How to buy Colosseum tickets: 4 best way to get tickets to the Rome Colosseum with or without a guide
A visit to the Colosseum is high on the list of the top things to do in Rome for most visitors, as well as many locals
However, figuring out how to to buy tickets for the Colosseum can be overwhelming: searching the web, it is not immediately clear what sites are reliable for ticketing and the ticket options are so varied and confusing, decision paralysis is almost inevitable.
I am from Rome and I am a Roman history graduate so, as you can imagine, I am familiar with the Colossuem and the many ways there are to plan a visit.
Today, I share this knowledge in this essential guide to getting tickets to the Colosseum.
At the end of this article, you will know:
- How to get tickets from the Colosseum official website and when / why book with them
- Reliable ticketing platforms selling Colosseum tickets
- Reliable tour providers that can book tickets as part of their tour offering.
Please note: this post contains affiliate links (marked with *). Should you make a purchase through them, we might make a small commission.
The 4 best ways to get tickets to the Colosseum
There are 4 best ways to get Colosseum tickets. These are:
- Buying from the Colosseum website directly
- Buying from GetYourGuide
- Buy from Tiqets
- Join a tour by a reliable provider who can also source tickets
This guide will explain how to choose the way that works best for you.
Buying Colosseum tickets: what you need to know
Before we dive into the best ways to buy tickets to the Roman Colosseum, there are a few things you need to know.
1) There is only one company selling Colosseum tickets direct and this company is called Coopculture.
Coopculture is the only company issuing Colosseum tickets and the one making all the rules about accessibility, numbers, entrance etc.
Every other company selling Colosseum tickets is a reseller and is bound to Coopculture rules.
This is important to know as it means that tour providers do not have a lot of margin to operate around specific requests as they are also bound to Coopculture rules.
For instance: since Coopculture doesn’t reimburse tickets to the tour operators, they are not able to offer refundable tickets to you.
So if you see that a reliable operator is saying no to a special request due to ticketing constraints, they are not being difficult or unhelpful: they are just bound to the Coopculture rules.
2) Colosseum tickets get released 30 days ahead of your desired day and they offer several types of ticket covering different Colosseum areas. This schedule applies to tour operators too but see below how they can accept bookings done with more notice.
3) Colosseum tickets must be purchased online. There is not ticket office at the Colosseum and the only legit channel to purchase Colosseum tickets are online.
4) For ticketing purposes the Colosseum has been divided in different areas: the ‘general area, the arena (the stage, there the gladiators stood and fought) and the underground area (the backstage, which in the Colosseum was under the stage).
When looking for Colosseum tickets and comparing availability and prices, make sure you are competing like for like!
5) All colosseum tickets are skip the line, you do not need to pay more for skip the line options.
Since online ticketing became available , access to the Colosseum is organized according to time slots: all you need to do is show up at the designated time, pass security (this cannot be skipped) and get in.
Skip the line tickets are a thing of the past, when there were long lines at the ticket office, a problem that has been sorted with online ticketing.
What parts of the Colosseum do you need tickets for
The Colosseum is one attraction and you need tickets to enter it: no part of the Colosseum is accessible without a valid ticket.
However, for ticketing purposes you it has been organized in different areas, each with different costs and access rules. These are:
General area: a general admission ticket allows you to enter into the Colosseum and wander several areas, including the exhibition floor
Arena: the arena is the Colosseum stage, the place where gladiators stood and fought.
The arena is ticketed as an add-on to the general area: I find this it is a worthy addition to pay for as it give you a different and unique view of the theater as you were one of the performers
Underground: the underground area of the Colosseum is below the arena and it is the area that worked as a backstage, where props and animals where kept.
The underground only opened to the public a few years ago and it is a very sought after area to visit, with precise access rules. Tickets to this area sell out very quickly and access is only available with an authorised guide or coopculture host.
Good to know: the most comprehensive ticket and visit you can get includes the underground, arena and general areas. Should this not be avaiable, the second best option is general areas and arena. The third best option is general areas only.
