Colosseum: Plan Your Visit

Colosseum: Plan Your Visit

    Planning a visit to the Colosseum? In this article you can find everything you need to know in order to organize your visit. A bit of advance planning goes a long way in helping you to have a stress free holiday. We provide a bunch of tips on where to buy tickets, what to see, the best time to visit, and lots of other helpful information.

    What to see in the Colosseum?

    It’s a good idea to get informed in advance about the different areas of the Colosseum open to visitors as they require different types of tickets or tours. There are four main areas: the Colosseum’s first and second tiers, the Arena, the Underground and the Belvedere. The first and second tiers can be accessed with the standard Colosseum ticket, but if you also want to visit the Arena floor you will need to buy the Arena floor ticket. It is important to decide in advance what you want to visit as there is no way to upgrade once you have entered. Meanwhile, the Colosseum Underground and Belvedere areas are only accessible if you book a tour. For more advice and tips on how and where to buy your Colosseum tickets check out our Colosseum Ticket Guide.

    Buy your Colosseum Ticket Online and in Advance

    Most people do not book their tickets in advance and instead opt to get their tickets directly at the ticket office. This has two main disadvantages:
    There is almost always a long line at the ticket office. The wait can be up to two hours in high season. Rome can be very hot in the summer and the ticket line can be particularly trying in this period of the year.
    Tickets have a designated entry time. The most sought after times often sell out quickly, meaning you may not be able visit at the time you had hoped for. This is because the number of visitors in the Colosseum is limited to a maximum capacity of 3,000 at a given time.
    What should you do instead? Buy a Colosseum tickets online in advance! We cannot stress this enough. While buying a ticket online costs a little more due to the booking fee, you will be able to skip the line at the ticket office and to book your visiting time.
    But, how long in advance should I plan? The earlier you organize your Colosseum visit the better. You will then be able to travel with peace of mind knowing that you will have ample time to visit the Colosseum as well as other sites. But if you did not get around to it, don’t worry, last minute tickets are often still available online, though they may cost a bit more than if you book in advance.

    Is visiting the Colosseum with a Tour Guide worth it?

    You may be wondering if you should visit the Colosseum with or without a guide. This, of course, depends on your budget, the time of day you want to visit, how much you want to learn and what areas of the Colosseum you want to visit. The Underground and Belvedere sections are only accessible with a tour guide so if you want to visit these, booking a tour is your only option. Visiting the Colosseum at night time is also only possible if you book a tour. It is an incredible and mesmerizing experience to visit the Colosseum under the stars of the romantic Roman night sky.
    The explanations and stories you get with a professional guide undoubtedly enrich the experience, allowing you to learn about the incredible history of the Colosseum and to immerse yourself into the way of life in ancient times. There are many Colosseum tours available including large and small group tours as well as private tours. Overall, tours are a hassle-free way to make sure you visit and learn about all of the most interesting areas of the Colosseum. If you are interested in finding out more it is worth reading our Colosseum Tour Guide, which covers everything you need to know about Colosseum Tours. Should a guided tour not be of interest to you then it’s definitely worth picking up a guide book or an audio guide.

    The Best time to visit the Colosseum

    The Colosseum tends to be crowded year round, but certain times are less crowded than others.

      Best time of the Day: If you want to visit the Colosseum when it is the least crowded, then go as early in the morning. This is especially true in high season, when thousands of tourists visit it daily. If you get there right when it opens at 8:30 am (or better yet 30 minutes before opening at 8am) you will breeze through the entrance line and the security check.
      Not an early bird? Go 1-2 hours before closing as this is when most visitors have already left or are in the process of finishing up their visit. The closing time changes throughout the year and is always about an hour before sunset. If you are traveling in summertime, try to avoid visiting between 11am and 4pm, as the combination of intense heat and humidity can make for a very unpleasant visit.

      Best time of the Year: The best time to visit the Colosseum with little crowds is during the low season from November to February, excluding the 2 weeks around Christmas / New Years which are very busy.

      Best Day of the Week: during the low season you will find the Colosseum less crowded during the week rather than on weekends. In high season, however, there is not a lot of difference between weekends and weekdays.

