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Tips for Visiting the Ancient Roman Colosseum

Make the most of visiting the Ancient Roman Colosseum by utilising our travel tips to your advantage to avoid the crowds.



Ancient Roman Colosseum

We have only been in Italy for a few days and I think I may have found what is highly likely to be my favourite building. Not just in Italy, but the entire world. It’s a bold statement to make but my god the Ancient Roman Colosseum is beautiful.

Ancient Roman Colosseum


Tips for Visiting the Ancient Roman Colosseum

Yes I know that is the most cliche and overused word in the whole world to describe a scene, but it honestly just works. I could have easily used extraordinary, spectacular, stunning, gorgeous, dazzling or even statuesque. But beautiful it is!

Since it is so beautiful it is definitely one of the most visited attractions in Rome. So if you plan on visiting the Ancient Roman Colosseum then hopefully some of our tips will help you maximise your time there so you will fall in love with is as well.

Ancient Roman Colosseum

When to visit the Ancient Roman Colosseum

Get there early. No I don’t mean have a leisurely breakfast and then stroll down at 9am! Because at 8.30am the doors will swing open and the crowd will surge forward. Any time around 8.15am will be fine if you follow our secret travel tip below.

We rocked up at 8.25am and I was starting to fume as Adela has slept in and we had missed breakfast to get here early. And now we were about 150th in the queue.

Luckily we brought tickets the day before when we visited the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill ruins which are adjacent to the Colosseum. So our secret travel tip for you is to make sure you head along to the road and get your tickets the day before.

Even though we had to queue to get in (it took about 3 minutes) everyone else was basically running to the queues for tickets. We strolled on past, up the stairs and were one of the first into the Colosseum!

Inside the Colosseum

Where to go in the Ancient Roman Colosseum

Since we were so quick to get in we had a prime opportunity to take a bunch of photos before the crowds piled in. The key here is figuring out where to go first.

As you walk in you will be guided up the first flight of steps. Once at the top then bypass all the information panels (you can come back to them after the photo taking) and head around to the right. Other people naturally turned left.

But I knew exactly where the sun was shining so with it at our backs we had the Colosseum lit up in all it’s glory rather than shooting into the sun and ruining our photos.

Visiting Ancient Roman Colosseum

Provided you were here early with pre-purchased tickets then you will have enough time to take your photos on the top level before descending down to the bottom and getting some more uncrowded shots. About half an hour all up.

It is ridiculous how quickly the Colosseum fills up with tour groups and they are a pain in the ass to get around so don’t dilly dally.

Spend the next hour casually strolling around taking a few more photos and reading up on the history of the Colosseum Games, animal spectacles and construction.

Ancient Roman Colosseum

Price to visit the Ancient Roman Colosseum

It’s only €12 for an adult ticket and like we said it will also get you access to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. They are well worth the visit and we spent 3 hours there alone!

The beauty is that your ticket is valid for 2 consecutive days so you can visit the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill on the first day. Then visit the Ancient Roman Colosseum on the second day bypassing the horrendous queues.

You will queue for no more than 10 minutes and then when you arrive the next morning at the Colosseum you will be straight in once the doors part. This will give you more than enough time to join the daily Rome hop on hop off tours.

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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  1. Shanna Schultz

    June 11, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Those pictures of the Colosseum without tourists in them are amazing! We had an equally easy time getting into the Colosseum when we went because we had a Roma Pass.

    The admission is included in the cost of your Roma Pass (30 euros) and you get so skip right on past the queue in the Colosseum because Roma pass holders have a special line to get in (we came in the middle of the afternoon and walked right past people who had been waiting in line in the hot sun).

    The Roma pass is valid for three days, so if you are planning on seeing a few more sights in Rome, it is a great deal!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 12, 2012 at 3:30 PM

      We considered the Roma Pass actually Shanna but just decided that we wanted a bit more freedom. Definitely recommend it for others though so thanks for the recommendation 🙂

  2. D.J. - The World of Deej

    June 13, 2012 at 3:56 AM

    Great stuff as always…one day I’ll get to put this to use…

  3. Alexandra

    June 13, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Still need to make it to Rome one of these days! Jealous you are getting to explore so much of Itlay right now! Have a cannoli for me 😉

    • Cole Burmester

      June 13, 2012 at 7:03 PM

      Haven’t seen Cannoli yet but will be sure to try it 🙂 And definitely head to Rome as it is incredible.

