How to Get to Vatican City from Colosseum (Complete Guide)
If you are on limited time in Rome – for example, you are visiting on a cruise stopover or just on a road trip through Italy – you have a lot to pack in! In this guide, we will show you how to get to Vatican City from Colosseum.
Two of the most visited sights in Rome are the Vatican City and the Colosseum. If you have to pick 2 must-see sights in Rome, these should be high on your priority list. And good news.
It IS possible to visit the Colosseum and Vatican in one day! But it takes expert planning, a focussed intention, and lots of patience!
- 1 Distance From Colosseum To Vatican & Best Ways to Get There
- 2 Why We Recommend Walking Between the Colosseum and the Vatican City
- 3 The Pros And Cons Of Visiting All In One Day
- 4 How To Prepare For Visiting Vatican City & Colosseum In One Day
- 5 Your Options if You Decide to Visit Vatican City & Colosseum In One Day
- 6 Vatican and Colosseum Combo Tours
- 7 Best Time Of The Day To Visit Vatican City And Colosseum
- 8 Colosseum Opening Hours
- 9 Vatican City Attractions Opening Hours
- 10 Additional Backup Plans And Top Tips For A Successful Day
- 11 FAQS How to Get to Vatican City from Colosseum
- 12 Conclusion
Distance From Colosseum To Vatican & Best Ways to Get There
The Colosseum is 5.8 kilometers via the Via Corso to the Vatican (by car). And by foot it is slightly shorter – 4.2 kilometers (2.6 miles) to be precise. You can also get there by bus and metro.
Taking a taxi, can take 30 minutes in light traffic, but longer if the roads are congested. Sometimes, we prefer taking this route by foot – at an easy pace the journey takes 50 minutes, but you can do it in 45 if you push. And how to get from Colosseum to the Vatican by bus? It is still a 40-minute journey on bus 46.
Tip – For a seamless start to your city trip, I highly recommend utilizing an online travel card. Take advantage of the convenience it offers by booking your Rome airport transfer in advance. Not only will you enjoy a warm Welcome Service upon arrival, but you also have the flexibility to pay later. This hassle-free option ensures that your journey from the airport to the city is smooth and stress-free, setting the perfect tone for your entire trip. Don't miss out on this fantastic opportunity to begin your adventure in Rome with ease!
Why We Recommend Walking Between the Colosseum and the Vatican City
If you only have one day in Rome and take a taxi between the Colosseum and the Vatican City you could be at risk of missing out on something that makes Rome so special – the VIBE!
Taking the 45-minute walk will at least give you a little slice of the city. And speaking of slices – you can pick up a couple from a pizza kiosk on the way!
The Pros And Cons Of Visiting All In One Day
Let’s start with the cons of visiting in one day before we get to the good stuff.
We have to admit, it is not ideal to see Rome this way. But if it’s your only chance to be in the Eternal City you must take advantage of this!
- Feeling rushed. One of the main attractions of Rome is the vibe – you may not feel you have time to just stop and enjoy the experience.
- Feeling stressed out – missed a bus? longer queues than anticipated? There is even the risk you miss your outward flight or cruise at the end of the day.
- Even though you can hit off these 2 great sites in one day, you will not be able to experience everything in them – especially at the Vatican. The Vatican is SO vast you really need two full days to explore the whole thing.
- Missing out on cafe culture – this is my favorite thing to do in Rome! An hour in a cafe in the morning, and then – our ultimate favorite – aperitivo hour on a terrace or piazza… people watching… It's blissful.
- In a big city, you often spot things that aren’t published in guide books. This could be a street food festival, a little known market or a random park. Unfortunately, you won’t get the chance to just “drop-off” your itinerary and take a detour.
- Costs – the only way to visit the Colosseum and the Vatican in one day is to pay extra. Skip the line Colosseum tickets, Vatican tours such as this one and priority passes are a must.
Now the good stuff.
We are assuming if you are researching the topic “how to get from Colosseum to Vatican City in one day” that you are either on a cruise, a long layover or simply only have time for one day.
Perhaps you are on a business trip to Rome and have just the Sunday before a busy week ahead.
Whatever the reason, there are still benefits to checking out the Colosseum and the Vatican in short time:
- It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. For many people, a visit to these prime sites happened only once. Take the opportunity and do it.
- It is manageable if you invest in a well-planned itinerary and pick your favorite things. In fact, you will be able to focus more on the key parts that interest you the most.
- On that note, because Rome is so vast you can simply get lost in things to do. Which restaurant, play, museum, church, market, square… It can be overwhelming. Short time gives you no chance to procrastinate. Just dive in!
How To Prepare For Visiting Vatican City & Colosseum In One Day
Benjamin Franklin once said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”.
That is particularly true for planning to see the Colosseum and the Vatican in one day.
Here are our top tips for exploring Rome in one day.
Determine a Budget
Sort your budget out first. Don’t waste time at cash machines or fumbling for cards.
The key to this is to book everything you can in advance (more about that in a minute). Then you don’t need to think about cash or finances.
Apart from tickets, bring €100 so you can enjoy a lunch or dinner depending on your timings, grab a taxi if you get delayed, or pick up a souvenir.
