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Vatican tours and attractions

Including available tours, the Vatican Post Office, Papal audience and Vatican Gardens tour

Vatican Gardens
Vatican Gardens - visit by tour only

Taking one of the Vatican tours is the best way to experience everything the Vatican City has to offer. The Vatican Museums and St Peter's Basilica are the major attractions, but there is plenty more to the Vatican than these two blockbuster draws.

Below you will find details of all the types of Vatican tours available for the different attractions the Vatican has to offer. Although the Vatican is the smallest country in the world it has plenty to keep the visitor entertained.

The Vatican Museums, Sistene Chapel, St Pater's Basilica, Vatican Post Office, Papal audience and Vatican gardens are some of the highlights to explore.

Vatican tours

St Peter's Basilica tours

St Peter's Basilica in St Peter's Square is a landmark of Rome, with the famous dome dominating much of the skyline. Entry to St Peter's Basilica is free but unless you have fast-track tickets you will need to queue. Once inside you can see St Peter's cupola (the dome) from inside or by climbing the steps, offering you a stunning view across Rome. You can also visit the Treasury and Vatican Grottoes. Many visitors will combine their visit with the Vatican Museums and other Vatican attractions.

We have a selection of St Peter's Basilica tours featured on this page or you can visit our St Peter's Basilica page with all the tours available and details of the best way to experience this stunning attraction.

Sistine Chapel tours and tickets

The Sistine Chapel is a highlight of most visitors to Rome and it can be found in the Vatican Musuems in Vatican City. Entry to the Sistine Chapel is included with your Vatican Museum tickets.

If you were only to walk to the Sistine Chapel once inside the museum it would take around 30 minutes but you would be missing much of the museum that makes the Sistine Chapel such a significant and breathtaking experience.

We feature some of the Sistine Chapel tours available on this page but for a more detailed exploration and full range of tickets use our dedicated Sistine Chapel page.

Vatican Museum tours

The Vatican Museums are steeped in historical significance with so many incredible treasures to explore that it is easy to spend a whole day inside. The Vatican Museums are very popular, there are queues everyday, sometimes stretching as long as two hours on peak and popular times, so a fast-track Vatican tour ticket can be a huge timesaver. This helps avoid the queues so you can discover the wonders straight away.

We have featured some of the popular Vatican tours on this page but for a detailed list of the best way to visit and all the tours available we have a dedicated Vatican tours page.

Vatican Gardens

Hidden from public view to the west of St Peter's Basilica and south of the Vatican Museum are the Vatican Gardens.

Vatican Post Office

The Vatican Post Office is not a formal attraction itself but a popular activity for visitors is to send a postcard or letter from the Vatican with its own Vatican stamps. Great if you or a friend are a stamp collector.

Audience with the Pope

Papal Audiences are held on Wednesdays in St Peter's Square if the Pope is in Rome, giving pilgrims and visitors the chance to see the Pope.

St Peter's Basilica tours with fast track entry tickets

Days of operation: not Wednesdays or Sundays. 

Tour: in English with your own personal headphones.

Departure times: Morning and afternoon

See the best of St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City on a comprehensive 75-minute walking tour. Numbers are limited to 20 people on this St Peter's Basilica tour, ensuring you'll enjoy a more personalised experience.

Your small-group tour starts in St Peter’s Square, where you’ll meet your professional guide. Skip the lines with exclusive access through the Vatican.

After an introduction in the square, begin your small-group walking tour through St Peter’s Basilica, where your guide will point out to you everything you wanted to know: Michelangelo’s Pietà, the 91 papal tombs, and the statue of St. Peter for a blessing, which you traditionally rub for a blessing. You will end your tour of the world’s largest church with a view of the Swiss Guards in St. Peter’s Square.

Your tour finishes in St Peter's Basilica, where you can stay if you want to spend more time exploring this sacred place independently.

