Things to do in Rome

St. Peter’s Basilica Entrances – Best Ways to Enter the Church

Last Updated:

Considered one of the holiest sites for Christianity, St. Peter’s Basilica is not only known for being the largest of its kind but is also lauded for its impressive architecture. Home to an array of artworks that have been carefully preserved over the years, the Basilica is regarded as Rome’s main tourist attraction. Its iconic dome, which looks over the panoramic skyline of the city, has served as an inspiration to many-a-cathedrals and buildings.

A visit to the Basilica may present you with exhausting queues everywhere you go, however, there are four secret entrances to look out for to make this process a simpler one. St. Peter’s Basilica is one such memorable experience for tourists from all around the world that should not be missed out on.

Getting to St.Peter's Basilica Entrances

St. Peter's Basilica, is located on the Southeast side of the city and accessible from Via Della Conciliazione. For those planning to visit St. Peter's Basilica, here are some ideal routes that you can keep in mind.

By Bus

To get to the Basilica by bus, you can opt for two options that stop on either side of the Basilica. Bus numbers 32, 81, 982 stop at the Piazza del Risorgimento which is a 10-minute walk from the Basilica. This stop lies to the left side of the Basilica.

Bus No. 64 stops at Via di Porta Cavalleggeri to the right of St.Peter's Basilica. This is slightly closer than the other bus stop. Bus 64 is one of the most used lines in Rome as it connects Termini station with the Vatican City, stopping at key sites such as Piazza Venezia or Largo Argentina. Be prepared for a stuffy bus!

By Metro

The Ottaviano Metro Stop is closest to those looking to head to St. Peter's Basilica. The Basilica's entrance is a quick 10-minute walk from the metro exit.

By Tram

As there is only one tram stop in Vatican city, you can choose to take Tram 19, which stops at Piazza del Risorgimento. A brisk 13-minute walk from there should have you at the Basilica's entrance.

St. Peter’s Basilica Entrances

Depending on which part of St.Peter's Basilica you're most keen to visit, here are the entrances we suggest.

The Cupola

St. Peter's Basilica entrances

Image Courtesy: A View on the Cities

The Cupola or the Dome of the Basilica offers a stunning view of the city, and often requires a little more time dedicated to it during your visit. The entrance to this is located right at the beginning above the visitor’s square at St.Peter’s Square, so visiting it first is a great idea. Avoid carrying sharp items, which can cause delays during security.

Average Queue Time

One hour or more

Entrance Opening & Closing Time

The Dome of St. Basilica opens at 8:00 AM and closes at 5:00 PM every day.

Necropolis & Treasury

St. Peter's Basilica entrances

Unlike other entrances, the treasury is a paid visit. So, you may need to purchase its tickets in advance to view it. Located on the left side of the St. Peter's Basilica, it is identified by the columns that it is decorated with. On the left, you may find the names of the Popes that have been buried at St. Peter’s along with a statue of St. Andrew’s.

Average Queue Time

45 Minutes

Entrance Opening & Closing Time

Necropolis & Treasury opens at 8:00 AM and closes at 5:00 PM every day.

St. Peter’s Basilica Grotto

St. Peter's Basilica entrances

You can book yourself a special visit to the Grotto — of St. Peter’s Tomb — during your visit. The entrance to this is located underground and will require you to be accompanied by a guide. The visit will take you on an excavation and you will be able to see St. Peter’s remains. The tour takes 1.5 hours and can be booked via the Vatican Scavi office, or through a combo ticket available online.

Entrance Opening & Closing Time

April to September: 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
October to March: 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Secret Entrance

St. Peter's Basilica entrances

There is also a secret entrance into St. Peter’s Basilica that can be accessed via a small door on the right side of the Sistine Chapel.

St. Peter's Basilica
Editor's Pick

Choosing the perfect St. Peter's Basilica Tour

Intrigued by the archaic beauty St. Peter Basilica displays on the outside? Find out how a tour of its inside is even more divine!

Top Recommended St.Peter's Basilica Tours & Tickets

If you're looking for a seamless visit to St. Peter's Basilica, grabbing tickets in advance online is highly recommended. That way, you can skip the queues and spend more time admiring the intricacies of one the greatest Basilicas in Europe.

Fancy yourself a convenient guided tour of this revered attraction? Check out our guide to choosing the right St. Peter's Basilica guided tour right away!

Tips For Your Visit

  • Wear good walking shoes, as there will be a lot of walking and the museum takes over two to three hours.
  • Have a guide or a guide book with you. There are several things inside the premises that hold historic value.
  • Make sure you have a hearty meal before you begin your day, as there are not too many options for lunch around the venue.
  • The best time to visit the Basilica is during the early hours of the day. It’s much easier to avoid crowds before 10:30 AM.
  • Getting skip-the-line tickets can be useful on weekends and during the peak season, as it helps you save time as well as money.


Is there a dress code one must follow while planning a visit to St. Peter's Basilica? 

What are the opening hours for St. Peter’s Basilica?

What is the best time to visit St. Basilica?

What facilities are available at the Basilica?

Is photography allowed inside the Basilica?

Are strollers allowed inside the Basilica?

Do I need to buy a ticket to attend the mass or the papal viewing?

Would having tattoos be a problem?

Ready to explore Rome?

There are many other things to do in Rome that cannot be missed! Check out more about the culture, things to do, day trips, budgeting and more with our Rome Travel Guide.