Buy the Cheapest Tickets and Tours to Visit the Colosseum and Forum in Rome

Buy the cheapest skip-the-line tickets to visit the Colosseum and Forum in Rome online and book tours well in advance of visiting these top sights that frequently sell out in the high season.

Buy the cheapest skip-the-line tickets to visit the Colosseum and Forum in Rome online and book tours well in advance of visiting these top sights that frequently sell out in the high season.
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Currently, all tickets to visit the Colosseum in Rome are only sold online — visitors must buy even same-day or immediate-use last-minute tickets online. While some tickets may still be picked up at the ticket windows of the Colosseum and Roman Forum, no actual tickets are sold here. The cheapest tickets are sold by the Colosseum’s official website partner but are only released about a month in advance with availability patchy. Resellers such as Get Your Guide and Tiqets often have better ticket availability (and better cancellation conditions) while tours may be booked months in advance. All Colosseum tickets have time-slot reservations and are in effect skip-the-line tickets but there are no priority lanes for the security lines.

Cheapest Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill Tickets

Tickets to visit the Colosseum in Rome, whether as part of a tour or as an individual visitor, are currently only sold online and almost always include time-slot reservations for admission to the Colosseum, as well as free admission to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill within a specific time limit. Separate tickets to see the Colosseum only are not sold to individuals.

Admission-only tickets are the cheapest way to enter the Colosseum and Forum but do note that almost no information (or even maps) is available within these two sights. If not booking a tour or renting an audio guide, be sure to have a very good guidebook or online information available. (Rick Steves Rome is very popular with American visitors.)

Sites (and Sights) Included in Colosseum Tickets

Buying a ticket for the Colosseum is not a straightforward process — visitors must decide in advance how much to see (and spend) while bearing in mind that the availability of tickets to the most desirable parts of the Colosseum is more limited. The following sights are associated with the Colosseum and included (or not) depending on the specific ticket:

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  • Colosseum — basic admission to the small museum and the terraces / stands of the amphitheater. Many visitors consider adding the Arena essential to really enjoy the visit
  • Arena — access to the Colosseum including the flat arena area where the events were staged with views up to the stands and down into the underground area.
  • Underground — the technical areas under the Colosseum where the gladiators and animals were kept before being hoisted into the arena — a very interesting area but with limited availability.
  • Roman Forum and Palatine Hill — usually included in all Colosseum tickets (and often given for free with guided tours of the Colosseum).
  • Imperial Forum — recently reopened forum with the entrance near Trajan’s Column.
  • SUPER sites — an abbreviation somewhat less super than the name suggests. Not all sites are always open but may include the House of Augustus, Palatine Museum, Curia Julia, Santa Maria Antiqua (including Ramp of Domitian and Oratory of the Forty Martyrs), Temple of Romulus, Neronian Cryptoporticus, Aula Isiaca / Loggia Mattei, Domus Transitoria, and Livia’s House. Access is mostly from inside the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, so don’t exit the archaeological park before visiting, as re-entry is usually not possible. No discounts are given if these sites, which have different opening hours, are closed on the day of the visit.
  • Level III or Panorama level of the Colosseum — the highest ring with the best views is often only accessible on guided tours but completely closed due to maintenance for at least the rest of 2023.

Ticket Options for the Colosseum and Roman Forum

Visitors have the following basic ticket choices, which have a confusing variety of names too for the same ticket:

  • Regular Entrance, Ordinary, or Ticket Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine – 24H: Timeslot access to the Colosseum and single admission within 24 hours to the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and Imperial Forum. (These are the cheapest tickets to enter the Colosseum at a minimum price of €18.)
  • Full Experience Underground and Arena Ticket: Probably the most desirable ticket, as it includes the Colosseum with access to the Underground area and the Arena, as well as access to the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and all SUPER sites within 48 hours. (minimum €24)
  • Full Experience Arena Ticket: Similar to the previous ticket but without access to the Underground area. The price is the same but availability is far high higher. (minimum €24)
  • Luna Sul / Nighttime guided tour of the Underground and Arena areas. Access to the stands is restricted and no admission tickets to the Forums.

The time slot reservation is for admission to the Colosseum — visitors qualifying for reduced or free tickets, including young EU residents, children, and babies, also need online time-slot reservations for the Colosseum. Other Forum sites may be seen without specific reservations before or after visiting the Colosseum. The specified time limit starts from the first use of the ticket to enter any site.

