Which Colosseum Tours Are The Best

This post covers tours of the Colosseum, including the Forum and Palatine Hill, and also includes restricted areas of the Colosseum.

 

 

Disclosure: While our recommendations are always unbiased, we may receive a small share of sales through some of the links below at no cost to you. See the full text.

COLOSSEUM GUIDED TOURS

In this section, we cover tours that include general admission to the Colosseum, but not access to restricted areas such as the Underground and the Belvedere.

Private companies have a few advantages over the official tour. First, they tend to have smaller groups than the official tour, 12-24 people vs. 30+. 

 

Skip-the-line Colosseum

 

Second, they have their own special entrance, which is even better than skip-the-queue for general admission and official tours because it allows for immediate access to the security checkpoint.

Third, most of these tours are more time-efficient and visit both the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. 

Lastly, they usually focus on having fluent English speakers

We list a few companies below, but there are simply too many options available to list. Click here to see the full range of possibilities, which include virtual reality tours. 

We have listed the companies that get consistently great reviews on TripAdvisor, Google, and other platforms. 

Expect to pay between €42 to €67 per adult depending on what you choose.

In general, prices are determined by the number of participants per guide, with some groups capping off at 24 and others that limit their sizes to 12 or smaller. 

Prices include all fees to enter all 3 attractions.

There are less expensive options available, but they are not as well-reviewed or don’t offer daily tours. 

There are simply too many options available to list. Click here to see the full range of possibilities


Take Walks

This company offers a range of tours in Rome including multiple trips to the Colosseum.

Their services at this landmark cover additional topics such as the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and the Arena floor.

In addition to these outings, they also have a VIP Underground tour you might enjoy.

Each tour is led by a professional guide and headsets are provided to every guest so that you can hear everything that is being said.

You’ll also receive skip-the-line access at the Colosseum, making it easier to get inside and take a look around.

Colosseum Tour + Arena Floor (Skip-the-Lines)

  • € 56 – Adult
  • €52 – Child (2-14)
  • Max of 25 guests
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Availability: Daily

Colosseum Tour + Roman Forum & Palatine Hill (Skip-the-Lines)

  • €61 per person
  • Max of 25 guests
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Availability: Daily

The Roman Guy

This is one of the most popular tour companies in Rome, and they provide a lot of different outings to some of the most notable landmarks and locations in the city – including the Colosseum!

If you’re looking for a guided tour of this historic structure, they currently offer a Colosseum Highlights Tour which also includes a visit to Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

With a max of 18 guests per tour, this is one of the smaller highlights tours available at this location. This outing also includes skip-the-line entrance to the Colosseum.

  • €51.95/Adults | €44.95/Youth | €22.95/Children
  • Max of 18 guests
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Availability: Daily

Purchase tickets or learn more here.

In addition to this tour, The Roman Guy also provides an even longer outing which includes privileged admission to the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and Roman Forum as well as stops at Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and Piazza Navona.

Visitors who take this version of the tour will also receive a free gelato!

  • €82.95/Adults | €72.95/Youth | €22.95/Children
  • Max of 16 guests
  • Duration: 5 ½ hours
  • Availability: Daily

Purchase tickets or learn more here.


City Wonders 

City Wonders is one of the larger walking tour companies in Rome. This tour covers the Colosseum, the Forum, and Palatine Hill.

They also offer a tour of the Colosseum’s Underground.

They are not the cheapest, but they are extremely well-reviewed, averaging 5 out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor with over 13,000 total reviews. 

They also offer 100% money back if you cancel with 24 hours or more in advance.

On their tour, you will be provided with headphones to ensure that you hear your live guide. They also offer tours in Spanish, French, Italian, and German, mostly on weekends.

  • €59 adult | €54 child 4-14 | 0-3 are free
  • Maximum 25 participants
  • 3 hours
  • daily tours in English 08:30, 09:30, 10:00, 14:00 & 15:00
  • More details or to purchase.

Official Guided Tours

This is for the official Colosseum guided tour with an official live tour guide but does not include access to the Underground, Arena, nor the Belvedere. 

Likewise, it does not visit the Forum nor Palatine Hill, however, your ticket includes entry to both.

The express tour is conducted in English, Italian, French, or Spanish and it lasts 45 minutes.

In addition to their 45-minute outing, you can also take a 3-hour tour which covers a bit more ground and gives you more time to see the landmark.

Express Colosseum Tour

  • €23/Adults | €9/Children
  • Availability: Daily
  • Duration: 45 minutes
  • Hours: 9:30 am, 11 am, 12:15 am, 13:30 (1:30 pm), 14:45 (2:45 pm)

Extended Colosseum Tour

  • €33/Adults | €17/Children
  • Availability: Daily
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Hours: 10 am

Each of these services includes admission to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill for an entire day, so even if you can’t see everything during the tour, you can still go back in and spend some more time at these sites.

You can purchase these tours on the Colosseum’s official website

If you find their website too frustrating or they are sold out for the time that you want, you could also book it through Get Your Guide, but it’s €15 more per adult.

 


SELF-GUIDED AUDIO AND VISUAL TOURS

A self-guided tour is a reasonable option for experiencing the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Forum.