  4. Laurence

    June 13, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    Great tip. I’ve been to the Colosseum a few times (and can never work out how to spell it properly), and have always been amazed by the sense of history in the place. The things this building has been around for!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 13, 2012 at 7:05 PM

      Hahaha I had to google it every time I wrote it down as well but going with “Colosseum”. It’s ridiculous that these buildings has been around for thousands of years before our country was even discovered.

  5. Andrea

    June 13, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    I always regret skipping the line for this and missing out when I was in Rome. Have to go back someday…

    • Cole Burmester

      June 14, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      Oh wish you had gone Andrea! You guys have to go back and check it out. One of our highlights.

  6. Brock - Backpack With Brock

    June 13, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    Great tips, especially for avoiding crowds!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 14, 2012 at 4:51 PM

      Thanks Brock. Have you been before? Any other tips you can add?

  7. Steve

    June 15, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    Getting there early is key for good pictures–We got there too late and there was a LOT of photo shopping tourists out of ours haha…

    • Cole Burmester

      June 15, 2012 at 5:39 PM

      I hate being a tourist in touristy places! Good work on at least being able to photoshop them out though Steve 🙂

  8. Ali

    June 15, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Great tips! I haven’t been there since 1999, and I’m really looking forward to getting back soon. I could visit Italy a million times and not get sick of it, so a trip to Rome is definitely in my future. I don’t remember the little details of buying tickets or getting into the Colosseum, so this was helpful.

    • Cole Burmester

      June 18, 2012 at 7:57 AM

      We have fallen in love with Italy and only been here 10 days. Still got another 2/3 weeks so definitely going to be in love even more by the end. Hope you head back soon 🙂

  9. The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen)

    June 17, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    I’ve always wanted to visit Rome and the Collosseum! Looks like it’s worth the wait in line, even if you don’t follow your tip! Good thing you guys had your ticket the day before 😉

    • Cole Burmester

      June 18, 2012 at 8:05 AM

      Get to Rome as soon as you can Ellen! So many amazing sights to see even though the Colosseum was my favourite!

  10. Angela

    June 18, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    Beautiful pictures of one of my most favorite ancient sites in Rome!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 23, 2012 at 6:47 AM

      It’s definitely my favourite as well Angela! And thanks 🙂

  11. Kristen

    June 21, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    Great tips and beautiful photos. Rome is really a great place. I’d go back in a second.

    • Cole Burmester

      June 23, 2012 at 7:17 AM

      We love the whole of Italy but Rome has definitely been a highlight for us so far!

  12. Josh @ Green Global Travel

    June 25, 2012 at 3:40 AM

    Sounds like a great visit to the Colosseum! I will make sure to follow these tips when I visit Italy so I can see this extraordinary site more easily.

  13. Matthew Hutchins

    June 26, 2012 at 6:25 AM

    Nice pics, when did you go? Doesn’t seem to crowded.

    • Cole Burmester

      June 26, 2012 at 2:33 PM

      We were there 2 weeks ago. So pretty much the height of the summer tourist season. The key is just to be there early with pre-purchased tickets 🙂

  14. Bethaney - Flashpacker Family

    July 4, 2012 at 2:31 AM

    Gosh, I’m hanging out for another visit to Europe. I just adore Rome and what I’ve seen in Italy.

    • Cole Burmester

      July 10, 2012 at 7:27 AM

      We have to leave Italy in a few days and so don’t want to! Would love to stay here forever. Although our waist lines keep expanding 🙂

  15. Daisy de Plume

    July 11, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    Yes, the two day ticket makes it really cheap. A picnic atop the Palatine is pleasant, too, overlooking the empire!

  16. Jenna

    July 16, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    It is such an overwhelming place, mostly because of the crowds, so thank you for providing tips to make it easier for everyone to visit! And I agree, it is really an amazing building.

  17. Vegemitevix

    July 16, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    Great tips Cole, especially as we are heading to Rome next week! Got any more tips for us? Vix x

  18. Margaret Bourne

    July 17, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Great tips – as they say, “The early bird, gets the worm.” My husband and I are big fans of getting there early, beating the crowds and then getting out of any hot attraction spot.