How to get tickets for the Colosseum: quick links
Click here >>> To get tickets for the Colosseum full experience (access to all available areas including arena and underground with a guide) directly from the Colosseum website <<<
Click here >>> To get tickets for the Colosseum full experience (access to all available areas including arena and underground with a host who’ll show you how to operate the info app) directly from the Colosseum website <<<
Click here >>> To get tickets for the Colosseum general areas and arena from the Colosseum website <<<
Click here >>> To buy tickets to the Colosseum general areas from the Colosseum website <<<
Click here >>> To buy tickets for the Colosseum at night tour from the Colosseum website (seasonal) <<<
Click here >>> To buy Colosseum tickets from GetYourGuide* (general entrance)
Click here >>> To buy Colosseum tickets from Tiqets* (general entrance)
See also here >>> our selection of the best Colosseum tickets and tours depending on your budget and party
The best way to get tickets to the Colosseum if you are on a budget – Colosseum direct ticket option
By far, the best way to buy tickets for the Colosseum on a budget is by purchasing them from the official Colosseum ticket provider, called Coopculture. Find here >>> their Colosseum tickets page <<<
Coopculture is currently the only ticket provider for the Colosseum.
They are the official Colosseum concession and the only body issuing tickets: everyone else, both individuals and operators, must buy from them.
Since they are the source of all tickets, they are the most affordable way to secure entrance tickets and also the cheapest: there is no middle man, no third party, no affiliates, the sale is direct between them and you.
Buying Colosseum tickets via Coopculture is an excellent option. However, like all budget things, it tends to come with some string attached.
Coopculture tickets only come out 30 days ahead of the desired date for your visit. This means that you cannot plan in advance and have to keep a close eye on the website.
Coopculture tickets are non refundable and not changeable
For ticketing reasons, Coopculture has divided the Colosseum n different areas, for which you need different tickets. This means that it takes a bit of patience to figure out which one is best for you.
To help you pick the best ticket for you, I have here >>> an essential guide to buying tickets to the Colosseum form the official website.
Direct Colosseum ticket options :
Full experience didactic tour with underground and arena: a guided tour with live guide covering all currently accessible areas of the Colosseum, the most complete Colosseum experience you can get. Get it >>> here <<<
Full experience acccompanied tour with underground and arena: similar to the above, this is a tour without a live guide (you instead get a host showing you the way but giving no info on what you are seeing) covering all currently accessible areas of the Colosseum, the most complete Colosseum experience you can get. Get it >>> here <<<
General entrance: the best Colosseum ticket is you just want to have a look and want to walk around on your own. This includes entering the Colosseum but gives no access to the arena floor nor the underground Get it >>> here <<<
General entrance + arena: same as above but with access to the arena floor. Get it >>> here <<<
Night tour: a guided tour of the undergo fun part of the colosseum with a live guide and access to the arena floor. Unlike the day tour, this night ticket option doesn’t allow wandering atone the Colosseum on your own after the tour nor includes access to the exhibition area. Get it >>> here <<<
The second best way to get Colosseum entrance tickets if the direct one are sold out
The second best way to get Colosseum tickets if those on Coopculture are sold out is through GetYourGuide.
GetYourGuide is a ticket provider and aggregator of tour providers and it is, at the time of written, the second cheapest alternative to Coopculture.
I use GetYourGuide often and find them reliable and easy to use. Like with all ticket providers for the Colosseum, they are not able to offer refundable tickets yet they are valid alternate, should they have availability when others do not.
>>> You can buy Colosseum entry tickets on GetYourGuide here* <<<
Another great to get Colosseum entrance ticket if Coopculture is sold out: Tiqets
The second best way to get entrance only tickets to the Colosseum is by using a ticketing platform such as Tiqets.
Tiqets is not a tour provider but a third party site selling entrance tickets, which they get from Coopculture.
I have used tickets often and while they are a little more expensive than buying direct, since they are an intermediary, they are reliable and a good solution should they have availability left when direct tickets are sold out.
>>> You can get Colosseum tickets on Tiqets here* <<<
How to get tickets to the Colosseum by joining a tour
Another way to buy tickets to the Colosseum is by turning to a tour operator that offers tickets as part of their your package.