Many combination ticket offers are worth considering as they usually give slight discounts and often good time-slot booking options:

  • Roma Pass — less useful than it used to be as separate time-slot reservations are required for the Colosseum without any guarantee of availability.
  • Rome Tourist Card — a combination package by Tiqets that include time-slot reservations for the Colosseum, Vatican Museums, and skip-the-line tour access to St Peter’s Basilica.

Buy the Cheapest Colosseum Tickets on the Official Website

No cheapest tickets but tours are possible at night for the Colosseum

Buying tickets on the official website of the Colosseum is unfortunately a bit of an ordeal and challenging. The site is poorly designed and the ticket options are somewhat confusing and badly explained. Furthermore, ticket slots are only released around a month in advance and seem to disappear (and reappear) without much clarity.

However, for visitors who could manage this uncertainty, it is worth buying tickets on the official website as these are the cheapest. Check back frequently, even several times per day, to see if slots become available. Add personal details carefully as all sales are final and IDs are often checked.

For visitors planning further ahead and requiring more certainty, buying Colosseum tickets or tours through reliable resellers such as Get Your Guide and Tiqets might be worth the slight surcharge. Even resellers are only able to sell basic tickets within the month time frame but often have better availability while tours may be booked months in advance. Resellers usually have far more generous cancellation policies.

Somewhat ironically, resellers also seem more adept at selling last-minute tickets — I’ve seen Get Your Guide selling Colosseum tickets within two minutes of the reservation time slot when the official website shows no availability for several days. Tiqets usually adds in an audioguide (often for use on your own mobile device) or an upgrade to arena tickets.

Book Colosseum and Forum Tours in Rome

The cheapest Colosseum tickets give only access to the rings and museum area and not to the arena or underground backstage areas.

A bewildering number of tours and tour options are available to see the Colosseum in Rome. Booking a tour online is easy enough but picking a tour is far more difficult — the basic Colosseum page of Viator offers nearly 2,000 options while Get Your Guide makes do with just over 400!

The official Colosseum guided tours are the cheapest options but like the official tickets hard to book and only offered around a month in advance. These official didactic tours usually meet up inside the Colosseum so make sure to clear security in time to find the right guide.

The standard tours of the Colosseum are roughly the same so compare prices and what is on offer. The cheapest tour is not necessarily the best option but similarly, significantly more expensive tours may not offer much more value. Small or semi-private groups are more pleasant, as are early-morning tours.

See also: Book the Cheapest and Best Colosseum and Roman Forum Tours in Rome for some ideas and a few tips before booking.

Tips for Visiting the Colosseum in Rome

Queuing up for tickets used to be the cheapest way to see the Colosseum

A few basic tips for visiting the Colosseum:

  • Buy tickets online in advance. Carry a very good guidebook or book a guided tour or audio guide as very little information is displayed onsite.
  • Major disruptive public works are ongoing around the Colosseum. Be a few minutes early to locate the correct entrance — it will be clearly stated on the ticket. There is enough to see in the area to occupy spare time before queuing up.
  • Be on time at the correct entrance and be prepared to wait on busy days. The number of visitors allowed in at any given time is limited, once full, no further visitors are allowed until some have left.
  • The queues outside the Colosseum are to clear security — no fast-access lanes or similar are available.
  • Early morning or late afternoon is usually the more pleasant times to visit. During the day, it may be brutally hot on sunny days.
  • Travel light but carry water.
  • Although there are toilets close to the entrance, few would regret going elsewhere (mostly due to the long queues).
  • If booking a guided tour, consider taking your own earphones for better fit and audio quality — that goes for most audio devices

An easy-to-use and frequently updated guidebook is Rick Steves Rome — it has good maps of major sights and is a great choice for independent travelers. The selection of Rome guidebooks is enormous to reflect the popularity of the Italian capital with international travelers.

The Colosseum is photogenic throughout the day and hiring a professional photographer for a private photoshoot outside the Colosseum is very popular with many visitors.

Henk Bekker in armor

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance travel writer with over 20 years of experience writing online. He is particularly interested in history, art, and culture. He has lived most of his adult life in Germany, Switzerland, and Denmark. In addition to, he also owns a travel website on the Lake Geneva region of Switzerland and maintains statistical websites on car sales and classic car auction prices. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Development Finance from the University of London.

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