If it is your first time in Rome, you really should not pass on the opportunity to visit the Vatican Museums. Packed with history and with the masterpieces of Bernini, Michelangelo and Raphael, these are also among the most popular museums in Rome, which means that they can get really crowded with visitors and that getting tickets can be a bit of a hassle.
There are a few ways of getting Vatican tickets. In this post, I highlight the best available options so that you know what to to expect when booking your visit, and one you are finally there.
Continue reading to discover how to get Vatican Museums tickets.
Make sure to read my posts A Complete Guide To Visiting The Vatican Museums.
How To Get Vatican Tickets
As I have said before, when you first try to work out ways of getting your tickets to the Vatican Museums, you may be a little confused. That’s because there are a few different ways to secure yourself a ticket to this top attraction.
For one thing, there are different attractions to see in the Vatican City itself: the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Gardens and St Peter’s Basilica, as well as the Vatican Necropolis. So working out what it is you’re buying a ticket for isn’t always obvious, not at first, and especially if you don’t know anything about Rome in the first place.
Here are a few different ways that you can purchase yourself some Vatican Museums tickets. Which one you go for depends on your preference and – quite importantly – your budget.
Get Vatican tickets via the official site
The most obvious way to get tickets to the Vatican Museums is to go straight to the Vatican Museum’s official ticketing website: museivaticani.va. The official site to book your Vatican Museums tickets can be found here.
The good news is that the site is available in different languages.
All you have to do is select the date on which you want to visit the Vatican Museums, and the number of visitors. After you’ve done this, the site will show you a list of results that consist of various different tickets you can book.
This is the part that can be a little confusing. That’s because, as well as straightforward admission tickets to the Vatican Museums, there are also other tickets, such as for guided tours, tickets for lunch or breakfast at the Museums, as well as those for other special events.
This is also the point at which you’ll find out whether or not your preferred date is available. Oftentimes, if you’re booking too close to the date you want to visit, it will be sold out. With this in mind, it’s best to try to book as early as possible. On the other hand, you can’t book Vatican tickets more than 60 days in advance, so long term planning may be a bit tricky.
Once you’ve found the ticket for you, on your preferred date, the next page will show you a list of time-slots that you can opt for. However, you may not find the time that you want. Usually the morning slots are sold out pretty quickly, leaving only the late afternoon and evening options.
One important thing to point out about Vatican Museum tickets bought on the official site is that they are not refundable – so if for any reason you can’t make it on the day you are supposed to be visiting, you will lose your money. However, you can change the date or modify the name of the visitors in case you can’t make it. Furthermore, you are only given a 15 minute window to show up at the museums.
Get Vatican tickets on third party sites
If your time-slot is sold out, or if you want to purchase something like a skip the line ticket, your best option is to head to a third-party site. These tour company and ticket sites usually offer a professional service and provide a place where you can book online.
The only real difference with booking via a third-party site is that it’s usually a little more expensive (usually €26 vs €21 on the official site) than booking via the official Vatican Museums site. However, there are some benefits into paying that extra money.
First of all, Vatican tickets bought on third party sites are skip the line, which means you’ll only have to line for security to get in.
Another thing to point out about tickets to the Vatican Museums bought on third party booking sites is that they are refundable, as long as you cancel at least 24 hours prior to your visit – the higher fee is a small price to pay for that extra flexibility.
Finally, third party booking sites also offer last minute tickets, as times even for the same day. These are usually more expensive than tickets on the official site, but certainly it’s better to pay a bit more to avoid standing in line to buy tickets at the door!
To get your tickets on GetYourGuide, click here.
To get your Vatican Museums tickets via Tiqets, click here.
For last minute Vatican tickets, click here.
Go on a guided tour of the Vatican Museums
Guided tours of the Vatican Museums are a good option if you want more insight and information during your visit. Having a knowledgeable guide on hand to tell you all about the history and architecture of the buildings, the significance of the exquisite artworks on show, as well as about the various Popes who have lived here, is a major bonus for those interested in learning more about the Vatican (and the history of Rome) in general.
Guided tours always come with Vatican Museum tickets included, which is a great option. You’ll meet your guided at a meeting point and will be walked to the main entrance and whisked through the gates and security checks.
There are, however, a lot of different options for guided tours. Some tours are private, some are group tours (and in that case you have the option of a regular and small group tour); there are kids friendly tours too. There are also different options with regards to timings – early access, late evening access, etc. – and also in terms of what’s involved in the tours. For example, some tours of the Vatican Museums will also involve St Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Gardens, while others will only focus on the museums and the Sistine Chapel themselves.
For an early morning tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel which includes breakfast inside the Museums, click here – this is the tour I most highly recommend. I took it myself and the guide was incredibly knowledgeable and friendly.
For a Vatican Museums night tour with Sistine Chapel click here.
For an after hours tour of the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums which includes aperitivo, click here.
For a complete Vatican tour that also includes a tour of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Dome climb click here.
For the most budget friendly tour click here.
For a guided tour of the Vatican Museums, Vatican Gardens and Sistine Chapel, click here.
For a guided tour that includes the Papal Audience, click here.
For a kids friendly tour, click here.
For more options for tours of the Vatican, click here.
Get the Vatican City Pass
You also might want to consider getting a Vatican City Pass. This pass gives you tickets to access to some of the top attractions in Rome that are associated with the Vatican, namely the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museums. It also includes a guided tour of St Peter’s Basilica (in English or French) by an official Vatican guide.
The advantage of getting a Vatican City Pass is that it includes skip the line access to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums as a whole. That means you won’t have to spend wasted time waiting around in line.
As part of the pass, an audio guide is also available, meaning you won’t necessarily need to get a guided tour to help you learn more.
