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Rome: visit the Vatican – all tips & information

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Rome - visit the Vatican - all tips and information

A visit to the Vatican is one of the must-see sights in Rome that you shouldn’t miss. Unbelievably world-famous sights are located here in a very small space. In the smallest state in the world is the center of the Catholic Church and thus important places and buildings.

 You should  plan a whole day for your  visit to the Vatican. Because for the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, Peter Square and St. Peter’s Basilica with dome you need time.

The Vatican is visited by almost 5 million tourists every year. That is why you should be well prepared for the visit. I admit it: we weren’t there on our first visit to the Vatican.

So that you are well prepared for your visit to the Vatican, you will find all the important information and tips here. Everything about opening times, entrance fees and avoiding queues.

This saves you time and money and allows you to relax and enjoy the tour.

Have fun with our tips for visiting the Vatican!

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More Rome tips:

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Tickets for the Vatican

RomeThe entrance fee for the Vatican (Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel) is currently 21 euros for adults. 12 euros reduced for children.

You can buy the tickets on site, but then you have to deal with very long queues on site. With us it was several hundred meters long and went around several corners of the walls (waiting time at least three hours). Therefore, you should definitely reserve your tickets before you  travel !

The tickets cost a little more on the Internet, but you save yourself pointless standing around in the sun.

There are different tickets for the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel:

  • Ticket on the official website for 21 euros
  • Skip-the-line ticket for 21 euros  (simple ordering process from a German provider)
  • Ticket with guided tour including St. Peter’s Basilica for 41 euros

My tip:  With the  Rome City Pass  , entry to the Vatican, the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel is free. Without queuing and queuing. These Rome Passes bring you further valuable and time-saving advantages. This gives you more time to discover Rome.

Tickets for St. Peter’s Basilica and the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica:

visit the VaticanIn principle, entry to St. Peter’s Square and St. Peter’s Basilica is free. Nevertheless, there are long queues at the entrance on public holidays, bridging days or during the main season. Because the security controls are very strict here. The waiting time is shorter than at the Vatican Museums, but it is clever to avoid it.

If you plan to visit the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, you can buy a ticket in advance for faster admission.

Here you can find a detailed  experience report on the Roma Pass with alternatives for sightseeing passes .

Tickets for St. Peter’s Basilica and the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica:

In principle, entry to St. Peter’s Square and St. Peter’s Basilica is free. Nevertheless, there are long queues at the entrance on public holidays, bridging days or during the main season. Because the security controls are very strict here. The waiting time is shorter than at the Vatican Museums, but it is clever to avoid it.

If you plan to visit the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, you can buy a ticket in advance for faster admission.

Entrance to the dome in St. Peter’s Basilica:

  • Entrance to the dome on foot to the top ( buy on site , long line): 8 euros
  • Entrance to the dome with elevator: 10 euros ( buy on site)
    Note: 
     Not worth it in our eyes
  • Priority admission ticket and audio guide : 19.80 euros
  • Ticket for the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica with Vatican Museums and Sistine Museum

Is it worth buying tickets for the Vatican visit online in advance?

An absolute must for us. Because we don’t feel like queuing for three hours. If you visit Rome on Christian holidays, long weekends with bridging days or in summer, it is worth buying the tickets in advance.

Alternatively, I advise you to use one of the  sightseeing passes for Rome  . Bypassing the queues is often included.

Rome Travel TipsWhat sights are there in the Vatican?

The main attractions in the Vatican are:

  • Peter’s Basilica  with its  impressive dome  from which you have a  360 degree view of Rome  and the  Vatican  .
  • St. Peter’s Square , right in front of St. Peter’s Basilica. Particularly known for the proclamation of the  “Urbi et Orbi”  by the Pope at Easter and Christmas.
  • Vatican Museum with the Sistine Chapel  and the famous  “Michelangelo” painting .
  • Vatican gardens

All around you will find some  pizzerias  and  cafés where you can relax in between.

Order to visit Vatican City

Here are tips and information to explore the more than 2000 year old center of the Roman Catholic Church without stress and long queues.

In the following order we visited the Vatican in one day. I would do it again next time:

  1. Vatican Museums (and Sistine Chapel)
  2. St. Peter’s Square
  3. Climbing the dome
  4. St. Peter’s Basilica
  5. Castel Sant’Angelo

Best time to visit: Vatican Museum and Vatican

We were in Vatican City on a long weekend (Wednesday – Monday) in June.

Our tip:  Avoid Christian holidays or take possible waiting times into account in your planning. We had booked our tickets in advance and were therefore able to walk past the waiting people in a good mood.

Crowds can hardly be avoided in the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. Nevertheless, I have written down the best time to visit the Vatican:

What day in the Vatican?

In a nutshell: We recommend a visit to the Vatican on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays or Fridays.

Why these days of the week?

On Wednesdays the Pope holds his papal audience in St. Peter’s Square. Many believers then make a pilgrimage to St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. That is why we would avoid visiting on a Wednesday.

The Vatican Museums are closed on Sundays . Except on the last Sunday of the month . From 9 – 12 is then free admission .

That also means: on the  last Sunday of the month all hell breaks loose  in the Vatican Museums  .

This also means that all short trip travelers want to visit the Vatican Museums on Saturday . Then you have to expect crowds as well .

If you are in Rome for several days, you should  avoid visiting on a Saturday .

If you are only in Rome for a weekend, Friday is the ideal day for a visit to the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica with St. Peter’s Square.

In summer, the museums have even Fridays from 19 – open 23:00 .

In general, there is a lot going on in the Vatican. We therefore advise you to reserve tickets in advance.

Reserve tickets for various Vatican tours here in advance and buy them online

Duration for a visit to the Vatican Museums with Sistine Chapel

It took us  about 4 hours to visit the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel . With a short break in the garden and something to drink. We noticed that we hadn’t even seen all of the rooms (unfortunately the signs and the free map leave a lot to be desired).

In general, I recommend that you plan 3-4 hours for a visit.

Note: You can save yourself a lot of time by booking a tour of the Vatican Museums: You will then be able to use an exit in the Sistine Chapel on the right back that leads directly