Things to do in Vatican City

By Om Kumar

Vatican City, located in the center of Rome, is the world’s smallest country. 

Vatican City attracts millions of people each year despite its small size, making it a popular travel destination for travelers from around the globe.

The history of Vatican City is vast and interesting and goes back about two thousand years. 

It was established in 1929 due to the Lateran Treaty as a new city-state as the center of the Roman Catholic Church. 

Some of the world’s most famous landmarks include St. Peter’s Basilica, the  Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel.

Here are a few things to do in Vatican City.

Visit the Vatican Museums:

The Vatican Museums are among the most popular attractions in Vatican City, with 54 separate galleries.

Early in the 16th century, Pope Julius II built the museums, which have since grown. The museums contain about 70,000 items of art, including sculptures, paintings, and tapestries. 

The Vatican Museums have 5.5 miles (9 km) of exhibition area to display its impressive collection of artworks by famous painters such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael.

The museums provide a wonderful glimpse into the art, culture, and history of Vatican City and are believed to be worth more than 15 billion euros in total. 

Among the most popular galleries at the Vatican Museums are the Map Gallery, the Sculpture Gallery, the Vatican History Museum, and the Raphael Rooms.


Monday to Thursday from 9 am to 6 pm 

Friday to Saturday from 9 am to 10.30 pm. 

(Closed on all Sundays, except the last Sunday of the month, from 9 am to 2 pm)

Explore St. Peter’s Basilica:

St. Peter’s Basilica is a very special and famous church important to many people worldwide. 

It has existed for a long time, and many think it was built on the grave of one of the apostles, Peter. 

The church is the world’s most prominent and is regarded as one of the best Renaissance architectural masterpieces.

The inside of the Basilica is beautiful, with detailed features, mosaics, sculptures, and paintings. 

Visitors can hike to the dome’s summit for a stunning view of Rome. 

The basilica also features Michelangelo’s iconic sculpture “Pieta.” 

Visiting St. Peter’s Basilica is an excellent way to discover more about Christianity and its history.


In the summer, the basilica opens at 7 am and closes at 7 pm.

In the winter, it closes at 6.30 pm.

Tip: St. Peter’s Basilica is a famous tourist destination that is often busy. To avoid crowds, go early in the morning and late at night.

Climb the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica:

St. Peter’s Basilica is a famous tourist site in Rome because of its magnificent dome, the most visible feature of the city’s skyline. 

Michelangelo, a famous artist, designed the dome.

Both the inside and outside of the dome are visually beautiful.

Climbing to the dome’s cupola is a once-in-a-lifetime event that you should not miss. 

As you climb, you may see the inside of the cathedral up close, see the mosaics, explore the basilica’s roof, and enjoy stunning city views.

It’s a wonderful spot to enjoy the beauty of art and design. Climbing to the top of the dome is an exciting experience if you want to get a beautiful view of the city.


7.30 am to 5 pm.

Be amazed by the Sistine Chapel:

Be amazed by the Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel is one of the most famous and beloved attractions in Vatican City, recognized globally for its stunning artwork and history. 

The chapel is officially the home of the Pope and is located inside the Apostolic Palace, the Pope’s official residence. 

The chapel was named after Pope Sixtus IV, who suggested its construction in the late 15th century. 

The chapel’s ceiling is covered in beautiful paintings by Michelangelo, including the well-known “Creation of Adam” panel, which shows God and Adam holding hands.

Visitors can also see the “Final Judgment” painting, which covers the chapel wall and shows Christ’s second coming. 

The chapel’s walls are covered with panels by many Renaissance painters who painted scenes from the Bible. 

Visiting the Sistine Chapel is an extraordinary experience that should not be missed when visiting Vatican City.


Monday to Saturday from 9 pm to 6 pm 

(Closed on all Sundays, except the last Sunday of every month, from 9 AM to 2 PM.)

Tip: Turn off your cell phones before entering the Sistine Chapel, as using them is prohibited.

Visit the Vatican Grottoes/Vatican Caves:

Below the beautiful St. Peter’s Basilica is a hidden place just to be discovered. 

This underground area, known as the Vatican Caves or Vatican Grottoes, is home to a large collection of ancient and modern graves. 

These tombs hold popes, church officials, monarchs, and other significant persons from Rome’s history.

The Vatican Caves contain over a hundred tombs, making it an interesting destination for anyone interested in history and architecture.

The tombs of Pope John Paul II, Pope Innocent XI, and Pope Urban VIII are among the most notable tombs on the site.

Visitors to the Vatican Caves can also discover old works of art and treasures that  have adorned the cave walls for centuries.

Visiting the Vatican Caves is a unique experience that gives insight into the fascinating history of the Catholic Church and the city of Rome itself.


From April to September, the hours are 7 am to 7 pm, and from October to March, the hours are 7 am to 6 pm.

