Vatican Museums

See where the Vatican exhibits some of its most priceless paintings, including works by Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci.

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Vatican Museums: Our most recommended tours and activities

Vatican: Museums & Sistine Chapel Entrance Ticket

1. Vatican: Museums & Sistine Chapel Entrance Ticket

Take a stirring journey through art and religious history with skip-the-ticket-line entry to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Avoid the long ticket lines and then enjoy your visit at your own pace.  Wander through the Greek Cross Gallery to see elaborately-carved sarcophagi that might just contain the earthly remains of some of antiquity's famous kings and queens. Peek at the Cabinet of the Masks, or tour the Sala degli Animali to see a virtual menagerie of fantastic beasts, real and imagined. Walk the Upper Galleries, including the Gallery of Maps, to see how cartographers depicted the world through the ages. See masterpieces by Renaissance masters in the Raphael Rooms, and rest for a while in the Borgia Apartments. Then, it’s time to marvel at Michelangelo’s exquisite Sistine Chapel, the crown jewel of the Vatican, and perhaps even of all the world’s art treasures.

Rome: Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel Official Guided Tour

2. Rome: Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel Official Guided Tour

Skip the ticket line and gain fast access to both the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Once inside, meet your guide who will conduct your tour and reveal the intriguing story behind the seminal design. Enter the Pio Clementino Museum and get up close to the astonishing classical Roman and Greek sculptures, before walking through to the Gallery of the Candelabras which is populated with majestic marble structures throughout. Continue on to see the 40 maps frescoed on the walls of the Gallery of the Geographical Maps, the hanging renaissance artworks at Gallery of the Tapestries, and the four Raphael Rooms. Finally, marvel at Michelangelo's fresco "The Creation of Adam" in the Sistine Chapel.

Rome: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Skip-the-Line Tickets

3. Rome: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Skip-the-Line Tickets

Visit the Vatican Museums and marvel at the breath-taking collection of renowned Roman sculptures and some of the most seminal works of Renaissance art without having to wait an eternity to do so, thanks to the Skip-the-Line Tickets. From there, take in the magnificence of the Sistine Chapel, known as the Cappella Magna and see Michelangelo’s masterpiece, The Last Judgement. A local and professional Host will welcome you and assist you through the entrance while giving you the most important tips for maximum enjoyment. 

Vatican: Skip-the-Line Vatican Museums Tour with Breakfast

4. Vatican: Skip-the-Line Vatican Museums Tour with Breakfast

Start your day at the Vatican early and skip the notoriously long ticket lines by following a special route through the museums that gets you to the Sistine Chapel just as it opens for the day. Enter before most of the crowd and spend a peaceful half-hour soaking up Michelangelo’s masterpiece along with stunning frescoes by other important Renaissance artists. Continue on to the Pinecone Courtyard for large buffet breakfast including hot and cold dishes, fruit juice, tea, and coffee. Once you’ve eaten your fill, head back into the museums for a tour of the most famous artifacts, including the Belvedere Torso, the Apollo Belvedere, the Laocoön Group, and the Raphael Rooms, widely considered to be among the most beautifully-frescoed interiors in the world. Visit the Gallery of the Candelabra with ancient Greek and Roman artworks. Learn about Raphael Sanzio at the Gallery of Tapestries, one of the most spectacular rooms of the museums.

Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica: Early Morning Tour

5. Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica: Early Morning Tour

Join the more than five million annual visitors of the global heart of the Catholic Faith. Experience the Vatican City, the entirety of which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, fully with privileged access to the main attractions before the general public arrives. From its stunning beauty to its ancient history and artistic and religious significance, the Vatican is a one-stop-shop for any traveler. Whether the paintings, sculptures, religious art, architecture, or even the Pontifical Swiss Guards that have protected the Pope since 1506, little else compares to the utter majesty of the Holy See. Start discovering the beauty of the Vatican at 7:30 AM in the absence of crowds. Wander the Vatican Museums, the famous Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica surrounded by very few. Explore the museums at your own pace and leave the rest of the day free to enjoy Italy. Follow your expert guide into the Museums to discover the world’s most extensive collection of art, including the greatest sculptures and artwork of the Renaissance period. Continue through the Candelabra Gallery, divided into six splendid rooms containing artworks found throughout the country, bringing relics of the Roman Empire into the modern-day. Then explore the astonishing Gallery of the Tapestries, host to an extensive collection of Raffaello Sanzio’s tapestries depicting different Catholic stories and myths. From there, walk through the Gallery of Maps with your guide, the perfect place for travelers with a taste for the sciences. Check out the global maps created by Roman topographers — a glimpse into what the world was thought to look like centuries ago.

Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St Peters Basilica Tour

6. Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St Peters Basilica Tour

Discover the best of the Vatican in a single visit. Skip the ticket line to the key attractions and see outstanding examples of art and architecture in the company of your expert guide. Discover the frescoes of the Raphael Rooms. Explore the amazing collections of the Vatican Museums, including the Map Rooms and the sculpture of Hermes. Enjoy the beauty of the Sistine Chapel, and marvel at masterpieces by Michelangelo and Raphael. Then, take a tour of St Peter’s Basilica. Admire the world's center of Christianity and discover more about its fascinating history with your guide.

Rome: City Highlights, Vatican Pass and Free Transport

7. Rome: City Highlights, Vatican Pass and Free Transport

Make your stay in Rome an unforgettable and unique experience with the 3-day OMNIA Vatican Card and Roma Pass. It’s actually 2 passes rolled into one. Roma Pass grants you free entry to 2 out of 5 top attractions plus discounts at a further 30 top sights and a travel card. The OMNIA Vatican Card allows entry to all top sights in Vatican City plus a 3-day hop-on hop-off bus tour. You will also receive a free guidebook and map to help you plan your itinerary as well as dedicated itineraries that allow you to explore the city at your own pace. The OMNIA Card includes: • Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel - advanced reservation needed (instructions on the confirmation voucher) • Entrance to the Basilica of St. John in the Lateran and cloister with multimedia audio-guide • Entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica including multilingual audio-guide app - advanced reservation needed (instructions on the confirmation voucher) • Carcer Tullianum / Mamertine Prison (St Peter's Prison) - advanced reservations required (instructions on the confirmation voucher) • Vox City Guide app • Open Bus Vatican and Rome / Roma Cristiana The Roma Pass includes free admission to 2 of the following attractions (adult tickets only): • Capitoline Museums • Castel Sant'Angelo • The Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill - advanced reservation needed (instructions on the confirmation voucher) • Borghese Gallery - advanced reservation needed (instructions on the confirmation voucher) It also includes price reductions to many museums and attractions, including the following: Museums: • Castel Sant'Angelo National Museum • National Roman Museum – Palazzo Massimo alle Terme • National Roman Museum – Palazzo Altemps • National Roman Museum – Crypta Balbi • National Roman Museum – Baths of Diocletian • National Gallery in Palazzo Barberini • Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia • Musei Capitolini • Centrale Montemartini • National Museum of Oriental Art • MACRO - Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Roma • MAXXI - National Museum of XXI Century Arts • Planetarium and astronomical museum Attractions: • Trajan's Market • Palazzo Valentini – Archaeological Area of the Domus Romane • Ara Pacis Roma Cristiana Open Bus Tour. This panoramic hop-on hop-off bus tour stops at: 1. Saint Peter's Basilica 2. Piazza Navona 3. Santa Maria ad Martyres Pantheon 4. Santa Maria in Aracoeli 5. Termini Central Station 6. Santa Maria Maggiore 7. San Giovanni - Holy Stairs 8. Colosseum - Roman Forum 9. Circus Maximus 10. Tiber Island 11. Palazzo Farnese

Rome: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Skip-the-Line Tour

8. Rome: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Skip-the-Line Tour

Discover the wonders of the art collection inside the Vatican Museums on a tour with an art historian guide and skip-the-line entry tickets. Walk through the Raphael Rooms and admire masterpieces by Michelangelo inside the Sistine Chapel, including The Last Judgement. Start your visit by meeting your guide and enjoying a streamlined entry inside the museums. Listen to the explanations of your art historian guide as you visit the Gallery of the Maps, Gallery of the Tapestries, and the Gallery of the Candelabra. Arrive at the Raphael Rooms and marvel at Raphael’s incredible frescoes, including the School of Athens. Round-off the tour with the marvels of the Sistine Chapel and the frescoes by Michelangelo. Inside, you’ll get to see Michelangelo’s most famous artwork: The Last Judgement.