For budget travelers, it is possible (if you have pre-booked tickets for the Colosseum and the Vatican) – to get by on just €30!
Plan Ahead Transport Options
We already told you that it’s nearly just as quick to walk between the Colosseum and the Vatican as it is to get a taxi or public transport. Budget required – 0. But if you have limited mobility or a bunch of kids in tow – or if like last summer temperatures approach 40 degrees C – you might want to take a taxi. Expect this to cost around 15€.
If you just have one day in Rome we wouldn’t bother taking the bus. The metro is however a good option. It’s cheap and will cost no more than €3 – but you will need to make a change at Termini Station to get to San Pietro from Colosseo Station. Plus there is still a bit of walking on either side. We find that using the Rome to Rio travel app is a good way to explore your options.
And if you have an evening flight you will need to understand how to get to Rome’s airports from the city center – and how to get back to the cruise port if you are traveling independently from Civitavecchia port.
Make a Plan for Your Route
If you are taking the metro from Colosseo to San Pietro station via Termini, or a taxi, then you don’t need to really worry about the route between these sites.
But if you are walking then you will want to plan a little, especially so you can make some photo stops along the way.
Here is our suggested route for independent sightseers walking from the Colosseum to Vatican City:
- Start out from the Colosseo on the Via Verbiti exit, and hang a right. You are a couple of left turns away from the VIa Dei Fori Imperiali.
- Turn left onto this famous road and walk the whole way up to the Piazza Venezia. Here you will see the famous “wedding cake“ monument.
- Walk straight on through the square and turn left on to the Via Del Plebiscito. A little way along here you will find the bustling Campo Dei Fiori Piazza and its bustling market. This square, along with the Piazza Venezia, feature in our top ten must-see piazzas in Rome guide.
- Since you have been walking for about 30 minutes now it's time to take a quick rest. Explore the market and grab a coffee or a cool drink. Take some photos, and then it is time to cross the famous River Tiber.
- Cross the Ponte Vittorio Emanuele and turn left on the Borgo Santo Spirito. Continue down this road and you will reach the walls of the Vatican City!
Vatican City and Colosseum In One Day Map
Check out this interactive map that shows the key points of note along the way!
List The Places You Want to See
This is more pertinent to the Vatican Museum – you can do the Colosseum in 1-2 hours. But the Vatican City is so vast and the exhibitions have so much detail that you need to be disciplined in what you see.
We recommend checking out the:
- Vatican Museums
- Sistine Chapel
- and St Peter’s Basilica
Then, you need to make a separate plan of the must-sees WITHIN the Vatican Museums. To maximize your time and experience, make sure you book skip-the-line tickets or consider a tour.
Book Online Tickets in Advance
Both the Colosseum and the Vatican City offer skip-the-line tickets.
The queues at the Vatican City have been known to reach up to 3 or 4 hours long in summer peak season! Don’t risk a disaster and secure skip-the-line tickets for the Colosseum here and the Vatican Museums here.
Study Well the Opening Times of Attractions
What a bummer to walk the whole way between the Colosseum to the Vatican City only for it to be closed, or the major attractions down for maintenance.
Check the official websites for each attraction well in advance to ensure you don’t risk this!
Your Options if You Decide to Visit Vatican City & Colosseum In One Day
Here is a list of tickets and tips to consider to help you be as efficient as possible on your trip.
There are a few options – buy your tickets online in advance – such as:
Make sure that if you book either a tour or a city pass that skip-the-line tickets are included for both attractions.
Separate Ticket St Peter’s Basilica
Don’t fall for someone trying to sell you a ticket for St Peter’s Basilica. Entry is free to this famous attraction, as is the square.
The only time you should consider a “ticket” for the Basilica is if you want a tour (such as this one) or if you want to purchase a ticket at the kiosk to climb up to the dome.
Otherwise – it’s not necessary! Skip the Line tickets don’t work here for the Basilica either – because everyone (apart from probably the Pope!) needs to go through a security line anyway.
Consider a Rome Tourist Card
For just under €100 this card gets you access to the Colosseum, Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel.
It also includes an audio guide. This card actually does also include the Roman Forum, which you pass along your way if walking between the Colosseum and the Vatican.
So if you feel you can pack in another attraction (note – it is usually recommended to spend three hours here so it’s probably a stretch). You would have to decide if wasting that attraction is worth it.
Separate Ticket Vatican Museums
This is a ticket just for the Vatican Museums. It includes skip-the-line tickets and a skip-the-line tour which lasts 2 hours.
This is a great option for single-day trippers – you can spend 2 hours in the museums, an hour checking out the Sistine Chapel and the Basilica, and then you can tick the Vatican off your list. Similarly, this tour includes a guide to the Sistine Chapel.
Separate Ticket Colosseum
This includes a little group tour and skip-the-line access to the Colosseum.
Rome Super Pass
Includes access to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Vatican City, Sistine Chapel, an audio guide and even free wifi at the meeting point. It is 100€ – but again there might be too much to pack in on this ticket in one day.
24-hour Omnia includes Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and skip-the-line tickets.
