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21 BEST Vatican Tours in Rome (selected by an Italian)

Looking for Vatican Tours in Rome? The Vatican is one of the key places to visit in the city, and in this article, you’ll find the most memorable visits to the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. Check them out!

Vatican City is the smallest independent state in the world and it can be found in the heart of Rome, surrounded by it. One of the major draws of the Vatican is its religious significance, being home to the  Pope, the head of the Catholic Church. However, Vatican City is also a center for art and culture. 

The Vatican Museums house artistic treasures of the likes of Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Raphael, Caravaggio, and Botticelli. The world-class frescos, paintings, and sculptures are the second most important reason why the Vatican is visited, along with its architecture. 

The Vatican has a rich history that goes back hundreds of years and has been the protagonist of many conspiracies, best-selling novels, and historic events. All of which you’ll get to learn during a Vatican guided tour! 

In this article, you’ll find the best Vatican tours in Rome, offering everything from museums and Sistine Chapel visits to a Papal Audience, early entry tickets, and family-friendly tours. Read on! 

👉 Why trust my choices? I grew up in Bologna, a few hours away from Rome, and have visited the Vatican many, many times. With 10 years in the travel industry, I know which tours stand out. I carefully selected tours that give you a real feel for the Vatican’s history and beauty, making sure you get the best experience possible.

I usually use Viator, Get Your Guide, and Walks to book activities around the world. I especially recommend them for their fantastic cancellation policy, which allows you to cancel most tours up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund. 

OUR PICKS: The BEST Vatican Tours in Rome 

▶️ The Original Entire Vatican City Tour & St. Peter’s Dome Climb allows you to experience the Vatican like never before. Kick off your day with a dome-climbing adventure up St. Peter’s Basilica, from where you’ll enjoy jaw-dropping views over Rome and Vatican City. 

With an art historian guide, explore the Basilica, Vatican Museums, and Sistine Chapel, delving into its significance and history. The best part? You’ll get to skip all the lines at the entrance, bypassing the crowds. 

Unveil the wonders of the world’s most significant museum complex, showcasing ancient art and sculpture, in merely half a day. 

📝 This Vatican City tour includes: A guide, a tour of St. Peter’s Basilica with Dome climb, and skip-the-line access to the Vatican Museums. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Beat the crowds and dive straight into the marvels of Vatican City with this Complete Early Morning Vatican Tour: Small Group with Breakfast. Explore the Gallery of Maps, where history and geography entwine in captivating frescoes, visit the awe-striking Sistine Chapel, and marvel at the world-renowned tapestries in the Gallery of Tapestries. 

You’ll also get a chance to be blown away by the sheer grandeur of St. Peter’s Basilica, and stand in front of Michelangelo’s Pietà, and Bernini’s Baldachin. Enjoy exclusive access, savor breakfast, and relish a personalized experience with this small group tour. 

📝 This tour includes: A guide, Vatican entrance before the general public, skip-the-line tickets for St. Peter’s Basilica, and breakfast. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Discover Rome’s treasures without the hassle on this Group Skip-the-Line Vatican Tour with Sistine Chapel & St. Peter’s Basilica. Benefitting from your guide’s engaging commentary you’ll get to explore in-depth the Vatican Museum, and immerse yourself in the captivating Sistine Chapel to marvel at Michelangelo’s masterpieces. 

Stroll through the world’s smallest city, Vatican City, and snap pictures of the pontifical bodyguards dressed in Renaissance uniforms along the way. 

Wrap up your adventure at St. Peter’s Basilica, skipping the lengthy queues and standing in awe at its magnificence. Plus, get insider tips and offbeat sightseeing suggestions from your leader. 

📝 This Vatican guided tour includes: A guide, and skip-the-line access at the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

The Most Exclusive Vatican Tour: The Experience of a Lifetime

Step into the extraordinary with the most exclusive tour in town: Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Key Master’s Tour in Rome. Join the Vatican’s revered Key Master on an unforgettable journey through the 500-year-old Vatican Museums. 

Experience the magic of dawn as you unlock the doors to stunning galleries and chapels before the crowds show up. You will marvel at Michelangelo’s masterpieces in the Sistine Chapel, and wander through the Vatican’s treasures with the sole company of your small group and the head clavigero

Be enthralled by the fascinating 20,000 exhibited pieces as they flicker to life for the day, and get up close to the most coveted art pieces without having to fight the masses. 

📝 This Vatican key master tour includes: Vatican Museums entry ticket, and an official Vatican guide. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

The BEST Early Entry Vatican Tours

▶️ Delight in a tranquil escape into the heart of the Vatican with the Pristine Sistine Early Entrance Small Group Vatican Tour. You’ll be one of the first visitors of the day, getting to witness Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel without pushing through crowds. 

