Colosseum tours

Are you wondering which of the many Colosseum tours is right for you? On this page, you will find a comprehensive guide to Colosseum Tours, including private tours, group tours, night tours, family-friendly tours, and more.

Don’t feel like reading ahead? Click here to book your Colosseum tour.

Colosseum Tours – Is it worth taking a tour?

are Colosseum tours worth it

Yes! The Colosseum has been standing as the monumental symbol of Rome for thousands of years. It’s simply a must-see during your trip to the Italian capital.

As one of the most visited places in the world, the Colosseum clocks in over 7 million visitors each year. If you want to make the most of your visit to the Colosseum, joining a guided tour is the best way to do it.

However, you can either buy a ticket or book a tour to visit the Colosseum.

  • Tickets are good if you want to explore the Colosseum on your own. If that’s what you’re looking for, then you can go ahead and book your Colosseum ticket. For more info, check out our guide about Colosseum tickets price.
  • Tours have plenty of perks. Besides the historical context provided by expert guides, some areas are only accessible as part of a guided tour.

Benefits of a Colosseum Tour

benefits of a Colosseum Tour

  • Access to exclusive areas: the Colosseum has restricted areas that can only be visited as a part of a guided tour. These areas include the Underground Chambers, Gladiator Arena and the Belvedere top levels (3rd, 4th and 5th tiers of the Colosseum).
  • You get a guide!  
    • Your guide will make everything easy. You will just need to show up at the meeting point, and your guide will ensure everything goes well.
    • Your guide will answer any questions and enrich your visit by sharing anecdotes on the history of Ancient Rome.
    • You will avoid getting lost, wasting time and missing important details hidden in the ruins and architectural details.
  • Guaranteed access: the Colosseum can only accommodate 3,000 people per day. Therefore, Colosseum tickets can sell out, and often do sell out. If they are sold out, you still have a chance to visit the Colosseum by booking a tour. You can also check our guide on Colosseum last-minute tickets.

Which kind of Colosseum tours are available?

which kind of Colosseum tours are available

The Colosseum can be visited in several ways. When you select a tour, you must consider the type, the stops and the time of day.

Tour Types

  • Audio-guided tours
  • Group tours
  • Private tours
  • Express tours
  • Virtual Reality tours
  • Family-Friendly tours

Tour Stops

  • Colosseum tours with access to 1st and 2nd floor (basic tour)
  • Colosseum tours with access to the 3rd, 4th and 5th tiers.
  • Colosseum tours with the Gladiator Arena
  • Colosseum tours with the Underground Chambers

Time of day

  • Colosseum daytime tours
  • Colosseum at-night tours

Of course, you should also consider the price and availability for the day and time you plan to visit.

All tours include access to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

Which Colosseum tour is best for you?

Colosseum Audio-guided tours

Colosseum audioguide tours

Audioguide tours are the cheapest option. You can rent an audioguide together with your basic ticket. Audioguides with video are also available.

The audioguide tour will provide you with relevant details and engaging stories about the Colosseum. It lacks the human touch of an expert tour guide, and may not answer your questions adequately, but it’s an acceptable budget option.

Colosseum Group tours

Colosseum group tours

These are the most popular choice for Colosseum guided visits. In fact, group tours are typically the cheapest option among the tours of the Colosseum, because you share the cost of the guide with many others.

Group tours allow you to meet people from around the world, as the groups generally have around 25 people each. However, there are also options for smaller groups of 6 to 12 people, which are more private and a little more expensive.

There’s no need to worry about not hearing the guide if you are at the back of a large group. You will be given headphones to clearly hear what the guide is saying, even at a normal speaking volume.

Colosseum Private tours

Colosseum private tours

A private tour is the perfect option if you want to experience the most of your visit to the Colosseum. On a private tour, you will have a guide fully dedicated to you and your friends and family.

Benefits of a Private Colosseum tour:

  • Privacy is the most obvious and greatest benefit of a private tour. You don’t have to feel packed in by a bunch of strangers, and you will have the guide’s complete attention at all times.
  • Customization is key. You can ask the guide to design the tour to fit your needs and interests. The tour will also proceed at your own pace.
  • VIP treatment is guaranteed on a private tour, as the guide will be at your disposal to help make your visit even more enjoyable.

If you are a large group, private tours may actually be cheaper than group tours.

Colosseum Virtual Reality tours

Colosseum virtual reality tours

If you love technology and want to immerse yourself in history, this is just for you. Virtual Reality Colosseum Tours will allow you to travel back to ancient Rome through Oculus VR goggles.

The Colosseum comes to life through your VR glasses. Gladiators fight to the death before your very eyes, while lions and spectators roar all around you. This is perfect for history buffs and tech geeks.

You can book a Virtual Reality tour with an audioguide or a human guide, who will assist you during the experience.

