Skipping The Lines At The Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel
The Vatican is a must-see for everyone visiting Rome and it’s popularity manifests itself in the form of the queues that line up outside the Vatican. Every day, thousands upon thousands people flock to the holy city to marvel at its architecture and massive collection of Renaissance artworks and paintings from other periods as well. The queue of people waiting to get inside the Vatican is known to stretch for hours on end. If you end up at the Vatican without your tickets, then be prepared to stand in the ticket line for up to 2 hours before you’re able to even purchase your tickets.
Know Your Queue at Vatican Museums
There are 3 queues to enter the Vatican Museums. Make sure you’re standing in the right queue so that you don’t waste time.
- Queue 1: The first is for those looking to purchase tickets on the spot. The wait times extend up to 2 hours during peak season.
- Queue 2: The second queue is for those who have purchased normal admission tickets online. The wait time can go up to 45 minutes on a normal day.
- Queue 3: The third and fastest queue is for those who have purchased skip-the-line tickets online. To save time, purchase these Skip the Line tickets and gain priority entry.
How To Skip The Queues At The Vatican?
Buy Skip-the-line Tickets
The line to purchase tickets as well as for visitors who have purchased tickets online are notoriously long. If you plan to purchase tickets at the venue, you might end up waiting in line for almost 2 hours, while you would have to wait up to an hour to enter with standard entry tickets. The only guaranteed way to skip the line at Vatican Museums is by purchasing online skip-the-line tickets. With these tickets, you can make your way to the third queue, which is the shortest, and make a beeline to the entrance of the Vatican Museums.
Purchase Tickets Online
Not purchasing your tickets online in advance is a cardinal mistake. The massive queue of people lining up outside the Vatican Museums is for those who are yet to purchase their tickets. If you purchase your tickets online in advance, then you will be able to bypass the queue and head straight to the security. There may be a small line at the security but it moves fast and cannot be avoided. Purchasing tickets online will cut your waiting time from a few hours (ticket queue + security) to a few minutes (security).
Visit During Early Hours
The best time to visit the Vatican is either early morning when the gates open or late afternoon. Mid-morning to early afternoon is usually the busiest period as the Vatican is thronged by tourists. Waves of people get down off their tourist buses where the queue ends, adding to its length and waiting time. Once the early wave of tourists lessen, the queue shortens down, but is still pretty formidable. If you have purchased your tickets online, then this won’t affect you anyway and you should be able to enter the Vatican Museums comfortably.
Skip-the-line Guided Tours
Guided tours are one of the best ways to discover Vatican City and its monuments. Apart from providing you with abundant knowledge, these tours also give you priority access to the central attractions of the Vatican City - St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel. With skip-the-line tickets, you will not have to wait in the long entrance lines or queue up to buy a ticket. Your guide will lead you past these hurdles and allow you to enter the sites with ease.
- You can visit the Vatican Museums in peace on Wednesdays as much of the crowd would be trying to get a glimpse of the Pope.
- Avoid visiting the Vatican on weekends, if possible.
- At the moment the extraordinary openings on Sunday, which allows people to visit the Vatican for free is suspended.
- Try to plan your trip in a way so that you have ample time to explore. This is another reason why it is best to plan your trip during the early hours.
- Follow the rules & regulations in place. Only appropriately dressed visitors are allowed inside. If visiting during the summer, at the very least, carry a scarf with you, so that you are not turned away after waiting in line.