The Vatican Museums - a practical guide

Tickets, opening hours, queues and tours - Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

The Vatican Museum

Ornate ceilings: inside the Vatican Museums


On this page

Vatican Museums official website

Visiting the Vatican Museums is a memorable, must see sightseeing experience for visitors to Rome, culminating with the Sistine Chapel – a show stopper to end any visit to the Vatican Museums.

The purpose of this Vatican Museums page is to offer practical advice for the independently minded visitor to the Vatican and Rome.

There is a good choice of Vatican Museum ticketing which we cover on the dedicated Vatican Museum pages linked enabling you to make the best choice for your Vatican Museum visit.


Queues and waiting times to access the Vatican Museums are legendary and the Vatican Museums are not open every day.

So we inform you of your options to minimise Vatican Museum waiting and queues, how fast track tickets, tours and advice of less busy times and days for queuing can enhance your Vatican Museums visit.


The Vatican Museums are of course next to St Peter’s Square and Basilica and most visitors will want to combine both in one memorable day of sightseeing.

For the independently minded visitor to Rome, transport to the Vatican is straight forward, you can arrive by Rome public bus, metro, even by tram and of course Rome’s hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses stop here too.

A map can be printed off from this website or alternatively obtained from the ticket office for free.


For a detailed run through of the galleries, click on the official Vatican Museums web site link at the top of the page.

Queues at The Vatican Museums

Security: inside the Vatican Museums

Vatican Museums tickets, opening and time of visit

The Vatican Museum is open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 6pm (final entry at 4pm).


The admission ticket permits the tourist to visit the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel and is valid for the day of issue.


On the last Sunday of each month the Museums can be visited free of admission charge from 9am to 2pm (Final entry at 12.30pm).

Note: these days are very popular and can get very crowded. If you wish to avoid these crowds avoid these days and holiday days.


Current admission prices can be viewed by clicking through to the official website at the top of the page.


For art lovers: don’t even think to come out in less than 4-5 hours.


If you are a time poor tourist, and your main highlight is the Sistine Chapel then about two hours might be appropriate.


Recommended route for a brief tour of the Vatican Museums

Start with the Cortile della Pigna (Pinecone Courtyard) and having the huge pinecone in front of you lead to your right for the Pio Clementino. Peak inside, walk a bit and step back to the Courtyard to take the Simonetti Staircase on your right.


Stop on top of the first flight to see some of the antiquities. Walk all the way down to the Sistine Chapel (Galleries of Candelabra, Tapestries & Maps).

At the end of the Gallery of the Maps go straight, take the modern staircase to the Sistine Chapel.


Vatican Museums queues and fast track tickets

The queues for entrance to the Vatican Museums are legendary. Around 9am, wave after wave of coaches are depositing coach loads to the end of the queue and early, mid-morning is probably the worst time of day to start queuing for admission. Particularly during the spring and summer months, at this time it is not unusual for waiting times of at least two hours.


After 3pm queues are around a third of what they are at 1pm, but they can still be very long during peak season.

Queues at The Vatican Museums

Queues: at the Vatican Museums around 9am; how to avoid

Mondays also gets more crowds after the museums are effectively closed the day before.

At this time there is a whole army of touts selling to the queue the attraction of a guided tour that will allow you to by-pass the queue ahead.

With a bit of planning ahead you too can avoid the queues by paying for a fast track ticket or booking a tour that includes fast track, skip the queue entry to the Vatican Museums, (see below for more details).

So do read our Vatican logistics page and have an informed strategy in place for your visit to the Vatican.


Vatican Museums audio guides, tours & facilities

You can get the traditional audio guides for a fee on entering the Vatican Museums at the information desk. There are over 400 audio stops available throughout the Vatican Museums. The audio guides are available in 10 languages (Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Portuguese).

There are two hour English tours that you can book online at the Vatican Museums' website.