    How is the pickpocket situation around the Colosseum? I remember it being very bad back in 2000.

  19. Surminga

    July 19, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    Italy and Rome are amazing places to visit, we went to Rome a few months ago for a quick city break from the UK, so it was a long weekend and managed to fit everything in we intended – but would still love to go back and do it again

  20. Audrey

    July 29, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    I agree with you guys! I’m all about getting to a popular attraction early and being one of the first ones in. It’s such a different experience have the whole place to yourself. 😀

  21. Mary @ Green Global Travel

    August 6, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    Great secret tip. I’m all about traveling during shoulder season. When I went in March a few years ago, there weren’t huge crowds.

    • Cole Burmester

      August 7, 2012 at 10:09 AM

      We were just in Barcelona and the crowds were terrible. Really wish we were not there during the peak season as it kind of ruined it for us!

  22. Tash

    August 18, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    It’s such a rush, just walking into it, imagining the roar of ancient crowds!
    I count this as my favourite sporting venue….

    • Cole Burmester

      August 19, 2012 at 9:58 AM

      It’s definitely one of my top 3 favourite buildings in the world!

  23. Arti

    August 19, 2012 at 2:50 AM

    Great tips there! I would really love to visit Rome someday.

    • Cole Burmester

      August 19, 2012 at 9:59 AM

      Hope you get the chance to visit Arti. Just don’t go in the middle of summer as it’s too hot and crowded.

  24. Starsha

    January 23, 2014 at 5:12 AM

    I am a major planner and worked on my Disney World plan for months! I love this tip! I was hoping you could dummy it down for me a little. I get what your saying but I have read on other places that the lines are confusing and even after buying ahead they wasted time waiting beacause they didn’t know where to go. I really don’t want that to happen to me;)

  25. Alina

    April 3, 2014 at 6:50 PM

    My family and I are leaving for Rome in just a few LONG days. Thank you for this information! it really helped me a lot plan for the trip!

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Adventure Travel

Walking the Camino de Santiago Photos

These are my favourite Camino de Santiago Photos from my pilgrimage along the French Way in March. A truly beautiful way to spend a few weeks.



Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

El Camino de Santiago kicked my ass. Well technically it kicked my feet. Turns out my minimal preparation for the Camino de Santiago was terrible. After a miserable effort of only 4 days, the doctor in Legrono told me that I wasn’t allowed to go on until me feet healed. I had walked just over 100 km’s and my feet were bloodied and blistered.

To be honest, I was relieved.

The thought of putting back on my shoes made my shudder. For the last 9 km’s I had stumbled along in jandals and socks. One of the travelling fashion sins I vowed I would never break.

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

So while I have unfinished business with the Way of St James (an upcoming post), I did want to share with you some of my favourite photos from the Camino de Santiago. Because I had yet to reach some of the more “unsavoury” parts of the Camino that Sherry Ott had discovered, every step of my pilgrimage had been beautiful.

Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

Puenta La Reina Bridge – Camino de Santiago Arrows

There is no way you can get lost on the Camino de Santiago. Arrows, scallop shells and signs point you in the right direction at every bridge, road crossing and intersection.

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Reaching the top of Alto Pedron gave views back the way I had come from Pamplona, as well as views to where I was going. The rocky path on the way down proved to be my ultimate downfall, as my too small shoes caused my toes to smash into the front.

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

There were so many beautiful old churches along the Camino de Santiago. But since I was walking in early March, it seemed that most were yet to open for the busier summer season.

Church of Obanos

The Church of Obanos

And between every small village the well-maintained pathways of the French Way wound across the spectacular Spanish countryside.

The French Way - Camino de Santiago

The French Way – Camino de Santiago Photos

Puenta La Reina

Puenta La Reina in the evening

Puenta La Reina has one of the most amazing bridges I have ever seen. It was also the 1st village I had the pleasure of sleeping in after busy Pamplona.

Puenta la Reina Bridge and Sunrise

Puenta la Reina Bridge at sunrise

Most mornings I was up and walking before the sun began to sprinkle across the horizon.

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Every village and town was built on a small hill. Sure it looks beautiful until you realise you have to go back up again to go through them all!

Church of Santa Maria - Los Arcos

Church of Santa Maria in Los Arcos

While there were only about 20 pilgrims walking each section every day, it wasn’t uncommon for you to encounter them all. The people I met along the Camino de Santiago were some of the most inspiring and remarkable people I have ever spoken to. They are the ones that make the pilrgimage so special.

