Are you looking for the best way to get your Vatican Museums tickets? Find out everything you need to know, how much tickets cost, how to skip the line, how to get discounts, unique combos including other attractions and more!
How much do Vatican Museums tickets cost?
It depends. Vatican Museums tickets have a different price if you buy them in person or online. You can also book tickets with or without a guided tour. Free and reduced prices are available for eligible visitors.
Standard Vatican Museums tickets
Standard tickets to the Vatican Museums can be purchased in person at the ticket office on the day of your visit.
- Standard ticket: €17
- Reduced ticket for visitors under 18, students under 26 and members of a group on a pilgrimage: €8
- All children under 6, disabled visitors plus one companion and university professors of certain disciplines have free admission.
Skip-the-Line Vatican Museums tickets
Buy a skip-the-line Vatican Museums ticket online in advance to avoid waiting in line at the ticket office on the day of your visit.
- Skip-the-line ticket: €22
- Reduced skip-the-line ticket for visitors under 18, students under 26 and members of a group on a pilgrimage: €13
- All children under 6, disabled visitors plus one companion and university professors of certain disciplines have free admission.
Breakfast at the Vatican Museums tickets
Did you know you can have a full American-style breakfast in the Vatican Museums before starting your visit? If you want to dig into some divine pancakes, book this ticket for breakfast and entry to the museums.
- Standard ticket plus breakfast: €40
- Reduced ticket plus breakfast for visitors under 18, students under 26 and members of a group on a pilgrimage: €31
Lunch at the Vatican Museums tickets
Did you know you can take an Italian lunch break during your visit to the Vatican Museums? There’s nothing like a big plate of pasta to give you the energy to explore all the wings of the Vatican Museums.
- Standard ticket plus lunch: €41.50
- Reduced ticket plus lunch for visitors under 18, students under 26 and members of a group on a pilgrimage: €32.50 or €22 (full Italian menu or kids’ menu)
Happy Hour at the Vatican Museums tickets
Did you know you can enjoy an aperitif before your visit to the Vatican Museums? Brace yourself for all that walking and artistic magnificence with a drink and snack.
- Standard ticket plus happy hour: €40
- Reduced ticket plus lunch for visitors under 18, students under 26 and members of a group on a pilgrimage: €31
Vatican Museums Audioguides
You can add an audioguide to any of the tickets listed above for €7, or €5 for children under 12. The audioguides are available in English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, German, Chinese and Korean.
Vatican Museums Prime Experience Tickets
The Prime Experience tickets give you early access to the museums with a guided tour followed by a full American-style breakfast. If you want to dig into some divine pancakes, book this ticket for breakfast and early entry to the museums.
- Standard ticket price plus breakfast and early entry: €68
- Reduced ticket price plus breakfast and early entry for visitors under 18, students under 26 and members of a group on a pilgrimage: €59
Vatican Gardens and Sistine Chapel tickets
You cannot buy individual tickets to the Vatican Gardens, nor are they included with a Vatican Museums ticket. You can only visit the gardens by booking a guided tour of the Vatican Gardens and the Sistine Chapel.
- Standard ticket: €40
- Reduced ticket for visitors under 18, students under 26 and members of a group on a pilgrimage: €31
- All children under 6 have free admission.
Hidden Vatican Museums tickets
Some areas of the Vatican Museums are closed to the general public and can only be accessed as part of a guided tour with special Hidden Vatican Museums tickets.
This is the only way you can see the Chapel of Nicolas V, the Bramante Staircase and the Cabinet of Masks.
- Standard ticket: €22
- Reduced ticket for visitors under 18, students under 26 and members of a group on a pilgrimage: €13
Please note that this isn’t the full price of the tour. There are at least two additional fees. The first fee is a tariff for opening each area (€300 for one area and €500 for two areas).
The second fee is €180 for the service of a Certified Vatican Tour Guide. For groups of more than 10 people, there is also a fee of €1,50 per person for earphones.
Gardens of the Pontifical Villas tickets
The Gardens of the Pontifical Villas are not actually part of the Vatican and are located at Castel Gandolfo — 25 kilometers southeast of Rome.
This ticket doesn’t include the train ride from Vatican City, but it includes shuttle transport to the 30-hectare gardens overlooking Lake Albano, which have served as the Pope’s summer retreat for centuries.
- Standard ticket: €20
- Reduced ticket for visitors under 18, students under 26 and members of a group on a pilgrimage: €15
- All children under 6 have free admission.
You have the option to bundle this ticket with entry to the Apostolic Palace for an additional €7, which is 50% off the standard price.
