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Though Vatican City may be the smallest country in the world, there is much to explore within its boundaries. Home to various religious and cultural sites, it also boasts an incredible collection of artistic masterpieces by some of the most renowned artists in the world. Let’s take a look at the various ticket options, their exclusive features, highlights, and everything else you need to know in order to make your trip to the Vatican a memorable and hassle-free one.
Vatican Museums Reopen To The Public in 2021
On 1 February 2021, the Vatican Museums, Vatican Gardens, and the Sistine Chapel reopened to the public. If you’re planning to visit Vatican City, please ensure that you’re aware of all safety measures and guidelines in place. The Vatican now only accepts online reservations.
Safety Measures and Rules at The Vatican Museums 
- The Vatican is strictly accepting only online reservations. Guests can choose their preferred time slots and prebook their tickets accordingly, as they will now be allowed into the museum in 30-minute intervals.
- It is mandatory that all visitors must wear face masks throughout the duration of their visit
- All visitors will undergo temperature checks before their entry into the museum. Those with a temperature higher than 37.5º C (99.5º F) will not be permitted in.
- Guests must maintain social distancing of a minimum of 1 meter from others during their visit
- For public use, hand sanitization stations have been placed at regular points at the museum
- The maximum capacity of a guided tour is Guided tours will now comprise groups with a maximum of 20 members
- Audio guide facility is now available. They can be rented at the venue, or reserved through online ticket bookings
- Guests can enter St. Peter’s Basilica only through the main entrance; the Sistine Chapel entrance to the basilica will remain closed.
- The bar, cafeteria, and restaurant will be available in the Courtyard of the Pine Cone's Bistrot section. Seating access will be limited for social distancing and timings have been changed now, to 09:00 AM-05:00 PM. Moreover, seating access will now be limited.
Vatican Tickets and Tour Options Explained
A standard Vatican ticket will gain you entry into the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. Visitors can choose from a number of ticket options such as skip-the-line tickets and Vatican guided tour tickets. Access to St. Peter’s Basilica, however, is not included in these tours unless specifically mentioned. Therefore, visitors need to purchase a separate ticket if they wish to visit the basilica.
St. Peter’s Basilica Tickets
Timed entry priority access tickets to the Vatican offer instant access to visitors, allowing them to bypass queues. Visitors can access both the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel with these tickets. The audio guide that comes in a choice of 10 languages offers insightful commentary and guidance into each of these attractions. However, these tickets do not allow you access to St. Peter’s Basilica. If you wish to visit the same, you will have to purchase separate tickets.
Why go for these tickets?
- Gain access to the Vatican Museums and explore the Sistine Chapel.
- These tickets offer skip-the-line priority access to the Vatican, allowing you to bypass queues.
- The multilingual audio guide provides you with the necessary information regarding each attraction.
Beat the crowd with this priority access ticket and gain instant access to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Once inside, the Pigna Courtyard, Pius Clementino Museum, Tapestries Gallery, Raphael’s Rooms, and many more interesting sights await you.
Skip the long waiting lines and quickly enter the Vatican Museums with a host who will escort you right to the security check. These tickets also include access to the Sistine Chapel.
Avoid the crowds at the Vatican Museums and get the rare chance to explore the artwork before the museum opens with these exclusive early access tickets.
Make the most of your visit to Vatican City with a guided tour. Allow your professional guide to show you all the important attractions and regale you with fascinating tidbits about the history and culture of this small nation. Your Vatican guided tour comes with priority access, allowing you to avoid queues. Please keep in mind that as part of the safety measures undertaken in light of the pandemic, guided tours with more than 15 participants are not allowed.
Why go for these tickets?
- These tickets come with a professional guide who will make sure that you do not miss out on any must-see attractions of Vatican City.
- You will have access to the priority entrance, which will save you the hassle of waiting in entry lines.
- In addition to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, you will also have priority access to St. Peter's Basilica, the largest church in the world.
Enjoy priority access to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel on this guided tour with the help of a local expert who will show you around these popular attractions.
With a professional tour guide, enjoy a guided visit to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. With these tickets, also enjoy skip-the-line access to the museums and avoid the waiting lines.