It also has a hop-on hop-off bus pass – worth it if you want to see around the city and maybe have a bit of time in the morning of the next day.
Another city pass, but not recommended if you want to visit the Vatican – because access to the Vatican Museums is not included. Plus the minimum validity is 48h.
Hop on Hop Off Bus
If you get one of the 2 hour Vatican tours, spend 1 hour in the Basilica and 2 hours in the Colosseum you might just have time to do a hop-on hop-off bus tour too.
Vatican and Colosseum Combo Tours
If you are set on visiting both the Vatican and the Colosseum in one day then one of these tours may be worth it. You will have nothing to worry about – simply meet your tour guide and let them sort the rest!
Combi Tour – without Transport
This combi tour includes 3 hours in the Vatican and 3.5 hours in the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. Note, it doesn’t include transport between the sites, so follow our walking guide in between.
Rome Supper Pass
This one includes transport between the sites as well as access to the Dome in St Peter’s Basilica – bonus!
Amazing tour that starts off with breakfast at the Vatican and access to the Upper Galleries as an extra. Then it's on to the Colosseum and Roman Forum.
Other Combi Tours to Check Out
There are so many to choose from you will need to evaluate the one that is best for you.
Best Time Of The Day To Visit Vatican City And Colosseum
The best time of day to visit Colosseum attractions and the best time to go to the Vatican are pretty similar.
You should hit off the Colosseum first thing in the morning – as soon as the doors open, or alternatively, do the Vatican Museum first thing.. Both attractions open at 9am. Then, blast through them and aim to reach the other attraction no earlier than 4pm.
The Colosseum closes at no earlier than 7pm in the spring and summer, so you would have time to check it out in the evening after the tour buses and cruise passengers have gone.
Top Tip – Because the Vatican closes at 4pm and if you have to do the Colosseum first then you will have to brave midday queues at the Vatican to make sure you get through to the Sistine Chapel before closing. It is doable – but only with a skip the line pass.
Colosseum Opening Hours
Colosseum opening hours – 9am to 7pm in spring, 9am to 7.15pm in summer.
Keep up to date on this year's winter opening hours here. And if you are asking how long does it take to tour the Colosseum you have come to the right place – you need no more than 2 hours here. And is the Colosseum in Rome open on Sundays? The answer is yes!
Vatican City Attractions Opening Hours
Is the Vatican open on Sundays for tourists – the answer is no!
Except for the last Sunday in the month – when entry is free. We don’t recommend you try that though. It will be really crowded. The museums are generally open 9-4 pm.
Additional Backup Plans And Top Tips For A Successful Day
Attractions You Can Enjoy Without Looking at Without Entering
Rome’s famous piazzas, squares, and fountains are something that you can enjoy for free as you pass by.
Admire the churches, basilicas, and even the architecture of the buildings. It is even possible to view the Colosseum from outside, as well as some parts of the Roman Forum (eg from the Via Salara Veccia).
Best Places to Eat in Quickly
You can’t be guaranteed a quick bite to eat in some establishments – the long Italian lunch tradition often results in slower service!
But you can find little pizza stores that sell pizza by the slice, or bakeries, street food and of course you can buy a takeaway salad or sandwich. Check out the Pizza della Madonna dei Monti on the Via Della Madonna dei Monti.
2 Hotels near the Vatican City and the Colosseum
If you need somewhere to crash at the end of the day here are 2 great hotels – one by the Vatican City and one by the Colosseum – where you can get a few hours of sleep before you fly the next day.
- Residenza Paolo VI – Just 100 meters from the Vatican this hotel offers views of St Peter’s dome and a panoramic rooftop terrace. Double rooms start from as little as €150 a night.
- B&B Colosseo Panoramic Rooms – Right by the Colosseum, this bed and breakfast this B&B offers direct access to the metro and double rooms for around €140 a night.
FAQS How to Get to Vatican City from Colosseum
Does the Vatican own the Colosseum?
No - there are some external attractions in the Rome that are owned by the Holy See, but not the Colosseum.
Can anyone go to Vatican City?
The Vatican is open to all with a ticket!
Can you go inside the Colosseum in Rome?
Of course - it is one of Rome’s biggest attractions and can be seen in 2 hours.
Can you take a backpack into the Colosseum?
Yes, you can.
Do you need tickets to get into the Vatican?
You need tickets to enter the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel.
Do you have to pay to see the Colosseum?
You need tickets to enter the Colosseum but technically you can see it for free from the outside at the side of the road!
Can you visit the Sistine chapel on Sunday?
The Vatican Museums are closed on Sundays, along with the Sistine Chapel. However, they are open on the last Sunday of the month for free.
How much is a taxi from the Vatican to Colosseum?
Expect to pay about €15.
This guide should give you all you need to know about visiting Rome in one day! Now, head on over to find out more about the Vatican or other Roman sites by using the links on the website to help you plan.
Fanny, an ardent admirer of ancient history and architecture, has been fascinated by the Colosseum since her first visit to Rome in 2012. As a key contributor to the Visit Colosseum Rome blog, she brings her passion for the Roman Empire’s monumental legacy to every article and guide.