Can you buy Vatican Museums tickets at the door?
Yes, you can buy Vatican Museums tickets at the entrance. However, we highly recommend booking your tickets online to avoid waiting in extremely long lines. Keep in mind that the Vatican Museums have about 30,000 daily visitors.
Even when you book skip-the-line tickets online ahead of time, you will still need to wait in a fast-track line once you arrive at the Vatican. That’s why your best option is to book a guided tour, which is the only way to truly not wait in line to enter the Vatican Museums.
Where to buy Vatican Museums tickets in advance?
You can buy tickets in advance online. The main reason to buy tickets online is that you can skip the line for tickets at the entrance. There will still be a security check line. However, this line can’t be avoided for obvious reasons, and it is much faster than the ticket line.
When you buy your ticket online, you will need to select the day and time of your visit. Then, you will just need to show up at the correct time at the entrance of the Vatican Museums.
You can book the tickets online on the official website. Tickets often sell out during the high seasons for popular time slots. When this happens, don’t give up! There’s still hope. You can still visit the Vatican Museums if you take one of the following steps.
- Book your ticket through an online travel agency. You can often find tickets here even when they are sold out on the official website. You can easily compare all the options from different providers on TourScanner, or check our guide on Vatican Museums last minute tickets.
- Book a tour. The tour prices vary depending on what’s included. There are different special access packages available to see places that aren’t open to the general public, and you can only visit as part of a guided tour. Some of these special access tours are explained below. For a deeper dive, check out our guide on Vatican Museums tours.
As always, you can check TourScanner to quickly compare all the guided tour options available.
Is the Sistine Chapel included in the Vatican Museums ticket?
Yes! The Sistine Chapel is always included in your ticket.
Normally, the Sistine Chapel is very crowded, but if you want to visit when it’s nearly empty, you can book an exclusive early access tour to visit the Sistine Chapel before it’s open to the general public.
Early access tours allow you to go straight to the Sistine Chapel first thing in the morning. Having the peace and solitude to calmly appreciate Michelangelo’s masterworks on the altar walls and ceiling is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Early Access guided tours start at €55, which includes both the early access ticket and a guided tour of the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums.
Is St. Peter’s Basilica included in the Vatican Museums ticket?
No, St. Peter’s Basilica is not included in the Vatican Museum ticket. However, that’s because St. Peter’s Basilica is an active church and is free for all to enter.
You don’t need a ticket to enter, but you must wait in line for a security check to get in. Even if you have already entered the Vatican Museums, you will still need to exit the complex, go to the main entrance of St. Peter’s Basilica and pass through the security check.
Do you want to know how to avoid waiting in that security check line? It’s easy, actually. All you need to do is book a guided tour that includes the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica. The guide will lead you through a special side door connecting the Sistine Chapel directly to St. Peter’s Basilica after visiting the museums.
Hot tip: Read our full guide on how to skip the line at St. Peter’s Basilica
Are the Vatican Gardens included in the Vatican Museums ticket?
No. The Vatican Gardens are not included in the standard Vatican Museums ticket. However, you can buy a ticket that includes a guided tour of the Vatican Gardens and the Vatican Museums.
This is actually the only way to visit the Vatican Gardens, as you cannot explore the gardens on your own, but only as part of a guided tour. The standard tour only includes visits to the Vatican Gardens and the Sistine Chapel, but you can choose other tours that include more sections of the Vatican Museums.
Avoid the crowd – What is the best time to visit the Vatican Museums?
The Vatican Museums are one of Rome’s busiest attractions. If you wish to enjoy your visit without huge crowds of tourists around you, you can opt to visit the Vatican Museums either in the early morning or in the evening. There are tickets and guided tours designed for those specific time slots, some including a breakfast or dinner option.
Vatican Museums Early Access tickets and tours
The Vatican Museums Early Access tour is the best choice to avoid the crowds: you will be the first to see the Sistine Chapel! For a deeper dive into early access tours, see our guide on Early Access Vatican Museums Tours.
You will be allowed in from 15 to 90 minutes before the regular opening hours. The guide will take you directly to the Sistine Chapel, where you will be able to appreciate in near solitude Michelangelo’s masterpiece paintings — “The Creation of Adam” and “The Last Judgment.”
This is different from most tours, as the Sistine Chapel is normally visited after the Vatican Museums. Due to this and the early hour, you can enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience in a much more peaceful setting.
Early morning tours start quite early, usually between 7:15 AM and 8:45 AM. Depending on the availability, you will be able to choose a single ticket or a guided tour — from group tours to semi-private and private ones.
