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Visiting Vatican Museums

Find out useful info about visiting Vatican Museums - the best time to visit & entrance fees & how to reach museums

The Vatican Museums are art museums located within the city boundaries of the Vatican City. They display masterpieces of painting, sculptures and other works of art collected by Popes throughout the centuries. The Vatican Museums are actually made up of several museums and your ticket gets you into all of them. The collection of the museums include paintings from some of the Italy's greatest artists like Raphael, Michelangelo and Caravaggio. You will also see an extraordinary collection of Egyptian antiquities, including papyruses, pottery and mummies in thei sarcophagi.

Opening times & The best time to visit

  • The Vatican Museums are open Monday to Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m On Sundays (except the last Sunday of every month when they are free 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. & last entrance 12:30 p.m.) and Catholic holidays the Museums are closed for visitors. 

  • As for the time of the day, in the mornings most tour groups show up so you may find the Vatican Museums slightly less crowded in the afternoon.

  • The Vatican Museums tend to be more crowded on Saturdays, when Rome fills up with weekend visitors from other parts of Italy and Europe. The best day for visit are Tuesdays and Thursdays.

  • On Wednesdays, the pope holds an audience at Saint Peter's Basilica and whole area is packed due to the thousands of people who attend the papal audience and many of whom decide to visit the Vatican Museums after the audience.

  • The Vatican Museums can be visited year-round but the busiest time of the year is from mid-March until early November. From mid-November to early March (except Christmas through Epiphany) there are no big queues and crowds in front of Vatican Museums. 

  • Between late April until the end of October, the Vatican Museums are also open on Friday nights - 7:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. with last admission at 9:30 p.m.

Please note that when visiting the Vatican Museums women need to have skirts and shorts that cover knees. Also no bare shoulders are allowed.

Entrance fees to the Vatican Museums


Typical visit to the Vatican Museums last from 2-5 hours depending on museums visited. Once you are inside, you may stay as long as you like. The basic ticket does not include the audio-guide or any tour.

Besides entry to the Vatican Museums a visit to Sistine Chapel is included in this tickets. And there is no Vatican Museums ticket available just for the Sistine Chapel. You must purchase Vatican Museum tickets and go through at least most of the museums to get to the Sistine Chapel.

The only way for a quick visit to the Sistine Chapel is to book a small-group tour express access to the Sistine Chapel that only last 90 minutes and will allow you to visit the Sistine Chapel and Saint Peter's Basilica in the early morning before opened to the general public.

If you just walk up to the ticket counter at the Vatican Museums you would pay €17 per adult over 18. We recommend you to book your Vatican Museums tickets in advance to avoid standing in queues.

Discounted Vatican Museum tickets (€8) are available for children 6-18, international students (up to 25 years old), members of the clergy etc. The Vatican Museums are free for children under 6, directors of museum institutions, journalists, some university teachers, people with disabilities and their companions. Check the Vatican Museums official web site for the detailed explanation of discounted and free entries.

We suggest you to buy skip-the-line tickets through Tiqets web site to avoid waiting in long queues in front of the museums. You just show your smarthphone ticket to the security guards at the entrance, then scan your ticket at the box office CASSA ONLINE E GRUPPI after the security check. To visit the museums on Friday night, you must buy tickets online in advance as you will not be able to purchase them on site.

If you plan to visit Vatican Museums along the other major Rome sights then consider buying OMNIA Vatican & Rome Card which include free entry to Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel.

The Vatican Museums are included in the Vatican Gardens ticket. If you book a visit to the Vatican Gardens (it has to be booked in advance) then you get skip-the-line tickets to the Vatican Museums (and the Sistine Chapel as well).

How to reach the Vatican Museums

The Vatican City is situated just to the north of the historic centre of Rome and is easily reachable from any part of the city. The easiest and quickest way of getting to Vatican is to take metro line A to Ottaviano - St. Pietro station which is only 5 minute's walk from the entrance to the Vatican Museums. Another solution would be taking a train from Termini Station to San Pietro train station which is situated south of Vatican and you will need to walk for about 15-20 minutes to reach the Vatican Museums. 

There are also many Rome city buses that pass next to the Vatican. The number 40 and 64 bus drives frequently between Termini Station and the Vatican via the city centre including the Piazza Venezia. Besides these two there are also buses no. 62 and 81 as well as tram 19 which runs between Villa Borghese and Piazza Risorgimento.

For most people, walking is the most pleasant way of sightseeing of Rome, there is so much of interest around every corner of the city. Although Vatican City is just north of Rome's historic centre it's only 15-20 minute walk to Piazza Navona. You just need to take one of streets leading towards the Tiber River to reach Ponte Sant'Angelo, cross the bridge and walk along Castel Sant'Angelo until you reach Via della Conciliazione which leads you to Saint Peter's Square and further the Vatican Museums.

The best hotels near the Vatican Museums


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