A trip to Rome is simply not complete if you don’t see the Vatican. Many people believe that you should only see the Vatican in the morning to avoid the crowds, which we highly recommend. But the afternoon can be a pleasant experience as well. Here’s how you can sleep in a bit and still see the Vatican in the afternoon.
Pro Tip: Planning can be tough, but it’s easier to organize your trip when you have all your resources in one place. Create a browser folder and bookmark this post along with our dedicated guide to planning your visit to the Vatican, where you’ll find everything you need. Also, check out our article on the best Vatican tours.
How to Visit the Vatican in the Afternoon
If you like to ease your way into the day (especially while on vacation), then seeing the Vatican in the afternoon or evening might be better for you. However, it’s important to take into account that while the museums open at 9 am, the lines start forming by 7:30 am.
So, if you are planning to see the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica on your own, just know that you will have to wait in line for quite a while and it could get crowded. There are two ways you can see the Vatican in the afternoon.
On A Self-Guided Visit
If you don’t mind waiting in long lines and possibly large crowds, you can still visit the Vatican in the afternoon. You can book your tickets ahead of time and still get skip-the-line access if you purchase from us.
It’s a bit confusing, so if you’d rather skip this step and the hassle, then consider reserving one of our Vatican afternoon tours. We’re pretty well-versed in how to visit the Vatican, and it’ll be a bit less stressful for you.
On Our Skip-The-Line Guided Tour
With the afternoon Skip the Line Vatican Tour, you can save time by entering with skip-the-line tickets and still uncover everything the Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica have to offer.
The main difference between this afternoon tour and our other similar Vatican tours is the start time. If you’re looking for an even later start time, check out our guided Vatican tour at closing time.
What Does Our Skip-the-Line Vatican Tour Cover?
This is not just an afternoon Vatican tour. We actually operate this tour in the morning as well, but it’s our only Vatican tour that also has availability in the afternoons. Here’s what this tour includes:
Nero’s Bath and Octagonal Courtyard
Inside of the Pio Clementino Gallery, see a 25-foot-long red marble bathtub that is said to have belonged to Emperor Nero.
Visit the Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of Tapestries, and Gallery of Maps. These are considered the Vatican’s main galleries, as they lead up to the Sistine Chapel.
Explore the stunning frescoes inside the private chambers that once belonged to Borgia Pope Alexander VI.
Uncover some of Raphael’s most famous art pieces, including The School of Athens.
Your guide will explain everything you need to know about Michelangelo’s masterpiece before going inside. Then, you can reflect on this genius work of art on your own, as the Sistine Chapel is a silent space.
St. Peter’s Basilica
Enter the Basilica through a special passageway from the Sistine Chapel that you can only access with a licensed guide. From there, enjoy a comprehensive tour of St. Peter’s Basilica.