Vatican Museums At-Night tours
Every Friday and Saturday from mid-April to October, the Vatican Museums remain open during the evening, and it is possible to visit them with an at-night tour. However, you can only access the Vatican Museums at night as part of a guided tour.
At-night tours allow you to experience the stunning masterpieces in the museums after the regular closing time. This evening tour is also the perfect option if you are short on time in Rome and cannot visit during the day.
These are generally private or small group tours, which are capped at 12 or 18 people. As these tours can only take place on the weekend to a limited number of people, be sure to book your tour ahead of time as they tend to sell out weeks or months in advance.
Is the Vatican Museums ticket included in any city attraction passes?
Are there any combined tickets or tours including the Vatican Museums and other attractions?
Yes! If you wish to visit several attractions in Rome during your holidays, combined guided tours are great for saving time and money. You can include must-see experiences, such as stepping foot in the Colosseum and receiving the Pope’s blessing in person at a Papal audience.
- Vatican Museums and the Colosseum: Visit the two most important attractions in Rome, the Vatican and the Colosseum & Roman Forum.
- Vatican Museums and a Papal Audience: On Wednesdays, you can have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the Pope in person at a Papal Audience in St. Peter’s Square.
- Vatican Museums and the Vatican Gardens: Half of all Vatican City is actually composed of the Vatican Gardens, which you can only visit as part of a guided tour.
- Vatican Museums and a hop-on hop-off bus tour: Enjoy skip-the-line access to the Vatican Museums plus a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tour in Rome.
Can Vatican Museums tickets be canceled or modified?
Yes, the date and time of your tickets can be modified one time after booking on the official website, depending on availability. However, you cannot cancel or get a refund for your tickets from the official website once they are booked and paid for.
If you book your tickets through another online ticket provider, keep in mind that each one has its own cancellation policy. Some offer a 100% refund if canceled up to 24 hours before the visit, while others do not allow any cancellations.
If you think you may need to cancel or modify your booking, we suggest booking through an online provider with a flexible cancelation policy. Don’t forget to read the fine print to avoid any unpleasant surprises!
Who is eligible for discounts?
Visitors under 18, students under 26 and members of a group on a pilgrimage are eligible for a discount of €9 off the standard ticket price.
Each student of a primary or secondary school group can receive a discounted ticket of €4 or €6. There is a €2 fee for booking skip-the-line tickets online. This fee is not applied if you visit from November to February. For every 10 students, one teacher gets a free ticket.
There is also a family discount reserved for families composed of one mother, one father and at least two children between 6 and 18 or students under 26. The second and subsequent child or student has free admission. That’s a buy three and get one or more free deal!
Be sure to bring proof, such as a passport/ID, student card or the signed request letter from your religious institution, or you could be charged full admission at the entrance.
Please note that you must book discounted group tickets 60 days before the intended day of the visit. Although you can modify your booking one time prior to the visit, you don’t receive a full refund if you cancel your booking.
Is it possible to visit the Vatican Museums for free?
Yes! Entry is free for everyone on the last Sunday of the month and on World Tourism Day.
Certain visitors can always visit the Vatican Museums for free, including:
- All children under 6 years old.
- Disabled visitors and one companion. Tickets cannot be booked online in advance, but are given on arrival at the Special Permits or Reception desks within the entrance hall of the Vatican Museums.
- Journalists who are approved by the Directorate of the Museums and have registration with the Holy See Press Office, the Foreign Press Association in Italy and the National Order of Journalists (Italy).
- Cardholders from the following institutions: Icom (International Council of Museums); Icomos (International Council on Monuments and Sites).
- Those who are donators of works, financial supporters and members of the association Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.
- Directors of museums, managing boards and similar bodies involved in the protection of archaeological, historic and artistic heritage.
- University professors in the following subjects: Archaeology, Art History, Architecture and Ethnology. In addition, professors from Rome-based academies. The purpose of the visit must be to complement related lectures and requires permission from the Directorate prior to the visit.
How is the booking process? What happens after the booking?
The booking process can be slightly different depending on which website you are booking from. For example, the official website accepts Visa and Mastercard, while travel agencies generally accept a wider range of cards.
After the booking, you will receive an email to confirm your email address. After confirmation, you will receive a second email with the voucher. The voucher is what you will need to show at the entrance to skip the line. You can print the voucher or show it on a smartphone or tablet. The bar code on the voucher must be readable.
On the day of the visit, go directly to the main entrance to the section “fila prenotati” and present your voucher to the security personnel. After the security check, go straight to the counter “Cassa Online e Gruppi” where you will show your voucher and get your printed ticket to enter the Vatican Museums.
