Vatican City
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Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's

Duration: 3 hours – 3.5 hours
10774 Reviews
10774

Discover one of the most beautiful sites in the world on this fantastic 3.5-hour tour of the Vatican with skip-the-line access. Explore the Vatican…

Vatican City: Tours & Tickets

See all tours & things to do in Vatican City
See all 1046 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

Very good experience, definitely value for money

The girl (I didn't get the name unfortunately) who was in charge of our group was just amazing.. amazing command of several languages! The entrance was fast and swift just as promised...

Skip-the-Line Vatican Museums Escorted Entrance Reviewed by Telmo, 02/21/2017

Informative and entertaining, the guide enhanced our experience

The trip was easy to book, the tickets were e mailed promptly and the tour guide was excellent.

Excellent tour, informative and value for money

Very informative guide, saw everything we wanted and not rushed in any way. Brilliant value and worthwhile to skip huge queues and this was a quieter time of year. The only downside was the radio kept losing sound but assumed this was down the walls and being inside but didn't impact on the actual tour in any way.

Informative tour and great guide with lovely sense of humour.

Brought our kids along, aged 10 and 12. They were captivated every minute of the 3 hour tour.

Very friendly guide, very clear explanations, no waiting!

It was a very interesting tour and we would never have done it, if we had to wait in line for hours even before entering the Vatican! This way it went smoothly. Our guide, Claudia, was very friendly, explained everything very clearly and was very patient with everyone. Although it was tiring, especially due to the enormous crowds everywhere, it was very impressive. We were very happy with Claudia as a guide.

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