With exclusive access, explore the Raphael Rooms and the Vatican Museums with up to 15 other people, ensuring a personalized excursion. An expert guide will lead the way and reveal fascinating secrets hidden within the artwork of Italy’s greats. 

Cap off the experience with a special passage to St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the major landmarks of the Vatican. 

Pristine Sistine Early Entrance Small Group Vatican Tour

📝 This tour includes: A guide, a walking tour, and skip-the-line access to the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Get ready for an extraordinary journey through the Vatican’s artistic treasures on an Exclusive Early Access Vatican Semi Private Tour | with Private Option. Skip the lines with early entrance to the Vatican Museums, and explore its highlights, including the Gallery of Candelabras, the Gallery of Tapestries, Pinecone Courtyard, and the Raphael Rooms without the crowds.

Then, you’ll head to the Sistine Chapel, where Michelangelo’s awe-striking frescoes, The Creation of Adam and The Last Judgment, await. You’ll finish the tour with a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica, where some of the most remarkable pieces of art can be found. This trip is for a small group of up to six people, and can be upgraded into a private Vatican tour in the early morning. 

📝 This Vatican early access tour includes: A guide, early entry to the Vatican Museums, skip-the-line tickets to the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica, and a private option. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Indulge in a Breakfast: Vatican, Sistine Chapel & St Peter’s Basilica Tour to beat the rush hour with an early start. This exclusive morning visit includes an Italian-American breakfast buffet at the Vatican Museums, and exclusive access to the major attractions. 

You’ll get to explore the Museums before the public arrives, and marvel at the renowned Sistine Chapel in a more intimate setting. With skip-the-line access, you’ll breeze into St. Peter’s Basilica through a reserved entrance, getting to discover art masterpieces like Michelangelo’s Pietà and Bernini’s baldacchino canopy. 

This unique tour guarantees an intimate adventure and a heavenly start to your day in the heart of Rome.

📝 This tour includes: A guide, a breakfast buffet, a guided tour of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica with entrance tickets, and headsets. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Vatican Night Tours

▶️ With this Exclusive After Hours Sistine Chapel Tour with Aperitivo, enjoy an unforgettable journey to Vatican City. Discover the Vatican Museums’ hidden treasures, including the Candelabra Gallery, Gallery of Tapestries, and Gallery of Maps. 

Learn fascinating stories from your guide as you roam around the rooms, and then head to the Sistine Chapel long before the crowds have departed. You’ll stand in awe at its attractions with just 100 other people around you…instead of the usual 2 thousand! 

To top it off, indulge in a delightful Italian aperitivo in Pinecone Courtyard after the visit. 

📝 This Vatican after hours tour includes: Skip-the-line access to the Vatican, after-hours entrance to the Sistine Chapel, a tour guide, and an aperitivo. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Join this Vatican Museums Night Tour with Sistine Chapel to benefit from the after-hours access that will allow you to explore the attractions without the daytime masses. 

You’ll be accompanied by a small group and an expert guide who will lead the way around the Vatican Museums and its rooms. Marvel at ancient sculptures like Apollo Belvedere, soak in the mesmerizing frescoes, and unravel captivating stories behind the artworks. 

Finally, bask in the celestial beauty of the Sistine Chapel as your guide unveils its secrets. With skip-the-line tickets and insider knowledge, this Vatican at-night tour is an art lover’s dream come true!

Vatican Museums Night Tour with Sistine Chapel

📝 This Vatican evening tour includes: A guide, after-hours access to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, and a headset. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

St. Peter’s Basilica Tours & Dome Climb 

▶️ Unveil the secrets of the Vatican’s most religious building with the St. Peter’s Basilica with Dome Climb and Crypt Tour. On this extraordinary excursion, you’ll beat the crowds as you step into the hallowed St. Peter’s Square at the break of dawn. 

Ascend 231 steps to the majestic dome, where Rome’s stunning vistas will leave you breathless, and delve deep into the basilica’s wonders with an expert guide. From Bernini’s magnificent Baldachin to Michelangelo’s awe-inspiring Pietá, every masterpiece is worthy of your undivided attention as you explore the Basilica’s interiors. Cap off the trip with a visit to the papal crypt. 

It’s not quite a Vatican necropolis (catacombs) tour, which would take you yet one more level below the Basilica, but you’ll get to see the tombs of the Popes.  

