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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 Ticket 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.
Please keep in mind that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, entry into the Vatican will be restricted and phased at 15-minute intervals. At the time of booking, visitors can choose their preferred entry timing from the available time slots, which will ensure that there is no overcrowding at the entry points. All visitors are required to arrive on time and wear masks for the entire duration of their visit.
St. Peter’s Basilica Tours
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. Please keep in mind that due to the safety concerns in the post-COVID world, ticket options for visiting the Vatican Museums have been limited to only standard admission tickets and group tours with less than 15 people.
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.
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 a guided tour of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica with the help of a local expert who will show you around these popular attractions.
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.
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
Rules and Regulations
What are the opening hours of the Vatican Museums?
The Vatican Museums are open from 10.00 AM to 08.00 PM (final entry 06.00 PM) on Mondays to Thursdays and from 10.00 AM to 10.00 PM (final entry 08.00 PM) on Fridays and Saturdays.
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 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 there any new rules and regulations in light of the coronavirus crisis?
- Usual free entry to the museums on the last Sunday of the month has been suspended indefinitely.
- Only audio guides and video guide systems provided by the Vatican Museums are permitted.
- Exit that provides access to St. Peter’s Basilica from the Sistine Chapel will remain closed until further notice.
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 across 22,300 square meters and can hold up to 60,000 people, making it one of the largest churches in the world. Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, this Italian Church is the most renowned work 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 of the Vatican Museums 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 Ticket FAQs
What are the opening hours for Vatican Museums post-COVID-19?
Vatican opening hours post-COVID-19 are: Monday to Thursday: 10:00 AM to 08:00 PM (last entry at 06:00 PM); Friday and Saturday: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM (last entry at 08:00 PM).
When do the Vatican Museums close post-COVID-19?
The Vatican Museums will remain closed on all Sundays, along with 29 June and 14-15 August.
Do Vatican tickets sell out?
Yes, Vatican tickets do tend to see out. Therefore, it is always wise to book them in advance.
How far is the Vatican from the Colosseum?
The Vatican is located at a distance of around 3 km from the Colosseum.
Do my Vatican tickets include access to St. Peter's Basilica?
Not all Vatican tickets include access to St. Peter's Basilica if not specifically mentioned. In that case, you will have to purchase tickets that specifically include access to the basilica.
Is the Vatican free to enter?
There is no entrance fee to the Vatican City. However, you have to pay to visit the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel.
Can I carry a backpack with me into the Vatican?
While you are allowed to carry backpacks with you, anything bigger than 40cm x 30cm x 15cm must be checked in.