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St. Peter’s Basilica is a working church – the largest in the world – and is therefore free to enter. It’s inside the borders of Vatican City (what’s the difference between St Peter’s and the Vatican?) but the public are allowed just walk into it from Rome’s streets.

Lines to get in to Michelangelo’s famous basilica, which snake round the grand cloisters around the outside of the square, can be extremely long, and though they move fast can appear rather daunting. There are, however, several ways to skip the lines – none of which are free.

Key data

Opening hours:
Apr-Sep: 7am – 7pm
Oct-Mar: 7am – 6pm
Nearest Metro: Ottaviano
Dress code: knees and shoulders must be covered

Method 1: rent an audio guide

This inexpensive insider tip can get you past the hundreds of tourists and straight to the head of the line (though you will of course still have to pass through the security gate). An additional byproduct is that you have an audio guide to interpret the hundreds of incredible artifacts in the church. Support this site by renting an audio guide for €15 per person here.

Method 2: take a guided tour of the Vatican Museums and St Peter’s

Guests on a guided Vatican tour also get privileged access to a special ceremonial Papal corridor that goes directly from the Sistine Chapel into St Peter’s Basilica. Please note that this only applies to visitors with an authorized guide: people on standard tickets to the Vatican Museums are diverted to the exit of the museums on the other side of the Vatican. The advantage of this is that you end your Vatican tour in St Peter’s with all of the expertise that this will bring. Read more about guided tours of the Vatican.

Method 3: take a guided group tour of St Peter’s Basilica

A professional guide to St. Peter’s Basilica will meet you outside and bring you to a special, much shorter line that will whisk you past the hordes and straight in. Help this site by booking a guided tour of St Peter’s Basilica for €32 per adult. Such a tour lasts for around 90 minutes will bring the artworks and vast architecture to life.

Method 4: book a private guided tour of St Peter’s Basilica

The ‘luxury’ option. With a private tour guide you can make your own schedule and concentrate on the things that interest you. Help this site by booking a private guided tour of St Peter’s Basilica for €108 per adult. Whether you’re interested in the chapels, the cupola, the mosaics, or the mummified popes, with a private tour you call the shots.

Book an audio guide for St Peter's Basilica

Skip the lines for only €15 per head, and benefit from expert interpretation of the church.

Group tour of St Peter's Basilica

Skip the lines to St Peter’s Basilica with a professional guide for only €32 per adult.

Private tour of St Peter's Basilica

You call the shots and set your own itinerary with this special private tour for €108 per adult.