Vatican Highlights Tour with Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Basilica

Skip the Line and Enter Early with Your Licensed Guide on this Abbreviated Vatican Tour

Travel Flexibly 5 / 5 See All 101 Reviews · 2.50h 15 max · Vatican, Italy

Are you looking for a Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's tour that gets you in fast and shows you the main highlights? Then this is the tour for you! Enter the Vatican Museums an hour before the main crowds with your small group. Your passionate, local tour guide will make you laugh and have you in awe at the same time with special stories that creates a memorable experience. Admissions included.

Tour Details
  • Skip the line Vatican tickets
  • View of St. Peters
  • Pinecone Courtyard
  • Gallery of Candelabra
  • Galley of Tapestries
  • Gallery of Maps
  • Sistine chapel
  • Creation of Man
  • Last Judgement
  • St Peter’s Basilica
  • La Pietá
  • Baldacchino By Bernini

*The Vatican has temporarily suspended early access entrance for All Tour Companies. That said, we have adjusted our prices and times to reflect this change so you can book this tour with confidence. Customers have been overwhelmingly satisfied with the lack of crowds!

This Vatican highlights guided tour meets at 7:30 am for access to the Vatican Museums just after doors open for "privileged entrance" groups at 8:00 a.m. Why is this so special? Well, the general public has to wait until 9 a.m. to enter! Skip the long general admission line with your passionate and fun tour guide and visit the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica in just 2.5 hours, leaving you plenty of time to explore the rest of Rome. This 2.5 hour Vatican Highlights tour includes:

  • A Memorable Experience

  • Skip the line Vatican tickets

  • Meet at 7:30 am for entrance just after 8:00 am

  • Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Tour

  • A Fun, English-speaking guide with expertise in Art History

  • Skip the Line guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica (except on Wednesdays)

* As of June 23rd, 2021, the Vatican has closed the "licensed guide entrance" to St Peter’s Basilica for all tour companies and tour guides. Don't worry, we still visit the amazing Basilica! However, until this message is removed, we cannot enter St. Peter's Basilica without lines for security. Hopefully, this changes very soon!

The Best Vatican Galleries

Explore the Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of the Tapestries, and one of our favorite collections, the Gallery of the Maps. Based on painted topographical maps of Italy by Dominican Italian friar Ignazio Danti, the Gallery of Maps is both beautiful and informative. Predating a unified Italy by nearly 300 years, the Gallery of Maps shows the length and breadth of the peninsula in the late 1500s. 

The Sistine Chapel’s Ceiling

While you stand beneath the frescoes of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, it’s impossible not to appreciate how difficult it must have been for Michelangelo to toil away year after year at this masterpiece. Visiting the Vatican is simply not complete without a Sistine Chapel tour. The chapel is inside the museums, so entrance is included in your Vatican tour. 

Please note: The Sistine Chapel is a sacred place, so both men and women must cover their knees and shoulders. Otherwise, you may be refused entry to a portion of your Vatican tour. We understand the summers in Rome are hot - a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. That way, you can cover your knees and shoulders when necessary. 

St. Peter's Basilica and the Papal Tombs

Except on Wednesdays

Skip the long lines to enter St. Peter’s, and access the jaw-dropping St. Peter's Basilica directly through the Sistine Chapel. Once inside, admire masterpieces that include the Baldacchino, La Pietà, the statue of St. Peter, and more. Your guide will also take you underneath the basilica to visit the tombs of some special popes, as well as a Swedish Queen with a peculiar story.

Important: It isn’t possible to return to the Vatican Museums from St. Peter’s Basilica. If you want more time inside the museums, you must forgo the guided tour of the basilica. Also, if you’d like to stay in St. Peter's Basilica longer, don't leave with the guide to take photos in the piazza. Because the security line is long and re-entry on your own is not recommended, we suggest you stay inside St. Peter’s and explore on your own after the tour concludes.