A big advantage of this option compared to a guided tour is that you can linger around inside the Colosseum for as long as you like, to enjoy the views, or to visit the public exhibits.

The disadvantages are you won’t have quick access to the security line (unless you arrive really early) and you won’t have an expert tour guide around if you have questions.

This option also doesn’t permit access to the Underground, Arena Floor, or Belvedere. Only guided tours take you there.

There is even a free audio tour from Rick Steves that we recommend, not just because its a free, quality production, but because he also offers a free audio tour of the Forum (see below). 


YOU NEED A TICKET

Please note that if you choose to take a self-guided tour, then you will need a general admission ticket to enter any of the 3 sights (unless you have a Roma Card or Omnia Card, which grants free entry).

We have a post that explains getting tickets to enter the Colosseum on your own but here is a quick summary.

The cost for the official self-guided audio and visual tours are in addition to the general admission ticket but can now be purchased as one combined ticket.

Tickets are good for 2 days, but you can only enter each attraction once. Palatine Hill and the Forum are considered one attraction as is the Colosseum.

We recommend buying and printing out your ticket before you arrive, then you will have what is called skip-the-queue tickets. 

Without printed tickets, you will need to stand on a will-call line to pick up your tickets. This could take 30-60 minutes in the busy season.


Official Colosseum Audio Tour 

The official audio tour comes in many languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Russian, Chinese, Portuguese, Arabic, Latin, LIS + ASL and lasts 70 min. 

It costs €23.50 and includes the entry ticket and reservation fee. 

If you get frustrated with the main site or if they are sold out, then you could buy your tickets here as well. It’s an extra €6 compared to going through the official site. 


NOTE: If you have either the Roma Care or Omnia Card, then you should choose free entrance + audio video € 5,50.


Official Colosseum Video Tour 

The visual guide is a rented iPhone unit in the following languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Russian, Chinese, Portuguese.  It lasts for 50 min.

It costs €24 and includes the entry ticket and reservation fee. 

This ticket can only be purchased in advance on the official website.


NOTE: If you have either the Roma Care or Omnia Card, then you should choose free entrance + video guide € 6.00.


Rick Steves

We recommend the well-produced, free audio guides from Rick Steves. You could download his app or you can listen to the audio in Itunes or any mp3 player. 

Rick Steves offers a free tour of the Forum and one of the Colosseum, as well as other locations throughout Rome, including the Vatican and St. Peters. 

The only missing tour is for Palentine Hill, but there you could use the official audio guide.  

NOTE: You will need to purchase a general admission ticket if you choose this option.

 


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UNDERGROUND, ARENA, AND BELVEDERE TOURS

There are some rooms and floors of the Colosseum that are typically off-limits to most visitors, but they are made available on special tours.

This section provides details about the restricted areas you can visit while taking a tour.


COLOSSEUM UNDERGROUND TOURS

Access to the Colosseum’s underground is only possible on a guided tour. Spaces are limited and there is an additional cost for ticket holders. 

The underground consists of the tunnels, cages, and jail cells where gladiators, prisoners, and exotic animals were kept hidden from the roaring crowd above.

 

 

Most guided tours also include a walk out onto the arena floor, which is also a privilege.

This is a must-do for history buffs.

Below, we list some of the options available to you, including night tours of the Underground. 

There are simply too many options available to list. Click here to see the full range of possibilities.

You can also find more details on our post covering Underground Colosseum tours.


The Roman Guy

Aside from their highlights tour, this company also provides a Colosseum Underground tour which includes admission to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

Access to the underground sells out quickly, but The Roman Guy always gets admission thanks to their status as approved tour guides.

If you want an even closer look at the landmark, consider this tour of the Colosseum Underground.

  • €113.95/Adults | €83.95/Youth | €34.95/Children
  • Maximum of 24 guests.
  • Duration: 3 ½ hours
  • Availability: Daily
  • Purchase tickets or learn more.

City Wonders 

As mentioned above, City Wonders is a well-reviewed Rome tour company.

On their Underground tour, you will be provided with headphones to ensure that you hear your live guide. 

They also offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you cancel within 24 hours of the tour date. 

  • €109 adult | €99 child 4-14 | 0-3 are free
  • Maximum 25 participants
  • Duration: 3 ½ hours
  • Daily tours in English 08:20, 09:00, 13:00, and other times by season.
  • More information or to book.

Official Colosseum Underground Tour

If you want to save a few euros, there is also an official tour of the Colosseum underground which is much less expensive.

Although this is a cheaper option, it’s only 1 ½ hours long, so it’s not quite as extensive as some of the other tours on this list.

These tours sell out fast, so it will be important to purchase your tickets at least 2-3 weeks ahead of time. 

If you’re trying to book this in the summer, you may even want to plan on getting tickets at least a month in advance.

In addition to the official Colosseum tour with underground access, there is also an option which includes admission to the Belvedere!

Each of these tours is available in English, Spanish, and Italian, while most private tour companies only offer their underground tours in English.

For more details or to purchase tickets, please read our post covering Colosseum Underground tours.

