Privileged Entrance Vatican Tour with Sistine Chapel

Enter a Full Hour Before General Opening

As one of our bestselling Rome tours, this early access Vatican Museums tour skips the regular line and goes straight to Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. Led by a professional English-speaking guide, see the best galleries and St. Peter's Basilica.


This is a walking tour and involves occasional walking up & down stairs.

3.5 h
max 14
from 157 reviews
1 Sistine Chapel
2 Michelangelo's Masterpieces
3 Vatican Museums
4 Gallery of the Candelabra
5 Gallery of the Tapestries
6 Gallery of Maps
7 Raphael Rooms
8 Borgia Apartments
9 St. Peter's Basilica
10 La Pietà by Michelangelo
11 Baldacchino by Bernini
12 Laocoön and His Sons
13 Nero's Bath
14 Belvedere Torso
15 Climb St. Peter's Dome


Pre-Opening Entrance
Sistine Chapel
St. Peter's Basilica
Primary Galleries
Raphael Rooms
Borgia Apartments
Pio Clementino

Our Privileged Entrance Vatican Tour starts at 7:30 a.m. and we enter the Vatican Museums just after 8 a.m (an hour earlier than general public access). As a result, witness the jaw-dropping Sistine Chapel before the masses stream in. After visiting the Sistine Chapel, our professional English-speaking guide will take you back through the highlights of the Vatican Museums. Then pass back through the Sistine Chapel and head to St. Peter’s Basilica. One of our most popular Rome tours, this 3.5-hour Vatican tour includes:

  • - Skip the line Vatican tickets
  • - Small group size
  • - 7:30 a.m. start for entry shortly after 8 a.m.
  • - A professional English-speaking guide
  • - Skip the line entrance to St. Peter's Basilica (except on Wednesdays)


Short delays at the security check may occur during our busiest months, often during the summer. We do, however, have a team of experts at the Vatican every morning to help our groups avoid delays as much as possible. At 7:30 a.m., meet your guide who will explain the Sistine Chapel while you prepare to enter the museums when the doors open for special groups at 8 a.m.

The Sistine Chapel

First stop is a visit to the Sistine Chapel before it’s open to the general public. Since the Sistine Chapel is inside the Vatican Museums, it’s included in your Vatican Museums ticket. When you enter the Sistine Chapel, you’ll realize our descriptions cannot do this incredible work justice. As well as being one of Michelangelo’s most prized masterpieces, the Sistine Chapel also serves as a gathering place for cardinals of the Catholic Church. This is also where new popes are elected - including Pope Francis! The Sistine Chapel is a place of worship, so speaking inside is forbidden. Don’t worry though, your guide will provide you with a map/handout for reference before you enter.
The Sistine Chapel is a sacred place, so both men and women must cover their knees and shoulders. Otherwise, you may be refused entry to a portion of your Vatican tour. We understand the summers in Rome are hot - a great alternative is to bring a shawl/sweater to wrap around you when necessary.

The Best Galleries at the Vatican

Led by our guide, visit our favorite galleries including the Borgia Apartments, Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of the Tapestries and the Gallery of the Maps. Predating a unified Italy by nearly 300 years and based on painted topographical maps of Italy, the Gallery of the Maps is one of the coolest places in the Vatican Museums. One of these frescoes contains the image of a sea monster - see if you can spot it!

Raphael Rooms

The term Renaissance literally means "rebirth" and refers to the period of European civilization that produced a great revival in art, literature and learning. Raphael was one of Rome's most famous Renaissance artists who encompassed all the ideals of a Renaissance man. He designed and frescoed multiple rooms connected to the Vatican Museums. Among other masterpieces, you’ll see one of Raphael’s most famous works of art, The School of Athens.

Skip the Line St. Peter’s Basilica

Except on Wednesdays

St. Peter's Basilica is the grand centerpiece of the Vatican. Imagine walking into the biggest church you've ever seen, filled with artwork from all the famous Italian artists you learned about in school. Skip the lines that wait outside in St Peter's Square as you access the basilica from the inside, through a special side entrance our guides can use. Once inside, admire masterpieces that include the Baldacchino, La Pieta, the statue of St. Peter and more. While it is free to enter, this guided tour helps you make the most of it, without suffering the long lines. 
Important: If you wish to stay in the Vatican Museums toward the end of your tour, you must forgo the guided visit of St. Peter’s Basilica. If you choose to do this, you’ll lose the chance to use the special entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica from the Sistine Chapel and skip the lines with your guide. If you decide to leave the tour early, please remember to return your headset to the tour guide. In addition, if you follow our guide to St. Peter’s and would like to stay in the basilica longer, or would like to climb the St. Peter's Dome on your own, do not leave with your guide to take photos in the piazza once the tour is over. The regular security line is long and re-entry on your own is not recommended.

Pio-Clementino Museum and Nero’s Bathtub

On Wednesdays Only
If you take the Privileged Entrance Vatican Tour on a Wednesday, St. Peter's Basilica is substituted with a visit to the Pio-Clementino Museum and three of the most iconic statues in existence. Learn about the myths and legends associated with the Apollo Belvedere, Laocoön and His Sons and the Belvedere Torso. You'll also visit one of the biggest and oldest bathtubs you'll ever see, which is impossible to recreate, even today!