Explore the Vatican early in the morning with these priority access tickets and enjoy an informative and intimate experience with no more than 11 people in a group.
Explore the legendary St. Peter’s Basilica with the help of a professional tour guide and marvel at the works of Renaissance masters that adorn its walls. Standard Vatican tickets do not include entry to St. Peter’s Basilica so you need to purchase separate tickets or opt for a guided tour of the Vatican to gain access to this historic church. If you wish to avoid queues, you can opt for a guided tour of the Vatican as it allows you direct entry into the basilica from the Sistine Chapel. However, it is to be noted that this entrance is now closed in light of the Coronavirus crisis.
Why go for these tickets?
- A professional guide will show you around St. Peter’s Basilica, allowing you access to the holiest of Catholic shrines.
- These tickets come with fast track entry into St. Peter's Basilica through a dedicated entrance.
Visit the Vatican early in the morning and climb up to the highest point of St. Peter’s Basilica, the dome. This tour also includes a visit to the Papal Sarcophagi of the Basilica.
From paying homage to Pope John Paul II at his tomb to witnessing the iconic chair of St. Peter, this priority access tour allows you to discover the best of the Vatican.
Visit the top attractions in Vatican City – Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica – on an informational guided tour. Get priority access to these attractions, and also visit the basilica dome with this ticket.
Plan Your Visit
Visiting the Vatican can prove to be an overwhelming experience due to its vastness and popularity. However, here is all the information you’ll need for a seamless visit.
Getting to the Vatican
Best Time to Visit the Vatican
What are the opening hours of the Vatican Museums?
The Vatican Museums are open from 08:30 AM to 06:30 PM from Monday to Saturday. Last entry into the museums will be at 04:30 and all guests must exit the exhibition rooms by 06:00 PM.
When are the Vatican Museums closed?
Apart from all Sundays, the Vatican museums will be closed on 11 and 29 June, 14 and 15 August, and 8, 25 and 26 December.
How long does it take to tour the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel?
It takes at least 3 hours to see both the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel properly.
How do I get to Vatican City?
Vatican City is easily accessible by bus, train, and the metro. On the other hand, if you are already in the city square, you can simply walk to Vatican City.
How do I get to Vatican City by Metro?
Take the Metro Line A and get off at either Lepanto or Ottaviano. While Ottaviano is slightly closer to the Vatican, getting down at Lepanto will take you through Cola di Rienzo, one of the most popular shopping streets in the city. From there, it’s just a 5-minute walk to the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Square.
Can I get to Vatican City by bus?
Yes. You can take buses 40, 64, 62, and 81 to reach Vatican City. Buses 40 and 64 can be taken directly from Roma Termini.
What is the best time of day to visit Vatican City?
It is recommended that you visit Vatican City early in the morning or after 4:00 PM in the afternoon in order to avoid the worst of crowds. Try to avoid Wednesday mornings and Saturdays as they tend to be the most crowded. If you are visiting Vatican City in the morning, head over to the chapel before making your way to the Vatican Museums. This will help you beat the crowds.
What is the best time of the year to visit Vatican City?
If you are looking to avoid the crowd, you should know that the slowest months are also the coldest. If you visit the Vatican during the winter months of November, December, January, and February, you’ll see that the crowds are significantly less. While you still won’t have the place to yourself, you’ll get to explore all the attractions in peace, without having to navigate through hundreds of people.
What should I wear while visiting the Vatican City?
Clothes that expose your shoulders, arms, or legs are not allowed. Therefore, you should refrain from wearing shorts, sleeveless tops, or miniskirts.
Can I take photographs at the Vatican City?
Photography inside the Sistine Chapel is strictly prohibited. However, photography without flash is allowed everywhere else within Vatican City.
Am I allowed to carry food into the Vatican?
No. However, if you are carrying food or drinks with you, they can be left at the cloakroom for the duration of your visit.
Are the Vatican Museums wheelchair-accessible?
Yes, the Vatican Museums can be comfortable explored by differently-abled guests. Various facilities like ramps and elevators are in place to provide ease of access and convenience.