What are the Vatican Museums’ opening times?
The Vatican Museums are open Monday to Saturday from 9 AM to 6 PM. The final entry of the day is at 4 PM.
The museums are also open on the last Sunday of the month from 9 AM to 2 PM. Admission is free on these days, which is why the lines are always extra long. The final entry on the last Sunday of every month is 12:30 PM.
The Vatican Museums are closed on Sunday (except the last Sunday of the month), Easter Sunday, Christmas and Boxing Day (December 25-26) and Saints Peter and Paul Day (June 29).
The Vatican Museums are also closed on January 1 and 6, February 11, April 10, May 1, August 15 and 16, November 1 and December 8.
Please refer to the calendar of museum openings/closures for more details.
What is included in the Vatican Museums ticket?
Your Vatican Museums ticket includes a single entry for one entire day. This means that once you leave, your ticket is not valid for re-entry. However, as long as you don’t leave the grounds of the Vatican Museums, you can explore them for the whole day.
Bear in mind that the Vatican Museums contain one of the largest art collections in the world. To see each and every painting and sculpture, you would need to walk over 7 kilometers!
Several famous masterpieces are on display. Make sure not to miss them!
- Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” and “The Last Judgement” are hard to miss, spanning dozens of meters on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling and main altar wall.
- Raphael’s “School of Athens” is the highlight of the Raphael Rooms. See if you can spot the well-known faces from the Renaissance and antiquity, including a self-portrait of the painter himself!
- Caravaggio’s “The Entombment of Christ” is probably the most sought-after painting in the Pinacoteca Vaticana.
- Leonardo da Vinci’s unfinished painting “St. Jerome in the Wilderness” is also in the Pinacoteca Vaticana. It is Da Vinci’s only piece in the Vatican.
These are only four popular examples of what you can find in this vast collection.
The Vatican Museums, as the name suggests, is actually composed of a number of different museums. All of which are accessible with your ticket.
- Sistine Chapel
- Raphael Rooms
- Pinacoteca Vaticana
- Gregorian Egyptian Museum
- Gregorian Etruscan Museum
- Pio-Clementino Museum
- Chiaramonti Museum
- Lapidary Gallery
- New Wing
- Gregoriano Profano Museum
- Lapidario Profano ex Lateranense
- Pio Cristiano Museum
- Christian Lapidarium
- Jewish Lapidarium
- Ethnological Museum
- Carriage Pavilion
- Christian Museum
- Profane Museum
- Room of the Aldobrandini Wedding
- Chapel of St. Peter Martyr
- Collection of Contemporary Art
- Borgia Apartment
- Niccoline Chapel
- Chapel of Urban VIII
- Room of the Immaculate Conception
- Room of the Chiaroscuri
There are also some special sections that are closed to the general public and open only for group tours.
- The Vatican Gardens
- The Villa Barberini and its gardens
- The Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo
- The Hidden Pontifical Villas
- The Necropolis of the Via Triumphalis
- The Carriage Pavilion
What will you see inside?
The Vatican Museums house an incomparable collection of over 70,000 paintings and sculptures, although only 20,000 are currently on display. The museums date back to the 16th century when Pope Julius II created the concept and began contributing art to the legendary displays.
The Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica are the two stars of Vatican City. The Sistine Chapel features Michelangelo’s world-famous ceiling mural, while St. Peter’s Basilica is an impressive feat of Renaissance architecture and stands as the largest church in the world.
Besides the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica, you can also explore dozens of museums in the Vatican. Here you will find on display contemporary and classical works of art by the best painters and sculptors to have ever picked up a brush or chisel.
Over 6 million people visit the Vatican Museums each year, making it one of the most visited art museums in the world. You could spend weeks or even months exploring all the works in the museums. However, if you only have a day, be sure you don’t overlook the masterpieces described below.
The Sistine Chapel
Here, you will find some of Michelangelo’s most timeless works. If you look up, you will see God stretching out his finger to mankind in “The Creation of Adam,” which is actually only one panel in a series of murals spanning 40 meters across the ceiling.
In front of you, covering the entirety of the altar wall, you can gaze at Michelangelo’s incomparable fresco “The Last Judgement,” which reaches 14 meters high and stretches 12 meters across with over 300 figures depicting the Second Coming of Christ.
This chapel still serves as the site of the papal conclave, which is a tradition dating back centuries where the cardinals will meet to choose a new pope. People will gather to observe the color of the smoke leaving the chapel’s chimney until white smoke declares that a new pope has been chosen!