Colosseum Express tours

Colosseum express tours

If you’re in a hurry, book an express tour. They usually focus solely on the Colosseum, which is covered in 90 minutes or less.

The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are still included in the price, but these areas are left to you to explore independently at your own pace.

Express tours are another good budget option.

Colosseum Family-Friendly tours

Colosseum family-friendly tours

The Colosseum has something to offer everyone. If you plan to visit with children, you should consider booking a tour customized for kids and families.

These tours are specially designed to be more interactive and less tiring. The guides are trained to deal with groups traveling with kids and to engage children of all ages with interactive games and activities.

Compare Family-Friendly Colosseum tours on TourScanner to find the one that best fits your needs and budget. There are tours for as little as €30.

What levels of the Colosseum can you visit?

Basic Colosseum Tours – 1st and 2nd Levels

basic Colosseum tours

Visitors booking a basic ticket or a tour which does not include any special section of the Colosseum will get access to these levels.

From the second level, you will be able to see the interior of the Colosseum, but you will not be allowed to enter the Arena, the Underground or see the panoramic view from the Colosseum over the city of Rome (such as from the Belvedere).

Belvedere Colosseum tours – 3rd, 4th and 5th Levels

Belvedere Colosseum tours

In Italian, Belvedere means “beautiful view.” It is easy to guess why the visit to the top levels of the Colosseum has this name — the 360-degree view over Rome from the top of the Colosseum is absolutely breathtaking!

The 3rd, 4th and 5th tiers of the Colosseum were only opened to the public in 2017, and only a limited number of visitors per day are allowed to visit this section of the Colosseum.

You must book a guided tour to access the Belvedere upper levels.

Colosseum tours with the Gladiator Arena

Colosseum and the Gladiator Arena tours

The Gladiator Arena is also a restricted area of the Colosseum and is closed to the general public. It can only be visited as part of a guided tour or with special tickets.

From the Arena floor, you will see the Colosseum from the eyes of the gladiators. Your guide will recount stories about the spectacles, like how the gladiators once battled against each other or wild animals, such as lions and bears.

Colosseum Underground tours

Colosseum Underground tours

The underground chambers of the Colosseum are another restricted area closed to the general public and is only accessible as part of a guided tour or with a special ticket.

Tours will take you under the arena to see where gladiators once waited in preparation for their fierce battles on the main stage. You will where the lions and bears were kept before being released into the arena through hidden trap doors.

Most Underground tours include access to the Arena as well. Some also include access to the Belvedere and visit other popular attractions in Rome, such as the Vatican Museums or the Sistine Chapel.

When is the best time to visit the Colosseum?

Colosseum Morning tours

Colosseum morning tours

Millions of people visit the Colosseum every year, as it is one of the most popular tourist spots in the country. This is why it can often be crowded, but don’t let this prevent you from exploring it fully.

Take advantage of the fact that people don’t want to wake up early while on holiday. Most visitors only arrive in the late morning or early afternoon, so your best chance to avoid the crowds is to book the first slot of the day at 9 AM.

Colosseum At-Night tours

Colosseum At-Night tours

The Colosseum looks spectacular after night falls. However, it is also closed to the general public at this time. The only way to visit after dark is by booking a tour.

On a Colosseum At-Night Tour, you will have access to the Underground Chambers and the Gladiator Arena, along with the rest of the Colosseum.

At-Night Tours typically last for 2.5 hours and are only available on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Benefits of a Colosseum At-Night tour:

  • Exclusive, fast-track entry to the Colosseum after closing time
  • Access to exclusive areas (Gladiator Arena and Underground)
  • Access to Palatine Hill and Roman Forum
  • An experienced guide to answer all your questions

At-Night Tours start at €70 and include the admission ticket.

Are there any Colosseum tours combined with other attractions?

combine Colosseum tours with other attractions in Rome

Yes. Some tours combine the Colosseum with other popular attractions in Rome, including the Vatican Museums and the Borghese Gallery.

Colosseum and Vatican Museum tours

Colosseum and Vatican Museum tours

The Vatican Museums are located in Vatican City and host one of the largest art collections in the world, including the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

There are many tours available that allow you to visit both attractions in one day. With a combined tour, you will visit the Colosseum in the morning and the Vatican in the afternoon (or the other way around), making for a perfect day in Rome.

With a guide and skip-the-line tickets, you are set to have a carefree Roman holiday. Just so you know, the Sistine Chapel is always included as part of the Vatican Museums tours.

If you plan to visit the Vatican Museums on a separate day, you can easily compare tickets and tours for the Vatican Museums on TourScanner.

Colosseum & Borghese Gallery tours

Colosseum and Borghese Gallery tours

The Borghese Gallery is a renowned art collection hosted in Villa Borghese, right in the heart of Rome. You can see the most famous artwork in the gallery — Bernini’s marble sculpture, “The Rape of Proserpina”. For more details, see our guide to the Borghese Gallery.

