Visiting The Vatican Museums in Rome | Plan Your Visit

Vatican TicketsPlan Your Visit

Visiting Vatican

The Vatican City, which is the smallest state in the world, is a popular tourist destination for not only being one of the most sacred places in Christendom, but because it is home to many religious and cultural sites. At its center you will find St Peter's Basilica, erected over the tomb of St Peter the Apostle, which is the largest religious building in the world. The Vatican City sees close to 5 million visitors a year. If you are hoping to visit the Holy See Country, here is all the information you need that will need to plan your trip better, from opening hours to directions to the Vatican.

How to Visit the Vatican?

Spread across 44 hectares, the Vatican is the smallest country in the world. Two of the most popular tourist spots within the Vatican are the St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums. Thanks to its small size, the Vatican is easily accessible on foot, however, it would be extremely ambitious to try and visit both on the same trip. Apart from the fact that their opening hours are different, these are both sites that deserve time and attention so you can truly explore its vast offerings.

Vatican Museums

If you are inclined towards art and history, then the Vatican Museums, which houses the art collection within the Vatican City, is the attraction that should make it to the top of your list. One of the most visited art museums in the world, it is home to 54 galleries that features classical antiquities, as well as modern religious artworks. While you can cover the entire museum in a day, it can take you many days to view the many hallways and rooms filled with masterpieces.

St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica, on the other hand, is a Renaissance-style church located within the Vatican. It is still considered to be one of the most renowned works of Renaissance architecture and one of the holiest Catholic shrines. Inside you will find Michelangelo’s pietà, Vatican Grottoes, and the famous St Peter's Tomb. Make it a point to visit St. Peter's Square that was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini while visiting the Basilica.

Skip the Lines at Vatican

The Vatican is an extremely popular attraction and it is safe to expect long lines at the venue. In fact, if you visit the Vatican without tickets, you could find yourself waiting in line for up to 2 hours. However, it is not impossible to skip the lines. Book your tickets online to avoid the hassle and be sure to choose skip-the-line tickets to ensure a shorter wait line.
Know More >

Vatican Museum Opening Hours

From Monday to Saturday
8 AM to 7 PM.

Every last Sunday of the month
9 AM to 2 PM (Final entry at 12:30 PM)

This is only applicable when the last Sunday of the month does not coincide with Easter Sunday Christmas or New Year.

Closed: Sundays (except the last Sunday of each month), 1 and 6 January, 19 March, 1 April, 1 May, 29 June, 15 and 15 August, 1 November, 25, and 26 December.

What's the Best Time to Visit the Vatican Museums?

If you are hoping to visit during the low season, then plan a visit between October to March (excluding Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s). During this time you can expect lesser crowds, which makes enjoying the various attractions within the Vatican a hassle-free experience.

In order to explore all the galleries within the Vatican Museums, plan to spend at least 3-4 hours here. To avoid the rush, and fully explore all the artworks, plan your visit to the Vatican Museums for early morning or late afternoons on a weekday. On Wednesdays, during the Papal audience, you can avoid the long lines by visiting the Vatican Museums as the crowd waits outside the St Peter's Basilica.

Where is Vatican?

How to Reach The Vatican?

Getting to Vatican by Metro

By Metro

Duration: 11-15 minutes

  • Board the metro from Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, or Roma Termini.
  • Take Line A to the Ottaviano-S. Pietro station. From here, St. Peter’s Square is just a 5-minute walk away.
  • You can also alight at Cipro (8 mins) or Lepanto (16 mins) stations.
Getting to Vatican by bus

By Bus

Duration: 30-35 minutes

  • Bus 49 will stop at the square in front of the Vatican Museums.
  • You can also take 32, 81, 982, which stops at Piazza del Risorgimento (7 mins).
  • 492 and 990 will stop in Via Leone IV / Via degli Scipioni (5 mins).
Getting to Rome by tram

By Tram

Duration: 53 minutes

  • Take line number 19 running from Piazza dei Gerani.
  • The closest stop is Piazza del Risorgimento just outside the Vatican city walls.
  • A quick 7-minute walk will take you to Vatican Museum.

From the Rome airports

Do I Need a Passport to Visit Vatican?

