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THE BEST TIPS FOR VISITING THE VATICAN CITY 2024

Vatican opening hours | Best time to visit | What can be visited at the Vatican City

Everything you need to know before visiting the Vatican City

Are you planning a trip to Vatican City any time soon? Well, you’re lucky because we’ve gathered many tips and tricks in this guide, which will definitely be helpful for you. All you need to do is carefully read them and find out the best time to visit the Vatican, see the attraction’s working hours, and learn all about the dress code for sacred sites within the Vatican.

Let us be your gateway to an unforgettable Vatican experience while helping you keep more money in your pocket and time on your side!

When can you visit Vatican – Working Hours

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Vatican Museums Working Hours

The Vatican Museums are open every day of the year from Monday to Saturday and every last Sunday of the month.

From Monday to Saturday:

8:30 AM – 6:30 PM (last admission at 4:30 PM)

Every last Sunday of the month (admission is free):

9 AM – 2 PM (last admission at 12:30 PM)

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Saint Peter’s Basilica Working Hours

St. Peter’s Basilica is open throughout the entire year. However, the working hours vary depending on the season.

Winter:

October 1st – March 31st: 7 AM to 6:30 PM

Summer:

April 1st – September 30th: 7 AM to 7 PM

St Peter’s Basilica Dome Working Hours

The opening hours of the St. Peter’s Basilica dome also vary based on the season.

Winter:

October 1st – March 31st: 7:30 AM to 5 PM

Summer:

April 1st – September 30th: 7:30 AM to 5 PM

How to get to Vatican City?

Vatican City can be conveniently reached using public transportation such as trains, metros, or buses. If you are in a hurry, you can always take a taxi. Just tell your driver to drop you at the address: Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Citta del Vaticano, and you will be right in front of St. Peter’s Square.

GETTING TO THE VATICAN BY METRO

To reach the Vatican using the metro, take the A Line and get off at either Ottaviano or Cipro station. Both metro stops are about a 5-minute walk from the Vatican Museums. You can purchase your metro tickets at any nearby corner shop or metro station. However, please keep in mind that buying tickets directly from the driver is not possible.

GETTING TO THE VATICAN BY BUS

To reach the Vatican Museum from Termini train station, you will need to take bus #64 and after a 20-minute ride, you will get to the Piazza Stazione S. Pietro, which is only a 15-minute walk to the museum entrance. If you’re starting near the Colosseum, opt for bus #81, which stops outside the B line metro station. After a short ride, the #81 bus reaches Piazza Risorgimento, just a 5 minute walk from the Vatican Museum entrance.

What not to miss when visiting the Vatican City?

THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE

The Vatican Museum’s spiral staircase has gained widespread attention as the most photographed thing in the Vatican Museums, and rightfully so. This unique staircase consists of two intertwining staircases that resemble a double helix, similar to DNA.

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vatican city tapestries room tickets

The Tapestries Hall

When visiting Vatican Museums, you won’t be able to miss the breathtaking Tapestries Hall, which is also known as the Galleria degli Arazzi. You will have an opportunity to marvel at its beauty as you pass through it on your way to the Sistine Chapel.

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The Map Gallery

Upon going through the Tapestries Hall, you’ll encounter the Maps gallery (Galleria delle Carte Geografiche). The ceiling of this gallery is so unique that it is truly hard to miss. Besides Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, this museum’s ceiling is one of the most photographed. When you see it, you will understand why!

vatican city pinecone courtyard

The Pine cone courtyard

The Pine Cone Courtyard, or Cortile della Pigna, gets its name from a large bronze pine cone, which is nearly 4 meters tall and situated at one end. This massive pine cone was discovered near the Pantheon in Rome and is believed to originate from the 1st century BCE.

