Due to a little oversight, our recent visit to the Colosseum almost didn’t happen. We woke up early so we could beat the crowds, had a quick breakfast and legged it towards the Colosseum. Despite our best efforts, when we finally got there, a nasty surprise lay in waiting: the disheartening long queue for tickets. To make matters worse, money-hungry tour guides were circling us tourists like vultures.
If like us, you happen to find yourself a participant in this sad scenario, don’t despair as there is at least one easy and cheap solution to your predicament.
How to skip the line at the Colosseum
Even if you make it to the Colosseum around 8:30 when it opens (which we didn’t), a queue for tickets is surely already formed. So what you can do to skip it? First of all, don’t fall prey to one of the innumerable tour operators that scare you with the prospect of 2 hour long queues, offering skip-the-line tickets for 30 euros or more. While these tickets do allow to skip the queue and will even come with a guided tour, they will set you back a pretty penny and will force you to stick to the group instead of allowing you to visit this great place at your own pace. Try this instead.
Buy your tickets at the Palatine Hill or the Forum entrances
Once you have bought your ticket from either of these you can enter the Forum, without waiting in another queue. If you are passionate about history you should spend a full day at the Forum and save the Colosseum for the next day. That’s because the ticket is usable for 2 days after the first entry, only valid once for each attraction and the Forum is packed with enough history and sights to keep you entertained for a day. If you have only a little time to spend in Rome, as we did, you can do both sights on the same day, but you will be a little rushed.
What ticket should you get?
From the mentioned ticket offices, you will be able to buy tickets for both the Forum (which includes the Palatine Hill) and the Colosseum for 12 euros, if you are an adult or for 7.5 euros if you are an EU youth (18 to 25 years). If you are under 18, rejoice, you can enter for free; the same if you have a disability, although you will need to have the medical papers to prove it.
How to get there?
The Palatine Hill ticket office and entrance can be found near the Colosseum on via de San Gregorio while the Forum one is located on Via dei Fori Imperiali, close to the Colosseo tube stop on the MEB line.
If you choose the Palatine Hill, you can alight at the San Gregorio bus stop (lines 51, 75, 81, 85, 87) or at the Parco Celio tram stop (lines 3 and 8). The Forum entrance can be accessed from Fori Imperiali bus stop on lines 85 or 87. The choice between these should really be made depending on the direction you are coming from.
Are there other options for visiting the Colosseum?
Of course there are, but as I mentioned, they are more costly.
- Buy a ticket online (costing 2 euros more), print it, then head for the reserved queue. You will still have to wait in line for the unavoidable security check.
- You can get a RomaPass which will allow you to enter one or two museums of your choice, while at the same time offering free transportation for the duration of its 2 or 3 days. This pass does not come exactly cheap and you still need to make a reservation online for the Colosseum, at the price of 2 euros.
- Get one of those tours that I mentioned. You can find plenty online or you can pick one in front of the Colosseum itself. Just make sure to check if they include admittance to the Arena and the other areas that are not included in the regular ticket.
- Since you will have an allocated time slot for your Colosseum visit, make sure you get there 15 minutes ahead of it for the security check.
- If you are planning to buy an audio or audio-video guide know the price difference between the two is negligible (50 euro cents). Nevertheless, if you are a couple or travelling with a friend, you can get just one of these and share it.
- As in Barcelona, there is the solution of visiting for free on the first Sunday of the month. Just head to one of the Forum entrances mentioned previously to pick your free ticket then head to the Colosseum for the security check. This way will avoid the long Colosseum ticket line. This is by far the best and cheapest solution you can find. It will also be quite crowded, so be warned.
I hope these solutions will allow you an affordable and hassle-free visit to the Colosseum. Until then, have a great day and don’t stop wandering!