St. Peter's Dome Climb and Sistine Chapel Combo Tour

Save money while seeing Rome from above, the Papal Crypts below, and the Vatican museums nearby

Travel Flexibly 4.9 / 5 See All 461 Reviews · 5.00h · Vatican, Italy

Looking for a Vatican tour that lets you do more than the average tour? Our combination tour stars early at St. Peter’s, climbs the dome, explores the Papal Crypts, then skips the line at the Vatican to see the Sistine Chapel. Start with a bang thanks to a breathtaking elevator ride and climb up St. Peter’s iconic dome for an unforgettable view across the Vatican and Rome. Join your expert Vatican guide for an in-depth journey through the art, history, and famous landmarks of this holy city.

  • Guided Tour
  • Meet your guide at Largo Del Colonnato
  • St Peter's Square
  • Dome climb
  • St. Peter's Basilica
  • Papal Crypts
  • Vatican Museums
  • Pinecone Courtyard
  • Candelabra Gallery
  • Pio-Clementino Museum
  • Gallery of Maps
  • Hall of Tapestries
  • Raphael Rooms
  • The Last Judgement
  • Sistine Chapel
  • End inside the Vatican Museums

The Vatican City is home to many bucket-list attractions, and the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica are definitely at the top of the list. However, climbing St. Peter’s Dome isn't included in most tours, which is why this is a top-selling Vatican tour for those who want the full experience.

You'll meet your expert local guide early this morning in front St. Peter’s Basilica, and along with a small group, you'll take the elevator to the first floor of the inner dome for spectacular views of the mosaics here. Then ascend the final 320 steps that take you to the top of the dome where you'll have an unbeatable view of the Vatican and Rome. A guided tour of the Basilica and papal crypts is up next, so you can enjoy the incredible and massive art collection found here. Next, skip the line at the Vatican Museums for an in-depth guided tour of the famed artwork, beautiful galleries, and Michelangelo’s incredible Sistine Chapel.

Complete Vatican Combo Tour Description

Your 5-hour tour includes:

  • Early entry to St. Peter's Basilica

  • Access to the elevator and stairs to the top of St. Peter's dome

  • Guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica and papal crypts

  • Skip-the-line entry to the Vatican Museums

  • Guided tour of Vatican Museums

  • See inside Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel

  • A professional, fun, English-speaking guide

  • Small group size of 20 people max

Climb St. Peter’s Dome

Get ready for the best view in all of Rome! Once inside St. Peter's Basilica, you'll follow your guide up the elevator to lower level of the dome and skip past the first 231 steps. This first level is filled with incredibly elaborate mosaics that cover the inside of the dome, and you'll also get a chance to step outside onto the terrace and embrace an iconic view of the Vatican City and St. Peter's Square.

From the upper terrace, you’ll have the option to climb even higher, with 320 ancient stone steps leading you to very top of the dome. The stairway gets narrow and a little claustrophobic in parts, but the reward at the top will make it all worthwhile! This is a truly epic view of the Vatican and the historic center of Rome, and it's our favorite way to introduce travelers to the Eternal City.

Guided Tour of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Papal Crypts

You'll return to ground level for a more in-depth look into the largest church in the world. Your expert guide will point out the most iconic artworks of the Basilica, including Michelangelo’s Pietà and Bernini’s Baldacchino. Among the most famous things you'll see in the Basilica are the spectacular throne and high altar of St. Peter—built directly above his final resting place.

From the top of St. Peter's Basilica, you'll descend to the bottom! Buried in beautiful caskets and effigies below the Basilica are the remains of many of the Catholic church's former popes. Your guide will tell you all about the men buried here and the part they played in Catholic history, and you'll be able to admire the intricate details of the tombs, many of which were designed by Michelangelo and Bernini.

There are times that the basilica closes the crypts to public access. If this happens, your guide will ensure you see other amazing places at the Basilica.

Highlights of the Vatican Museums

After your St. Peter's experience, you'll skip the line and begin your in-depth exploration of the rest of the Vatican City. You'll follow your guide through the Candelabra Gallery, Gallery of the Tapestries, and Gallery of Maps, admiring the ancient Roman and Greek statues, the Flemish tapestries created by Raphael's students, and the gorgeous topographical depictions of Italy. You'll hear the stories behind these treasures from your expert guide as the Vatican secrets are slowly unveiled to you.

