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

See Vatican sights an hour before the public

5 / 5 See All 98 Reviews · 2.5h 16 max · Vatican, Italy

If you have a lot to see in Rome in a short amount of time, this Vatican Highlights Tour is one of the best Rome tours for you. See the best galleries, tour St. Peter's Basilica and see Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel in less time.

Tour Details
  • Skip the Line Vatican Tickets
  • Vatican Museums Tour
  • Gallery of the Candelabra
  • Gallery of the Tapestries
  • Gallery of Maps
  • Sistine Chapel Tour
  • Michelangelo's Masterpieces
  • St. Peter's Basilica
  • La Pietà by Michelangelo
  • Baldacchino by Bernini
  • Papal Tombs
  • Continue Exploring the Vatican State
  • Laocoön and His Sons
  • Nero's Bath
  • Belvedere Torso

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 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. 

  • Skip the line Vatican tickets
  • Meet at 7:30 am for entrance just after 8:00 am
  • Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel
  • English-speaking guide with expertise in art history
  • A guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica (except on Wednesdays)

Want to skip the line at the Vatican without having a guided tour? Click here for skip the line Vatican tickets.

COMPARE ALL VATICAN TOURS

Short delays at the security check may occur during the busiest months, June and July. We have a team of experts at the Vatican every morning to help our groups avoid delays as much as possible. 

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 to 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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98 total reviews

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Average customer rating
4.99 / 5 based on 98 total reviews
5 star 97
4 star 1
3 star 0
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1 star 0
2/19/2020
Sistine and Raphael tapestries! Marvelous guide, group 4!

M
Reviewed by
Margaret Blaney
2/18/2020
So knowledgeable!

I cannot say enough good things about our tour and especially our guide, Faby! She gave us so much information, of course on the large structures and pieces, but also drawing our attention to smaller details that would have gone unnoticed. She was energetic about what she was doing, even zipping into an area that usually would have been too crowded to see on our shorter tour. I think I expected someone to navigate us past the lines and and show us the basics but I feel like we got a teacher who was filling us with details from the moment we approached the security lines to the end. This was money and time well spent, I would absolutely do another tour with Faby.

S
Reviewed by
Scott Elliott
2/2/2020
Don’t Question It, Just Buy The Tour

SOOOO GOOD. We never waited for anything and our tour guide was amazing. So informative and answered questions with great knowledge.

J
Reviewed by
Julianna Lopez-Picardi

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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: $76.95 as low as $59.13

available days discounted days

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

Reserve Now $76.95 as low as $67.71
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