The Vatican City is an independently recognized state thanks to the Lateran Pacts that were signed by Benito Mussolini in February 1929. However, despite being a sovereign state, it has no former border controls. It does not have its own airport or sea borders, and so the only way to enter the Vatican is through Italy. If you can enter Italy, then you can enter Vatican City. You can simply walk into St Peters Square to enter the Vatican.

Know Before You Visit Vatican Museums

Visiting with Family
Rules & Regulations
Vatican Museum Facilities
  • Cloakroom: Visitors can use the cloakrooms for no charge.
  • Audioguide: Have an MP3 reader accompany and guide you.
  • Lost & Found: Items that have not been claimed will be stored at the Vatican Gendarmery.
  • Post Office: Located adjacent to the Courtyard of the Cuirasses.
  • Bookshops: You will find many large and small bookshops throughout the Museum.
  • First aid: The staff is trained in emergency cardio-protective treatment.
  • Restrooms: Look out for the signposts to locate the restrooms.
Vatican museum accessibility
  • Free entry to all disabled visitors as well companions of visitors who are not self-sufficient. They will also be guaranteed priority skip the line entry.
  • Hire a wheelchair from the cloakroom (subject to availability). 
  • The Museums are accessible also to visitors on mobility scooters and with electric wheelchairs. However, in areas with space constraints, the visitor can transfer to a traditional wheelchair, which may be hired free of charge in the entrance hall.
  • Disability-friendly toilets are located throughout the museum.
Visiting Vatican with family
  • Strollers: Strollers are allowed entry. Families can use the special lifts for easy access to museum spaces.
  • Baby changing facilities: Some restrooms are equipped with changing facilities for babies and a nursing room.
  • Relaxation areas: Seats are located along the museum to enable the visitor to take a break and rest.
  • Children's menu: The Self Service corner of the Museums offers a special menu and high chairs.
  • Pre-booked lunch: Families can pre-book their lunch, which would ensure them a reserved table.
Vatican Rules & Regulations
  • Baldacchino: A canopy that rests over an altar or tomb, supported on columns.
  • Cartoon: Derived from the Italian word 'cartone', cartoon refers to a full-scale preparatory drawing for a fresco, oil painting, or tapestry.
  • Chiaroscuro: The use of strong contrasts between light and dark to achieve a sense of volume.
  • Fresco: A method of mural painting on plaster.
  • Icon: A sacred image.
  • Sarcophagus: A stone coffin.

How to Enter the Vatican?

While Vatican has no border policy as such, it does have a 2-mile long (3.2 km) brick wall surrounding the entirety of the country. However, you can simply walk in through one of the two entrances.

Vatican Museum Entrance

The Vatican Museums is accessible from Viale Vaticano on the Northside of the city-state. St. Peter's Basilica, on the Southeast side of the city, is accessible from Via della Conciliazione.

If you enter from St. Peter’s Square, to get to the Vatican Museums, you will have to take a right while facing St Peter’s Basilica and walk for about 15-20 minutes. Walk along Via Leone IV street until you reach your first left onto Viale Vaticano where you walk until you come to the entrance to the Vatican Museums.

In front of the Vatican Museum, you will find three different queues. The longest queue is likely to be the one for those who planned to purchase tickets on-site. A second queue, that starts near a yellow signboard is the one for those who purchased online tickets. The last line is reserved for those who have purchased skip-the-line tickets.

Know More About Vatican Museums Entrance >

Vatican City, Route Map

What is Inside Vatican Museums?

Gregorian Egyptian Museum- Vatican Museums

Gregorian Egyptian Museum

At the Gregorian Egyptian Museum, you can see sculptures, statues, and other objects that had been brought into Rome from Egypt, as well as some pieces of the Egyptian collection from the Hadrian`s Villa at Tivoli.

Pio Clementino Museum- Vatican Museums

Pio Clementino Museum

The museum is made of twelve different rooms that showcases pontifical collections of classical sculpture dating back to the original collection of pope Julius II (1503-1513) and, donations from collectors and antiquaries.

Inside Vatican Museum

Profane Museum

The museum was created to display the non-religious objects of the Carpegna, Vettori, and Assemani collections present in the museum at the time of its founding.