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The Dome of the St. Peter’s Basilica

Your visit to St. Peter’s Basilica, the world’s largest church, won’t be complete without climbing to its dome. The dome of St. Peter’s Basilica stands out as one of the most captivating features of this iconic structure, globally recognized as the symbol of the Church of Rome. It serves as a compelling beacon drawing pilgrims worldwide to the core of the Catholic church. Whether you choose to conquer the 500 steps or enjoy the ease of the lift, seeing the entire Vatican City from the top of the dome is definitely worth it!

The Best tips for visiting the Vatican City

Finally, here are our top tips for your perfect Vatican visit!

1. Follow the Vatican Dress Code

When visiting the Vatican City, there is a particular dress code you need to follow. Consider avoiding clothing that reveals too much, such as short dresses, skirts, and shorts. Make sure your shoulders are covered, and if you’re wearing revealing summer clothes, bring a scarf to cover up. While sandals are acceptable, avoid flip-flops, as they are considered too casual. Remove hats when entering Vatican buildings, and remember that food and metal tools like scissors and knives are not permitted.

2. Visit the Vatican City early in the morning or in the late afternoon

The best times to visit the Vatican are either early in the morning or after 4 PM. Lines start forming in front of the Vatican Museum at 7:30 AM, even though it opens at 9 AM. That’s why we advise you to arrive as early in the morning as possible or to buy a Vatican Museums Skip the Line ticket, which will allow you to bypass all the crowds. If you choose to visit in the afternoon, keep in mind that the museum closes at 6 PM, so ensure you have enough time for your visit.

For a less crowded experience, consider visiting the Vatican between Tuesday and Friday, as weekends tend to be busier. Also, be aware that many museums in Rome are closed on Mondays, so many visitors flock to the Vatican Museum, which remains open.

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3. Set aside enough time for a visit to Vatican Museums

Exploring the Vatican Museums typically requires around three hours since there are over 7 kilometers of art galleries. It’s important to dedicate enough time to a Vatican Museum visit to truly appreciate the vast art collections and sculptures. Also, don’t forget to check out the museum map to know where you’d like to dedicate extra time during your visit.

4. Go on a guided tour of the Vatican!

In order to have a stress-free visit to the Vatican and explore its iconic sites in the best way, we recommend you look into booking one of our best-value Vatican Tours. That way, you will be accompanied by an expert tour guide who will provide you with a better understanding of the works of art in the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. Whether you would like to go on a regular guided tour, have a private experience, or get skip-the-line access, we have it all!

What NOT to do when visiting the Vatican City!

  • DO NOT visit the Vatican at mid-day
  • DO NOT visit the Vatican on Sundays or Mondays
  • DO NOT forget to buy your Vatican Tickets or book your Vatican Tour in advance
  • DO NOT forget to follow Vatican City’s dress code
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FAQ – Visiting the Vatican City

Can you just enter Vatican City?

No passport, Visa, or tickets are required to enter Vatican City - you can just walk in. However, if you want to visit specific attractions like the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel, you'll need to purchase tickets.

Is the Vatican open at night?

From April to October, the Vatican Museums open their doors every Friday after sunset. During that time, Vatican museums are open from 7 to 11 PM. This allows the visitors a unique experience of enjoying some of the finest art collections in the world in an unusual nocturnal ambiance.

How far is Vatican City from Rome?

Vatican City is 4 km away from Rome, and the road distance is 4.6 km. You can get to Vatican City from anywhere in Rome by metro, bus, taxi, or even by foot if your accommodation is close by.

Are Vatican Museums suitable for people with disabilities?

The museums are perfectly suitable for visitors with disabilities, with lifts, suggested itineraries, and specially fitted toilets. Wheelchairs are accessible free to enter from the Special Permits desk in the entrance hall and can be reserved by emailing accoglienza.musei@scv.va. Parents with toddlers can also take baby carts into the museums.

How far is Vatican City from Rome?

Vatican City is 4 km away from Rome, and the road distance is 4.6 km. You can get to Vatican City from anywhere in Rome by metro, bus, taxi, or even by foot if your accommodation is close by.

Did you know that St. Peter’s Basilica was built atop the burial site of Saint Peter?

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