum when you are walking around. A tour guide will add a lot to your day and answer any questions you may have.
- Many of the tours are great value for money as they include guided tours and visits to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill in addition to the Colosseum.
- Many tours offer access to parts of the Colosseum that standard ticket holders cannot access. The two areas of the Colosseum that general admission doesn’t include are the lower levels (underground) section of the Colosseum and the arena floor and upper levels of the Colosseum. Some tours include these specific areas and are definitely worth it.
Best Colosseum Tours in Rome tip: All of the tours included in this list offer skip-the-line or fast track entrance to the Colosseum. This can save a lot of time as visitors skip the general admission line to the Colosseum. This line can be very long, even on quiet days at the Colosseum
The Best Colosseum Tours in Rome
It can be hard choosing a Colosseum tour due to the number and variety of tours available and, of course, you want to choose the right tour for your needs. We’ve put together this list of the best (and our favorite) tours of the Colosseum to help you narrow down your choices. From family friendly tours of the Colloseum to combination tours taking in other popular sights around the city there is a tour for everyone on our list.
1 | Best Colosseum/Roman Forum/Palatine Hill Tour
The Colosseum is adjacent to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, two incredible historic sites in Rome. If you haven’t visited these sites previously then we highly recommend a tour which includes all three – check prices now!
Tour Details: All tours include priority ticket access to the Colosseum (so you can skip the long general admission line) and tickets to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. An experienced guide will show you around the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Tours are available in English, Spanish, Italian, French and German and it is possible to add access to the Colosseum’s Arena Floor or select a small group tour limited to 12 participants.
What’s Included: The standard tour is a guided group tour of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum including Palatine Hill with skip the line entry. There is also a smaller group tour option (with a maximum of 12 people) and an option that includes access to the Arena Floor via the Gladiators Gate. The tour which includes the Arena Floor is one of our favorite tours as it gives a really unique view of the Colosseum.
Meeting Point / Tour Length: Most tours last 2.3-3 hours. The tour meeting point varies depending on the tour booked so make a note of the meeting point when you book the tour – check prices now!
2 | Best Access all Areas Colosseum Tour
With access to the Arena Floor and the underground and upper tiers of the Colosseum, this is one of our favorite Colosseum tours in Rome .It gives participants a really unique look at areas of the Colosseum that most visitors don’t get to see.
Tour Details: The Colosseum Underground Tour takes visitors onto the arena floor and into the underground sections of the Colosseum where the gladiators prepared before the battles. Guests then continue up to the ground level and the first tier, where they will have some time to explore the Colosseum on their own. The tour also includes the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum where the guide will show you around Romes’s historic center for another hour.
What’s Included: Guided tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill with skip-the-line entry. Access to the Arena Floor and Underground sections of the Colosseum. All guests are provided with headsets so they can hear the guide at all times.
Meeting Point / Tour Length: depends on the tour you have booked. Check the booking information here for the exact meeting points. Guests should arrive at the meeting point 30 minutes prior to the tour commencing. The tour lasts around 2.5-3 hours. – check prices now
3 | Best Combo Rome and Colosseum Tour
If you want to spend a day visiting Rome’s incredible historic sites then this whistle-stop tour of Rome in one day is perfect – check prices now!
Best Coloseum Tours Tip: this is a full day tour and it covers a lot of ground across the city. We’d recommend that you are comfortable walking and being on your feet for the majority of the tour (around 7 hours)
Tour details: This tour includes stops at the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Colosseum, together with a walking tour featuring the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain.
What’s Included: Skip-the-Line Entry & Guided Tour of The Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, Roman Forum and St Peters Church. A guided walking tour past Navona Square, the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain.
Meeting Point / Tour Length: the tour starts close to the Vatican at Viale Vaticano between Hotel Alimandi and Caffé Vaticano. Look at the top of the big staircase for a rep with a sign. Make sure to arrive 10 minutes early. The tour lasts around 7 hours – check prices now!
5 | Best Colosseum Family Tour
It can be difficult to keep kids entertained on historic tours (we know this from our travels with our 3 kids who are under 6!) so we often seek out family-friendly tours to make it more engaging for them. This tour is run by a guide who specialises in family tours and includes engaging games and quizzes and the use of multimedia tools to keep everyone interested – check prices here!
Tour details: this is a small-group tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum with a guide who specializes in tours for families with children. The tour includes skip-the-line access at the Colosseum.
What’s Included: Tickets and entrance to the Colosseum, including your guide and skip-the-line access. Tickets to the Roman Forum.
Meeting Point / Tour Length: meet outside the Colosseo Metro Station at the ground level exit. The guide will be holding a sign with your name on it. The tour lasts around 2 hours 30 minutes and you should arrive at the meeting point ahead of your scheduled tour time. – check prices now!
