No Wait Access: you will bypass long lines snaking into both the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica – giving you more time inside. The Vatican Museums are often crowded. Small groups only (20 persons or less) to maintain quality and an intimate feel.
See the very best of the Vatican in just half a day – from the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms to Saint Peter’s Basilica – with an expert, English-speaking guide to help you get the most from your experience.
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Duration: Approximately 3 hours
This tour is available every morning and afternoon, all year-round except Sundays and Catholic Holidays
Departure at 9:00 AM, 10:00 AM or 2:30 PM from a central location in Vatican (details and map will be listed on your voucher)
Ticket delivery: Vouchers to be printed issued online (no tickets needed)
Children rate available (6 to 18), free if under 5
Free unlimitedaccess to our Language Lesson Center to learn some Italian
Note: Please be aware that due to Holy Easter Holidays, St. Peter's Basilica will be closed during the March 24th, 25th, 26th 2016 for this tour. We will substitute other areas of the Vatican to ensure you have the best possible experience
"Lindy was the best guide we had all holiday. she was very knowledgeable and humorous with her explanations, she made the younger members of the group feel included. All 4 of us thought this was the best way to see something as important as the Vatican." - Nick, United Stated.
This No Wait Access Vatican Tour gets you past long lines at the Vatican Museums, so you spend more time exploring the world’s most incredible art collection and less time waiting outside. Travelling in groups of 20 people or less, we visit all the highlights of the Vatican Museums – from the Sistine Chapel to lesser-known gems of the collection, capping off our tour with a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica.
With commentary from an expert, English-speaking guide you’ll see the Pinecone Courtyard, the Hall of Maps, the Gallery of Tapestries, the Gallery of Candelabra and the incredible Raphael Rooms. Listen as your guide brings these works of art to life for you – pointing out things you never would have noticed on your own and teaching you about the characters behind these great works.
A definite highlight of the tour comes when you will visit the Sistine Chapel. Guided tours are not permitted within the chapel, so your tour guide will have already filled you in on the details with the aid of photographs of the paintings. Take some time inside this world-famous room to pick out the details you heard about – Michelangelo’s boneless self-portrait for example, in which he expresses to the world that he would rather be skinned alive than paint the Sistine Chapel again. As incredible as his work is, it must have been back-breaking – a fact you’ll understand all the better after you learn what it takes to create a fresco.
After getting the fill of the Sistine Chapel, we’ll use the Skip the Line Access again, exiting by a special door which leads us straight into St. Peter’s Basilica and past another long line. See the incredible altar and marvel at Michelangelo’s beautiful sculpture, La Pietà, before heading outside to see St. Peter’s Square.
Every morning but Wednesday the groups will have a guided tour inside St. Peter’s Basilica – on Wednesdays it’s highly likely that the Basilica will be closed to the public for the Papal audience. On afternoon tours our guide will deliver a commentary about St. Peter’s Basilica from St. Peter’s Square before groups enter the basilica to admire it in their own time.
The tour finishes out in St. Peter’s Square where you can admire Bernini’s clever optical illusion, spot the balcony from which the Pope delivers his public addresses and snap photos of the imposing exterior of the basilica.
With this Vatican Group Tour you’ll see all the best of the Vatican Museums in half a day, getting the very most from your time with our No Wait Access and an expert, English-speaking guide.
What is included?
No Wait Access into the Vatican Museums
Vatican Museums entrance ticket and reservation fee
Access to the Sistine Chapel
Headsets when appropriate, so you can always hear your guide
Small groups of 20 people or less
Expert, English-speaking tour guide
What is not included?
Hotel pick-up and drop-off
The service ends at St. Peter’s Basilica in St. Peter’s Square at around 1:00 PM for the 10:00 AM tour, and 5:30 PM for the 2:30 PM tour. On most Wednesdays, when the Basilica is closed, the service ends at the Vatican Museums entrance.
Gratuities for guides providing excellent service are appreciated but never obligatory.
It is the responsibility of all visitors to be at the meeting point 15 minutes before departure. Guests arriving after departure cannot be accommodated & missed tours or tickets cannot be refunded.
For help with meeting points or other urgent issues, a cell phone number will be listed on your voucher.
The coordinators will be wearing blue guideman polo shirts or jackets to be easily recognizable at the meeting point.
