Vatican City
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Vatican City: Tours & Tickets

See all tours & things to do in Vatican City
See all 1035 tickets & tours

What is Vatican City?

Vatican City – everyone’s heard about it, but what is it exactly? Is it a part of Rome, is it independent, are only priests allowed in? There are a lot of mysteries and misconceptions surrounding Vatican City, so here are 5 fascinating facts.

The smallest country in the world

With a tiny population of 842 and an area of 110 acres (roughly an eighth of New York’s Central Park), Vatican City is the world's smallest independent nation-state.

An economy without trade or taxes

As a completely non-commercial economy, all of Vatican City’s money comes from donations, museum admission fees, and the sale of postage stamps, books and tourist souvenirs.

A veritable culture treasure trove

Featuring the world-famous Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City is a highly popular tourist destination, attracting over 4 million visitors yearly.

Photo: Raja Patnaik @wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The pope has a secret escape tunnel

In 1277, a secret passageway was built between Vatican City and the nearby fortified castle Castel Sant’Angelo, providing an escape route for the pope if the city was attacked.

Those are not Harlequins

The colorfully dressed men standing in front of the city’s entrances are the famous Swiss Guards. Former mercenaries, they are now the permanent de facto army of Vatican City.

Vatican City: Our Tips

Best time of year to visit

Although Vatican City is extremely popular with tourists all year around, if you’re looking for a quieter visit, your best bet is during the low season between November and February.

Give yourself enough time

There is so much to see in Vatican City, make sure you’re not pressed for time. Importantly, if you want to see the Sistine Chapel, it’s essential that you enter the Vatican Museums before 3p.m. so you can reach the chapel before it closes.

Book a tour?

Although there is more than enough to take in as an individual visitor, those who want to learn about Vatican City’s rich history would benefit from one of the many excellent tours offered. There are public as well as private tours. Note that latter need to be booked well in advance.

See the pope

You’re unlikely to run into the pope on your visit to Vatican City. However, every Wednesday the pope holds a public audience on St. Peter’s Square in the summer and in the Audience Hall during winter. The audience starts at 10:30am, but most visitors arrive earlier to secure a good seat. Security opens between 8am and 8:30am.

Good to Know

  • When to visit
    365 days a year!
  • What is the price?
    Free to look at from the outside. Admission tickets vary.
  • Will I need a guide?
    Not compulsory, but recommended.
  • How to get there
    Taxi, bus, Metro, tram or by foot from Rome. Look here for more detailed directions.
  • Additional tips
    • Large bags are not allowed in the museums, so pack light!
    • There is often no air conditioning in the museums so make sure to dress accordingly and bring a bottle of water.

What People Are Saying About Vatican City

With such breathtaking history this tour was perfectly informative❤

Stephanie was a great tour guide! this tour is 10/10 - it delivered more factual information than I thought it was going to! That plus the fast tracking past the lines is a positive for those short on time but not wanting to miss out! Info, tickets, tour, equipment, small group, advice for other must do's! & fast track lines... thumbs up from the one Aussie

Very good be prepared to spend a long time in the Vatican.

Good tiring and very busy even January. Make plenty of time to take in all the sights.

Skip-the-Line Vatican Museums Escorted Entrance Reviewed by Lesley, 01/17/2017

One of the very best ways to see Roma. Loved it

Roberto was a great guide and the trip was fun and covered a lot of ground but didn't seem rushed. It was the best pace to see Rome without getting too tired from walking. I highly recommend this trip for people travelling to Rome who wish to see a number of things in a short space of time.

The Original Rome 3-Hour Bike Tour Reviewed by Chris, 01/14/2017

Interesting, massive and not to many people!

Was a great tour of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel and the Bascillica. Highly recommend going in January as there were few people. Tour guide Irene was very knowledgeable and gave us great highlights. Better than going alone as the volume of things to see could be overwhelming.

Excellent , Efficient, Easy to use and above all no waiting around .

The system was efficient and easy to understand . It was so effortless and stress free not to have to worry about buying bus tickets or wait in different lines . The open air bus tour of the city was informative and orientated us making it again so useful in deciding what to see on a limited time budget . We hopped on and off several times taking full advantage of the service .

Vatican & Rome City Pass with Free Transportation Reviewed by Sophie, 01/13/2017

Things To Do Near Vatican City


Vatican City
4.3
Based on 16,471 reviews by GetYourGuide customers