In this case, you don’t only get tickets to enter but also a guide, and while the price will be significantly higher than by getting tickets only, you maul find that the additional fee is worth it.
The additional fees you pay to a tour operator cover:
- The qualification and time of a trained guide
- The skills of a booking department who who can navigate the Coopculture site on your behalf, keep an eye on ticket release dates, giving you the highest chance of getting the tickets you want, eep an eye on the ever changing Coopculture demands and rules.
The best Colosseum tours I recommend are:
All Colosseum tours by LivTours: small group, high end, excellent guided tour by an an excellent provider who also takes care of securing entry tickets. Many options with arena and underground* or arena and general areas*, and options for families with kids
Colosseum Tour for kids by Mariaclaudia Tours: an excellent tour for families with kids that includes tickets to the general areas of the Colosseum.
Useful things to know to buy tickets to the Colosseum: FAQ
Do you need to buy Colosseum tickets in advance?
It is a good idea to buy Colosseum tickets in advance, especially if you have a specific date or time when you need tickets for.
Colosseum ondergrond tickets sell out almost as soon as they come out: advance booking is mandatory
Colosseum general areas and arena tickets tend to be available also closer to the time. here is however no guarantee to get them last minute, especially at a busy time such as the current year.
Can you buy Colosseum tickets on the day?
You can buy colosseum tickets on the day, if available, on the official colosseum ticket website or via a reliable ticketing reseller.
You cannot buy tickets on the spot and on location: the people offering tickets to you outside of the colosseum are not authorised resellers and one of the reasons why getting tickets has become so hard.
When do Colosseum tickets go on sale?
Colosseum tickets go on sale exactly 30 days ahead of your desired day of visit.
Tickets come out in batches and often sell out within seconds of their release: the best way to secure them is by checking the site at different times of day to see if new available slots have come out.
Are there discont Colosseum tickets or concession?
The Colosseum ticketing system includes several solutions offering free or reduced entrance fees to certain categories of visitors.
These depend on the exact area you want to visit and personal circumstances. The best way to see what reductions are available to you is to read the small print attached to each ticket option before purchasing.
Some examples are:
- Children under the age of 18 are free into most parts of the colosseum and get discounted tickets to Coopculture guided experience
- Disabled visitors and their carers are entitled to free entrance
- EU citizens between the age of 18 and 25 are eligible for discounted tickets
Do I need to print my colosseum ticket
No, you don’t need to print out your colosseum tickets. When booking online, you will receive and email with your ticket and bar code: bring it with you and show it on your phone to the staff at the door who will scan it and grant you enrtrance
Do I need my passport to enter the colosseum
To tackle the illegal reselling of tickets, the Colosseum has implemented a ticketing system that requires the name of the ticket holder to be provided at the time of booking.
If you are in possession of one of these names ticketed, you will need to show ID with a name matching that on your ticket to be allowed in.
Your ID doesn’t have to be a passport however, it has to be an official ID photo document to be accepted. You must also show ID for children.
What time should I choose: what’s the best time to visit the Colosseum
There is not best time to visit the colosseum as such.
The difference in crowds levels between a certain time of day or another are usually minimal and very much down to luck on the day.
How to avoid crowds are the Colosseum
The colosseum tends to be very busy and there is not sure way to avoid crowds as such, experiences of lower crowds often being down to luck.
There are however detains situations where you are likely to find slightly numbers.
Early morning: getting up early is often a simple yet effective way to beat the crowds or at least, the crowds of those who like to sleep in while on vacation!
While not a sure way to get smaller numbers of visitors, you will find the city in general to be quieter early in the day, the time from mid morning on being of course more sought after and therefore busier.
Take a night tour: the Colosseum night tour sees fewer people as it happens after general access has closed. This means you only share the Colosseum with other night tours.
How long does security take at the Colosseum and van I can skip the line
Security at the Colosseum is airport style and usually takes a few minutes to clear.
Security lines cannot be skipped. Since all tickets to the Colosseum are now timed, there are no additional lines to skip / worry about: you do not need to pay more ‘skip the line’ tickets: all online tickets are effecltubley skip the line!
I hope you found this essential guide about how to buy tickets to the Colossuem useful. Have a wonderful visit!