Things to do in Rome

Here’s how you can skip the lines at the Sistine Chapel!

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The Sistine Chapel is one of the Vatican’s most visited attractions, famous for its stunning frescoes, particularly the ceiling painted by Michelangelo. Located within Vatican City, the chapel is a renowned artistic and religious landmark and so, it is only natural that it is crowded. Almost all the time! But there are ways to skip the lines and enjoy all that the Sistine Chapel has to offer.

6 Tried & Tested Ways To Skip The Lines at the Sistine Chapel

1. Pre-book your tickets

Unlike many other attractions in Rome, the Vatican can have extremely packed museums during the peak season. The lines can reach close to a kilometer during the peak season and could take more than two hours just to enter. It is therefore the best option to plan your visit beforehand. With a ticket booked online, you can join the queue meant for online ticket purchases, so you won't have as much wait time as those purchasing tickets on-site.

2. Book Skip The Line Tickets for the Vatican Museums

Tour through the Vatican Museum and see the beautiful frescoes by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel without much chaos. During the peak season, the rush can be endless and you may have to wait in line for long hours till you get through the Museum and the Chapel. However, if you book your tickets online, you will move relatively faster in the fast track queue.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: It's important to keep in mind that the Sistine Chapel is inside the Vatican Museums, meaning Sistine Chapel does not have separate skip-the-line tickets. The best thing to do is to purchase Skip-the-Line tickets for Vatican Museums, which allows you a relatively faster entry to the museum itself and buy yourself some time in the Sistine Chapel.

3. Book an Early Morning Tour

If you are an early bird, go for a morning tour and experience solitude and peace at the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel before the crowds start trickling in. Book yourself the early-morning tours that grant you skip-the-line access, letting you enter before the general public at 8 AM. This way, you get to access an hour before the usual opening time and enjoy an impressive English-speaking guided tour of these iconic structures.

4. Book an After-Hours Tour

Now, if you can’t spring yourself up that bed before 8 AM, you can opt for an after-hours guided tour of the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. Just like the early morning tours, you will be able to enjoy the space with a limited set of people at a time and enjoy a private tour of the Sistine Chapel at night.

Note: Based on the ticket option opted, you can feast on an American-style breakfast at the Pinecone Courtyard, prior to your tour.

5. Visit During the Shoulder Season

The off-shoulder season to visit the Sistine Chapel generally falls within the months of November to March. The number of visitors at this time tend to be significantly lower, meaning you can explore the chapel with fewer people around, enabling you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the artwork without feeling rushed or overcrowded. It is also likely that the lines to enter the Sistine Chapel are notably shorter or even non-existent. This allows you to walk right in, saving you valuable time and ensuring that you have ample opportunity to appreciate the breathtaking frescoes.

6. Skip Raphael's Frescoes

Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museums falls after the Gallery of Maps, just before Raphael's Frescoes. If you have already visited the frescoes on a prior visit, or you're just eager to see the Sistine Chapel, you can skip viewing Raphael's Frescoes altogether. You can save at least thirty minutes if you do this - take the staircase that'll appear on your right after the Gallery of Maps and head straight to the Sistine Chapel.

Recommended Fast Access Tickets to the Sistine Chapel

An Essential Guide to the Sistine Chapel


1. Metro: Take Metro Line A (red line) toward Battistini and get off at the Ottaviano - San Pietro stop, which is the closest metro station to the Vatican City. Head to the Vatican Museums and proceed through them to visit the Sistine Chapel.
2. Tram: Take Tram Line 19, which runs between Piazza Risorgimento and Piazza dei Gerani. Get off at the Piazza del Risorgimento stop, which is a short walk from the Vatican City.
3. Metro: From Roma Termini, the main station at Rome, take the Metro Line A (red line) toward Battistini. Get off at the Ottaviano - San Pietro stop, which is the closest metro station to the Vatican City, and head to the Vatican Museums where the Sistine Chapel is housed.

Sistine Chapel

  • Monday to Saturday: The Vatican Museums are typically open from around 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
  • Last Sunday of the month: The Vatican Museums are open and free of charge, but the opening hours may vary, and there may be larger crowds.
  • Sunday: The Vatican Museums are usually closed, including the Sistine Chapel, except for the last Sunday of the month.
  • Dress Code: Visitors must adhere to a strict dress code when entering the Sistine Chapel. Both men and women should have their shoulders and knees covered. Revealing clothing, such as shorts, tank tops, and sleeveless shirts, is not permitted.
  • Touching the artwork is strictly prohibited, as is photography.
  • It is suggested that silence is maintained, or conversations are had at low volumes.
  • Food or drink is not allowed inside.
  • Large backpacks or suitcases are not permitted inside; do make use of the storage facilities available at the entrance.
Sistine Chapel STL Guide