Pio-Clementino Museum

This museum houses some of the world's most famous statues, including Laocoön and His Sons and the Belvedere Torso. Your guide will tell you all about the history and legends surrounding the art, as well as Emperor Nero’s bathtub—an opulent 25-foot tub made of rare red marble. And you'll see the incredible sarcophagus of St. Helen, the mother of Constantine.

The Raphael Rooms

After the Middle Ages, Europe saw a new age of amazing art, literature, and thought. Raphael is one of the most famous Renaissance artists and some of his most well-known works of art reside in the Vatican Museums. Your guide will show you the rooms he frescoed and one of his most famous works of art, The School of Athens.

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel is the most famous chapel in the world, and it’s easy to understand why. Michelangelo’s collective masterpieces include over 600 figures, and words cannot do it justice. Take in the wonder of the chapel and examine the vivid depictions of biblical stories from Genesis to Revelations. You'll also see see the famous Creation of Man and the Last Judgement.

As the Sistine Chapel is a place of worship, speaking inside is forbidden. Your guide will give you an overview before entering, and we'll also provide you a map/handout to identify each fresco you look at.

As a deeply religious site, everyone who enters the Sistine Chapel must cover their knees and shoulders. Otherwise, you may be refused entry to this portion of your tour. A great option is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. That way, you can cover your knees and shoulders when necessary.

Want to See More of the Vatican Museums?

After the Sistine Chapel, you'll have the option to stay in the Vatican Museums to continue exploring on your own.

What you get with this tour
Skip the line tickets
Elevator tickets
Passionate English speaking guide
Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel
St. Peter's Basilica
Group size of 20
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461 total reviews

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4.9/5 (based on 461 reviews)
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Incredible experience
24 May 2024
Reviewed by
Margaret Lester

Valentina was our guide and she was amazing!! So knowledge and made our wait to get into the Vatican entertaining. Very crowded inside even though we were there early in the morning. The climb was exhausting and very narrow in parts. But worth it for the beautiful views from the dome. The Vatican museum was also worth it though very crowded and the tour felt a bit rushed in parts but we had a lot to see! And we hit the highlights- I honestly was ready to go by the end but we did have the option to go back through other museum parts afterwards as the tour ended inside the museum.

Great tour
24 May 2024
Reviewed by
frank klanduch

Valentina was fantastic guide and tour was excellent

24 May 2024
Reviewed by
Cole Cunningham

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Frequently Asked Questions

What to bring?

Since this is a walking tour, be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring a bottle of water.

What to bring?

Since this is a walking tour, be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring a bottle of water.

Can I see the Vatican without a guided tour?

Yes, you can reserve tickets to enter the Vatican without a guided tour. Click here for skip the line Vatican tickets.

What if I have concerns about my mobility on this tour?

If you have any doubts about your mobility, we suggest taking a Vatican Private Tour so your needs can be better accommodated.

Does the Vatican ever experience unexpected closures?

During state visits or special religious events, parts of the Vatican may be closed unexpectedly and without much notice. If an area normally visited during a tour is suddenly closed, our guide will still provide explanations of the closed areas from outside. They will even show you another gallery to compensate for the lost time in a usual location.

Will the Vatican Museums be crowded during this tour?

While we do our best to arrange the order of the tour to avoid the largest crowds, there is a chance the museums may be crowded while we are inside since the tour begins with the dome climb and visit to St. Peter's.

Why does this tour visit St. Peter's Basilica twice?

This tour combines our Ultimate St. Peter's Basilica Dome Climb with our Skip the Line Vatican Tour with Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Basilica so you can climb St. Peter's Dome and get a guided tour of the Vatican Museums. This means that some of the guests on your guided tour of the Vatican Museums will not have been part of your original dome climb tour. If you do not wish to enter the Basilica again, you can forgo the visit and stay inside of the Vatican Museums.

Is there a dress code to enter the religious sites on this tour?

We ask both men and women to cover knees and shoulders, otherwise you may be refused entry to religious sites and miss out on a portion of your tour. We understand the summers in Rome can be hot, so a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. That way, you can cover your knees and shoulders when necessary.

Is there an elevator I can take instead of climbing?

On this guided tour, everyone will enjoy the use of the elevator to skip the first 231 steps and emerge at the landing inside the dome. From there, you can either admire the view from the terrace or climb the remaining 320 steps on foot.

Start From: $134.98

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