Inside Vatican Museum

Borgia Apartments

The Borgia Apartments are a suite of rooms that were used as a residence by Pope Alexander VI. He had commissioned Bernardino di Betto to decorate the rooms with frescos in the 19th century.

Inside Vatican Museums - Lapidary Gallery

Lapidary Gallery

Curated by Gaetano Marini, the Lapidary Gallery features a stone library with epigraphs that are written on slabs, bases, memorials, urns, altars and sarcophagi, dating from between the 1st century B.C. and the 6th century A.D.

Inside Vatican Museums

Gregoriano Profano Museum

At the Gregoriano Profano Museum you will find original Greek sculptures, reconstructions of Greek originals made during the Roman age, and sculptures of the Imperial Roman age.

Pinacoteca - Vatican Museum


Inaugurated in 1932, the Pinacoteca is home to 460 paintings by some of the greatest artists of the history of Italian painting, from Giotto, who ushered in the Italian Renaissance, to Raphael’s last painting.

Sistine Chapel

A chapel in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican City, the Sistine Chapel is known for the beautiful frescos created by Botticelli, Perugino, Pinturicchio, Ghirlandaio, Rosselli, and most importantly, Michelangelo.

Inside Vatican Museums

Raphael's Rooms

Four rooms form a part of the apartment in the Apostolic Palace that was chosen by Julius II della Rovere as his own residence and used also by his successors. These rooms are famous for the frescos painted by Raphael.

How To Book Vatican Tickets & Tours?

Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Guided Tour
Mobile Ticket
2 hr. 30 min.
Guided Tour
More details
Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
3 hr.
Guided Tour
More details
Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Tickets
1 hr.
Audio Guide
More details

All Your Questions About Visiting Vatican

Q. What are the Vatican opening hours?

A. Till 31 October 2021, Vatican will be open Monday to Thursday from 8.30 AM to 6.30 PM and on Friday and Saturday, from 8.30 AM to 10.30 PM. From 2 Nov 2021, Vatican will be open Monday to Saturday from 8.30 AM to 6.30 PM.

Q. When is the Vatican closed?

A. Vatican will be closed on 1 November, 8 December, and 25 December

Q. When is the best time to visit Vatican?

A. Plan a visit during early mornings and late afternoons on a weekday between October to March (excluding Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s) so you can enjoy Vatican with the least amount of crowd.

Q. Where is Vatican Museums located?

A. Vatican Museums is located at 00120, Vatican City.

Q. How do I get to Vatican Museums?

A. You can get to Vatican Museums via metro, bus or tram.

Q. Is there a bookstore at Vatican Musuem?

A. There are many small and big bookstores located throughout the Vatican Museum.

Q. Do visitors at Vatican get access to Wi-Fi?

A. For security reasons, there is no Wi-Fi coverage within the museum premises.

Q. Are dogs allowed inside Vatican Museums?

A. No animals, other than guide dogs for those who are visually impaired, are allowed inside the Vatican Museums.

Q. Is Vatican Museum fully accessible?

A. Vatican Museum can be accessed on wheelchair; they offer guided tours in sign language for deaf and hard of hearing visitors, and tactile and multi-sensory tours for visually impaired visitors, among other things.

Q. Are there items that are prohibited inside the Vatican Museum?

A. Luggage, suitcases, rucksacks, packages and containers not considered suitable by staff, umbrellas, sticks, tripods and stands for photography, video cameras, banners and signs of any type, knives, scissors and/or metal tools, firearm, or alcoholic beverages are not allowed inside the Vatican Museums.

Q. Can I take photographs inside the Vatican Museums?

A. Photography, for personal and domestic use, is allowed in all part of the Vatican Museums, apart from the Sistine Chapel. Flash photography is strictly forbidden.

Q. Can I use my phone inside the Vatican Museum?

A. The Vatican Museums strongly discourages the use of mobile phones inside the exhibition spaces. Keep your phone on silent mode. The use of mobile phones is strictly forbidden in the Sistine Chapel.

Q. Are there restrooms inside the Vatican Museums?

A. Yes, there are restrooms located all throughout the Vatican Museums. Just look out for the sign posts indicating where they are.