If you plan to visit the Colosseum and the Borghese Gallery on the same day, you can join a combo tour to save time and money on your visit to Rome.

Are there any free Colosseum tours?

are there any free Colosseum tours

There are no free tours. The cheapest is an audioguide tour, which costs €5 in addition to the entry ticket. You can walk outside the Colosseum for free and enjoy some views, but you must pay to enter the area and other sections.

However, if you want to visit the Colosseum for free, it’s possible to do so on the first Sunday of the month. However, there’s no way to reserve your visit and, as you might expect, there will be long lines to wait in!

If you’re an EU citizen under 18, you can enter all areas of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum for free.

Can you Cancel or Modify your Colosseum tour?

This depends on the provider. Some may allow free cancellations, while others may impose a cancellation fee based on how far in advance the tour was canceled.

Typically, changes are not permitted as most tickets are dated, so it’s important to thoroughly review the conditions before booking.

Are any Colosseum tours included in the Rome Pass?

Colosseum tickets and city attraction passes

The Rome Pass includes access to the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Forum. However, it does not include guided tours.

What will you see at the Colosseum?

what is included in the Colosseum ticket

Made of volcanic tuff, brick-faced concrete, and travertine, the Colosseum is the largest amphitheater and most popular tourist attraction in the world, drawing in over 7 million visitors annually.

So why do droves of people come to see the Colosseum? Well, as the name suggests, it’s colossal, gigantic, and humongous! In its prime, the Colosseum would accommodate up to 80,000 spectators for awe-inspiring gladiator fights and even recreations of naval battles. It was a spectacle like no other!

To accommodate such massive crowds, the Romans built this mammoth of an amphitheater, which still stands tall in the city skyline even after almost 2,000 years. Its grandeur and magnitude continue to captivate visitors to this day.

Inside the Colosseum

things to see inside the Colosseum, Rome

As soon as you step inside the Colosseum, a world of exploration opens up before you with several distinct sections to discover.

You can stroll along the exterior and ascend from the lower to higher seating areas. If you’ve secured tickets or a tour with exclusive access, you can also descend to the center of the arena and venture further down into the underground hypogeum.

Just like modern stadiums, the Colosseum had its own hierarchy of seating. Divided into four tiers, the closer you were to the action, the more prestigious your seat.

The first tier, nearest to the arena, offered the best views and was reserved for senators, the Emperor, and his Vestal Virgins.

The second tier was designated for the non-senatorial noble class and Roman knights.

The third tier was intended for wealthy citizens and those with esteemed professions, such as heralds, soldiers, priests, and scribes.

The fourth tier, located at the very top of the Colosseum, might be likened to today’s “nosebleed seats.” This was where slaves, women, and the lower classes would cheer from.

The Arena and the Hypogeum

The Arena and the Hypogeum, Rome

The central stage of the Colosseum is vast, nearly the size of a modern football field, and was once covered with sand, known as “arena” in Latin.

This sand concealed a wooden platform and trap doors underneath, creating an illusion of exotic creatures like bears and tigers appearing out of nowhere.

Beneath the arena, remnants of the “hypogeum” can be seen – a network of underground tunnels used by performers and animals to move around the Colosseum, hidden from the spectators’ view.

Standard tickets for the Colosseum do not grant access to the arena or the hypogeum. To explore these areas, be sure to book Full Experience Colosseum tickets or opt for a Colosseum tour, as all tours include access to the arena and the hypogeum.

Outside the Colosseum

things to see outside the Colosseum, Rome

As you approach the Colosseum, you’ll first come across the Arch of Constantine, the largest arch in Rome, although it may seem petite next to the colossal structure of the Colosseum.

Gazing up at the Colosseum, you can marvel at its nearly 100 arches supported by massive columns, and imagine the countless spectators who shuffled in and out for the day’s events.

The outer wall of the Colosseum required an astounding 100,000 cubic meters of travertine, held together by 300 tons of iron clamps. Despite its massive scale, the Colosseum was constructed in less than a decade and hosted its first events in 80 AD.

However, the Colosseum is no longer completely intact. A major earthquake in 1349 caused severe damage to the structure, and much of the fallen stone was used to rebuild churches, palaces, hospitals, and other buildings in the earthquake-affected area.

After the decline of the Roman Empire, the Colosseum ceased to be used for entertainment and saw various repurposes, including as a fortress, quarry, and even housing at times.

Throughout the centuries, the Colosseum has undergone regular restorations and has been utilized for diverse purposes, which is why it stands today as an iconic symbol of the immense wealth and power once held by the Roman Empire.

Adjacent to the Colosseum, there were once other structures such as a gladiator school, storage rooms for armor and machinery, an infirmary for injured gladiators, and a “spoliarium” where the bodies of defeated gladiators were kept.

