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Home Featured Visiting the Vatican City: All the Tips and Tricks You Need!

Visiting the Vatican City: All the Tips and Tricks You Need!

written by Sean Finelli December 2, 2019

Did you know that approximately 19,000 people visit the Vatican every day?

It can get pretty hectic but there are some ways around the crowds. All you have to do is plan ahead or hire a local expert.

In this post, we’ll explain how to hack the Vatican including what guided tours can make it easier and how to climb the St. Peter’s Basilica for Rome’s best views.


How to Get to the Vatican City

Luckily, Vatican City is super easy to reach. Depending on your preferences, you can either take the Metro, a bus, a cab or just walk.

 

How to Take the Metro to the Vatican

how to get vatican metro map

train-metro itinerary

About 20 minutes

Metro directions: There are two metro stops located near the Vatican Museums entrance: Ottaviano and Cipro. These stops are located on the A line (orange line).

Therefore, if you jump on near the Spanish Steps (Spagna) or Termini Train Station, make sure you catch the A line going towards Battistini and get off at either Ottaviano or Cipro.

The entrance to the Vatican Museums is a five-minute walk away from either of those stops. Of course, you can also catch the A line from many other stops, just check the Rome Metro schedule.

You can buy tickets at the metro station or a corner store, but not from the driver.

Pro Tip: Always budget an extra 10 to 20 minutes if you have a scheduled event like a Vatican Tour.  This way you don’t have to rush and give you time for that quintessential morning espresso.  

How to Take the Bus to the Vatican

bus 81 and 64 - how to get to vatican

bus icon the roman guy

About 20 minutes

Bus directions: From the Termini train station, head outside and get on bus #64. The bus ride will take about 20 minutes, your stop is the last one on the route: P.za Stazione S. Pietro.

To get to the Vatican Museums entrance, it’s about a fifteen-minute walk from the bus station.

You can also take the #81 bus from the Colosseum area (the bus stop is located right outside of the metro station – B line).

The 81 bus route ends in Piazza Risorgimento which is a five-minute walk to the Vatican Museums entrance.

 

How to Take a Taxi to the Vaticantaxi_how to get to vatican

car itinerary

Depends from the leaving point

 A taxi ride should cost no more than 20 euros if you’re staying in the historic center of Rome.

When you get in, tell the driver to take you to the Vatican Museums entrance, otherwise, they’ll take you to St. Peter’s Basilica.

The most typical way to get a taxi in Rome is to go to a taxi stand. These are located near every major tourist attraction.

If you aren’t located near one, you can always order a coffee and pastry at a café and ask the people working there to call you one.

Walking to the Vatican

walking_how to get to vatican

walk itinerary

About 20 minutes

Walk to Vatican City: You can walk if you’re staying near Piazza Navona or in Campo de’ Fiori and the weather’s right. Prati is also easily walkable to the Vatican.

If you’re love exhausting yourself by exercising prior to being on your feet for 3+ hours, you can walk to the Vatican from basically anywhere in Rome, but I would recommend taking mass-transit.  You’ll be on your feet plenty in Rome!

Pro Tip: A neat trick for using your phone map is to set your course when you are in wifi on airplane mode.

GPS will still show your location while on airplane mode.  It won’t reroute you but it will show you where you are.

It’s the most useful tool for travel in terms of getting directions.

The Best Time to Visit the Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums don’t wait for anyone. The lines start forming early, so plan on getting there as soon as possible in the morning when visiting the Vatican.

Get in line by 7:30 a.m. – 7:45 a.m. to make sure you’re one of the first members of the general public to get in when the museums open at 9 a.m.

Regardless of which tickets you buy in advance, use the website and navigate to the appropriate option.

There are several options for buying tickets depending on whether you are coming as a family, as a group of adults, by yourself, as a disabled person or even as a pilgrim!

The website is a bit confusing, so if you’d rather skip this step, did I mention we run Vatican tours? ( ;

What Does a Vatican Museums Ticket Include?

sistine chapel walls

The Vatican Museums are actually made up of several museums and your ticket gets you into all of them. In addition, the Sistine Chapel is inside the Vatican Museums, so your ticket includes entrance.

Again, getting there early is key. The ticket gets you into the Vatican Museums on the day you use it, there is no re-entry. Once you are inside, you may stay as long as you like.

Want to skip the line at the Vatican without having a guided tour? Click here for skip the line Vatican tickets.

Vatican Museum Hours

  • Monday – Saturday: 9a.m. – 6p.m.
  • The Vatican Museums are closed on Sundays, except for the last Sunday of the month. On this day, the ticket office closes at 12:30 p.m. Also, it’s free on this day.
  • Regardless of when you arrive, you may spend as much time as possible inside.

Vatican Museum Ticket Cost

How much is a ticket to the Vatican?

  • Adults: 17€ (There is no senior rate, just the adult ticket cost.) Keep in mind, this is not for the skip the line option.

Discount Vatican Museum Tickets

Important! If you pre-purchase a discounted ticket, be prepared to show proof of eligibility for the discount.

  • Children (ages 6 – 18): 8€.
  • Students (ages 19 – 26): 8€
  • Members of the clergy: 8€

Free Vatican Museums Entrance

If you’re unsure about whether or not the museum is free for you, check out the Vatican Museums website for specific info.

  • Children under 6: No reservation is needed.
  • Museum directors
  • Some journalists and academics
  • People with disabilities and their companions.

Visiting the Vatican with Kids

Visiting the Vatican with Kids

If you’re visiting the Vatican Museums with your kids, you’re in luck. The museums are happy to welcome families with children and strollers in tow.

