Vatican City
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skiptheline vatican sistine chapel st. peter’s tour

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

Duration: 2.5 hours
1208 Reviews
GetYourGuide Original
1208

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

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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
4.3 / 5
based on 100,711 reviews

The Vatican was jammed but our guide, Arnaldo, was fabulous !!

Our guide did an excellent job both in setting expectations about crowds and waits and rules, and also in sharing his extensive knowledge in an interesting way. He was terrific!! The tour meeting experience was also great — the tour company had a clear place to meet, clear check in process, etc. No stress trying to find the guide. Excellent. We did feel a little jammed and rushed in the Vatican but that was clearly out of everyone’s control.,.. so many people in small spaces ... but Arnaldo helped us thru that as well as possible !

the contemporary art is overlooked at the Vatican Museum

I loved my visit to the Vatican museum. I thought it as going to be all about the Renaissance, and it was, but it was much more. The teasing way they presented contemporary art on the last leg of the trek through history and archaeology to the Sistine Chapel was a surprise. The signs kept saying Capella Sistina but there was hall after hall of 20th and 21st-century art that was surprising and beautiful. There was art from many of the greats and it was inspiring to see them take on traditional religious subjects in new and exciting ways. Of course, when you enter the Sistine everything else in your life seems small and insignificant, including the art you've just been looking at for half an hour or more. But when I looked back I was impressed because this is the art I can and do myself.

Brought the story of the Sistine Chapel to life. Excellent experience.

Thoroughly enjoyed the show. Was excellent how immersed in the story the performance makes you feel. Was brilliant to see close up all the elements of the chapel and to have them explained. I felt I could appreciate visiting the Sistine Chapel so much more after having the benefit of all I had learned as part of the performance. You need to exchange your voucher for a ticket at the box office which the security guard kindly explained as this wasn't very clear on the booking. You also need to leave a deposit for the headsets but this was easy enough. All in all the show was very well organised. Would highly recommend going to see this show and I'd happily watch it again.

The Last Judgement: A Musical and Visual Spectacle Reviewed by

Great experience needs at least 3hrs to see everything

We booked a time slot and were running about 5 mins late, in our panic of not being sure we’re we were going we met a very helpful guide at the gates of the St Peters....we thought. She told us because we were 5 mins late they wouldn’t let us in and she brought us to her office within the Vatican City tours to purchase more tickets, she kept saying look you can try but in 11yrs I’ve worked here I’ve never seen them let late comers in even if it’s only 5 mins. Thankfully my husband was more wary than me and we decided to proceed to the entrance by this stage we were now 35mins late, but there were no issues at all, we were granted entry without any diffficulty. Can you please post this to prevent people being duped into spending almost €90 on tickets they don’t need.

Good idea to beat the ticket queue which was very long!

We visited on a very hot day so skipping the long ticket queue was a big bonus. The museums are very interesting but also very busy. We took a picnic and plenty of water and ate outside in the gardens. There are some long galleries with amazing ceilings but as we approached the Sistene Chapel the crowd got very congested. The Chapel ceiling is a wonder to behold. Overall An enjoyable visit.

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