How to skip the line at the Vatican

Pandemic news:

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Rome is currently in a “Yellow Zone”, which means all sites in Rome are open but tickets for museums and other sites MUST now be booked in advance > [Read more about Covid zones in Italy]

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In a hurry? Left it too late? Don’t panic:

Get last-minute Vatican tickets here >

Otherwise read on…

The lines for the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel are notorious, and standing for often way more than an hour in the blazing summer sun can be miserable. Thankfully these days avoiding really long lines is very simple. 

First, though, choose what time to visit the Vatican – we recommend as early as possible in the day.

How to skip the line at the Vatican

  1. Buy a skip-the-lines ticket with audio guide for €29.70
  2. Get a VIP early entrance tour for €59
  3. Book a group guided tour
  4. Buy tickets online from the official Vatican ticket office
  5. Use a discount card / tourist pass

1. Buy a skip-the-lines ticket with audio guide

Buy a skip-the-lines Vatican ticket with audio guide for €29.70 per person here. This has many of the interpretive advantages of the guided option, but allows you to take your own time, skip parts, or linger over favorite pieces.

Get the ticket now >

2. Get a VIP early entrance tour for €59

With a guide and breakfast, this is without a doubt the most spectacular and pleasant way to visit the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. You are allowed in way before the hordes arrive, and are escorted to the stunning “Pinecone Courtyard” for a sumptuous buffet breakfast before being guided through the museums with exclusive access to the Upper Galleries (not normally open to the public) and have the Sistine Chapel almost to yourself. In our opinion this is the best time to visit the Vatican

Order your ticket now >

3. Book a group guided tour

Book a group guided tour for €49 per person. This has the advantage at the Vatican of allowing you to skip the line into St Peter’s Basilica too. More about that here.

4. Buy a basic ticket online ahead of time

Buy basic entry tickets directly online from the official Vatican ticket office. Basic entry tickets are €17 each (€8 concession) + €4 booking fee each, and are only valid for the date and time booked. Warning: this site sometimes has problems with non-Italian credit and debit cards.
Locals’ tip: if seeking a reduced entry ticket for children between 6 and 18 years of age, you MUST bring their official ID (i.e. passport) to prove their age. If you’re a student you must bring an internationally recognized student ID.

5. Use a Discount Card / Tourist Pass

Buy a discount card such as the downloadable Rome Tourist Card (which is like the Roma Pass but includes the Vatican). All of these solutions allow you to walk past the lines and give you a heap of benefits such as free transport, etc.

Vatican museums key info

Opening hours
Monday – Saturday: 9 am – 6 pm (last entrance at 4 pm)
Sunday: closed (except the last Sunday of every month when the museums are free)

The museums are closed on the following days:
In addition to most Sundays, 1 January, 11 February 19 March, 22 April, 1 May, 29 June, 14 & 15 August, 1 November, 25 & 26 December. See the best time to visit the Vatican Museums >

Nearest metro: Ottaviano (Linea A)

Click map to enlarge


How Vatican Tickets work

For methods 1 and 3 you will be emailed a voucher, that you then need to convert into a ticket. If you don’t have a printer, Vatican staff will inspect the PDF from your cellphone at the door.

Having this voucher will allow you to skip the long, long line and enter via the right-hand side of the entrance (see map) – where there may still be a line, but a much shorter one – after which you will need to verify your printout at the ticket booths just after security (where there may be yet another – but relatively short – line).

Be warned though, at certain times of the year, e.g. around Easter, even the lines for people with tickets are long.

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Photo credit: AFP

Tickets in advance!

Because of Covid-19 precautions, you now have to
buy tickets in advance to visit attractions in Rome.

Buy your tickets now to avoid disappointment.