LivingTravelThe 9 Best Colosseum Tours of 2019

The 9 Best Colosseum Tours of 2019

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The Colosseum in Rome is one of the greatest engineering marvels in history. Built in just eight years from 72 CE, it featured over 50,000 spectators for its famous gladiatorial matches and other violent and exciting shows. A couple of millennia later, and the Colosseum is still a huge draw, with more than 4 million tourists visiting annually. That many people mean long and often slow lines, which can consume too much of your precious time in Rome.

Whether you’ve never taken a tour in your life or prefer to visit monuments with the help of a guide, it’s worth it at the Colosseum, where most licensed tour companies offer skip-the-line privileges and many can provide Guided Access to areas where the general public is not allowed. There are countless companies offering guided tours of the Colosseum, some in combination with other Roman attractions, and we’ve listed the best of the best below.

01
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Best Comprehensive Tour: Ancient Colosseum Ancient Rome Underground

Buy tickets with Viator

Skip the line and get full backstage access on this 3.5-hour in-depth tour that takes you into the heart of this massive old building. Your guide, an expert in Roman history, will show you the network of labyrinthine tunnels below the Colosseum. You’ll see where ancient gladiators prepared for battle and where wild animals were kept in cages, ready to be raised by a manual lift in the arena above.

After exploring the subway, you will climb to the level of the arena floor. General admission visitors can only look at this level from the edge, but will be able to walk into the small sections of the floor that remain and stand where the gladiators once stood. The tour doesn’t end once you’re done with the Colosseum – your guide will also take you on a tour of the Roman Forum, where the city’s politicians once met, and a walk up the Palatine Hill to see the ancient Circus Maximus , the car racing track. You’ll see a lot in half a day, and you won’t waste time waiting in line.

02
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Best Express Tour: Skip The Line: Official Guided Tour of the Colosseum

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If you want to see the Colosseum but don’t have a lot of time (or money) to spend, this hour-long tour is perfect. You will meet at a location across the street from the Colosseum and join your guide by walking just past the line and through an express entrance. The tour progresses through the structure at a fairly rapid pace, with your guide pointing out important features and explaining some of the history of the building itself (and how the hell they built it with the tools and mathematical knowledge of the time) as well as the human aspects of the story: the mighty gladiators, the poor souls fed to the lions, the emperors who used mass shows to distract and appease their citizens, and the citizens themselves. Efficient, affordable, and fun – what don’t you like?

03
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Best Small Group Tour: Underground Colosseum and Ancient Rome

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With a tour group limited to just six people, this tour is ideal for those who want a slightly more personalized experience than what the larger group can offer. Your guide is an expert in Roman history and will be happy to answer all your questions, taking his time to make sure you are learning what you want to learn and seeing what you want to see.

You will start with skip-the-line entry and proceed directly to the underground level of the maze-like structure, where your guide will show you around while telling a series of true stories from the most exciting (and gruesome) shows ever. staged in the Colosseum.

You will then visit the floor level, where you will be allowed to access what is left of the arena floor. You can look down into the underground passages where you just walked and see how part of the staging of the battle worked. After this comprehensive tour, you will also visit the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, where your guide will explain more about the politics and daily life of ancient Rome and the people who lived there.

04
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Best Private Tour: Underground Colosseum Private Tour

Buy tickets with Viator

For truly personalized attention, hire an expert private guide who will spend half a day guiding you through the most famous structures of ancient Rome and explaining them in depth. Take advantage of their experience and enthusiasm and ask any questions you may have as you explore the building, and enjoy the flexibility that comes with traveling without a group, spending a little more time on things that interest you, or moving more quickly through those that don’t No you feel like it.

This tour includes a skip-the-line entrance ticket, access to the underground area of the Colosseum, the arena floor, and also the upper level, which is only accessible to a small number of guided visitors each day. It also includes a tour of the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. Please note that during the Colosseum underground tour, you will be with a small group, but your guide will be by your side the entire time to answer any in-depth questions you may have.