The endless French Way

The endless French Way

Irache Wine Fountain - Fuente del Vino

The free flowing Irache Wine Fountain or “Fuente del Vino”

Hay bales along the French Way

Hay bales along the French Way

Every village had at least one ancient church and it wasn’t uncommon to find them dotting the landscape in remote locations either.

Ermita de San Miguel

Ermita de San Miguel

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

I have travelled through Spain in the past, including cycling in Costa Brava and surfing in San Sebastian with both independent planning and a vacation planner. But having the opportunity to walk at my own pace through some of the most beautiful scenery in Spain on the Camino de Santiago has so far topped them all.

Natural arches - Camino de Santiago

Natural arches on the Camino de Santiago

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Adventure Travel

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel



Trekking through the valleys of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys with Middle Earth Travel feels more like the set of a Star Wars movie than a historical region once carved out and lived in by humans. Churches, homes and pigeon houses are scattered throughout the valleys, all waiting to be explored. The best part is, Middle Earth Travel know all the hidden secrets.

Standing at the top of Cappadocia

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

On the 26th of July (which just so happens to be my birthday!) Middle Earth Travel took us on their private and guided Top of Cappadocia day trek. From Pasabag, along the top of Cappadocia and down through the Gulludere Rose Valley to Goreme, we trekked 15kms in one day! (We recommend getting your bearings with this map)

Upon arrival to the Middle Earth Offices, we were warmly greeted by our new friend Atil whom we had met a few days earlier while mountain biking through the Kizilcukur Red Valley. We were then introduced to our guide and given a briefing regarding the day. Normally, the Top of Cappadocia tour would start from Çavuşin, however, since we had already explored Çavuşin Castle, they adapted our tour to compensate ensuring we would explore new terrain!

With charged cameras, plenty of water and our running shoes on, we were driven to our starting point of Pasabag. We wandered through the fairy chimneys, coming across camels and markets – then the true hike began.

Pasabag in Cappadocia

The police station in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

It was a slow and gentle incline. With no trees to provide shade, I quickly realised why our tour guide had chosen to wear fully covered clothing! As the sweat quickly set in (a waterfall in Moss’s case) we snapped away with our cameras and enjoyed the entertaining shapes of Imagine Valley and the amazing view. We also passed a lot of rock piles, which according to our guide mean ‘father’ and are built to help lead the way.

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Middle Earth Travel, Cappadocia

Making our way to the top of Cappadocia

Father leading the way (rock pile)

Father leading the way (rock pile)

The higher we trekked, the more breath taking the views became! As we walked along the summit of Bozdag mountain (the Top of Cappadocia) we could see EVERTHING – Pasabag, Çavuşin Castle, Kizilcukur Red Valley, Gulludere Rose Valley and Goreme. We were on the Father of Valleys! After a quick nod of agreement to the guide, we pushed ourselves the extra distance and made our way to the flag, as this HAD to be the highest point and was definitely worth a photo and a selfie or two!

View from the top of Cappadocia

View from the top of Cappadocia

Flag at top of Cappadocia

From the flag we looked down upon Aktepe Hill which is known as a popular destination for watching the sun set and could spot Kizilvadi Restaurant, our destination for lunch! Kizilvadi Restaurant is an attraction of its own. With its own historic winery and Grape church, plus some Middle Earth Travel treks even stay there for the night! After having a massive feed of soup, salad and pasta plus a surprise birthday cake, we made our way down into Gulludere Rose Valley.

Kizilvadi Restaurant

Kizilvadi Restaurant

The scenery is amazing, with strong colours visible in perfect layers on the chimneys, you would wonder what an artist was thinking, had it been a painting. Also, hidden to the side of the track we walked across a little bridge and not expecting anything to be there we were wowed by the massive church carved. It was absolutely huge and hard to believe that its most recent use has been as a pigeon house!

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Church in Gulludere Rose Valley

Hard to believe this Church is carved inside a fairy chimney!

