Visiting the Colosseum in Rome

Visiting the Colosseum in Rome is something nobody can skip when they’re in Italy. The Colosseum is one of the 7 new wonders of the world (check them all out here). And it was a real highlight of my time there. Sure it’s cliched, and sure there are hordes of tourists but it’s famous for a reason and that’s because it’s awesome.

Now telling me eating a slice of pizza, and drinking an espresso while soaking up the views of the Colosseum doesn’t get your wanderlust juices flowing?

BUT don’t go storming into Rome without a plan. You can skip the queues, you can get cheaper ticket prices, all you need to do is just a little bit of research first. Long-story short, book online with Headout, it’s a game changer! Let me help you choose the best way to see the Colosseum below:

Visiting the Colosseum in Rome
Visiting the Colosseum in Rome


During the days of the Roman Empire the Colleseum, the biggest amphitheater ever built,  would be used to for public displays and gladiator contests. Here, up to 80,000 people would pack themselves into the Colosseum to come and watch. Starting waaaaay back in 80AD.

Throughout the years the Colosseum has seen a great deal of damage. And it is no longer functional of course. Unfortunately, around 25% of it has been destroyed. In spite of the damage, the giant theater is still an impressive site and attracts millions of tourists each year.

Visiting the Colosseum in Rome
Visiting the Colosseum in Rome

Should you book a Colosseum tour? Or go independently?

In a word, yes, book a tour. Looking back, the best way to see the whole area. Palantine hill, Rome Colosseum tickets itself AND the dungeons, is to book online in advance. Either with just queue-jump tickets, or on a small group tour.

It’s not much more money, so unless you’re on a super tight budget (like I was the first time) taking a short tour, with a guide, where you skip the queue and get to be one of the few people seeing the dungeons under the colosseum is the best way to go. Hands down. So do that!

You can book all that, the same way I did, using Headout here:

Colosseum inside view
The Colosseum inside view


The Colosseum is in Rome’s city centre. And it’s super easy to access. Jump on the metro and head to Colosseo, from there the Colosseum is literally 2 minutes away. You can see from the google map below.


The directions I’ve included in the google map though are an awesome trip. They go from the Colosseum, and then a 5-minute walk to Palatine Hill, where you can buy a Colosseum ticket without the crazy queue. You’re welcome!


Tickets are €12 per person (€9 EU citizens ages 18-24, free for EU citizens under 18 or over 65) and give you access to The Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill.

You can buy the tickets in a  few ways:

A) You can buy the tickets right outside the Colosseum. NOT RECOMMENDED, there are massive queues. REMEMBER, BOOK ONLINE HERE AND SKIP THAT QUEUE!

B) You can buy the tickets online here and avoid queues, AND ACCESS THE GLADIATOR ARENA!

C) The easiest option if you don’t book a tour, and you’re on a tight budget, is to walk 5 minutes to Palatine Hill (or at the Roman Forum), buy your ticket there, walk back to the Colosseum, and stroll right in. Boom!

Colosseum queues
Avoid the Colosseum queues!


  • October to 15th January: 09:00-15:00
  • 16 Jan-15 Feb: 09:00-16:00
  • 16 Feb-17 Mar: 09:00-16:30
  • 18 Mar-16 Apr: 09:00-17:00
  • 17 Apr-Sep: 09:00-19:00
Visiting The Colosseum in Rome
Visiting The Colosseum in Rome


  • BUY YOUR TICKET ONLINE AND AVOID THE QUEUES (it also gives you access to the Gladiator Arena). You can book with Headout App here:
  • If you’re broke and don’t book a tour (it’s much better to book though, be warned!). Go either first thing in the morning. The ticket office opens at 8.30am so get there around 8.15am and there’ll just be a handful of people to share the experience with
  • Alternatively, if you’re not a morning person, go an hour before sunset so you get the day and night versions of the Colosseum, when they light it up it is spectacular!
  • Remember the ticket hack – go to Palatine Hill for your ticket, not the Colosseum ticket office!
Colosseum at night
The Colosseum at night

My personal experience visiting the Colosseum in Italy

I’ve been to the Colosseum in Rome twice. Both times I considered The Colosseum as my number 1 thing to see when I was in Rome. The first time, I was a broke backpacker, and then the second time, on my honeymoon with my wife.

The first time around, I didn’t have the money to book a tour. The second time around, I did. And it was a much more fulfilling experience, truth be told.

Both times, I arrived to the Colosseum in Rome via the Metro. It’s much cheaper than an Uber, although they now have those scooters in European cities, and they’re a great way to get around too.

As soon as I left the metro stop you get struck by a huge building. Sure, there’re loads of tourists, but you don’t even notice them. The Colosseum is staring right back at you. At the time, I didn’t know about the little ticket hack so I queued up like an idiot and waited my turn. Almost an hour in the queue. Eurrrgh.

Second time? I had booked a queue jump ticket online, so I met my guide and they took me directly in. Much better! You can copy me HERE (with special access to the gladiators underground) or just queue jump (with no tour) here.

Entering the Colosseum is a magical experience, considering what went on here literally 2000 years ago. 50,000 people crammed in to watch the most barbaric of entertainment. It only took 10 years to build and to do this day it’s in great condition (admittedly with a touch-up here and there!).

Now I know just how crammed a Rome schedule needs to be, I would have woken up super early and hit the Colosseum first thing but no matter what time you do, it’ll blow your mind. I went back in the evening to have a beer and see it all lit up at night too, and that is spectacular. Give yourself maybe 2 hours for the Colosseum (unless you’re a history buff, then it could be all day). And enjoy, it’s something else.

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