Vatican: tickets, opening hours and free entry

Last Updated on February 23, 2024 by Dina

WHERE IS THE VATICAN? 

The Vatican is located in Rome. Yes, it’s not another city far away from Rome—the Vatican is just a few meters away from the other sights of Rome and can be reached with the metro.

Although it is an independent state—the smallest in the world, in fact—no one will ask you for a passport nor will you cross any kind of border.

It is literally the center of the Catholic Church, and the Pope is the head state. Even if you are not religious, a visit to the Vatican is worth it to see the famous St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the famous museums of the Vatican.

vatican tickets and entrance

A visit to the Vatican includes:

  1. the Peter’s square and the Basilica of St. Peter, which are both FREE, and
  2. the Vatican Museums, which require a ticket.

TICKETS AT THE VATICAN 

*** It is highly recommended to purchase The Vatican Tickets online many days in advance from here ***

Ticket prices for the Vatican museums:

  • 31,00 €: adult ticket
  • 20,00 €: reduced for children aged between 7 and 18 years
  • free: children below the age of 5 

You can buy tickets for the Vatican online via Paypal or debit card on this website.  They offer “fast-track entry” allowing you to skip the queue. Entrance to the Sistine Chapel is also included.

Remember that St. Peter’s Basilica still remains a church, so they ask guests to be dressed “appropriately.” What does this mean? Short shorts, mini skirts, and tank tops are forbidden!

 

 

VATICAN OPENING HOURS

The opening hours of the St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican are as follows: 7:00 to 19:00 from April to September and 7:00 to 18:30 from October to March.

The Vatican Museums in 2024 are open: from Monday to Saturday from 9.00 to 18.00. Last admission at 16.00.

The museums in 2024 will be closed on Sundays and the following dates: February 11, April 10, May 1, June 29, August 15 and 16, November 1, December 8, and December 25 and 26.

The closest metro stop for the Vatican is Ottaviano-San Pietro , line A.

stairs vatican

FREE ENTRY TO THE VATICAN MUSEUMS  

If you want to save some euros, remember that on the last Sunday of every month from 9 am to 2 pm the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel are FREE! But arm yourself with patience—the queues are endless. 

vatican square

Keep in mind that many people start queuing as early as 7 am. Honestly, in my opinion, I don’t believe it’s worth the hassle just to save some euros.

THE SWISS GUARDS

Certainly, no one visited the Vatican and did not leave without taking a picture of the Pope’s Swiss Guards, who are dressed in colorful uniforms. But why are Swiss Guards in the Vatican? The Swiss Guards have been serving as the official guards of the Pope and the Vatican since the 16th century because of their reputation as skilled and loyal soldiers, and Switzerland’s political neutrality. They protect the Pope, guard the entrances to the Vatican, and provide security during important events and ceremonies. They are also responsible for the safety and security of the Vatican City State. 

 

 

vatican guard

ARE THERE ENORMOUS QUEUES? 

It is estimated that around 20,000 tourists visit the Vatican State every summer. It is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The queues are a bit scary (especially in St. Peter’s Square), but since the entry is ticket-free and only a simple security check is done, the queues move quickly.

The queues at the Vatican Museums are also famous, but I must say, during my visit, which was on a Friday afternoon in March, I did not find a single person in the queue. It might have been a lucky coincidence, but I would advise anyone to visit in the afternoon.

There is also the option to buy tickets online from here or to go with a group.

💎 My Pretty Travels Tip:  just like I said in a previous post about the Colosseum, if anyone approaches you and tells you that you can enter the Vatican Museums without waiting in line, DO NOT PAY IN ADVANCE. They will probably take your money and disappear. It is a very famous scam, unfortunately! The best case scenario (which happened to a friend of mine) is that they’ll put you together with a group, so you will skip the queue, but they will ask you to pay for the ticket that includes the tour (but you won’t have access to the tour!)

WHERE TO GO AFTER THE VATICAN 

A visit to the Vatican and the museums can take from 2 to 6 hours, depending on the crowds, the queues, whether you’re with a tour guide and of course how much time you spend on each artwork. Most people spend a whole day in this tiny country-state, as part of an easy-going schedule. If you’re looking for other attractions to visit nearby, Castel Sant’Angelo is a 15-minute walk.

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