Explore the Necropolis:

The Vatican Necropolis is an interesting destination because it is located below the Vatican and has ancient tombs.

It is a cemetery from the Roman era that has artifacts from the first and fourth centuries. 

The Temple of Constantine as well as many Christian and pagan tombs, are also nearby.

The Vatican Necropolis is a must-visit location for history lovers and anybody interested in discovering Rome’s undiscovered gems.


Monday to Friday from 9 am to 6 pm 

Saturday: 9 am to 5 pm 

Tip: Visitors must be at least 15 years old to enter the Necropolis. This attraction might not be suitable for families.

Explore the Vatican Gardens:

Explore the Vatican Gardens

The Vatican Gardens are a hidden beauty in Rome that many people miss. 

The beautiful and lush garden is spread across 57 acres of Vatican City and provides a peaceful escape from the busy city. 

You can admire statues of the Madonna and explore small temples and shrines.

The fountains are stunning, especially the Fontana della Galera and the Eagle Fountain. 

The Fontana della Galera is designed like a ship and shoots streams of water from its cannons, while the Eagle Fountain is well worth seeing.

The beautiful views of the city and St. Peter’s Basilica from the Vatican Gardens are one of its most notable features.


Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm.

(Closed on Sundays and Catholic Holidays)

Check out the Vatican Mosaic Studio:

The Vatican Mosaic Studio, founded in 1727, is a hidden gem in Vatican City. 

It was built to teach Roman artisans how to make Venetian mosaics, which were used to decorate parts of St. Peter’s Basilica. 

Today, skilled artisans and craftspeople continue to work on restoring the basilica’s 10,000 square meters of mosaics while also producing new, original mosaic masterpieces.

Visitors to the studio can observe the artists’ delicate work as they patiently create the small parts that make up the beautiful mosaic masterpieces. 

The studio also accepts orders for unique mosaic works, which are frequently given as gifts to visiting heads of state.

The mosaics made here are expensive, but the studio’s shop has a range of smaller pieces that would make a special and unforgettable memory of your trip to Vatican City.

Tip: The location where Vatican Mosaic Studio is located is closed to the general public, so you must go with an official tour guide.

Take a walk around St. Peter’s Square:

St. Peter’s Square is a large open space in front of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The area is surrounded by Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s marble pillars, which make a stunning semi-circular shape that seems to hug visitors as they approach. 

Walking around the area, you’ll see many landmarks, including the obelisk (tall four-sided pillar) in the middle, which was transported from Egypt to Rome in ancient times. 

Fountains, statues, and lovely gardens also highlight the area’s beauty. 

The huge dome of St. Peter’s Basilica stands above the plaza and can be seen from miles away. It is among the most outstanding features.

The area is usually packed with activities and is a popular location for residents and visitors.

It’s a beautiful location for people-watching, soaking in the ambiance, and admiring the breathtaking views of the nearby buildings. 

Also, significant occasions like papal audiences and other religious ceremonies frequently occur on the square, giving guests a chance to see these unique occasions live.


Open 24 hours

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What are some of the best things to do in Vatican City?

Explore the best of Vatican City by visiting popular attractions such as St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums to admire art, architecture, and the famous Sistine Chapel. 

Don’t miss out on attending Papal events and discovering the peaceful Vatican Gardens.

What are some of the things to do in Vatican City for free?

There are various free things to enjoy in Vatican City, such as seeing St. Peter’s Square and Basilica, exploring the outside of the Vatican Museums, and appreciating the spectacular architecture of the Apostolic Palace. 

Attending the Papal Audience on Wednesdays is also free.

Are guided tours available in Vatican City?

Yes, guided tours of the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, and other historic places are available.

Can I climb to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica’s dome?

Yes, you can climb to the top of the dome for a spectacular view over Vatican City.

Are there any restrictions on photography inside Vatican City?

Photography is permitted in most areas, but flash photography and selfie sticks are restricted.

Can I buy souvenirs in the Vatican?

Yes, you can climb to the top of the dome for a spectacular view over Vatican City.

Are there any special events or ceremonies in Vatican City?

Vatican City hosts a number of special events and ceremonies throughout the year, including Papal Masses, ritual celebrations, and a nativity scene display at St. Peter’s Square.

Are there dining options available in Vatican City?

Vatican City has a variety of dining options, including restaurants and cafes. 

While touring the city, stop by one of these places for a meal or a snack.

You can check out our restaurants page for detailed information.

Where can I buy tickets to visit Vatican Museum?

You can buy your Vatican Tickets either online or directly from the Vatican ticket office. 

However, at Vatican Ticket office, they have limited number of tickets that sells quickly. 

So if you don’t want any last minute trouble, you can buy tickets to Vatican Museum tickets online from here. 

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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.