5 | Best Colosseum Evening Tour
For a truly unique experience of the Colosseum, we highly recommend taking a night tour of the ancient amphitheater. Visiting the Colosseum is a completely different experience after dark and the lighting at the monument makes it one of our favorite times to visit. Another significant benefit of a night tour is that it avoids the large daytime crowds (and the sometimes stifling heat during summer!).
Tour details: The Colosseum Night Time tour is a guided tour after dark around the Colosseum and includes access to the arena floor and the underground sections of the amphitheater. This really is one of the most unique ways to visit the Colosseum
What’s Included: Tickets and entrance to the Colosseum, including your guide and access to the underground sections of the Colosseum and the Arena Floor. Note: the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill is not included as part of this tour.
Meeting Point / Tour Length: Meet your guide at Via del Colosseo 24, a few minutes walk from the Colosseum. The night tour lasts around 2 hours and you should arrive at the meeting point ahead of your scheduled tour time. – check prices now!
Everything you need to know about Colosseum Tours
Here’s everything you need to know about taking a Colosseum Tour in Rome:
How Long Are Tours of the Colosseum?
Guided tours of the Colosseum and Roman Forum generally last around 2.5-3 hours, with the Colosseum taking around 1-1.5 hours of this time. While it may seem like a long time the historical sites are very large and the guides will show you around in the most efficient route possible.
A lot of the buildings and areas in the Colosseum and Roman Forum are unmarked with little information, so it is definitely worth having a tour guide to show you around and explain the vast history of the sites.
How much are tours of the Colosseum?
The price of Colosseum tours varies depending on the type of tour and what is included in the ticket. A good quality group tour that includes entrance to the Colosseum starts at around €50 per person. Tours that include the underground and arena sections of the Colosseum will cost slightly more, as will any of the night tours of the Colosseum.
Are all Colosseum Tours the same?
Broadly speaking, most tours of the Colosseum include entry into the Colosseum and a guide to show you around. However there are various tours offered, with some giving access to parts of the Colosseum that other tours do not.
Only select tours allow guests access to the Gladiators Gate which leads to the arena floor, while others give access to the underground sections of the Colosseum where gladiators prepared before their battles. If you wish to see these areas we have included options for tours that include these lesser-visited areas.
Can you really skip the line at the Colosseum?
Yes, you can skip the ticket line (which can be absolutely huge) with all tours. You will still have to pass through security but you avoid the long wait for tickets.
The Security Line at the Colosseum
Anyone planning a visit to the Colosseum in Rome should be aware of the security screening at the Colosseum in Rome. There is a security screening line that is separate from the ticket entrance line. Regardless of the ticket or tour you purchase, you will have to wait in the security line to be checked. This line can get quite long at peak times so it’s worth being aware of this!
One way to reduce the likelihood of a long wait in the security line is to book an early morning tour of the Colosseum. By doing this you’ll avoid the large volumes of people that arrive at the monument by the afternoon and the long security lines!
Best Colosseum Tours in Rome tip: Based on our experience, the security line at the Gladiator Gate entrance tends to be shorter and hence quicker. Some tours may use this entrance.
What to take to the Colosseum
Those under the age of 18 will be required to show a government issues ID or passport when entering the Colosseum to confirm eligibility for a free ticket (this will be priced into the child’s rate for the tour). Depending on when you visit, you might need sunscreen, an umbrella for shade and water.
Tips for Visiting the Colosseum
We have a number of tips for anyone planning a visit to the Colosseum. These should help you to make the most of your time in Rome and make your trip to the Colosseum extra special
- Book your tickets and tours well in advance – tickets and popular tours of the Colosseum tend to sell out well in advance so make sure to book your tickets well in advance.
- Timed entrances – This is extremely important – all tickets to the Colosseum are timed tickets. This is a relatively recent change at the Colosseum as visitor numbers inside the monument are limited to 3,000 at any one time. You must enter the Colosseum at the time designated on your ticket. Make sure you arrive well in advance of your visit as you will miss your entrance slot if you are late.
- Visit early in the day – don’t be tempted by an easy morning! The best time to visit the Colosseum is first thing in the morning. You will avoid the worst of the busy crowds plus you will also get your visit to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum completed before the hottest part of the day.
- Security lines – there is airport-style security at the Colosseum so travel light when you are visiting. Avoid taking larger bags as they are not allowed in.
- Prohibited items – large bags, backpacks and suitcases are not allowed in the Colosseum or the Roman Forum. Visitors should only take a small bag as there is no storage for larger items at the Colosseum
- Pack extra batteries – make sure your cameras and phones are fully charged as you won’t want to miss any good photo opportunities during your tour. We usually pack a battery pack that allows us to charge on the go, like this one