St. Peter’s Basilica
Standing tall and wide as the largest church in the world is St. Peter’s Basilica. This impressive feat of Renaissance architecture covers over 23,000 square meters. By law, its dome is the tallest building in Rome and reaches a height of 136 meters.
Besides appreciating the size and intricacy of the architecture, you will also be able to appreciate frescoes and sculptures — the most well-known being Michelangelo’s “La Pietà.” This masterpiece is all the more impressive considering that he carved it when he was only 24 years old!
Another highlight is Bernini’s baldachino, which is a canopy directly under the dome to mark the burial site of Saint Peter. Christians can reflect here on Jesus’s much-quoted proclamation from the Bible, “you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18).
For this baldachino, Bernini constructed four bronze columns that sit on marble plinths and reach a height of 20 meters to mediate the vastness of the church to the human scale, much like Jesus mediated the glory of God for humanity.
Please be aware that St. Peter’s Square and the Basilica are inaccessible on Wednesdays until noon as part of a Vatican Museums tour due to the weekly Papal Audience. If you plan to visit on a Wednesday, you can buy separate tickets to attend the Papal Audience.
See also: Papal Audience Tickets, Tips & Schedule
The Raphael Rooms
Divided into four grand rooms, here you will find the masterworks of the great Renaissance artist Raphael. Giant frescoes depicting mythological and historical events adorn the walls and ceilings of each room.
The most famous of these paintings is The School of Athens. If you look closely, you can see Raphael included a self-portrait, as well as portraits of some of the brightest minds of his own time and antiquity, including Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Plato and Aristotle.
Pio Clementino Museum
Here you will find one of the most historical pieces in the Vatican Museums — the Belvedere Torso. Only a fragment remains of this marble statue of a male nude, which dates back to the first century BC.
You can see the influence this piece had on Renaissance artists, including Raphael and Michelangelo, if you pay attention to the male figures in their paintings and statues. For example, Saint Bartholomew in Michelangelo’s “The Last Judgement” bears a strong resemblance to the Belvedere Torso.
In Room IX of the Pinacoteca, or Art Gallery, you will find Leonardo Da Vinci’s only work in the Vatican Museums, which is actually an unfinished painting known as “St. Jerome in the Wilderness.”
This is only one of many timeless paintings you will see here. Bellini’s “Pietà,” Raphael’s “Madonna of Foligno” and Carvaggio’s “The Entombment of Christ” are some of the other masterpieces you can appreciate in the Pinacoteca Vaticano.
Bernardino di Betto, or Pinturicchio as he was often called due to his small stature, is responsible for the design and frescoes that decorate the six rooms of the apartments once inhabited by Pope Alexander VI, or Rodrigo de Borja.
Today, most of the rooms house the Vatican Collection of Modern Religious Art, which includes Vincent Van Gogh’s “Pieta,” Salvador Dalí’s “The Announcement” and August Rodn’s “The Thinker.”
The Belvedere and Pine Courtyards
At first glance, this area appears to be a single courtyard, but it is actually divided into a lower terrace, Cortile del Belvedere, and an upper terrace, Cortile della Pigna.
The upper terrace gets its name from the four-meter bronze pinecone adorning the vast niche in the wall of the Vatican, which was once a Roman fountain and dates back to the first century AD. Dante mentions this pinecone in his Divine Comedy to describe a giant’s head as “long and large as is at Rome the pine-cone of Saint Peter’s.”
On the west side of the Belvedere Courtyard, you will find the Gallery of Maps. Instead of frescoes portraying religious and historical events, this gallery has a more geographical theme with paintings outlining regions of the Italian peninsula.
Although the Vatican Gardens are not part of the Vatican Museums, you can book guided tours that include the gardens with your visit to the rest of the Vatican. This is actually the only way to visit the Vatican Gardens, as you cannot explore the gardens on your own, but only as part of a guided tour.
The Vatican Gardens cover 23 hectares, which is about half the area of the entire Vatican! Legend has it that the gardens were founded with soil transported from Mount Calvary, where Jesus Christ and thousands of early Christians were once crucified.
Pope Francis only opened these gardens to the public in 2014, so it is a rather new opportunity for you to be able to see this more secluded area of the Vatican. Besides its statues and fountains, a highlight of the gardens is the collection of Blessed Virgin Mary shrines. Countries from around the world have been gradually adding to the collection since the early 20th century.
If the Vatican Museums are not enough for you, read our complete list of the best things to do in Rome! You’ll find a lot of hidden gems!
Enjoy your visit to the Vatican Museums. We hope this guide will be helpful in making the most of your visit! Divertiti! 😊⛪