How to visit the Vatican?

By Om Kumar

The Vatican is a must-visit location for tourists and art fans worldwide and is home to an incredible collection of historical pieces. 

Its renowned collection has secured its place on numerous bucket lists. 

Find the opening times, explore the exciting history, how to visit the Vatican, locate Vatican City, and what to wear when visiting the Vatican?

Join us as we unveil insider tips to enhance your Vatican adventure.

Prepare to immerse yourself in the beauty of this cultural gem and make memorable memories!

Where is Vatican City?

The Vatican lies on the western bank of the Tiber River, and Rome surrounds it. 

Since the Lateran Treaty in 1929, the Vatican has been independent of Italy. 

There are no limits or checks on public and private transportation between Vatican City and Rome.

How to get to Vatican City from Rome?

How to get to Vatican City from Rome

There are several ways for visitors to Rome to get to the Vatican City:

By Train:

It takes only 11 minutes to travel from Rome to Vatican City via train. 

Visitors can board a train from Termini Station and get down at the Roma San Pietro in St. Peter’s Square. St. Peter’s is only a 10-minute walk away from San Pietro.

By Metro:

Metro Line A in Rome has a stop called Ottaviano-S, which is easily accessible outside Vatican City’s boundaries. 

To get to the Vatican, travelers can use the metro and get off at Ottaviano-S, then walk for about 5 minutes to reach Vatican City.

By Bus:

Bus lines 64, n904, and 916 link Rome to Vatican City. 

These buses stop at Lgt. Sassia/S. Spirito (H) in Vatican City, and passengers can board them at Plebiscito in Rome. 

It takes 7 to 10 minutes to travel by bus.

How to get to Vatican City from Colosseum?

To travel from the Colosseum to Vatican City, you have multiple transportation options:

By Metro: 

Board Line B of the Rome Metro at the Colosseo station and travel towards Jonio or Rebibbia. 

Once you arrive at Termini station, change to Line A, which travels toward Battistini. 

Get off at the Cipro station. 

The metro ride from the Colosseum to Vatican City takes about 17 to 20 minutes.

By Bus:

You can get to Vatican City by boarding bus lines 81 and 87. 

Take bus Line 81 from Claudia/Colosseo or Line 87 from Colosseo (Mb). 

Both lines will take you to P.Za Cavour, close to Vatican City.

By Tram:

From the Barberini tram stop, take Line A in towards Battistini. 

Get off at Ottaviano-S.

What are the things to see in Vatican City?

Vatican City is a city of Art, Architecture, History and Culture.

Within the walled territory of Vatican City, there are many things and places that every visitor would love to explore. 

The most popular places to visit inside the Vatican City are: 

  1. The Vatican Museums
  2. Sistine Chapel
  3. St. Peter’s Basilica
  4. St. Peter’s Square

Here’s a quick overview of all the places mentioned above. To get more information about these places, visit the separate dedicated pages. 

Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museum is the most famous in Vatican City, the smallest country on Earth.

The Museum holds various artistic and historical antiquities from differing time frames. 

Visitors can walk through diverse galleries and admire these wonderful masterpieces, magnificent sculptures, paintings, and tapestries. 

The Vatican Museum’s primary famous are its iconic attractions, the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms.

Tickets for Vatican Museums

The Tickets for Vatican Museums start from €27. 

Below mentioned are some of the best tickets for Vatican Museums


Vatican Museum Opening Hours

The Vatican Museum is open Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm, with the last entry at 4 pm.

DaysOpening HoursClosing Hours
Monday9 am6 pm
Tuesday9 am6 pm
Wednesday9 am6 pm
Thursday9 am6 pm
Friday9 am6 pm
Saturday9 am6 pm
Sunday (except the last Sunday of every month)ClosedClosed
Last Sunday of every month9 am2 pm

Best time to visit the Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museum is usually busy from April to October. 

The ideal months to visit are between November and February, and you should stay clear of Mondays, Saturdays, and major holidays. 

Mornings are usually busy at the Museum, so the best time to visit is in the afternoon.

Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel is one of the most popular attractions in Vatican City. 

It’s one of the 24 Vatican Museum galleries open for public visits and exhibits. 

The Sistine Chapel comes at the end of the Vatican galleries making it the last room of the Vatican Museums.

The Chapel is famous for its beautiful frescos and art that decorate the interiors, especially the Sistine Chapel Ceiling, a masterpiece by Michelangelo.

Tickets for Sistine Chapel.

The Vatican Museum Tickets come with access to the Sistine Chapel as well. 

You can choose from various Vatican Tickets that allow access to the Sistine Chapel. 