 


Arena Floor Access Tours

If you want to visit the floor of the Colosseum and see where Gladiators once fought for their lives against incredible odds, arena floor access is an absolute must.

 

Colosseum in the Morning



Thankfully, there are several companies offering tours which include admission to this area of the Colosseum!

Depending on which type of tour you choose, you can expect to pay about €55-€65 for one of these services. Tours run for between 1-3 hours.


Take Walks

In addition to their tour which covers the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill, this company also has a tour that includes access to the arena floor.

While you can purchase tickets with admission to this section of the structure, not all tours will take you here.

If you want to take a tour that features the floor of the arena, this is an excellent option.

Colosseum Tour + Arena Floor (Skip-the-Lines)

  • €56 – Adult
  • €52 – Child (2-14)
  • Max of 25 guests
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Availability: Daily

The Roman Guy

This company actually offers two different tours which include access to the arena floor of the Colosseum.

The first tour covers a variety of sites such as Julius Caesar’s Temple, the Eternal Flame, the Basilica of Antoninus & Faustina, and the Basilica of Maxentius & Constantine.

The second outing includes locations like the Domitian Stadium, the Arch of Titus, the Arch of Constantine, and the Senate House.

They also have a tour that provides access to the Belvedere which you can learn more about in our subsection covering tours of that area.

Arena Floor Colosseum Tour w/ Roman Forum

  • €64.95/Adults | €53.95/Youth | €24.95/Children
  • Max of 15 guests.
  • Duration: 2 ½ hours
  • Availability: Daily

City Wonders

If you’re interested in visiting the arena floor, it’s worth noting that this tour company also offers a Colosseum tour which includes this attraction.

This tour isn’t quite as long as some of the outings offered by their competitors, but that may actually be a good thing if you’re short on time.

Guests will enjoy skip-the-line access as well as admission to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.


Official Guided Tour + Arena Access

In addition to the standard guided tours available at the Colosseum, they also offer the option to see the arena floor while on a tour.

The only catch with this ticket option is that you need to have a tour guide to accompany you in order to purchase and make full use of admission.

Most of the guided tours which include arena access offer this ticket, to begin with, but if you have a tour guide who isn’t covering the cost of admission, this is what you’ll need to purchase.

 


Guided Tours of the Belvedere

The Belvedere is the uppermost level on the Colosseum and has very restricted access. The only option is through an official guided tour.

  • +€9 – adults
  • +€7 – concession

Both of these tours are special tours that are limited in availability. 

Both tours last 60 minutes each. There is an additional €2 fee for an advanced reservation per tour. 


The Roman Guy

Although access to the Belvedere isn’t included on many tours, this company offers an extensive outing to the Colosseum which includes the typically restricted area.

In addition to visiting the Belvedere, you’ll also have the chance to see the Colosseum Underground area and the arena floor.

  • €139.95/Adults | €104.95/Youth | €48.95/Children
  • Maximum of 25 guests.
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Availability: Daily from Mar – Nov
  • Purchase tickets or learn more.

 


Domus Aurea VR Experience

If you want to learn more about Domus Aurea, there is currently a tour of the Archaeological Restoration site which covers the subject and includes a virtual reality experience.

 

 

The VR headset they use is an Oculus Rift, and it is not recommended for people with epilepsy or severe eye conditions. 

It is suggested that you wear comfortable shoes and a jacket while on this tour, as the site has a lot of moisture to contend with.

 


 
Nighttime Colosseum Tours

In addition to all the services available during the day, there are also several Colosseum tours you can take after dark.

These outings often include additional attractions like the underground area and the arena floor.

 

 

Tickets range from €65 – €85 on average, and each tour lasts for approximately 2 ½ hours. Availability is typically limited and mostly offered during the weekend.

If you’re looking for other fun things to do after the sun goes down, check our post covering things to do in Rome at night.


City Wonders

This company also offers a night tour of the Colosseum and Underground as well as the Forum. This tour is only offered in English.

Seeing this landmark after the sun goes down is an entirely different experience, and it’s also a great way to avoid the large crowds that tend to come during the day.

  • €67 adult | €62 child 4-14 | 0-3 are free
  • Maximum 25 participants
  • Duration: 2 ½ hours
  • Sundays-Wednesdays 19:00, 21:00, and 21:20.
  • More information or to book.

There are many more night tour options.


Take Walks

On this VIP tour, you’ll visit the Colosseum after dark and see both the underground area and the Arena floor. 

In addition to visiting those sites, you’ll also see Teatro di Marcello, the Roman Forum, and Capitoline Hill.

This tour will be provided by a professional guide who will give all guests headsets so that they can hear everything being said.


The Roman Guy

If you’d like to visit the Colosseum after dark, this company offers a VIP outing at night which includes admission to both the underground and arena floor.

This tour also includes a visit to Piazza Venezia, Trajan’s Market, the Roman Forum, Capitoline Hill, and more.

  • €89.95/Adults | €62.95/Youth
  • Maximum of 25 guests.
  • Duration: 2 ½ hours
  • Availability: Limited

Purchase tickets or learn more.

 


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About the author

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers.

Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.