Go on a Vatican tour to discover all the City’s secrets
Going on Vatican tours is inevitable when visiting Rome. Vatican City is one of the most visited places in the world. The reasons why are simple. There’s the fact that it’s the smallest country in the world and home to the Pope.
Then there’s the magnificent architecture in structures such as St Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. Not to mention all the invaluable works of art in the Vatican Museums.
- 1 Our interactive city guide to Rome
- 2 5 must-see attractions on Vatican tours
- 3 Why go on a Vatican tour ?
- 4 How to plan your Vatican City tours
- 5 Is the Vatican Pass (Omnia Card) worth it?
- 6 Want Vatican tickets to skip the line?
- 7 Useful facts about Vatican City tours
- 8 Conclusion on Vatican Tours
Our interactive city guide to Rome
5 must-see attractions on Vatican tours
1. The Vatican Museums
In the ambit of the Vatican City lies a treasure chest made up of the Vatican Museums. Here, the thousands of valuable artworks collected by Popes over the ages are exhibited for everyone to enjoy.
The halls and corridors displaying just about 700,000 works of art total a staggering seven kilometers. Visitors and art lovers are treated to pieces ranging from modern paintings to Egyptian mummies to ancient tapestries.
You can book here your Vatican Museums + Sistine Chapel Tours.
2. The Sistine Chapel
A tour of the Vatican Museums culminates in a highlight when you find yourself gazing up at the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. It’s hard to believe it was around 500 years ago that Michelangelo painted his Creation of Adam and The Last Judgement. The frescos by Raphael are also not to be missed.
This Sistine Chapel tour is the same than Vatican Tour and can be booked on this site.
3. St Peter’s Basilica
One of the largest churches in the world (it has room for 20,000 people), the St Peter’s Basilica is nothing other than awe-inspiring. Apart from its impressive structure, of which the latest version was completed in 1626, the basilica houses more great artworks belonging to the Vatican.
Measuring 190 metres in length, with the dome standing 136 tall, there is nothing insignificant about this church. Michelangelo’s Pietà and St Peter’s Baldachin by Bernini are some of the artworks to look out for. And make time to visit the Vatican Grottos containing the tombs of many Popes.
You can book your St. Peter’s Basilica – Guided tour on this website.
4. St Peter’s Square
More greatness in a small country. The famous St Peter’s Square in front of the basilica has held more than 300,000 people during Papal appearances. With a size of 320 in length and 240 meters wide, it’s more than possible.
A total of 284 columns and 88 pilasters flank the square in a colonnade of four rows. Bernini designed 140 statues of saints to stand above the columns. The obelisk, flanked by the fountains in the center of the square, was brought to Rome from Egypt in 1586. For a comprehensive understanding of obelisks and to discover their significance in Rome, I highly recommend our guide on Obelisks in Rome.
5. Vatican Gardens
Covering about half of the Vatican City’s 44 hectares, the vast Vatican Gardens are something to behold. Here, Papal gardeners have been planting flowers and trees since the 13th century.
Today, the immaculate gardens are splendid with exotic flowers, olive trees, fruit orchards and more. The peace and serenity is enhanced by beautiful statues, fountains, and other water features.
Check the prices and book your Vatican Garden Tours on this website.
Why go on a Vatican tour ?
If there is one place in Rome where a tour is worthwhile, it’s the Vatican. There is just so much to see and learn and so many people wanting to do it, that a tour will ensure a well-structured, enjoyable visit.
The best part about getting Vatican tour tickets (check here) before you visit is that you can skip the ticket lines on the day. (Unfortunately, everyone must still queue in the security lines).
How to plan your Vatican City tours
There are different Vatican tours to suit a variety of interests and budgets. When booking your Vatican City tours, you can choose from self-guided tours, an audio tour, and a group tour, to a private tour.
There are also an early morning tour with breakfast and night tours between 19:00 and 23:00 (these are recommended to avoid daytime crowds).
Note: To enter the dome, you must visit either the Vatican Museums or St Peter’s Basilica.
Skip-the-line tickets for one or either are highly recommended to speed things up.
Is the Vatican Pass (Omnia Card) worth it?
For visitors to Rome who really want to experience the Vatican and the eternal city in detail over a longer period, there is a Rome and Vatican pass called the Omnia Card.
The Omnia Card costs €113 (check last price here) and is valid for 72 hours. This may sound like a lot but look what it includes:
- Entry to the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Basilica and all other sights in the Vatican City. Bonus: Free downloadable audio guide for the basilica
- Entry to your choice of 6 top Rome attractions. They are: the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill (2 attractions in one), Museum of Rome, Carcer Tullianum, Museum of Castel Sant’Angelo, and the Capitoline Museums
- Unlimited use of all Roma Cristiana open-top hop-on-hop-off Rome buses for 72 hours
- Skip-the-line tickets for the Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Basilica and the Colosseum
- Detailed Rome guidebook
- Rome public transport travel card.
Just the tickets with fast-track entry to Vatican City attractions included in the Omnia Card can add up to €60. In addition, fast-track entry to two of the other attractions will cost at least €20. Add the travel card, the bus tours, and the discounts to other attractions and you can easily save money with the Omnia Card.
Despite the fact that you can save money, you should also consider the convenience of the Omnia Rome and Vatican pass. It can save you up to 4 hours standing in ticket lines when going on Vatican City tours.
Want Vatican tickets to skip the line?
Even if you don’t opt for the Omnia Vatican pass, you’ll be glad you got your tickets with fast-track entrance online before your visit. Click here to purchase them now.
Useful facts about Vatican City tours
- Only officially approved guides are allowed to conduct Vatican City tours
- Guided tours of the Vatican Museums with Sistine Chapel take about 2 hours
- Consult the official Vatican website for the up-to-date opening and closing times
- Make sure you read the visitors guidelines before you enter the Vatican Museums. They include keeping your mobile on silent, checking in any large and potentially dangerous objects, as well as food and drink you may have on you
- Strict rules apply with regard to photography in the Vatican Museums. No tripods and video cameras are allowed inside while normal cameras may only be used without the flash and for personal use. In the Sistine Chapel, no photography of any kind is allowed
Conclusion on Vatican Tours
It should be quite clear that you can spend all day touring the Vatican City. However, you would want to make every minute count. That’s why it’s so important to plan in advance. Find out what the busiest times are likely to be on the days you want to visit.
If you’re unable to take an early morning or evening tour, it’s imperative to invest in skip-the-line tickets to take the frustration out of waiting in lines for hours.