Explore our page of all the St Peter's Basilica tours.

st peter's basilica

ST PETER'S FAST TRACK ENTRY TOUR WITH OFFICIAL GUIDES

St Peter's fast track
St Peter's Basilica skip the line with guide

• All entrance fees included • Official Vatican guide • Several departures per day • Headsets to hear guide • Children under 7 free

st peter's basilica

ST PETER'S FAST TRACK ENTRY TOUR WITH DOME CLIMB & PAPAL CRYPT

St Peter's fast track
St Peter's Basilica skip the line with guide

• All entrance fees included • Fully guided tour featuring the Papal Crypt • Climb the dome for an amazing view • Small group - no more than 15 • 2.5 hour tour

Sistine Chapel tours and Vatican Museum tours - fast-track, guided tour & VIP access tickets

This facility provides fast track access through a reserved door into the Vatican Museums, allowing you to skip all the lines.

Meet your host in Vatican City or outside the museum entrance and head to a reserved entrance that guarantees you the fastest skip-the-line access to the Vatican Museums.

Available every day except Sundays and holidays listed on the Vatican Museums calendar.

vatican museums

EXCLUSIVE ENTRANCE VATICAN MUSEUMS & SISTINE CHAPEL BEFORE OPENING HOURS

Vatican Museums early morning fast track
Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel early morning entrance tickets

• Likely to sell out • Enter 30-mins before opening • Enjoy the Sistine in the quiet • 2.5 hour tour • All entrances covered

vatican museums

FRIDAY NIGHT VATICAN MUSEUMS & SISTINE CHAPEL TOUR

Vatican Museums night tour fast track
April to October Friday night opening Vatican Museums

• Beat the crowds • Expert tour guide • 3-hr tour • Likely to sell out • Instant confirmation • Add on your own entrance ticket

vatican museums

SKIP THE LINE VATICAN MUSEUMS & SISTINE CHAPEL WITH OPTIONAL LUNCH UPGRADE

Vatican Museums tour fast track
Hotel pick up - Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel fast track

• Hotel pick-up • Local guide • All entrances included • Several departures per day • Am/pm or full-day tour


Vatican Gardens

The Vatican Gardens are not open to the public for independent exploration. To see the Vatican Gardens you need to take a tour with an officially appointed guide.

The gardens are large, a bus is used to take visitors around on one tour taking 45 minutes. You can combine a visit to the Vatican Gardens with a visit to the Vatican Museums in one ticket.

The unique tour of the Vatican Garden takes you through 2,000 years of history. Besides the natural beauty of the gardens, the Vatican Gardens are rich in monuments and precious works of art.

There are two tours available, a tour on foot lasts 2 hours, the other on a bus with no stops takes around 45 minutes.

The tour ticket also provides the visitor entrance to Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel.

Option 1 - Vatican Gardens with walking tour + Vatican Museums admission

After meeting your knowledgeable guide enter the Vatican Gardens for a 2 hour walking tour of this serene green space.

Stroll around some of its 57 acres (23 hectares) of paths, fountains, grottoes and flowers while you learn about the history of the gardens, which started as a fruit orchard in the 13th century and evolved into the lavish respite it is today by subsequent popes.

Then head over to the Vatican Museums with entry to this world-renowned art collection included and explore independently.

vatican

VATICAN GARDENS WITH WALKING TOUR & VATICAN MUSEUMS ADMISSION

Vatican Gardens tour
Vatican Gardens and Museum tour

• Walking tour of the Vatican Gardens • Admission to the Vatican Museums afterwards • 2-hr tour • Authorized bilingual guide service


Option 2 - Vatican Gardens with bus tour + Vatican Museums admission

A unique tour of the Vatican Gardens on an open-top ecological bus, and enjoy commentary from a multi-lingual audio guide.

The tour lasts about 45 minutes, and there are no stops along the route.