Emperor Nero’s Bathtub

Wednesday's Only

Since Papal Mass takes place on Wednesday mornings - St. Peter’s Basilica is closed until the afternoon. If your Vatican Express Tour lands on a Wednesday, St. Peter’s Basilica is substituted for a visit to a collection of the most important Roman and Greek artwork, the Pio-Clementino Museum. Visit three of the world’s most iconic statues: the Apollo Belvedere, Laocoön and His Sons, and the Belvedere Torso. Learn the stories behind the statues, before visiting Nero’s massive red marble bathtub

 

What you get with this tour
English-Speaking Guide
Vatican tickets included
Skip the Line
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101 total reviews

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Average customer rating
4.99 / 5 based on 101 total reviews
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9/23/2021
John Anderson

Raffle was excellent. 11 on a 10 scale!

J
Reviewed by
John Anderson
6/19/2021
Best tour experience to date…

We had the best tour guide for our family that we’ve ever experienced! On top of a great tour guide, the Vatican was practically empty as it (and Italy) just opened after Covid closures. Summer of 2021 will be a great tour experience at the Vatican with non-existent crowds. Thank you Tour Guy!

P
Reviewed by
Patrick Booher
8/2/2020
Worth the money

I was uncertain if it would be "worth it" from the usual entry price and it ABSOLUTELY was. We had beat the crowd entry and got to see the highlights of the Vatican in an unhurried and special way. Our guide was absolutely incredible, warm, knowledgeable and also passionate and genuinely excited about sharing with us, but at our level. Don't hesitate, it's so worth it.

J
Reviewed by
Jennifer Crittall

show more reviews

Frequently Asked Questions

Where to meet?

Between Hotel Alimandi and Caffé Vaticano, at the top of the big staircase (Viale Vaticano, 100). A representative will be there holding a sign with our company name on it.

What to bring?

Entrance into any religious site requires a strict dress code. Knees and shoulders MUST be covered for both men and women. We understand the summers in Rome are hot - a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. Also, comfortable shoes are always recommended for walking tours. We kindly ask that you leave any large backpacks or tripods at your accommodation as they are not permitted inside the museums.

Does the tour go inside at 7:30 am without waiting in any lines?

As an accredited tour operator we do not have to wait in the regular ticket line, but we still have to wait in a security line. For this reason, we leave the meeting point as early as possible and get in the security line reserved for tour operators. The doors open for us at 8 am, an hour before the general public.

Does this tour always include St. Peter's Basilica?

St. Peter's Basilica is closed on Wednesday's in the morning due to the papal audience. We still run the tour because it might be your only day in Rome! Instead, we visit some of the most iconic statues in the world and Emperor Nero's enormous marble bathtub.

Is there a dress code to enter the religious sites on this tour?

We ask both men and women to cover knees and shoulders, otherwise you may be refused entry to religious sites and miss out on a portion of your tour. We understand the summers in Rome can be hot, so a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. That way, you can cover your knees and shoulders when necessary.

What to bring?

Entrance into any religious site requires a strict dress code. Knees and shoulders MUST be covered for both men and women. We understand the summers in Rome are hot - a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. Also, comfortable shoes are always recommended for walking tours. We kindly ask that you leave any large backpacks or tripods at your accommodation as they are not permitted inside the museums.

Where to meet?

Between Hotel Alimandi and Caffé Vaticano, at the top of the big staircase (Viale Vaticano, 100). A representative will be there holding a sign with our company name on it.

What are the chances my tour will be canceled or the Vatican will close something.

We run the tour rain or shine all year round. Although it is rare, sometimes part of the Vatican City closes for special religious events. If an area normally covered on a tour is closed, our guide will still provide explanations of the closed areas from outside. Plus, we will show you an extra site or gallery to compensate.

I have some doubts about my mobility. Is this tour right for me?

If you have any doubts about your mobility, we strongly suggest you take a Private Vatican Tour.

Total: $83.25 as low as $69.93

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24-hr cancellation on group tours! Learn more about our cancellation policy

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$83.25 as low as $69.93
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