To get the Vatican City Pass, click here.
Another option would be that of getting the Rome Tourist Card, which in addition to the attractions included in the Vatican City Pass also includes admission to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
To get the Rome Tourist Card, click here.
Finally, there’s the option of getting the Rome Explorer Pass which allows you to pick how many attractions you want to visit – up to seven. The Vatican is obviously included.
For a Rome Explorer pass, click here.
Get Vatican tickets at the official ticket office in person
If you want, you can also get Vatican Museums tickets in person at the ticket office located right by the entrance of the museums. While this is certainly the most budget friendly option (you won’t have to pay for the booking fee applied to online purchases), it’s also one that comes with no guarantee.
Provided that you can get a ticket at all (it may well be the case that tickets are sold out for the day you wish to visit) you may encounter the longest line at the counter, and in fact you may end up standing in line for a while only to find out that there are no more available tickets.
So, unless you are visiting Rome in the off season (but Rome doesn’t really know an off season!), I really don’t recommend winging it.
Beware of hawkers that occasionally stand right outside attractions in Rome, including the Vatican Museums, trying to sell Vatican Museum tickets. Needless to say, these tickets are way overpriced compared to those you can get on the official site and even third party booking sites. It really should be a very last resort!
Official price of Vatican tickets
Full price Vatican Museum tickets are €17, while reduced-price tickets are €8.
Audioguides cost €7 for adults and €5 for children.
There’s a €5 processing fee to factor into your budget on top of the cost of the ticket.
What’s included in your Vatican tickets?
A ticket to the Vatican Museums also includes admission to the Sistine Chapel, but not to St. Peter’s Basilica, which is free to visit and often included in guided tours of the Vatican anyways.
Tickets to the Vatican Museums also don’t include admission to the Vatican Gardens, for which you have to book a separate guided tour. This costs €39 in total and includes earphones, the service of a guide and the reservation fee, as well as admission to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, which is usually the very last part of the guided tour and after which you will exit the museums complex.
You can book your Vatican Gardens tour via the official website here.
Alternatively, you can book a guided tour via a reputable third party booking site such as Tiqets. For more information, click here.
Make sure to read my post A Guide To Visiting The Vatican Gardens.
Vatican Museums opening hours
The Vatican Museums are open Monday to Saturday, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (last admission at 4:00 pm). It’s closed on Sundays, but on the last Sunday of each month the museums are open for a limited time in the morning, from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm (last admission at 12:30 pm).
From the end of April until the end of October, the Vatican Museums stay open until 10:30 pm on Friday and Saturday (last admission at 8:30 pm).
The Vatican Museums are closed on 1 and 6 January, Easter and Easter Monday, 29 June, 15 August, 1 November, Christmas Day and 26 December.
Make sure to read my post What You Must Know About 29 June In Rome.
Don’t forget about the dress code
The crucial thing you have to remember about visiting the Vatican Museums is the dress code. It’s all well and good having booked your tickets for the time-slot you want, only to be halted in your tracks because you’re not wearing the right thing to enter. That would be really annoying.
To fit the dress code at the Vatican Museums, shoulders must be covered; shorts or skirts need to stretch to fall below the knee (not above); and any other revealing clothing, such as low-cut tops or tops showing your stomach, are not allowed. That goes for men as well as women.
For more information, read my post The Vatican Dress Code.
These other posts may be useful in planning your visit to the Vatican:
- A Short Guide To St. Peter’s Square, Rome
- A Curated Guide To Visiting St Peter’s Basilica
- A Guide To Visiting The Sistine Chapel
- The Best Things To Do In Vatican City
- 33 Fun Facts About Vatican City
- 22 Best Hotels Near Vatican City
- Can You See The Vatican And Colosseum In One Day?
8 thoughts on “How To Get Vatican Tickets”
Thank you so much for this site. I wasn’t sure where to buy the tickets for the Vatican Museum. I’ve been to the sistine chapel several times, but now I want to see the paintings and statues in the museum. However, I learned that the Nicholas V’s chapel with frescos of Beato Angelico are closed. Are they never opened for the public?
I thought they were open? I can try to get in touch with the Vatican Museums themselves to find out. The website doesn’t say anything about it being closed so I wonder where you got the information?
Thank you for your answer Claudia. I read it on several websites. I studied art and did some research about Fra Angelico in Florence. I very much was looking forward to this section in the Vatican Museum. Could you please get in touch with the Museum? I have a ticket for entering on wednesday October 5 at 12.00 o’clock. that is saying that it is a closed section of the museum.
And by the way: great section on your site about Raphael! I go to all the places where his work is between 3 and 9 October.
Alright, I called. It apparently is a “hidden museum” and there are some specific tours for visiting. I asked for more information and they suggested to send an email to email@example.com – they said they would reply in English. Definitely let me know what they say!
Well, I got an answer. Unless you’re rich, it’s impossible to get access. You have to pay 17 euro a person, 4 Euro for pre-sales fee, 300 euro for opening of the area and 180 euro for the guide. All together 501 euro. I’m really disappointed about this, but what can I do? Perhaps in future there are other possibilities. Thanks for your help to phone the Vatican.
Oh I am so sorry. Last week I visited the Casa Romana del Celio – amazing place, if you have a chance. I wanted to take photos so I could write about it. They told me I needed special permission. And that I have to pay €80+VAT X3 for each photo I publish. So a post would cost me €1500. All this, to promote them. I decided not to write about it until they change this.
I saw the pictures of the Casa Romana del Celio and they are indeed amazing. I have no time left this year, but I decided to go back from now on every year. I hope to go there next year. I will continue to follow you so that I can see what you have discovered. Thanks again.
You should totally send me an email before you go and we can meet!!