Is storage facility available at the Vatican Museums?
Yes, a cloakroom is available for guests where they can deposit luggage, umbrellas, and other carry-ons before entry.
Are any dining services available at the Vatican Museums?
Yes, a vending machine, cafeteria, pizzeria, and a self-service food area is available for public use.
Explore the Vatican
From the Vatican Museums that boast one of the world's greatest art collections to the exquisite St. Peter’s Basilica, there is much to explore at Vatican City. Read on to find out about each of these attractions, their must-see highlights, and more.
St. Peter’s Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica, widely considered to be one of the most famous churches in the world, is located within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Vatican City. Meticulously designed to resemble a three-aisled cross with a massive dome at the center, it seamlessly cuts through the dramatic skyline of Rome. The Basilica also houses the tomb of St. Peter, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ. It spans 22,300 square meters and can hold up to 60,000 people, making it one of the largest churches in the world. With St. Peter's Basilica tickets, explore the architecture and design work of Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, considered to be a high symbol of Renaissance architecture.
Look out for: St. Peter’s Tomb, St. Peter’s Chair, the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica
The Sistine Chapel derives its name from Pope Sixtus IV della Rovere who commissioned the architect Giovanni dei Dolci to build the chapel between 1477 and 1480. An unassuming brick building with numerous windows, the exterior of the iconic Sistine Chapel is drab and unfussy. The interior, however, is decorated with breathtaking frescoes by various Renaissance artists. The most famous among these is a fresco painted by Michelangelo which adorns the entire altar wall. With more than 300 figures, it illustrates the final judgment of humanity or the Second Coming of Christ.
Look out for: The ceiling, the Last Judgement fresco
Visited by over 6 million people every year, the Vatican Museums consist of 54 galleries and boasts one of the largest collections of Renaissance and Medieval art in the world. From Michelangelo and Raphael to Picasso and van Gogh, you will find works by many great artists here. However, the most famous attraction you would see on booking Vatican tickets is perhaps the iconic Spiral Staircase designed by Bramante. Shaped like a double helix, it is composed of two staircases that allow people to go up and down the stairs without crossing each other.
Look out for: The Spiral Staircase, Raphael room, Gregorian Etruscan and Egyptian Museum
Vatican Tickets FAQs
What are the public safety measures at the Vatican Museums in 2021?
The Vatican Museums reopened to the public on 1 February 2021 with strict public safety measures in place. Now, only digital bookings are accepted at the Vatican. Moreover, all guests must wear masks throughout the duration of their visit, and they will undergo mandatory temperature checks before entry. Hand sanitizer gels are also available for public use and now the maximum capacity of a guided tour is restricted to 20.
Are Vatican Museum tickets available online in 2021?
Yes. The Vatican Museum is only accepting online reservations now. You can book your Vatican tickets online.
What is the maximum group size for guided tours of the Vatican?
While the Vatican is accepting reservations for guided tours, it has placed a cap on the maximum number of visitors in a group. Each guided tour group can comprise a maximum of 20 visitors now.
Do my Vatican tickets include access to St. Peter's Basilica?
Not all Vatican tickets include access to St. Peter's Basilica. You would have to specifically book tickets that include St. Peter's Basilica access.
Do Vatican tickets include skip-the-line access?
Yes, your Vatican tickets do include skip-the-line-access. With this, you get fast-track access to Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel without having to wait in long lines.
Are Vatican tickets refundable?
It depends on the ticket you choose to book. While some tickets offer a full refund on canceling tickets up to 48-72 hours in advance, for others there may be no refund available on cancelation. Please check before you make your reservation.
What are Vatican Museum opening hours?
The Vatican Museums are open from 08:30 AM to 06:30 AM from Monday to Saturday; final entry is at 04:30 PM. The museums are closed on Sundays, along with 1 and 6 January, 11 February, 19 March, 13 April, 1 May, 29 June, and 8, 25 and 26 December.
How do I get to the Vatican Museums?
You can drive down, walk, or take the metro or bus to get to the Vatican Museums. If you take the metro, alight at Ottaviano-S. Pietro metro station and walk for 5 minutes to get to your destination.