Rome: Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Guided Tour

9. Rome: Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Guided Tour

The Vatican Museum is the largest and most prestigious of its kind in the entire world. The vaults of the Holy See, the heart of the Catholic Church and the crowning jewel of this magnificent micro-city state, it is said that it would take more than a lifetime just to spend two minutes with each artifact in this vast and mysterious labyrinth of treasures and secrets. Our standard Vatican and Sistine Chapel Tour takes a little under three hours. In that time, with the assistance of our expert, fully licenced guides you’ll discover some of the greatest treasures and most magnificent works of art ever created by humankind. Our tour begins on the verdant lawn known as the Pine Cone Courtyard, so named after the ancient Roman Pine Cone sculpture that sits in the center. Once upon a time this charming feature sat upon the field of Mars in Pagan Rome - not far from where the Pantheon is located. Upon entering the Vatican Museum we’ll visit the Gallery of the Candelabra, the Gallery of Maps and that of the Tapestries. The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is possibly the most famous and precious artwork in the world, Michelangelo’s depiction of the story of Creation. To see this awesome masterpiece in real life is an essential experience and one which every visitor to the eternal city should enjoy.

Rome: 3-Hour Private Early Morning Vatican Tour

10. Rome: 3-Hour Private Early Morning Vatican Tour

This tour offers the opportunity to visit the Vatican Museums at your own pace with entry before regular opening time. Skip the ticket line and first discover highlights of the Vatican Galleries, with its collection of precious artworks. Your guide will then take you to see the spectacular Sistine Chapel, where you will be able to admire Michelangelo’s work free from the crowds you find during the regular opening hours. Then, get privileged access to the Cabinet of the Masks, which is usually a restricted area of the Vatican. Enjoy a unique experience with your professional and knowledgeable guide and discover one of the Vatican's most precious treasures.

Planning Your Visit

  • Best time of year to visit

    Although the Vatican Museums are 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.

  • Save money

    On the last Sunday of every month, entrance to the Vatican Museums is free during opening hours, from 9:00 AM until 12:30 PM. This is a great way of saving money, but be warned: these free days are also the most popular. If you’d rather avoid the large crowds, you’re better off going on a regular day.

  • Pick the right time of day

    The ticket office opens at 9:00 AM. If you want to see as much as possible, then you should arrive early, as the Vatican Museums are huge (over 9 miles!) and long lines can start forming at the entrance even before opening time. However, if you’re more interested in avoiding the queues, come around 1:00 PM. Most people will be headed for lunch at that time and it’s often possible to walk straight in without wait.

  • Don’t leave it too late

    Even if you’re intending to avoid the queues, don’t come too late. The ticket office closes at 4:00 PM and the Vatican Museums close at 6:00 PM. If you want to have time to see the Sistine Chapel, you should arrive at the Vatican Museums by 3:00 PM at the latest.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    Monday-Saturday, 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
    Last Sunday of each month, 9:00 AM-2:00 PM
    Holiday hours may vary
  • Is it expensive?
    Free to look at from the outside. Admission tickets vary.
  • Will I need a guide?
    Not compulsory, but highly recommended.
  • How to get there
    Taxi, bus, metro, tram or by foot from Rome. Look here for more detailed directions.
  • Additional information

    • 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.

Other Sightseeing Options in Vatican Museums

Want to discover all there is to do in Vatican Museums? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Vatican Museums

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 120,720 reviews

It was truly amazing. The wonders and beauty in the museum and Sistine Chapel so extraordinary that it would be possible to spend a year and not see them all. Locating the tour was the easiest of all tours we enjoyed over two weeks. Antonio, our guide, was also great.

Alessandra, our guide, guided us through the museums in 3 hours in a way that was easy to understand and with excellent expertise. Questions were also answered competently. This tour is well organized and will be remembered for a long time. Thanks very much!

Great tickets! Tips for your experience. Go straight to the security and head in, no lines! Once inside, go upstairs to the ticket booth and get your tickets. The audio guides are just inside. Enjoy!

Excellent guide. Super professional and attentive to details!

Everything was perfectly explained, we had no problems