Early Entry Vatican Tour with Sistine Chapel and Skip-the-Line Tickets

Gain access before the daytime crowds
From US$715 privately
Book a Tour
Tour Details
3.5 Hours
Product Type
  • Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel
  • St. Peter's Basilica

Perceptive and energetic

"Energetic, friendly, knowledgeable and perceptive. Our guide quickly figured out what we were interested in seeing!"

- Laura M.

In-depth knowledge

"As an art historian who did her research in the Vatican archives, she brought in-depth knowledge and insight. It was an absolute treat to be guided by Sara."

- Keren K.

Navigate crowds

"I could not believe the sheer number of people that were in the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Alessia was incredible, she helped us stay together and was very organized."

- Michael D.
Photos & Highlights
  • Be one of the first to enter thanks to Context’s preferred partnership with the Vatican.
  • Dive into the highlights within the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica.
Select a date
Tour Description
This early entry Vatican tour is perfect for anyone who wants to unlock the vast amount of information held inside the Vatican City before the afternoon crowds descend upon this popular holy site.

Your private, three and a half hour tour includes all three historic sites — the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. Enjoy expert insight into iconic artworks as your Vatican guide peels back layers of history and intrigue. 

Let your Vatican expert know what interests you most. They can cater the tour to give you a personalized experience that’s memorable and engaging.

Begin exploring the artworks in the Vatican Museum before moving into the iconic Sistine Chapel. As one of the first in the venue, you’ll enjoy a less crowded viewing experience, allowing you to better appreciate the craftsmanship and beauty.

Use a special access to enter St. Peter’s Basilica, skipping the 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.

By the end of this tour, you’ll have gained detailed insight into the Vatican's rich history and gotten to know this iconic ultimate Rome venue before most people have even had their morning coffee. 
  • You want to be one of the first to enter the Vatican when it opens. 
  • You’d like a crash course on Vatican history while being expertly ushered through the miles of Vatican hallways with a knowledgeable guide.
  • You’d like to visit the Sistine Chapel with the smallest crowd of the day.

  • Vatican Museum
  • Sistine Chapel
  • St. Peter’s Basilica

A few notes on logistical planning to make your Vatican tour experience as smooth as possible. 
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

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.

Recommended Age for Children:
This tour is ideally suited for children aged 5 to 12. The extensive walking and noisy crowds at the Vatican Museums can be overwhelming for very young children, especially in the bustling summer months. For more tailored advice to suit your family's needs, please feel free to reach out to us.

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

A few things that pair well with this experience: 

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 will the Vatican be?
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. Our experienced guides are adept at navigating through these challenging conditions and will strive to optimize your tour experience. As a preferred Vatican partner, Context is able to secure tickets for this early entry time slot. However, you will not be alone in the Vatican, but the crowds will be more manageable. 

Does this tour "skip the line"?
Yes. Context, as a Vatican-preferred partner, has access to 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. 

Does this tour include the Vatican Gardens?
The Vatican Gardens can only be accessed through a separate tour and ticket, available exclusively via the Vatican's website, and are part of a guided experience offered by the Vatican itself. This means the general public is unable to explore the gardens on their own.

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
(4.75) 328 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.

Jeannette was wonderful, smart and fun!! Thank you for an unforgettable and inspiring experience!!!
Raffaela was fabulous! So knowledgeable and friendly. She wanted to make sure we had the best experience while we were there. And we certainly did!!
Tiziana is an expert on the Vatican and art! She hit all the highlights and made a fun and enjoyable day. There was no question she couldn't answer