The Complete Vatican Tour with St. Peter's Basilica, Sistine Chapel and Skip-the-Line Tickets

Explore the Vatican’s masterpieces with a leading expert
From US$204 for 1 person
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Tour Details
Duration
4 hours
Product Type
Tour
Venues
  • Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel
  • St. Peter's Basilica

"A wealth of knowledge"

"Vittorio had a wealth of knowledge which he presented in very fine detail and patiently answered my questions. I very much enjoyed my experience, and liked that it was a small group who connected well."

Susan D.

"Went above and beyond"

"Worth every penny! Cecilia was so interesting and knowledgeable. My husband is not a history buff but is now after Cecilia Vatican tour. She made the experience personal and it gave us a behind the scene view. She went above and beyond"

Erica L.

"Not just informational, but also experiential"

"This was an excellent tour. Alessia was fantastic! She responded thoughtfully to our questions and cheerfully guided us through the huge crowds. This tour was not just informational but also experiential and will leave a lasting impression."

Michael A.
Photos & Highlights
  • The most comprehensive Context Vatican tour, offering a deeper understanding of the history, art, politics, and religion.
  • Navigate the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica with your expert guide leading the way.
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Tour Description
Surrounded by paintings, sculptures, tapestries, and more, the Vatican holds an incredible array of artwork and history. This 4-hour Vatican tour is for those who want to unlock that vast amount of information with an exclusive deep dive that most visitors simply skip over. 

As one of the only Context tours to include all three historic sites — the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica — you’ll enjoy the incredible value of experiencing these famous venues with an expert who knows how to bring the powerful history of each one to life. 

Rather than simply looking at a painting or tapestry like most Vatican visitors, you’ll get an exclusive understanding of the dramatic stories behind each work and the hidden meanings held within. 

Begin with a walk through thousands of artworks in the Vatican Museum before moving into the iconic Sistine Chapel. Many visitors find its sheer magnitude and beauty overwhelming. Your expert will give you the background and history you need to appreciate the craftsmanship while also understanding the stories held within the famous frescoes, including The Creation of Adam.

Use special access to enter St. Peter’s Basilica, skipping long lines outside, to see Michelangelo’s famous Pieta, St. Peter’s grave, and the incredible detail of Bernini’s canopy, among many other breathtaking statues and mosaics.

This tour provides a deep dive into the sprawling history contained within the walls of the Vatican City’s iconic sites. Ready for an unforgettable journey through history, art, politics, and religion? Your Context expert is waiting!
  • You want to hit the three major venues — the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica — with an expert who can help you get the most out of your visit.
  • You’ve been to the Vatican sites before, but it felt overwhelming without an expert to guide you through the venues. This time, you’re looking for a better understanding of the art and history held within each site. 
  • Navigating miles of Vatican hallways on your own sounds daunting. You’d like to go with an expert who already knows the best routes and highlights, allowing you to enjoy the works you’re most interested in while also being shown the hidden gems often missed by others.

  • Vatican Museums
  • Sistine Chapel
  • St. Peter's Basilica

Tickets
Our visit to the Vatican includes advance entry tickets, which allow us to skip the general admission line. However, we will still be required to wait in the security line which can take up to 20 minutes. Your guide will spend this time wisely by providing an overview of the history of the Vatican. 
Your ticket includes special access through the stair passageway from the Sistine Chapel to reach St. Peter's Basilica, avoiding the line in St. Peter's Square. Since St. Peter's Basilica is an active church with numerous events, the portion of the tour involving the Basilica might be subject to disruptions on the day of the visit, depending on the church's events, availability, and crowd levels. Unfortunately, we cannot prevent or alter these changes.

PLEASE NOTE: Starting May 2024 until September 2024, the Pietà sculpture and the Baldacchino inside St. Peter's Basilica will undergo restoration works and therefore will not be visible during the tour

Headsets
Depending on your group size, you may have headsets on the tour. 

Summer Crowds:
During the summer travel period, the Vatican Museums can see upwards of 35,000 visitors per day in the high season (Easter - September) and there is very little air conditioning in the buildings. It’s important to anticipate slower movement, limited visibility, and potential restrictions on accessing certain areas due to the density of crowds. Our experienced guides are adept at navigating through these challenging conditions and will strive to optimize your tour's route.