There are skip-the-line Vatican Tickets, Last minute Vatican Tickets, Guided Tour Tickets of the Vatican, and even tickets for early access to the Vatican

All these tickets allow visitors to access the Sistine Chapel as well. 

We have mentioned some of the best Sistine Chapel Tickets to make it easier for you.


Opening Hours of Sistine Chapel

The opening Hours of the Sistine Chapel are the same as those of the Vatican Museums. 

The Sistine Chapel is open six days a week,  from Monday to Saturday, between 9 am and 6 pm. 

However, on the last Sundays of every month, the Sistine Chapel is open for visits between  10 am – 2 pm. 

Best time to visit Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel, located within the Vatican Museums, is best visited early morning or late in the day. 

These are less crowded periods, providing a more calm and immersive experience. 

Additionally, visiting throughout the week rather than on weekends can help avoid crowds. 

St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is the world’s largest church by interior measures and the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture. 

It stands right in front of the Vatican Museum and houses the tomb of St. Peter, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus. 

It is one of the holiest catholic shrines in Christendom. 

Tickets for St. Peter Basilica

To access St. Peter’s Basilica, one must have a guided tour ticket to the Vatican Museum. 

The Admission ticket of the Vatican Museum does not allow entrance to the St. Peter’s Basilica. 

However, other tickets provide access to St. Peter’s Basilica, like the Private Tour Tickets and VIP Tours of the Vatican. 

Here are some of the best St. Peter’s Basilica Tickets: 


Opening Hours of St. Peter’s Basilica

The St. Peter’s Basilica is open all year round. 

However, the opening hours of St. Peter’s Basilica vary based on the seasons. 

During winter, between 1 October and 31 March, the Basilica is open from 7 am to 6.30 pm.

During summers between 1 April and 30 September, it opens from 7 am to 7 pm. 

Best time to visit St. Peter’s Basilica

The best time to visit St. Peter’s Basilica is right after it accepts visitors for the day. 

The early morning visits will help you avoid crowds at the attraction, and you will be able to see the attraction in peace and calm. 

However, if you wish to attend the Papal audience, the best day to visit the St. Peter’s Basilica is Wednesday. 

But, visiting on Wednesdays, you must brace yourself to face a heavy crowd, as many people visit the basilica to attend the papal audience. 

St. Peter’s Square

St. Peter’s Square, also known as Piazza San Pietro, is one of the world’s most iconic and famous squares.

It’s one of the largest public squares in Rome, right in front of St. Peter’s Basilica. 

Designed in the 17th Century by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, it’s famous for its impressive ancient Egyptian obelisk, standing right at the center of the square.

St. Peter’s Square can accommodate up to 300,000 people at a time. 

Tickets for St. Peter’s Square

St. Peter’s Square is free to visit, and you don’t need a ticket to access St. Peter’s Square. 

But you will have to wait in lines for hours to access it without tickets. 

However, the best way to skip the lines and access St. Peter’s Square is to buy guided tour tickets to the Vatican Museum. 

Here are some of the best tickets for St. Peter’s Square:


St. Peter’s Square Opening Hours

St. Peter’s Square has the same opening hours as St. Peter’s Basilica. 

It’s open from 7 am to 6.30 pm in winter, and in summer, it opens between 7 am and 7 pm.

Best time to visit St. Peter’s Square

The best time to visit St. Peter’s Square depends on your preferences. 

For instance, if you want to visit the square for the papal audience, the best time to visit St. Peter’s Square is Wednesdays. 

However, the papal audience is always too crowded, so be prepared for that. 

And if you want to explore the square in a less crowded environment, plan your visit in the morning during the weekdays instead of weekends. 

How to get to Vatican Museum?

The Vatican Museum is located at Città del Vaticano, 00120, in Vatican City. 

Between Vatican City and Rome, there are no limitations or checks on public or private transportation. 

Paid parking is available near Viale Vaticano for visitors arriving by car. 

There are various ways to get to the Vatican Museum, including by taxi, bus, metro, tram, or other modes of public transportation.

By Metro:

Take line A of the metro in Rome, and get off at the Ottaviano-S. Pietro or Cipro stations. 

You won’t have to wait long because a train arrives every 4 minutes. 

It’s a quick 7-minute walk from there.

By Bus:

The city of Rome has an established transportation network, and multiple buses travel to the Vatican City daily. 

So, if you want to take a bus to the Vatican, take bus no. 49 and step out at the Viale Vaticano stop. 

Buses 40 and 64 depart outside Termini Train Station and end at the Vatican. 

Another option is to board bus numbers 492 or 990 and step out at the Via Leone IV stop. 

The entrance of the Vatican Museum is a 5-minute walk away. Buses no 32, 81, and 982 stop at Piazza del Risorgimento.