The Vatican Museum

Gift shop: buy your souvenirs inside the Vatican Museums

Reservations allow individual visitors to be part of a Vatican Group Tour conducted by an official Vatican Tour Guide. The tour takes the visitor through the most significant cultural and religious areas of the Vatican Museums.

Vatican cloakroom

Visitors are required to leave larger items such as suitcases, or rucksacks, with dimensions larger than cm 40 x 35 x 15 or any articles that 'stick out'. Also any item that could conceivably be used to damage works of art like scissors, pointed umbrellas etc.


Items need to be collected the same day and not left if for example you are to visit St. Peter’s Basilica afterwards.

Food and drink

A restaurant with a self-service, pizzeria and coffee bar is available.

Visitors can store any type of food and/or drink in the cloakroom free of charge.


Do's and don'ts visiting the Vatican Museums

Clothing – no sleeveless clothing, shorts, skirts not covering the knee, or hats. Even if you get through security, you will be turned away by the attendants at the door.

Pushchairs - permitted in the Museums.

Food and Drink - it is forbidden to consume food and drink (including alcohol) inside the exhibition halls.

Photography - it is forbidden to use flashlight photography inside the Museums and no photography at all in the Sistine Chapel.

Mobile phones - not permitted to be used inside the exhibition spaces and the Sistine Chapel.

It is forbidden to touch works of art.

Vatican Museums fast track tickets with optional tour or early VIP access

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 Museum Fast Track Ticket Prices
Vatican Museum Fast Track Tickets With Audio Guide
Vatican Museum Fast Track Tickets With Early Access
Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Tour Pricing Information

Vatican Museums & St Peter’s Basilica combined tour with fast track entry tickets

Days of operation: Monday to Saturday

Your knowledgeable guide will escort you into the Vatican Museums to explore the world's most extensive collection of art.

Highlights of the museums are Michelangelo's famous Creation of Adam fresco in the Sistine Chapel and Raphael's Rooms.

After taking in the Vatican Museums, you will walk over to St Peter's Basilica for a fascinating finish to your group guided walking tour stopping to admire magnificent St Peter's Square.

Vatican Walking Tour Pricing Information
Vatican Walking Tour Pricing Information
Vatican Walking Tour Pricing Information
Vatican Fast Track Tickets & Tours

Vatican Museums Tours & Fast Track Tickets

Vatican Museums Fast Track Tickets  from  €24.00

Fast track admission to Vatican Museum

Vatican Museums Fast Track Tickets + Audio Guide  from  €30.00

Fast track admission to Vatican Museum with Audio Guide

Vatican Museums Fast Track Tickets + Early Entrance    €52.00

Fast track admission to Vatican Museum before public opening

Vatican Museums Fast Track Access With Coach Transfers    €66.00

Tour in English plus hotel pickups

Vatican Museums Private Tours With Fast Track Access    Prices vary on numbers

Your own personal guide for your own grouo of 1 to 9 people

St Peter's Basilica Tours & Fast Track Tickets

St Peter's Basilica Fastrack with audio guide    €16.50

Fast track access to St Peter's together with audio guide in choice of languages

St Peter's Basilica guided tour    €27.00

Small group tour maximum 20 people

St Peter's & Vatican Museums Combined Tours

Vatican Museums + St Peter's (With Fast Track Access) Tour 1    From €41.00 + admissions)

Guided 3 hour walking tour with Fast Track Access + early/evening entrance options

Vatican Museums + St Peter's (With Fast Track Access) Tour 2    From €66.00

Guided 3 hour walking tour with Fast Track Access + early/evening entrance options

Early Access Vatican Museums Small-Group Tour with St Peter’s    €86.85

Entry when doors open to Vatican Museums + St Peter's Basilicas

Other Vatican Tours

Audience With The Pope    €28.00

Attending Wednesday audience with transfers

Vatican Gardens Tour    €41.00

Includes admission to Vatican Museums

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