GetYourGuide uses cookies to give you the best possible service. If you continue browsing, you agree to the use of cookies. More details can be found in our privacy policy.

Close
Vatican City
Enter your dates to find available activities
Top pick
skiptheline vatican sistine chapel st. peter’s tour

Skip-the-Line Vatican, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Tour

Duration: 2.5 hours
3632 Reviews
GetYourGuide Original
3632

Immerse yourself in the Vatican's awe-inspiring art with no-wait access to the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, and more.

Vatican City: Tours & Tickets

See all tours & things to do in Vatican City

Top sights in Rome

See all 1409 tickets & tours

What is the Vatican City?

Vatican City – everyone’s heard about it, but what is it exactly? Is it a part of Rome, is it independent, are only priests allowed in? There are a lot of mysteries and misconceptions surrounding Vatican City, so here are 5 fascinating facts.

The Smallest Country in the World

The Smallest Country in the World

With a tiny population of 842 and an area of 110 acres (roughly an eighth of New York’s Central Park), Vatican City is the world's smallest independent nation-state.

An Economy without Trade or Taxes

An Economy without Trade or Taxes

As a completely non-commercial economy, all of Vatican City’s money comes from donations, museum admission fees and the sale of postage stamps, books and tourist souvenirs.

A Veritable Culture Treasure Trove

A Veritable Culture Treasure Trove

Featuring the world-famous Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City is a highly popular tourist destination, attracting over 4 million visitors yearly.

The Pope Has a Secret Escape Tunnel
Photo: Raja Patnaik @wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Pope Has a Secret Escape Tunnel

In 1277, a secret passageway was built between the Vatican City and the nearby fortified castle Castel Sant’Angelo, providing an escape route for the pope if the city was attacked.

Those are Not Harlequins

Those are Not Harlequins

The colorfully dressed men standing in front of the city’s entrances are the famous Swiss Guards. Former mercenaries, they are now the permanent de facto army of Vatican City.

Our insider tips

Best Time of Year to Visit

Although Vatican City is extremely popular with tourists all year around, if you’re looking for a quieter visit, your best bet is during the low season between November and February.

Give Yourself Enough Time

There is so much to see in Vatican City, make sure you’re not pressed for time. Importantly, if you want to see the Sistine Chapel, it’s essential that you enter the Vatican Museums before 3:00 PM so you can reach the chapel before it closes.

Book a Tour?

Although there is more than enough to take in as an individual visitor, those who want to learn about Vatican City’s rich history would benefit from one of the many excellent tours offered. There are public as well as private tours. Note that latter need to be booked well in advance.

See the Pope

You’re unlikely to run into the pope on your visit to Vatican City. However, every Wednesday the pope holds a public audience on St. Peter’s Square in the summer and in the Audience Hall during winter. The audience starts at 10:30 AM, but most visitors arrive earlier to secure a good seat. Security opens between 8:00 AM and 8:30 AM.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    365 days a year!
  • Is it expensive?
    Free to look at from the outside. Admission tickets vary.
  • Will I need a guide?
    Not compulsory, but recommended.
  • How to get there
    Taxi, bus, metro, tram or by foot from Rome. Look here for more detailed directions.
  • Additional information

    • Large bags are not allowed in the museums, so pack light!

    • There is often no air conditioning in the museums so make sure to dress accordingly and bring a bottle of water.

What people are saying about Vatican City

Overall rating
4.2 / 5
based on 112,818 reviews

Having the right expectations is important...

Is this worth it? Yes. Is it going to blow your mind? Yes. So do I recommend it overall? Yes, for sure. However, it’s just important that you know this tour is like lightning speed version overall. You definitely save precious time with the skip the line options but know you will still have to wait at various times for various things. Also, you will have a chunk of time where you’ll stand outside and they’ll just talk at you describing certain things because you can’t talk in the Sistine chapel. There is SO much to see at the Vatican museums and you’ll probably see about 1/3 of it. Then at the end you get dropped off in St Peters Basilica and find your own way from there, which is great if you have time to wander around. The tour guide was very helpful and deepened our appreciate for the art and the experience, so I recommend a tour guide for sure. Especially if you can afford a private tour guide! So, definitely a good experience, just have the proper expectations going into it!

Good opportunity to avoid the big queues

Very helpful guide, who took us round the main collections in the Vatican museum and then into the superb Sistine Chapel. It wasn't his fault that the Pope had decided to induct new cardinals that day so we couldn't go through to St Peter's basilica and had to queue another day! Be warned - security at St Peter's was tight: we inadvertently left a picnic knife in our rucsac and had to give it up or not get in!

The tour was really good but was unable to get pictures as so busy.

The tour guide was excellent. There was lots of information. It took a while before we actually left to go to the places and then it was so busy inside that we were unable to take the time to look at the things or get pictures. There was so many people inside the chapel and the museum that it was becoming dangerous and a health and safety matter due to many people pushing and getting hurt.

This is the way to visit the Sistine Chapel

We were the first people into the Sistine Chapel on the day we visited. Within 15 minutes it was busy, but by then we'd had time to soak it up without the crowd. We were leaving St Peter's Basilica before 10am to wander round other parts of Rome, passing long queues waiting to go in. This is not an easy option and it's not cheap, but it is well worth doing.

The tour was made by the excellence of our guide, Lindy.

Thanks Lindy, the best guide we have had by far. Not only did you count numbers and check we were all there, you rotated us around so all could look at the objects and take pics. You had a sense of humour, excellent English and a good knowledge of your subject. Superb job. Thanks a million.

Things to do near Vatican City