By Tram:

Tram 19 is the only tram that stops in Piazza del Risorgimento in Vatican City. 

The Vatican Museum is only a 10-minute walk away.

By Train:

The best way to travel to Vatican City is also by train. 

From Roma Termini, take the RE 12524 or RE 4134 from Roma Termini to St. Pietro. 

St. Peter’s Square is about a 10-minute walk from St. Pietro.

By Walk:

Walking to the Vatican museums is an excellent option if you are in Central Rome and have plenty of time to explore on foot. 

The museum is roughly  2 Km (1.4 miles) from Piazza Navona in Rome’s center. 

At Castel Sant Angelo, you will get to see the neighborhood stores. 

The best part about walking to the Vatican Museum is that it is a gorgeous walk across the Tiber River from the outside.

By Car:

Driving is another option for getting to Vatican City from Rome. 

Only a few cars are permitted to enter Vatican City, which only allows individuals traveling on official business to drive there. 

Therefore, public transit is the best way to go to Vatican City. 

If you have an official business inside the city, the quickest way to travel to Vatican City is via Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. 

You can also enter Vatican City through Viale Del Muro Torto and avoid tolls; however, this is a lengthy route.

Vatican Museum Audio Guide & Virtual Tours and Guided Tour

Make the most of your Vatican visit with this interactive Vatican Museum audio guide. 

Take a virtual tour of the museum’s interior to see its highlights. 

Learn about amazing works of art and historical artifacts. 

Discover the Vatican’s rich cultural heritage in a way you’ve never seen before.

Vatican Museum Audio Guide:

Your Vatican Museum ticket includes a complimentary audio tour. 

The audio guide is in English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, German, Chinese, and Korean. 

The tour content is customized to different group sizes and learning styles, providing insights into the museum’s artifacts.

Vatican Museum Virtual Tour:

In addition to the audio guide for the Vatican Museums, you can take a virtual trip to the museum on their official website. 

This virtual tour provides thorough information about the museum’s displays. 

You can discover the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel from the comfort of your room.

Vatican Guided Tour

Choosing a guided tour means a qualified guide will accompany you. The guide will deliver detailed explanations in the language of your choice.

You’ll have an enjoyable interaction and a complimentary Vatican audio guide. 

Be sure to see the famous works of art in the Sistine Chapel, such as Michelangelo’s Last Judgement and the stunning ceiling paintings.

Book a Vatican Guided tour and prepare yourself for an amazing experience that awaits you!

Vatican City Dress Code

When you visit the Vatican, it’s essential to dress appropriately. 

As a religious state, there are significant norms to obey. 

Here are some rules you must follow according to the Vatican dress code.

  • Before you visit the city and its attractions, make sure to cover your shoulders and knees. 
  • The Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and Papal Audience have the same dress code. 
  • Men should dress in shirts and pants, while women should avoid sleeveless or low-cut tops. 
  • Plastic cloaks are available for extra coverage if needed. 
  • Don’t be concerned if you’re not dressed appropriately. 
  • Vendors in the city sell cloaks and gowns made of plastic.

Restaurants in Vatican City

Restaurants in Vatican City

Despite its small size, Vatican City offers various delicious foods. 

From classy dining at La Pergola to quick paninis at 200 Gradi, there’s something for everyone. 

Don’t miss Pompi Tiramisu’s famous tiramisù or Il Gatto E L’Uva’s innovative seafood dishes. 

Try Hostaria Dino E Toni for authentic Roman food and Il Sorpasso for casual Italian dining. 

Panificio Bonci is a must for those who enjoy pizza, and Bar Giulio Cesare is the ideal place to have breakfast. 

And while visiting the Vatican Museums, eat at many eateries. 

The restaurants in Vatican City guarantee a delightful culinary experience.

Visiting Tips

Visiting the Vatican might be overwhelming, but it can be unforgettable with good planning. 

The Vatican has something to attract everyone, whether they are into history, art, or religion. 

In this post, we offer some great tips to assist you in navigating and enhancing your Vatican visit:

  • Spend at least two hours exploring the museums:

For a complete exploration, allow at least 2 hours. 

Allow time for security checks and queues. 

Allow half a day to see St. Peter’s Basilica and Square.

  • The ideal days to go are Tuesday to Friday:

Visit the Vatican between Tuesday and Friday to avoid crowds as weekends are busier, and Mondays can be hectic. 

You can ensure a relaxing and peaceful experience by booking for the middle of the week.

  • Avoid bringing a heavy backpack:

Large backpacks, bags, and umbrellas are subject to security inspections at the Vatican Museums. 

To minimize problems and tour delays, it is best to avoid carrying them.

