1. Italy
  2. Lazio
  3. Rome
  4. St. Peter's Basilica Cupola

Vatican City: Basilica Climb and Optional Crypts Tour

Product ID: 278782
Discover St. Peter’s Basilica from a new perspective as you climb to the top of the dome and admire 360 degree views across the Vatican and Rome. Then explore the dome’s stunning interior on your own or opt for a guided tour of the basilica and crypts.
About this activity
Duration: 45 - 145 minutes
Printed or mobile voucher accepted
Instant confirmation
Live tour guide
Free cancellation up to 24 hours before activity starts

Select participants and date:



  • Climb to the highest point in the Vatican City and enjoy spectacular views
  • Experience the splendor of the dome from the first level balcony and hear about the Renaissance era from an expert English-speaking guide
  • Enjoy fast access inside the basilica when you descend, so there’s no need to join the growing lines below
  • Upgrade to a guided tour of the basilica and Vatican Crypts to make the most of your visit
Full description
Meet your guide in St. Peter’s Square, then head up to the first level of the dome to the viewing balcony. Admire the array of incredible mosaics depicting the saints, the magnificent Latin scripts which circle the dome, and the top of Bernini’s 3-story canopy below. Listen to your guide share facts and stories about the history of the dome, and everything you need to know about the Dome’s artists and Renaissance splendor.

From the first level, take the spiral staircase to the top of the dome and enjoy some free time to explore at your own pace. Then head above the double structure of the dome and pass by windows which give a tantalizing glimpse of the Vatican rooftops below. After 320 steps find yourself on the viewing platform 448 feet above the basilica floor. From the highest point within the Vatican, admire breathtaking and panoramic views of the city, including the Vatican Gardens below. Looking into the distance, you can also marvel at the monuments of ancient Rome, including the Colosseum and the Pantheon. The only point above you is the cross containing the timbers from the True Cross.

When you leave the dome there is no need to line up again to get inside the basilica, the stairs bring you directly down to the basilica floor so you can avoid the long lines which you’ll have seen growing across St. Peter’s Square from the top. Enjoy some free time to explore the most important church in the Christian world and its many treasures, or if you opted for the extended tour, follow your guide to the Vatican Crypts that lie beneath. With your guide, navigate through the basilica, admiring the array of statues, chapels, and pilgrim sites located here, before descending to the underground crypts. Here, you can see where hundreds of popes and members of royalty have been buried since the 11th century.
  • Entrance into St. Peter’s Dome
  • Optional entrance into St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Informative leaflet about the Basilica and Dome
  • Expert, English-speaking tour guide
  • Headsets where appropriate, so you can always hear your guide
  • Small groups of 25 people or less
What’s Not Included
  • Gratuities
  • Hotel pickup/drop-off
  • Food/beverages
Not suitable for
  • Wheelchair users

Prepare for the activity

Meeting point

Piazza della Città Leonina, near the arches, where the square meets via di Porta Angelica. Facing the arches, our meeting point is located at the corner of the square, on the left-hand side, next to the kiosk.

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Important information
What to bring
  • Comfortable shoes
Not allowed
  • Shorts
  • Sleeveless shirts
Know before you go
On arrival at The Vatican, please follow the signs for the Groups Entrance with Online Reservations. There may be a wait at this entrance of up to 10 minutes. All visitors must pass through airport-style security. During high season the wait at security may be up to 30 minutes.
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 103 reviews

Review summary

  • Service
    4.1 / 5
  • Organization
    4.1 / 5
  • Value for money
    4 / 5
  • Safety
    4.2 / 5
Sort by

This tour was one of our favorites!! Tatiana was AMAZING!! If you can book with her do IT!! She brought the Basilica to life! She was funny, quick witted, knowledgeable and friendly! The tour was very organized and on time. She gave us enough time to see what we needed to see but kept us moving. This was my favorite tour by far!!!

January 7, 2020

Seeking to visit this place without queuing, we chose this option with the visit to the top of the basilica despite the fact that the tour is in English. Our Italian guide, Lizia, spoke English very easy to understand and deserves the mention of excellence for his way of telling us the story thanks to his knowledge and humor. Direct access (without any expectations) to the basilica on the way down is a real plus! Too bad the tour doesn't last longer and that we can't learn more about St Peter's basilica but after all this is not a guided tour of the basilica itself. A combination of the two (top + basilica) would be great - a suggestion for future visitors?

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January 2, 2020

February 22, 2020

Organized by

City Wonders Ltd.

Product ID: 278782