📝 This tour includes: St. Peter’s Basilica and Dome Climb access, and a guide. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Unravel the rich history and divine beauty of the Vatican on this St. Peter’s Basilica & Cupola Guided tour with Breakfast. Marvel at Michelangelo’s masterpieces, including the dome and La Pietà sculpture, and delve into 2000 years of history as you explore the holiest of Roman Catholic sites with an expert. 

Marvel at Bernini’s striking Baldacchino, visit the tomb of Pope John Paul II, and soak in the grandeur of St. Peter’s Square, home to the iconic Egyptian Obelisk. You’ll also enjoy a tasty Italian breakfast with your guide and fellow visitors!

📝 This Vatican breakfast tour includes: A guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Cupola with entry tickets, headsets, and breakfast at Al San Michele. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

The Best Vatican Private Tours

▶️ Unravel the Vatican’s artistic wonders like a true VIP on this Private Early Bird Vatican Tour. Gain exclusive access to the world-renowned Vatican Museums, filled with stunning Renaissance masterpieces, and explore the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica with your own guide. 

You’ll also get to access the Belvedere Courtyard and marvel at the intricate Tapestries Gallery, and the Gallery of Maps, two of the major draws of the Vatican Museums. Upgrade to include priority entry into the Raphael Rooms for the ultimate experience. A divine journey awaits in the world’s smallest state!

📝 This Vatican private tour includes: A guide, tickets to the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica, and hotel pick-up and drop-off if you select the Luxury Option. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Unlock the secrets of the Vatican on an exclusive Private Vatican Museums Tour with Sistine Chapel & St. Peter’s Basilica. Your guide will whisk you past the crowds, straight into the heart of art and history as you explore the awe-inspiring Vatican Museums. 

You’ll find artwork by Renaissance legends like Michelangelo and Raphael, and stand in awe under the Sistine Chapel’s heavenly frescoes. Admire Michelangelo’s divine La Pietà at St. Peter’s Basilica, and witness the optical illusions of Bernini’s colonnades in the square. With insider commentary and priority access, this is one of the best private Vatican tours for art lovers!

📝 This Vatican and Sistine Chapel tour includes: A private tour, a guide, and reserved access to the attractions. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Join this Private Vatican Hidden Gems Tour to adventure through the Vatican Museums with your own group of people. Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, marvel at Raphael and Caravaggio’s masterpieces, and uncover hidden gems the crowds usually miss.

You’ll wander around the Sistine Chapel, checking out its impressive frescoes, and fast-track enter St. Peter’s Basilica in this Vatican VIP tour. Delight in the expertise of your private guide as they lead you through rooms rarely seen by the public, telling you the secrets of the Vatican’s vast art collection. 

Admire the revered Lacoon and Belvedere Torso sculptures – among a vast number of art pieces – and enjoy fast-track entry and ample time to wander around the rooms. 

📝 This tour includes: A private walking tour, a guide, hotel pick-up, and skip-the-line tickets. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Comprehensive Rome Tours with Vatican Visit

▶️ Embark on a lightning-fast, action-packed full-day trip of the Eternal City with this Rome in a Day: Colosseum, Vatican Museums & Historic Rome Small-Group Skip-the-Line Tour. Skip the lines at the Colosseum and listen to your guide’s thrilling stories about gladiators and martyrs. Zoom into the Roman Forum’s overlook and envision ancient Rome’s vibrant heart, and marvel at the Pantheon’s epic dome. 

Then, stroll through iconic film locations like Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona with gelato in hand. After a break for lunch (own expense), fast-track to an art-filled Vatican tour, culminating in the Sistine Chapel. All this with a fun small group of 18 people, ensuring an epic adventure!

📝 This Vatican and Colosseum combo tour includes: Skip-the-line tickets to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, transportation to the Vatican, entrance to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill, a guide, and a city walking tour. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Enjoy a top-notch Roman adventure with this Colosseum and Vatican Museum Guided Tour w/Lunch & Luxury Car. Your expert guide will bring history to life as you wander around the ancient Colosseum and marvel at the ruins of the Empire at the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. 

Enjoy a tour of the city’s historic center, passing by Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon, and stop for lunch at a local restaurant. Then, get ready for a Vatican City guided tour as you make your way in a fancy vehicle. 

As with most Vatican tours with skip-the-line, you’ll breeze past the queues to explore the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica, and enjoy your guide’s interesting stories about the art pieces displayed. This private tour, which starts and ends at your hotel, accommodates up to 15 people. 

📝 This tour includes: Roundtrip transportation, a private guide, a luxury car throughout the tour, lunch, skip-the-line access to all sites, and a guided tour of the Vatican, the Colosseum, and the city of Rome. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Family-Friendly Tours of the Vatican 

▶️ Looking for family-friendly tours that combine entertainment and exploration? Look no further than this Skip-the-Ticket-Line Kids Fun Sistine Chapel & Vatican Tour. This exciting adventure is specially designed for families with children and includes skip-the-line access for a hassle-free visit to the sites. 