This tour involves a fair amount of walking and stairs; comfortable shoes are recommended.
We regret that we are unable to accommodate guests with wheelchairs or any impairments requiring special assistance. We are also unable to accommodate strollers or baby carriages on our group tours.
Entrance into the Vatican requires a strict dress code. Knees and shoulders MUST be covered for both men and women. City Wonders cannot be held responsible for refused entry due to improper dress.
Please note that large bags/tripods/umbrellas/backpacks are not permitted in the Vatican and must be checked into the free luggage storage area. Please do not bring these items as you may need to leave the tour early to retrieve them at the entrance. Only very small bags are allowed.
On Wednesdays, access to St. Peter’s Basilica & Square may be closed at the time of the morning tour due to the Papal Audience.
Non-flash photography is permitted throughout the tour, except in the Sistine Chapel where talking and photography are prohibited.
The Vatican Museums are among the most highly trafficked sites in the world. With over 5 million visitors in 2011 and numbers rising year-on-year, the museums give rise to a whole new meaning of the word “crowded.” The tour routes are designed to minimize exposure to crowds as much as possible, but be aware that the museums are very busy by nature.
Meeting time and point
Note: If this tour has numerous departure times, you must select only one departure time when booking, and times are not interchangeable.
Meeting Time: 8:45 AM - 9:45 AM - 2:15 PM
Departure Time: 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM - 2:30 PM
Meeting point: All details and map will be provided on your voucher
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Ratings based on Reviews from Certified Customers
from Chicago United States
Knowledgeable and friendly
29 Jan. 2016
from Certified Customer (Vatican City and Saint Peter Basilica Tour)
Marta was a superb guide during our trip around the Vatican. She was very knowledgeable and friendly and answered all our questions. It felt like she was giving us extra pointers all the way around including prior to going into the Sistine Chapel where she spent time showing us items to look out for using her iPad. Highly recommended. Thanks Marta
from Carlisle United States
09 Jan. 2016
from Certified Customer (Vatican City and Saint Peter Basilica Tour)
Lindy did a wonderful job telling stories and history. We will remember a lot of these stories about the famous vatican artists.
from Frimley United Kingdom
From Reginald W
17 Oct. 2014
from Certified Customer (Vatican City and Saint Peter Basilica Tour)
Fabulous guide Davidor, knew his stuff, kept a close eye on all of us and understood when to stop and rest. Felt really safe and loved the commentary.
Question: When the tour is over will we be able visit St. Peter's Basilica or the grottos or dome?
Answer: Absolutely. the tours end at the entrance to St. Peter's Basilica which is a very convenient location to leave for lunch, to visit the Vatican bookstore, visit the Vatican post office, re-enter St. Peter's Basilica (without having to wait in line again), continue to the grottos below St. Peter's, or climb to the dome. Your tour guide will be happy to point you in the right direction.
Question: What is the difference between the morning tour and the afternoon tour?
Answer: While the itineraries for both tours are the same, our afternoon Vatican tours do not include a guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica. In the afternoon tour guides are not allowed to provide commentary within the Basilica. Instead, your guide will lead you to the Basilica, skipping the general access lines, and provide a full description and commentary from the entrance. They will then leave you to enjoy St. Peter's Basilica in your own time. Another thing to consider when booking an afternoon Vatican tour, is that St. Peter's Basilica closes shortly after the tour ends. If you are planning to climb the dome of St. Peter's, visit the Papal Tombs, or spend more time inside the Basilica after your tour you will not be able to do these things. City Wonders suggests the morning tour if you are interested in staying at St. Peter's after your tour.
Question: Are there discounts for children?
Answer: Absolutely! Infants under the age of 6 years (4 years for the Papal Audience) join our group and private Vatican tours for free. Children under the age of 18 years receive a discount on all tours as noted on individual tour pages.
Question: Do both the morning tours and the afternoon tour have No Wait Access?
Answer: Yes, both of them are cut the line access tours.
Question: Is it possible to arrange a tour for a time other than 9:00 AM, 10:00 AM or 2:30 PM and still avail of No Wait Access?
Answer: Our Vatican Group Tours only depart at 9:00 AM, 10:00 AM and 2:30 PM strictly. If you would like a tour at any other time during Vatican Museum opening hours, our staff may be able to arrange it for you as a Private tour, subject to availability. Please note that for tours requested outside of our regular service hours an additional fee will be applied.