Then head over to the Vatican Museums with entry to this world-renowned art collection included and explore independently.

vatican gardens

VATICAN GARDENS WITH BUS TOUR & VATICAN MUSEUMS ADMISSION

Vatican Gardens tour
Vatican Gardens open bus tour and Vatican Museums tickets

• Walking tour of the Vatican Gardens • Admission to the Vatican Museums afterwards • Skip-the-line • Recorded commentary by audio headphones


Option 3 - Complete Vatican guided tour with breakfast and Vatican Gardens

  • American buffet breakfast to start your day

  • 45-minute Vatican City bus tour including the Vatican gardens

  • 3-hour Vatican Museums guided tour with Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica

  • Skip-the-line access to St Peter's Basilica and fast track access to Vatican Museums

  • Small group, 25 or less people


vatican early morning tour

VATICAN GARDENS HALF-DAY TOUR WITH BREAKFAST

Vatican Gardens tour
Exclusive half-day guided tour with breakfast and gardens

• Avoid the crowds • Admission to the Vatican Museums & St Peter's • American buffet breakfast to start your day • 3-hr guided tour • Walking tour of the Vatican Gardens

Vatican Post Office

Vatican Post Office
Vatican PO - popular tourist activity

The Vatican has its own post office and postage stamps and a favourite activity is to send a postcard with a Vatican stamp and postmark, especially appreciated if you have any stamp collector friends.

The Vatican has acquired a reputation for producing attractive issues in limited quantities (the average production run for most issues is only between 300,000 and 500,000 stamps).

There are a few post office locations in Vatican City – one of them is inside the Vatican Museum, another is as you leave St Peter's Basilica at the bottom of the exit steps.

This main post office is open year-round, and open Monday-Saturday from 8.30-6.30pm. There are tables and seats where you can sit down and write your letter or postcard too. There is often also a portable Vatican Post Office sited on St Peter's Square itself.

Papal audience at Vatican City

An audience with the Pope, Vatican
An audience with the Pope, Vatican
Papal audience ticket at Vatican City - Viator
This tour includes hotel pick-up and a guide

The Pope presides over a weekly Wednesday mass in the Vatican City at either St. Peter's Square or Nervi Hall if he is in Rome. Tickets are free of charge.

Note - during the month of August the Pope retires to his summer residence so the audience doesn't happen for the entire month of August.

The Papal Audience is usually scheduled to start at 10am. However, you will find that most people will arrive early (up to 3 hours before) to get a good seat. Security opens generally at 8am. tickets are limited and you must have a confirmed reservation booked in advance to attend.

If you don't have a ticket in St Peter's Square there is enough room to stand at the back of the rows of seats and look on .

What happens at the Papal Audience?

The Audience with the Pope consists of small teachings and readings mainly in Italian but also in English and other languages.

At the end of the Audience the Pope will pray together with those attending the Audience. At the end of the Prayer as Head of the Catholic Church he will impart his Apostolic Blessing upon the crowd.

Obtaining tickets for an audience with the Pope

If you need less than 10 tickets you can normally pick up tickets without a reservation from the Swiss Guards at the “Bronze Doors” located just after security at St Peter's Basilica.

You can pick up tickets the day before the audience after 3pm until 7pm (Summer) until 6pm (Winter). Or you can pick up tickets on the day of the mass from 7am until 10am.

Why take a tour for the Audience with the Pope?

If you want to avoid all the hassle and inconvenience of obtaining tickets and appreciate being guided by someone who knows the procedure and how to get the best seats a tour may be appropriate for your needs.

The tour departs from a central Rome meeting point a short walk from Termini Railway Station. Hotel pick-ups are available from selected Rome hotels.

Your experience includes a short panoramic tour of Rome.

Your experienced guide will take you to a spot where you will have an excellent view of the ceremony. You are free to pray and be part of the ceremony or just simply observe a unique experience and tradition.

After about 3.5 hours in total you are returned to your original departure point.

St Peter's - audience with Pope

AUDIENCE WITH THE POPE

audience with pope

Papal audience ticket at Vatican City

• Hotel pickup included • Led by a local guide • Takes place either St Peter's Square, St Peter's Basilica or the Audience Hall • All entrance fees included

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