Dress Code:
Vatican policies require modest attire to respect the sanctity of the site. This generally includes covering shoulders and knees for both men and women. It's also advisable to wear comfortable footwear.


Additional Trip-Planning Resources

  • For more information on planning your tour, take a read through our How to Visit the Vatican Museums resources page.
  • A few things that pair well with this tour: 
    • Your comfiest walking shoes and a lightweight outfit, especially if visiting in the spring and summer months. 
    • A little pre-trip prep to help you make the most of this in-depth experience: Vatican Museums: Top 10 Highlights for Curious Travelers
    • An open mind and a readiness to dive deep into history and art.

I have purchased the Roma Pass, can I use it on my Context tours?
Roma Passes can not be used for the Vatican. 

How crowded are the Vatican sites?
During the summer travel period, the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica can be subject to extremely high levels of visitor traffic. It’s important to anticipate slower movement, limited visibility, and potential restrictions on accessing certain areas due to the density of crowds. Our experienced guides are adept at navigating through these challenging conditions and will strive to optimize your tour experience.

Does this tour "skip the line"?
Our visit to the Vatican includes advance entry tickets, which allow us to skip the general admission line. However, we will still be required to wait in the security line. At times, this line may take up to 20 minutes. Regardless, our guide will spend this time wisely by providing an overview of the history of Vatican. The most important consideration is timing your visit to avoid large tour groups and cruise ships which cause excessive crowding. We schedule our tours to try and find the best conditions inside the museums. 

How is this tour different from your other Vatican tours?
This is one of only two Context Vatican tours that visit all three iconic sites: the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica. 

Why is this tour not available on Wednesdays?
This tour grants entry to St. Peter's Basilica. On Wednesdays, the Basilica is closed to the public for the weekly audience with the Pope. We provide two tours that include visits to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, excluding the Basilica, and that are available every day, including Wednesdays. You can find more information by exploring our Vatican Highlights Tour with Sistine Chapel and Skip-the-Line Tickets and Vatican Tour for Kids with the Sistine Chapel and Skip-the-Line Tickets.

We understand that some of our valued guests may have mobility concerns, and we want to ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable experience throughout your tour. If there are any accessibility concerns that your tour guide will need to be aware of, please let our team know at the time of booking.

Is this tour wheelchair-friendly?
There is access for clients with mobility issues, and free wheelchairs are available for rent at the entrance. However, people using wheelchairs/walking devices must follow a different route and book privately. 

Guests with disabilities may be entitled to free entry to the Vatican Museums. Please contact us to find out if you qualify.

Are there areas to stop and sit along the way?
There are not many opportunities to stop and rest, especially with larger crowds during the busier spring and summer months. Please wear appropriate footwear and let us know of any mobility issues that may impact your tour experience. 
Book with confidence — see Context's flexible cancellation policy here.


Where You'll Start
(4.72) 3771 Reviews

Reviews can only be left by Context customers after they have completed a tour. For more information about our reviews, please see our FAQ.

Luisa was very knowledgeable and exceedingly accommodating. Our tour with her was a highlight of our visit to Rome!
Jeannette was both enthusiastic and knowledgeable. The tour was a joy!
Mara was excellent. Very thorough and easy to listen to!

See the Vatican with Context

Get to know one of the art historians leading this tour

Meet Cecilia

Skip the Line Vatican Tickets: See The Vatican with a Local Expert

Every Context tour is a story waiting to be told. See the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica with a local expert. The Complete Vatican Tour includes skip the line Vatican tickets, so you can cut down on your waiting time and see more of the incredible works housed inside this iconic venue — the most visited in Rome.

Join engaging experts as you walk the hallowed halls of the Vatican Museums, seeing famous renaissance artwork and hidden gems alike. Hear the history behind the Sistine Chapel from an art historian and understand the imagery and icongraphy shown in Michaelangelo's masterpiece. See the dome of St. Peter's Basilica through the eyes of a local. Plus, with Context's Pre-Trip talks, you can show up already in the know to get the most of your visit. Learn even more and see neighboring venues like Castel Sant'Angelo with our one-of-a-kind audio guides.

Need help planning your trip to the Vatican? Read our comprehensive guide to get started.

And just what do we mean when we say "Skip the Line Vatican Tickets"? We've outlined it in this helpful blog post.