Ultimate St. Peter's Basilica Dome Climb and Tour with Papal Crypts

See St. Peter’s Basilica up close and climb the dome for the best views of Rome and the Vatican

Travel Flexibly 4.9 / 5 See All 92 Reviews · 2.50h · Vatican, Italy

Want to add a bit more “epic” into your Vatican visit? Look no further! Climbing the dome at St. Peter’s Basilica is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, giving you the ultimate view across the Vatican and the city of Rome. After your climb, your expert local guide will show you the beautiful details of the Basilica and tell stories of its fascinating history, and you'll also head underground to see the elaborate Papal Crypts. There’s no better way to see the world’s largest and most famous church!

  • Climb the Dome
  • Meet your guide at Largo Del Colonnato
  • 1st level of St. Peter's Dome
  • Top of the St. Peter's Dome
  • St. Peter's Basilica
  • La Pietá
  • Papal Crypts
  • Baldacchino
  • St. Peter's Statue
  • End your tour inside the St. Peter's Basilica

You’ll meet your friendly local guide and group in front of St. Peter’s Basilica soon after it opens and begin your dome climb. After taking the elevator to the first level to admire the elaborate mosaics, you can ascend the narrow, ancient stairway to the very top, where you’ll have an unbeatable view of Rome and the Vatican.

Afterwards, your guide will give you an in-depth tour inside the basilica itself, where you’ll learn its history and see the artistic masterpieces of Michelangelo and Bernini. Finally, you’ll head down to the Papal Crypts underneath the church, where the elaborate tombs of many former popes are housed.

Looking for more? Book our money-saving combo tour to climb St. Peter's before visiting the Vatican and Sistine Chapel.

St. Peter’s Dome Climb Tour Description

Your 2.5-hour tour includes:

  • Entry to St. Peter's Basilica

  • Guided climb to the top of the dome

  • Guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica and Papal Crypts

  • A friendly, knowledgeable, English-speaking guide

  • A maximum group size of 20

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. 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.

From the first tier, you’ll have the option to climb even higher, with 320 ancient stone steps leading you to very top of the dome. It's a little strenuous on the legs and 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

You'll return to ground level for a more in-depth look into the largest church in the world. Your expert guide will show you around the various areas inside and 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. Your ticket also allows you to marvel in the elegance of St. Peter’s Basilica for as long as you’d like after the tour has finished, so you can return for a closer look at any of the artwork or important features here.

Visit the Papal Crypts

From the very top of St. Peter's Basilica, you'll descend to the very 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. 

On occasion, the papal crypts can be closed to the public at very short notice. But don't worry, your guide knows every inch of the Basilica and will use the time to explore other fascinating areas and artworks.

What you get with this tour
Passionate English-speaking guide
Climb St. Peter's Dome
St. Peter's Basilica
La Pieta
Papal Crypts
Group size of 20
Tour guide gratuities
Meal
Hotel pick-up
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92 total reviews

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4.9/5 (based on 92 reviews)
5 stars
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1 stars
Great guided tour
13 May 2024
W
Reviewed by
Wendy Samson

We took this tour early in the morning and there were less crowds. We were glad this included skip the line tickets, as the crowds grew quickly. The climb inside the dome was fun and the views from the dome were amazing. Our guide was well-versed on the history and extremely knowledgeable. He made the tour very interesting.

11 May 2024
D
Reviewed by
Daniel Slatt

07 May 2024
S
Reviewed by
Sharon McGregor

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Frequently Asked Questions

What to bring?

Comfortable shoes, a bottle of water, and a great camera!

What to bring?

Comfortable shoes, a bottle of water, and a great camera!

Does this tour visit the Vatican Museums?

This tour doesn't include the Vatican Museums. However, if you're interested in touring the Vatican after your tour, consider our Skip the Line Vatican Tour with Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica.

Does this tour run on Wednesdays?

This tour isn't available on Wednesdays due to Papal Audience, which is held every Wednesday morning.

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.

What if have claustrophobia?

Some parts of the stairway to the very top of the dome become very narrow and may not be suitable for people with severe claustrophobia. If you don't think this climb is for you, you're welcome to skip this part and stay on the first level, where you'll still have a fantastic view of the Vatican from the terrace.

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

The dome climb is optional and you're welcome to just take the elevator to the first level, but anyone wishing to climb should be prepared for 320 steps up and down. Otherwise, the tour will move at a fairly gentle pace with a few small stairways and uneven floors. If you're unsure, we'd suggest considering a private Vatican, St. Peter's Basilica, and Sistine Chapel Tour so we can tailor it to your needs.

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