In addition, as you explore the collections, there are plenty of restrooms with changing tables and places to sit and take a rest. There’s even a private room for mothers to nurse in complete privacy.

For a quick visit to the Vatican that allows you to see the museums and Sistine Chapel before the kids start fussing, we recommend our Flash Vatican & Sistine Chapel Tour. For a more private experience truly geared toward a younger audience, consider our Family-Friendly Vatican tour.

Vatican Dress Code

Remember to abide by the Vatican dress code. Cover your shoulders and avoid shorts and short dresses and skirts. We know that Rome gets hot in the summer, we suggest bringing a light scarf to wrap around yourself when you need to. Hats, food and metal tools like knives and scissors are also not allowed.

Visiting St. Peter’s Basilica

 

Visiting St. Peter’s Basilica is free, but there are other barriers to getting inside. If you guessed long lines, you’d be correct. Unless you go in the early morning, you’ll find yourself waiting in a long line.

We recommend visiting St. Peter’s Basilica and climbing St. Peter’s Dome on a guided tour for the most efficient experience.

St. Peter’s Basilica Hours

The basilica is closed on Wednesday mornings due to the Papal Audience. If you’re interested in attending one, read on.

  • From April to September: 7a.m. – 7p.m.
  • From October to March: 7a.m. – 6p.m.

How to Visit Vatican City

There are three ways to visit the Vatican:

1. Totally Unprepared!

This is the person who shows up to the door at the Vatican Museums who didn’t take into account the lines because some someone in a bar told them it would work out fine. However, there’s nothing cool about getting stuck in line for hours. Don’t choose this option.

2. Prepared Solo Visit

If you plan on visiting the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica on your own without a good, book ahead! Skip ahead to our section about how to buy tickets in advance. This is a perfectly acceptable way to visit Vatican City, but be prepared, it takes a bit of leg work.

3. Take a Vatican Tour

Take all the guesswork out of visiting one of the largest art collections on earth. Sure, this sounds biased since we are The Roman Guy, but we got into this industry for a reason. Tours are fun, and let’s face it, there’s a ton to see in the Vatican Museums.


I Want More Italy!

  • Check out our YouTube video and step-by-step guide about how to do Rome in a Day. If you’d rather let us guide you, check out our Rome tours.
  • Not sure where to stay in Rome? Read this guide!
  • Follow our adventures in Italy on FacebookInstagram, and YouTube. Then, comment and tell us what you want us to cover next.

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15 comments

Eric Wilson March 6, 2019 at 4:35 pm

It’s best to visit this enthralling withing the country charm

Reply
Kayla Schorr March 8, 2019 at 9:35 pm

Hey Eric! Thanks for reading our blog. We’re so glad you enjoyed reading!

Reply
Kathleen Bello June 5, 2019 at 9:24 am

It was great reading your blog, very nicely executed. You obviously put a lot of effort into it. Keep it up!

Reply
Kayla Schorr June 6, 2019 at 2:22 pm

Grazie! We’re so glad to hear that you enjoy the blog. Come to Rome soon and join us on tour!

Reply
daniel666 July 11, 2019 at 11:46 am

I, being a native of Italy, wasn’t aware of these facts and the way it has been stated is interesting as well as hugely informative. Thanks for the post man… Would be waiting in for more.

Reply
Kayla Schorr July 12, 2019 at 12:05 pm

Ciao Daniel! We’re thrilled to hear that you enjoyed reading this post. We offer tons of useful content on travel in Italy! Check out another one of our useful Vatican blogs here, about our best Vatican tours.

Reply
Darryl Ignatius Hoe September 19, 2019 at 3:03 am

Thank you for this informative post! With regards to your Vatican tours, which tour will be the one to get the most out of Vatican City?
Solo traveler by the way. Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

Reply
Kayla Schorr September 20, 2019 at 7:59 pm

Ciao Darryl! Thanks for checking out our blog. For the most in-depth Vatican City experience, I recommend our Complete Vatican Combo Tour with Sistine Chapel & Dome Climb. This climbs St. Peter’s Dome and provides an excellent skip the line Vatican tour. Hope this helps!

Reply
Sophia September 29, 2019 at 12:33 pm

Thank your these tips Tawny. Very helpful and detailed. I will definitely look up in your travel guide and tours next time I come in Rome.

Reply
Kayla Schorr October 1, 2019 at 1:21 pm

Ciao Sophia! Thanks for reading our blog! Happy to supply helpful information to you. We’d love to welcome you on tour when you come to Rome!

Reply
Anu October 6, 2019 at 11:40 am

Hello, We have planned a day visit to Rome on 25th Dec. Please suggest if all attractions will be open that day especially the St. Peter’s basilica and the Vatican museum.

Reply
Kayla Schorr October 11, 2019 at 4:01 pm

Ciao Anu! The Vatican Museums are closed on Christmas. We recommend visiting the Vatican a different day during your stay.

Reply
lana December 10, 2019 at 1:56 pm

Hello!
It was great reading your blog, very nicely executed. You obviously put a lot of effort into it. Keep it up!
Thanks

Reply
Tori January 13, 2020 at 6:47 am

My daughter and I are going to our first trip to the Vatican this summer. I wanted to find out if there is a mandatory dress code when visiting. In our country, for example, women in trousers and bare-headed cannot go to Orthodox churches. Thanks for such detailed details.

Reply
Jaimie Susson January 21, 2020 at 6:35 pm

Hi Tori! Thanks for reading. Yes, there is a dress code – knees and shoulders must be covered.

Reply

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