The Roman Forum

The Roman Forum, Rome

The Roman Forum spans approximately two hectares, stretching from the Colosseum to the Piazza Venezia. Within this historic site, you can explore aqueducts, churches, smaller forums, and even the tomb of Romulus, the legendary founder of Rome.

If you’re on a Colosseum tour or have booked Full Experience Colosseum tickets, you’ll have exclusive access to several remarkable sites within the Roman Forum. These include Santa Maria Antiqua, the Oratory of the Forty Martyrs, the Temple of Romulus, the House of Augustus, the Rampa of Domitian, and the Curia Iulia.

Palatine Hill

Palatine Hill, Rome

Palatine Hill, one of Rome’s seven hills, holds significant historical significance as the birthplace of the city in the 9th century BC. To reach Palatine Hill, you can walk up from the Roman Forum towards the Circus Maximus, following the relatively new routes around the hill.

Beginning at the Severian Arcades, you can pass by the Domus Augustana and make your way to the Paedagogium. Continuing towards the southwest slope of the hill, you’ll reach the Circus Maximus, where Romulus is said to have founded Rome at the exact spot.

How do you get to the Colosseum?

how to get to the Colosseum

The iconic Colosseum is situated in Piazza del Colosseo, and it is easily accessible by public transportation.

By metro

To reach the Colosseum, you can take either Line B or B1 of the metro and get off at the closest stop, Colosseo. From the station, it’s just a short 5-minute walk via Via Nicola Salvi to reach the main entrance.

By bus

To get to the Colosseum, you can take several bus lines including Line 51, 75, 85, 87, or N2, which will take you to Colosseo station. From there, it’s a brief 5-minute walk along Via Nicola Salvi until you reach the main entrance.

By tram

You can also take Lines 3 and 8 of the bus, which will bring you directly to the Piazza del Colosseo stop. From there, it’s just a short walk to reach the Colosseum.

By guided tour

This is, without a doubt, the most convenient way to reach the Colosseum. By opting for a guided tour, you can entrust all the stress and concerns about logistics to your tour guide, who will conveniently pick you up directly from your hotel.

Tickets for public transport

In Rome, you have various ticket options that grant you access to all of the city’s public transport services. Additionally, you can also consider purchasing an Omnia or Rome Pass for your transportation needs.

A One-Way Ticket is priced at €1.50 and provides unlimited transfers within 100 minutes, with the exception of the metro line where it is valid for a single journey.

  • A 1-Day Pass costs €7 and includes unlimited transfers for 24 hours.
  • A 2-Day Pass costs €12.50 and includes unlimited transfers for two days.
  • A 3-Day Pass costs €18 and includes unlimited transfers for three days.
  • A Week Pass costs €24 and includes unlimited transfers for seven days.

Colosseum Tips

Colosseum tips

  • Booking tickets online is the exclusive method to purchase Colosseum tickets nowadays. Despite the presence of ticket scalpers outside the Colosseum, it’s advisable to steer clear of them.
  • Exercise caution to avoid scams. Refrain from purchasing tickets from random ticket sellers near the Colosseum. It’s recommended to utilize TourScanner to compare deals from reliable online ticket providers.
  • Be prepared for stringent security measures. Large backpacks, bags, glass bottles, and sharp objects are not permitted inside the Colosseum. It’s advisable to leave these items at your hotel before visiting the Colosseum.
  • Travel light as there is no cloakroom available at the Colosseum. You will need to carry all your belongings with you during your visit.
  • Make sure to check the terms and conditions of your tickets and tours when booking online. Colosseum tickets are typically designated for only one specific day and time, and multi-day tickets are usually only valid for consecutive days. Confirming these details can help you avoid any problems during your visit.
  • Make sure to wear suitable walking shoes when exploring the Colosseum. Remember that everything about the Colosseum is ancient, including its walkways, which can be bumpy and uneven. Proper footwear is essential for a comfortable visit.
  • It’s important to always have your ID or passport with you, especially if you’re planning to use free or discounted tickets for entry. Be prepared to show identification to avoid any issues during your visit.
  • Arriving early is crucial. Make sure to be at least 30 minutes early for your timed visit to the Colosseum. The area around the Colosseum can get crowded, and you may need to spend some time locating your guide at the meeting point. Keep in mind that there are no refunds if you miss the meeting point at the designated time.

Enjoy your visit to the Colosseum. We hope this guide will be helpful in making the most of your visit! Divertiti! 😊🏛️

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Born in Paris, Guillaume Picard has spent years immersing himself in diverse cultures, living everywhere from Asia's hubs like Singapore and Bali, to European destinations such as Portugal and Italy. Now, as the CMO of TourScanner, he's at the helm of a platform that echoes his passion for travel. Guillaume oversees the content, particularly the blog, offering readers firsthand insights and tales from his global escapades.