  • Avoid visiting on the free Sunday:

While free admission to the Vatican Museums on the last Sunday of the month is appealing, there are some disadvantages to consider. 

The museums only open briefly, closing at 2 pm, and frequent long lines exist. 

We recommend that you avoid going on this day unless it is the only option or you are on a limited budget.

  • It is preferable to eat a snack before beginning your tour:

To truly see the Vatican, plan on walking a lot and visiting all 24 galleries of the Vatican Museum. 

Eat beforehand because eateries close by can be pricey and unsatisfying. 

To energize yourself on the 4.5-mile trip, carry water and snacks in your backpack.

  • Wednesday mornings are not the best time to visit St. Peter’s Basilica:

Avoid visiting St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Wednesday mornings, as it is closed for the papal audience. 

The basilica reopens at 12 pm or 1 pm. Plan your visit properly to experience this historical masterpiece.

  • Avoid hurrying to the Sistine Chapel.

Please note that the chapel is at the end of the museum’s 24 galleries. 

Rather than rushing, we recommend viewing and enjoying all the other exhibits before reaching the Sistine Chapel. 

Enjoy the complete museum journey before visiting the renowned chapel.

  • Plan your visit – go early or late

Consider visiting the Vatican Museums in the early morning or late evening to avoid the crowds. 

With around 20,000 daily visitors, going at off-peak hours offers a more spacious and delightful experience, allowing you to appreciate the architectural beauty of the Museums in a peaceful and less overcrowded environment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Are there any mobile or audio guides at the Vatican Museum?

Yes, audio guides are available at the Vatican Museums for around €6. 

These devices provide audio commentary in several languages and information on the art and artifacts on display. 

Alternatively, before your visit, you can download the museum’s mobile guide app on your smartphone, which provides complete details on the artwork in multiple languages.

Does the Vatican Museum have a cafeteria and restrooms?

Yes, there are various restaurant options within the Vatican Museums, including “Bistrot La Pigna,” which is great for a meal with family and friends. 

In addition, bathrooms are conveniently provided throughout the museum for the convenience of visitors.

How long does a trip to the Vatican Museum take?

A complete tour of the Vatican Museum can take 6 to 8 hours. 

The time it takes to tour the Vatican Museums depends on several things, including the number of Vatican City tickets you have.

Where is the Vatican Museum?

The Vatican Museums are housed in Vatican City. 

The primary museum entrance is at the Vatican Palace, in the western section of Vatican City, near St. Peter’s Square.
The main entrance is at Viale Vaticano. 

Is the Vatican Museum wheelchair-accessible?

Yes, the Vatican Museums are usually accessible by wheelchair. 

Wheelchair users can access the main entrance, most exhibition areas, galleries, and staircases. 

However, it is essential to remember that some sections can cause challenges for wheelchair users. 

It is recommended that visitors with difficulty walking speak with the museum personnel for specific information and assistance to ensure an easy visit.

Where can I find the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museum?

The Sistine Chapel, located in the Vatican Museum, is famous for Michelangelo’s stunning frescoes, particularly the iconic ceiling representing scenes from the Book of Genesis. 

The Vatican Museum ticket includes access to the Sistine Chapel. No other tickets are necessary.

How long do you need to visit the Vatican?

The time required to see Vatican City differs, but a minimum of 3-4 hours is recommended to explore the highlights of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica.

How much does it cost to visit the Vatican museums?

Here are all the detail for the cost to visit the Vatican museums (add ticket link)

How to get from Vatican Museum to St. Peter’s Basilica?

To go from the Vatican Museums to St. Peter’s Basilica, take the “Passetto di Borgo.” 

It is a short and simple route that allows visitors to navigate between the two landmarks simply.

How to get to Sistine chapel from Vatican museum?

To reach the Sistine Chapel from the Vatican Museums, follow the designated route clearly marked within the museums.
The Sistine Chapel is near the end of the museum, and visitors can easily travel through the galleries to reach this famous monument.

How do you get into the Vatican City?

Access Vatican City through permitted entry points, such as St. Peter’s Square or the Vatican Museums, while following security protocols and restrictions.

What day of the week is the best day to visit the Vatican?

The Vatican is best visited during the weekdays, especially Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, when there are typically fewer people and shorter waits.

Which is the best time of day to visit the Vatican?

The Vatican is best visited during the weekdays, especially Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, when there are typically fewer people and shorter waits.

Which is the best time of year to visit the Vatican?

The ideal time to visit the Vatican is usually during the off-seasons of spring (April to June) and fall (September to October), when the weather is nice, and the crowd is lesser than in the busy summer months.

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About the author

Om is a passionate wordsmith fueled by an insatiable thirst for adventure and exploration. He strives to immortalize wonders via his writing.