05
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Best Historical Tour: Half-Day Ancient Rome and Colosseum Walking Tour

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Are not all the tours in the history of the Colosseum? Well yes, but this tour is really the go-to option for history buffs. Guided by an expert in history and / or architecture (many of the company’s guides are graduate students in these subjects), you will become a historian for the day, learning not only about the deep history of this remarkable place, but about how the Historians and archaeologists use the compelling evidence found here in the building itself, as well as written accounts from the time, to uncover stories of the people, the famous and not so famous, who would have entered this building nearly 2,000 years ago.

The tour includes both an in-depth exploration of the Colosseum (choose the tour upgrade so you can access the third level of the arena for a spectacular view of the stadium) and a walk through the Oppian and Palatine hills, plus a tour of the ruins of the Roman Forum, including the House of the Vestal Virgins and the Temple of Julius Caesar.

06
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Best night tour: Colosseum under the moonlight

Buy tickets with Viator

There are many good reasons to tour the Colosseum at night – the crowds are almost non-existent, the building is strikingly beautiful (and a bit strange) when lit up at night, but perhaps the best reason of all is that, during the hot months of the year, Rome’s famous pulsating sun has set during the day, making it much cooler and more comfortable. The downside: you can’t see that much (underground and upper levels are not available). Still, it may be worth it for you. This tour starts at the nearby tour company office with an aperitif (a sandwich and a glass of wine) and then heads to the Colosseum. You will pass through the Roman Forum and discuss its relevance to the ancient world, and then you will observe the amphitheater lit from the outside. Finally, you will enter and enjoy a tour of the interior, enjoying the peace of the night without the crowds, which somehow makes the building seem even bigger.

07
of 09

Best Kids Tour: Skip-the-Line Colosseum & Roman Forum for Kids

Buy tickets with Viator

Although children often loathe being dragged through dusty old buildings, the Colosseum is usually not a hard sell – bloody gladiator battles! Lions eating people! Many children adore the gruesome details of these historical events. And of course some don’t, which is fine – therein lies the biggest benefit of hiring a private tour guide who specializes in family tours. If your kids want to hear the scary stuff, your guide will indulge them, pointing out the royal underground chambers where wild animals were once kept and sharing true stories of the battles that took place in the arena. If you have a squeamish little one on your hands, your guide will make it fun for them too, pointing out cool details that will appeal to kids but aren’t horrible, bringing the story to life for the whole family. This 2.

08
of 09

Best Self-Guided Tour: Rome Sightseeing Pass: Vatican & Ancient Rome

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If you really prefer not to take a tour with a guide, this is a great option for you – it is an all-in-one sightseeing pass that allows you to skip line access to the most popular attractions in Rome and Vatican City: The Colosseum. , the Palatine Hill, the Roman Forum, the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica and the papal tombs. It comes with a free map and audio guide that you can use while exploring these iconic sites, including of course the Colosseum. It’s a bit of the best setting of both worlds – the flexibility of being alone but thoughtful lighting from the experts on the subject. The price isn’t bad either, especially if you were already planning to visit all or most of these locations (and remember that skip-the-line access is worth its weight in gold around here).

09
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Best Combo Tour: Rome Super Saver: Colosseum and Ancient Rome

Buy tickets with Viator

This is where booking through Viator comes in handy – this package combines two of Rome’s most popular guided tours and saves you 10 percent on the pair. You’ll start the morning by exploring the first two levels of the Colosseum (skip-the-line, of course) with the help of your expert guide. Then you will head to the ruins of the Roman Forum with a stop at the Arch of Constantine, climb the Palatine Hill and finish the tour on the ancient Via Sacra.

At this point, you will have two hours for lunch and maybe some more exploring on your own (your morning guide will give you some tips) and then head to Piazza di Spagna, at the base of the Spanish Steps, for your tour. walk in the afternoon.

You’ll see the Iglesia Trinita dei Monti (which is where the Spanish Steps lead), the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Colonna, the Pantheon, and more. At the end of the day, you will have explored a few thousand years of Roman history and have also savored its present.

Our process

Our writers spent 2 hours researching the most popular Colosseum tours on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 40 different tours overall and read over 80 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds to recommendations you can trust.

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