In fact, no stone is left unturned, but that is not all. Typical Vatican tours will guarantee you quick access into the complex. This is quite important as the queues tend to stretch along the walls for 3 to 4 hours. You will get to see the highlights of the Vatican Museums collections as well as the Sistine Chapel.
What is more important though, Vatican City tours let you cross straight from the Sistine Chapel to the St Peter’s Basilica. Why is that interesting? Well, those who only have the museums ticket have to leave the complex by the main gate they used to enter and walk around the wall to the St Peter’s square. There, another line awaits you to get inside the basilica. Indeed, Vatican tours offer quite a bargain. Vatican museum tour is particularly handy. If all the artworks stored inside lined up, they would create over 7 km long hike across the history of religious art. Impressively, the museums own over 70,000 works, of which “only” 20,000 is currently on display. If you have no idea what to see, you can not only miss the most notable works but also tire out before you reach the Sistine Chapel.
Oh, the Chapel! Home to two most famous works of art in the world – Michelangelo’s ceiling frescoes and his Giudizio Universale (Last Judgment) – the Sistine Chapel is the main reason most people visit Vatican Museums. On the busiest of days, you could find yourself admiring it along with other 2000 people. Yes, that’s a lot! And the Sistine Chapel is not actually that big.
That is why the best Vatican tour is the one that offers you early access. Though officially, the museum doors open at 9 am. An early-access tour lets you skip the morning crown and enter the complex one hour before, at 8 am. This way, you can ensure that when visiting Vatican City, you won’t be pushed out of the Sistine Chapel too quickly by the ever-flowing crowds. Instead, you will be free to contemplate the details in the peace of early morning.
The Vatican City! Everybody has heard of it, but what exactly is it? Is it a part of Rome or is it independent? Can anybody come in? With a teeny tiny population or about 900 and an area of 110 acres, Vatican City is the smallest independent nation-state in the world. In other words, you could fit eight Vaticans in New York’s Central Park. Since the country doesn’t have a commercial economy, its money comes from museum admission fees, donations and the sales of books, souvenirs and postal stamps. Not all parts are open to the public.
You can reach the Vatican by:
The Vatican, despite being such a small country, offers plenty to explore. The key sights and monuments include Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Basilica, St Peter’s square, Vatican Necropolis, Grottos and gardens.
Booking a tour with a licensed guide is highly recommended, especially when it comes to the Vatican Museums. Their collection is incredibly extensive and, quite frankly, overwhelming if you are to tackle it on your own.
Which of the tours is the best depends largely on your personal preference. Be sure to check our best-rated tours.
However, the guided tours that offer the least crowded experience are the early morning Vatican tours. The excursions begin at 8 am, a full hour before the official Vatican Museums opening time and the places are strictly limited.
The best time to visit is the low season from November to February. Also, avoid visiting during significant Catholic holidays such as Christmas and Easter.
Given the incredible number of visitors that flock in the Vatican City on a daily basis, advanced booking is probably the best thing you can do. Getting stuck in a long queue is not pleasant, especially during summer.
It’s highly unlikely you’ll simply run into the pope when visiting Vatican City. But, every Wednesday, the pope holds an official public audience. In summer, the audience takes place on St. Peter’s Square and in winter in the Audience Hall. It begins at 10:30 am, but a majority of visitors arrive earlier to secure a good seat.
Due to the worldwide popularity, it’s highly probably a tour in your native language is available. Browse our best selling Vatican tours to check out the options.
Vatican tours range from 40 € to 70 € depending on the type of experience you are after. Naturally, the early enter tours are on the more expensive end of the price spectrum. All in all, when it comes to the Vatican, tours are well worth the price as the information and advantages they offer are priceless.
There are two main entry points to the Vatican City:
So, there are two separate queues, one for basilica and one for the museums. The only way to avoid walking a lot or queuing twice is signing up for a Vatican tour. Going with a guide, you will be able to use a secret passage and go straight from the Sistine Chapel to the basilica.