You’ll visit the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and Saint Peter’s Basilica, marveling at ancient Greek and Roman sculptures and the sarcophagi of Empress Helena and Constantina led by a friendly guide. 

Then move on to the enchanting Gallery of the Candelabra and the mesmerizing Gallery of the Tapestries as your kids are provided with engaging games, quizzes, and cool prizes while exploring the art-filled rooms. History, art, and endless fun – all in one tour!

📝 This tour includes: Skip-the-line tickets, and a guide. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Join this Rome: 2.5-Hour Family Vatican Highlight Scavenger Hunt to enjoy a tour where history and excitement collide! With a fun guide by your side, dive into centuries of art, architecture, and artifacts while your little ones are captivated by games and tales. 

Engage in a thrilling scavenger hunt throughout the Vatican Museum, and explore hidden gems like Vatican Gardens, Carriages Gallery, and Maps Gallery. Your adventure culminates in St. Peter’s Square with a surprise for the children!

📝 This tour includes: A guide, a scavenger hunt, and headsets. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Papal Audience Tours

▶️ Rome: Audience Pope Francis with Tour Guide is the dream of many visitors to the Vatican. Attend the Pope’s Wednesday audience with an expert guide who will provide fascinating insights about the weekly event and the rich history of the Vatican, while ensuring a prime spot to see the audience. 

You’ll get to marvel at St. Peter’s Square and its Basilica, and enjoy a divine tour that is bound to leave you spiritually enlightened and culturally enriched. 

📝 This tour includes: Papal audience access, and a guide. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ This Papal Audience in Rome Private Tour grants you exclusive access to the weekly Papal Audience that takes place in the Vatican on Wednesdays. 

You’ll enjoy a prime spot to witness Pope Francis deliver greetings, blessings, and homilies, as your private guide shows you the ropes and ensures you fully understand the ceremony and make the most of it. Plus, door-to-door transfers make sure you arrive in style and on time. 

📝 This tour includes: A private guide, and hotel pick-up. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

A Vatican Tour with Castel Gandolfo (Pope’s Summer Residence)

With this Sistine Chapel, Vatican Gardens & Castel Gandolfo Day Tour, skip the long lines and dive into the Vatican Museums before the crowds hit. With a witty art historian, stroll through the Tapestries, Candelabra, and Maps galleries while learning about the pieces of art you’ll walk past. 

Then make your way to the Sistine Chapel, where Michelangelo’s genius will leave you in awe, and enjoy the serenity of the Vatican Gardens, an authentic hidden gem.

Finally, hop on a train to visit Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer retreat, and wander around the Barberini Gardens, relishing the history amidst lush greenery. Cap the tour off with a delectable feast of local delights. 

📝 This tour includes: A guide, Vatican Museums, and Sistine Chapel visit with early access, roundtrip train tickets to Castel Gandolfo, and entrance to the site. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Vatican Tours in Rome FAQs

How much does it cost to visit the Vatican in Rome?

Visiting Vatican City is free. However, if you want to access its renowned attractions, such as St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, or the Sistine Chapel, you’ll need to pay a fee. Currently, the tickets cost around $30 for a combined visit to the Museums and the Sistine Chapel, or a little over $40 for the three landmarks. 

Can you just walk into Vatican City in Rome? 

Yes, you can easily walk into Vatican City. There are no requirements, entry fees, or passport checking. To visit its attractions, though, you’ll need tickets. 

Is it worth doing a Vatican tour?

I highly recommend joining a tour of the Vatican to fully comprehend its importance, the role it plays in the Catholic Church, and admire the impressive artwork with an expert. While you can visit on your own, I’d say a tour is worth it, especially if it’s your first time. 

How long does a Vatican tour take?

A tour of the Vatican can take anywhere between 2 to 4 hours, depending on how many attractions you’ll be visiting, and how comprehensive the experience is. If you join a private tour of Vatican and Sistine Chapel, you’ll be mostly in charge of the pace. 

What is not allowed in the Vatican?

When visiting the Vatican, you’re not allowed to be wearing hats, clothing with offensive language or images, or an outfit that reveals your shoulders and knees. Food and beverages, weapons, large bags, and selfie sticks are also prohibited.  

Can I see the tomb of St. Peter in the Vatican? 

With a Vatican underground tour, you’ll get to visit the Necropolis, located beneath St. Peter’s Basilica, where the remains of St. Peter rest. 

  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.