Question: Where does the tour meet?
Answer: The tours meet at a location very close and convenient to the entrance of the Vatican Museums. Full details of the exact location are included on the confirmation voucher you will receive when you book your tour.
Question: What is the difference between a private and group tour?
Answer: With a private tour you have a private tour guide just for your group, who can cater more personally and directly to the interests of your party. You are free to move at your own pace and there is much more flexibility with the itinerary and timing of a private tour. Group tours include no more than 20 people per guide.
Question: We are taking a cruise ship to Civitavecchia and then transferring to Rome. We should be leaving the port by 7:30 - 8:00 AM. Will that allow us enough time to reach the meeting point for one of the Vatican group morning tours?
Answer: Transfers from Civitavecchia on average take 1 hour and 30 minutes, so that is cutting it very close. Depending on the day of the week and the amount of traffic you encounter you may arrive with plenty of time to spare or you may arrive very late. Since we cannot refund late arrivals please consider carefully before booking a morning tour. We also offer afternoon group and private tours at 2:30 PM which may be a better option for you.
Question: At the end of the tour, will I be able to explore the Vatican Museums on my own?
Answer: That's up to you. The tours exit the Vatican Museums after the Sistine Chapel and end at St. Peter's Basilica. From the ending point (in front of the Basilica) you cannot re-enter the Museums without waiting in the Museums general access line and purchasing an additional ticket. You can, however, hand in your headsets to your guide as your group leaves the Sistine Chapel and re-enter the Museums if you don't mind missing St. Peter's Basilica. While our tour covers the Museums quite thoroughly and most customers are ready to move on to the Basilica at the end of the Museums section, you are free to choose as you wish. If you book a private tour we may be able to arrange it so the tour ends within the Vatican Museums without visiting St. Peter's Basilica.
Question: Do you cater to wheelchair users?
Answer: Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate wheelchair users on any of our tours.
Question: What exactly is included in the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Group Tour? How long is it and how much time do we spend in the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, etc.?
Answer: The price is all-inclusive: limited group of 20 people maximum, Skip the Line entrance, entrance ticket, guide and tour. The tours are very classic and comprehensive. They last for three hours and cover many wings of the Museums including, but not limited to, ancient GreekRoman sculpture, the Hall of Maps, the Gallery of the Candelabra and the Hall of Tapestries. For many the two highlights of our tours are the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms. From the Sistine Chapel, groups exit the Museums and end the tour at St. Peter's Basilica in St. Peter's Square.
Question: Can I take a backpack into the Museums?
Answer: The Vatican Museums allow guests to carry bags once they are smaller than 40cm length x 35cm width x 15cm depth. Anything bigger than this, plus any umbrellas or camera tripods, must be checked into storage at the beginning of the tour. The tour ends on the other side of the Vatican Museums, a significant walk away from the bag collection point. Guests who are forced to check bags must therefore leave the tour early to collect them or complete a 15 – 20 minute walk back to the entrance after their tour. Those doing the afternoon tour may not be able to retrieve their belongings until the following day. As a result, we recommend that visitors travel light and leave any unnecessary belongings at home.
Question: Are you sure we don't have to stand in line?
Answer: You absolutely do not have to wait in the general public line. We have a special entrance agreement with the Vatican Museums which allows us to enter the Muesums through the pre-booked No Wait Access entrance. We then guide you through the security checkpoint before entering the Museums.
Question: Do we need tickets?
Answer: No. When you book online your browser will generate a confirmation voucher, which you should print, sign and bring to the meeting point of your tour. Our server will also send you a copy of your confirmation voucher by email. This print-out is all you require to take our tour.
Question: What is the dress code?
Answer: The Vatican has a very strict, but very simple dress code: no shoulders, stomachs, or knees may be showing. Footwear of any kind, jeans, and capris are ok. It is also not possible to wear hats within the Basilica.
Question: Is photography permitted during the tour?
Answer: Throughout most of the Museums and in St. Peter's Basilica, you are allowed to take photos. However, photography is strictly prohibited inside the Sistine Chapel.
Question: I have already booked my tour, can I review my confirmation voucher and tour details online?
Answer: Yes. Simply create a log in and you will be able to access all of your tour details and print confirmation vouchers directly from our website.