      Visit the Colosseum at Night: the Colosseum can be visited at night, but only with a tour guide. It is a highly recommended, unique and very special experience. You will visit in almost complete solitude since night tours are an exclusive product with very limited numbers of visitors per night. The combination of ruins lit by tastefully placed spotlights combined with the natural light of the moon makes for a scenery of rare beauty, which you will take with you for a lifetime.

    Colosseum Visiting Tips & Rules

      Go twice - This might sound a bit crazy, but it is really worth visiting during the day and at night. While the day will allow you get a better up close view of the ruins, the Colosseum at night will stun you with it’s unique and majestic beauty.

      Buy your tickets online in advance - Online ticket give you skip the line access, saving you a lot of time as lines can be incredibly long. They, also, guarantee entry as tickets sell out fast.

      Visit the Colosseum for free - The first Sunday of the month from October through March, everyone can visit the Colosseum for free. However, be prepared for very long lines, so go as early as possible - preferably 30 mins before opening. Between April and September there is no free entry on the first Sunday of the month.

      Be aware of pickpockets - Rome is notorious for the high number of pickpockets who tend to target unaware tourists. The Colosseum in particular is a hot spot for petty crime. To be on the safe side keep vigilant and watch out for your belongings. Consider wearing a money belt which you can hide underneath your shirt or keep your wallet in your front pocket. Ladies be extremely careful if you have a purse or shoulder bag especially in crowded areas. It is better to leave valuables and important ID documents in the safe at your hotel. Never flaunt your money in public.

      Wear comfortable shoes - There is almost no place to sit down and there is virtually no shade. So wear comfortable shoes as well as a hat. And don’t forget to apply sunscreen.

      Arrive 20-30 mins early All visitors, even those with skip the line tickets or entering with a tour guide, need to pass through a mandatory security check, similar to that at the airport. Allow for a 20-30 minute waiting time in the line for the security check.

      Bring a plastic bottle - Plastic bottles are permitted though they must be emptied before the security check. Once you are inside you will find a drinking fountain where you can fill up your bottle.

      Don't bring large backpacks - small backpacks and bags are permitted, but large backpacks and luggage are forbidden.There is no bag check or cloak room at the Colosseum, the Palatine or the Forum. If you show up with a bag which is too large you will be denied entry.

      Don’t bring dangerous items - As you might imagine, firecrackers, knives, weapons and glass bottles are forbidden. They will be confiscated at the security check.

    How to get to the Colosseum?

    The Colosseum, located in Piazza del Colosseo, in the heart of Ancient Rome and adjacent to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. The Colosseum can be easily reached with public transport. Here's how:

      By Metro: the "Colosseum Stop" is located on the metro Line B (blue line) is only two stops from Termini.i.

      By Tram: using tram Line 3 and 8.

      By Buses: there are a number of bus stops close to the Colosseum including 51, 75, 85, 87, N2, 117 and 118.

      Big Bus Tour Rome: this is Rome's Hop-on Hop-off bus service - it includes not only the HoHo access, but also a guided walking tour of Rome and an audioguide available in 9 languages. It stops in front of the Colosseum.

    Taxi - Don’t want to use Rome’s public transport? You can always opt for a Taxi, though bear in mind that on Sundays Via dei Fori Imperiali is closed to traffic.

    Walking - the Colosseum is about a 20 minute stroll from most of the central areas in Rome where many hotels are located (such as the Centro Storico, Trastevere, Monti, Termini, Testaccio and San Giovanni).

    Note: with the Roma Pass and the Omnia Card public transport is free for the entire validity of the pass.

Colosseum Opening Hours

The Colosseum is open every day except for 1st of January and 25th of December. Opening hour is 8.30am throughout the year but closing time varies from month to month and is usually closing one hour before sunset.

Here are the more detailed opening hours:

  • Last Sunday in October – 15th February: 08.30 am - 4.30 pm
  • 16th February - 15th March: 08.30 am- 5.00 pm
  • 16th March - Saturday in March: 08.30 am - 5.30 pm
  • Last Sunday in March - 31st August: 08.30 am - 7.15 pm
  • 1st September – 30th September: 08.30 am - 7.00 pm
  • 1st October - last Saturday in October: 08.30 am - 6.30 pm

Last entry is allowed one hour before closure

The ticket office closes one hour prior to closing time.

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