THE BEST TIPS FOR VISITING VATICAN CITY 2023
Vatican opening hours | Vatican waiting times | What can be visited at the Vatican City
What Can You Visit At The Vatican City?
You can enter and explore the Vatican City and St. Peter’s Square for free. To enter the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel you will need to pay an entry fee. Besides that you can also visit the Vatican Gardens, Necropolis of the Via Triumphalis, Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo, Excavations of St. John.
Vatican Museums Working & Opening Hours 2021 / 2023
Opening days and times from 1 February
- From Monday to Saturday: 08.30 a.m. – 06.30 p.m.
- Final entry 04.30 p.m.
VISITORS ARE OBLIGATED TO LEAVE THE BUILDINGS 30 MINUTES BEFORE THE MUSEUM CLOSING TIME.
ALL THE EXTRAORDINARY OPENINGS ON THE LAST SUNDAY OF THE MONTH ARE SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
ENTRY TO THE MUSEUMS IS BY REQUIRED ONLINE BOOKING
The Vatican Museums are closed on Sunday, except for the last Sunday of the month (no guided tours are available on this day).
Other closure days:
- January: 1, 6
- February: 11
- March: 19
- May: 1
- June: 29
- August: 15, 16
- November: 1
- December: 8, 25, 26
Saint Peter’s Basilica working hours
October 1st – March 31st:
7:00 – 18:30
April 1st – September 30th:
7:00 – 19:00
Saint Peter’s Cupola working hours
October 1st – March 31st:
8:00 – 17:00
April 1st – September 30th:
8:00 – 18:00
What You Need To Know Before Visiting the Vatican City and Vatican Museums
Best time to visit
Visiting Vatican City between Tuesday and Friday is the best chance at avoiding the weekend crowds. Because other Rome museums are all closed on Mondays, everyone flocks to the Vatican Museums since they are opened. The best time to visit the Vatican would be either very early mornings or after 4 PM (16:00). The Vatican Museums line starts forming as early as 7:30 AM, despite the museum opening at 9 AM. So the best thing to do would be to begin queueing as early as you can. If you decide to visit Vatican Museums after 4 PM, keep in mind that they are closing at 6 PM. Make sure you will have enough time to visit and explore them properly.
When visiting Vatican City, you should follow a specific dress code. The Vatican dress code requires you not to wear very revealing clothes, such as dresses, shorts, or above knee skirts. According to the Vatican dress code, you need to have your shoulders covered. For that reason, we advise you to bring a cover-up scarf if you are visiting during summer and wearing revealing clothes. As for footwear, wearing flip-flops is considered too casual and informal to enter Vatican City. But wearing sandals is okay. When entering buildings in Vatican City, you need to remove your hat. Also, any metals, like scissors or knives, and food are not allowed to bring inside the Vatican.
Do you need a ticket for Vatican Museums?
You need to have a ticket or at least a reservation to visit the Vatican Museums. There is an exception to this rule on the free days. There are different Vatican Museums ticket types available as well as many hand picked Vatican Tours, depending on what you would like to see, and regarding that, different prices apply.
Tips for your Vatican visit
- Book your tours and tickets in advance. You can come and wait in line, but it can take a very long time. So the best solution is to buy a ticket in advance and avoid unnecessary waiting around.
- Book a guided tour, or use an audio guide. The Vatican Museum is immense and full of incredible art that you will be able to best explore with a guide of some sort. It’s best to visit Vatican City and Vatican Museums in the early mornings or late afternoons. These are the quietest times with the least crowds. The only exception is Wednesday, when the Papal audiences are being held. If fast-track tickets are unavailable, look for the tour tickets or the tickets that include the audio guide. Usually, you can obtain tickets on your desired date by choosing a different type of ticket.
- It’s best to visit Vatican City and Vatican Museums in the early mornings or late afternoons. These are the quietest times with the least crowds. The only exception is Wednesday, when the Papal audiences are being held.
- If fast-track tickets are unavailable, look for the tour tickets or the tickets that include the audio guide. Usually, you can obtain tickets on your desired date by choosing a different type of ticket.
- Plan ahead! Vatican City has many galleries and sites you can explore. To not get overwhelmed, make a schedule ahead of time.
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 tickets or book your tour in advance
- DO NOT forget to follow Vatican City’s dress code
How to get to the Vatican City?
Vatican city is easily accessible by public transportation – metro, bus, tram, or even train. You can also take a taxi or take a walk if you are nearby.
GETTING TO VATICAN CITY BY TRAIN
To get to the Vatican City by train, the station you need to get off is St Pietro. From the train station, you only have a 10-minute walk to St. Peter’s Square.
GETTING TO VATICAN CITY BY METRO
If you want to go to Vatican City by metro, you’ll need to get on the A-line in the direction of Battistini. There are two metro stops near the Vatican City you can get off on-‘Ottaviano’ and ‘Cipro.’ Both of them are only a 5-minute walk away from the Vatican Museums. It’s important to note that you can’t buy your metro ticket on the metro itself. Instead, you need to buy metro tickets at the corner shop or at the metro station.
GETTING TO VATICAN CITY BY TRAM
If you decide to take the tram to the Vatican City, you need to get on the number 19 tram and get off at the Piazza del Risorgimento stop.
GETTING TO VATICAN CITY BY BUS
There are several bus lines with which you can get to Vatican City.
If you visit Vatican City from the Termini train station, you need to take bus #64. You need to get off at the last stop of the ride – Piazza Stazione S. Pietro. From there on, it will take you about 15 minutes to get to the Vatican Museums’ entrance. You can take more bus lines to get to the Vatican city, depending on where in Rome is your starting point.
If you are going from the Colosseum area to Vatican City, you’ll need to take bus #81. This bus will stop just outside the B-line metro station. You will get off at Piazza Risorgimento. From there on, you have a 5-minute walk to the Vatican Museum entrance.
Other Bus lines to the Vatican City are #32 and #982; if you are taking these buses, you will have to get off at Piazza del Risorgimento.
With bus #49, you will get off at the square in front of the Vatican Museums.
And finally, if you take bus #492 or #990, you need to get off at Via Leone IV or Via degli Scipioni.
FAQ/Good to know
Is the Vatican open at night?
From April to October, every Friday after the sunset, the Vatican Museums open their doors. During that time, Vatican museums are open from 7 to 11 PM. This allows the visitors a unique experience of enjoying some of the world’s best art in an unusual nocturnal ambiance.
How far is Vatican City from Rome?
Vatican City is 4 km away from Rome, and the rode distance is 4.6 km. You can get to the Vatican city from anywhere in Rome by metro, bus, taxi, or even by foot if your accommodation is close by.
Why is Vatican City a country?
The Vatican City is the world’s smallest fully independent state. It’s the residence of the Roman Catholic Church’s spiritual leadership – the Pope. It was granted a country’s status due to the Lateran treaty to end a period of political and religious turmoil within Italy between the church and government. Vatican City was founded as an independent state to enable the Pope to exercise his universal authority.
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 of charge from the Special Permits desk in the entrance hall and can be reserved by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Parents with toddlers can also take baby carts into the museums.
How Many Vatican Museums Are There?
A total of 54 museums make the Vatican Museums. The last one is the Sistine Chapel, famous for its decorated ceiling by Michelangelo, and the Stanze della Segnatura decorated by Raphael. If you want to explore this cultural landmark at your own pace, we recommend purchasing Sistine Chapel Ticket.