Middle Earth Travel Review

  • The team at Middle Earth Travel were extremely knowledgeable and certainly know Cappadocia’s hidden secrets. They have friendships with local tea garden owners which is also of benefit as it gained us entry to locked churches and hidden rooms that we would not have otherwise seen.
  • We covered a lot of ground, however we did not feel rushed. The whole day focused on showing us the region, therefore we had as much time as we needed to explore each church and to take ‘just one more photo’.
  • It wasn’t all about trekking. With a whole day and 15kms to cover, there were a few silly poses (especially in Imagine Valley), and we learnt a lot about the myths, legends and way of life in Cappadocia.
  • In conclusion I highly recommend Middle Earth Travel if you wish to go trekking or mountain biking in Cappadocia.
  • Cost: Day treks with Middle Earth Travel range from 50-90 euro, depending on the number of people taking part. This includes lunch, guide, vehicle transfers and entrance fees to historical sites, but excludes alcoholic and soft drinks.
  • Middle Earth Travel are outdoor enthusiasts and offer multi-day over night treks, mountain biking, abseiling, or custom made itineraries, in multiple regions throughout Turkey.

Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the trek with Middle Earth Travel, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.

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Amsterdam Food Guide

If you think of Amsterdam you don’t think of food. However if you try the food here in our Amsterdam food guide you might get lucky.




Amsterdam Food Waffles

We are total foodies and our travelling has allowed our passion for food to grow considerably (not to mention our waist lines)!  We love trying new food when we visit foreign countries and always make a huge effort to eat the local cuisine. Check out some of the food we ate below in our cheap and delicious Amsterdam Food Guide.

Amsterdam Food Waffles

We had heard from a number of people that the Amsterdam food was nothing to rave about. To be honest food was not really our main interest in visiting but then again neither was an Amsterdam Peep show and we ended up enjoying that!

However we were pleasantly surprised. I think the people whom we had talked to had it wrong. Sure Holland doesn’t really have a local cuisine but once we got over this fact we realised there is still some damn good food to be had from the various Amsterdam Restaurants.

Amsterdam Food

The best meal we had was actually next door to the Red Light district in Chinatown. Crossing the canal to the east away from the neon lights your nostrils are attacked and your mouth begins salivating from the delicious smells wafting along the narrow cobbled streets.

As we walked into Bird Thai restaurant the enticing aroma hit us instantly leaving us drooling in anticipation. It was definitely up there with some of the best Thai food we have had. We went for the classic Green curry, fried rice and duck combo.

The Green curry was so flavoursome with the richness of the coconut milk blending perfectly with the traditional spices.  The duck was cooked to perfection and for the first few minutes of the meal all you could hear was the crunching of the crispy outside layer as we devoured the duck in minutes. Needless to say the fried rice was a taste explosion too!

Cheap and delicious Amsterdam food is easy to come by. With hangovers and munchies affecting your hunger it is no surprise that there are an abundance of Fast Food chains and takeaways in Amsterdam. In fact it was actually more the way that the fast food was served that surprised us as you could buy it out of massive vending machines at Febo!

Amsterdam Food Febo

Hidden workers stand behind the vending machines churning out burgers, fries and sausage rolls so all you has to do is insert a Euro and “hey presto” you have a hot meal in your hungry hands.

Then there were the frites stores which seemed to be on every corner. The first thing you noticed about these was the tantalising smell. There is nothing like the smell of chips straight out of the fryer and covered in salt to get you tummy rumbling. Served in a triangle cardboard carton and covered in mayo which meant that that you couldn’t reach the chips at the bottom without covering your greedy fingers in sauce. Just a tad annoying!

But there is nothing like hot chips to warm you up on a cold day.

Finally, while hot chocolates are not typically food I feel they still deserve a mention especially because the usually come paired with waffles! Ahhhh the perfect breakfast.

Amsterdam Hot Chocolate

We loved nipping into a cafe or bar like Cafe Bar Eddy in Amsterdam to warm ourselves up with a hot chocolate. It literally tasted like they had melted chocolate down and added cream. Heaven in a cup. And the choice of waffles was daunting as you could have whatever you wanted. Fruit, chocolate, syrups, cream or all of the above!

If you are heading here then don’t expect to find an array of traditional Amsterdam food. Instead treat yourself to a hot chocolate and waffle for breakfast, grab a quick bite from a vending machine and sample some of the different cuisines found near the Red Light District.

If you stick to this Amsterdam food guide then your taste buds will have a great holiday too!

If you have visited before then what did you think of Amsterdam food?

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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