13. September 2018

Vatican Museums Rome: Tickets, guided tour, admission and opening hours

If you visit St. Peter’s Square and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, then you should definitely make a detour to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. It is worth strolling through the numerous galleries and art collections. The Vatican gardens are also worth a visit, but you need an extra ticket for this! This article reveals useful information on the entrance fee to the Vatican Museums in Rome, where to buy tickets for the Vatican Museums and how the opening hours of the Vatican Museums look like.

Vatican Museum Tickets: How much is admission to the Vatican Museums?

As you may know, as a tourist in the Vatican you can visit St. Peter’s Square, St. Peter’s Basilica with its dome, the Vatican Museums and their gardens. Information on the entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Peter’s Square and the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica can be found in a separate article. This is mainly about the admission fees for the Vatican Museums in Rome.

Vatican Museums Entrance: Where is the entrance to the Vatican Museums in Rome?

The address of the Vatican Museums in Rome is Viale Vaticano, 00165 Roma. On the following Google Maps map you can see where they are exactly.

The Vatican Museums house one of the largest and most important art collections in the world. The treasure of the Vatican Museums includes pieces and works from antiquity to modern times. Halls and hallways add up to a length of 7 kilometers. The following picture shows the entrance to the Vatican Museums in Rome, which was enlarged under Pope John Paul II. and thus adapted to the large stream of visitors.

Entry Vatican Museums Rome

The Vatican Museums also include the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Gardens. For the opening hours of the Vatican Museums there are some rules with few exceptions, which I will explain to you here. Also, there are various offers for visiting the Vatican Museums, which I introduce to you in this post. The exit of the Vatican Museums is right next to the entrance to the museums and looks like this:

Exit Vatican Museums

Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel: Tickets and ticket prices at a glance

In the following table you will find the official price list of the Vatican Museums. The prices of the tour offers of the private organizers may vary, as the tours may be different, for example, in terms of the number of participants or the nature and duration of the tour.

 Children (under 6)Adolescents (6-18 years)Students (under 25)Adults
Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, free admission onlyfree8 Euro8 Euro17 Euro
Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel with audio guidefree13 Euro15 Euro24 Euro
Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Domefree29 Euro29 Euro38 Euro
Vatican Gardens with Open Bus, Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel---23 Euro23 Euro37 Euro
Vatican Museums, secret museumsOnly with group tour
Breakfast in the museum at 7:15 amfree59 Euro59 Euro65 Euro
Breakfast in the museum at 8:15 amfree29 Euro29 Euro38 Euro
An evening in the museumfree12 Euro12 Euro21 Euro
An evening in the museum with happy hourfree29 Euro29 Euro38 Euro
Online reservation fee ---4 Euro4 Euro4 Euro

As you can see in this table, usual admission to the Vatican Museums in Rome is 17 euros for adults, for young people between 6 and 18 years and for students under 25 it is only 8 euros. Entrance is free for children under 6 years. The entrance ticket to the Vatican Museums in Rome includes visits to the museums as well as access to the Sistine Chapel!

Vatican Museum

If you pay 4 more euros and book your tickets via the official site of the Vatican Museums, you will get a ticket  for a specific day and time without having to wait in line. Without online reservation you have to expect several hours of waiting time. For all other tickets the online reservation is obligatory. For the reduced tickets, proof of age must be provided, students must present an international student ID, otherwise the tickets will expire without refund.

The Omnia Card includes preferred entry to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. The Roma Pass offers no benefits for the Vatican Museums.

Vatican Museums: How much is the entrance fee for the Vatican Gardens?

The Vatican Gardens in Rome are only accessible to guided groups or with an open-bus tour. It is not possible to visit the Vatican Gardens without guidance.

Radio Vatican

The Vatican Gardens are never open on Sundays. When the Vatican Museums are open, the Open Bus departs from 8:15am to 2:15pm (last departure). The journey takes 45 minutes and it is not possible to get out during this time. Visiting the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel is possible after the ride on the Open Bus. To visit the Vatican Gardens, online reservation is required. Children up to 6 years old are not allowed to come on the ride into the Vatican Gardens.

Admission to the Vatican gardens at a glance

 Children under 18Adolescents under 25Adults
Entry fee Vatican Gardens24 Euro32 Euro32 Euro

Vatican Museums Tips for visiting the Vatican Museums in Rome

Tip 1 Vatican Museums: Strict dress code in the Vatican

As for all sacred places in Rome, the Vatican Museums have the rule of proper clothing, knees and shoulders must be covered. You will not be granted access to the Vatican Museums with a strapless dress or in shorts. You can cover bare shoulders with a scarf or a pareo.

Vatican Museums Gallery

The Vatican Museums offer a free cloakroom. Objects such as umbrellas, poles (with the exception of walking aids), knives, photo tripods, video cameras have to be handed over there. Dangerous items and weapons may not be carried in the Vatican Museums in Rome and may not remain in the cloakroom.

Visit Vatican Museums Rome

In addition to the fact that you are only allowed to enter the Vatican Museums with appropriate clothing, the bringing of alcoholic drinks and food is prohibited. In the galleries you can not eat and drink. In addition to vending machines, a bar, a restaurant and a pizzeria, the Vatican Museums also offer toilets at regular intervals.

2. Tip Free Vatican Museums: Free entrance fee to the Vatican Museums in Rome

On the last Sunday of every month and on the International Day of Tourism on the 27th of September you can visit the Vatican Museums in Rome for free.

Vatican Museums Interiors

Furthermore, admission to the Vatican Museums is free for:

  • disabled persons with ID card with more than 74 percent disability and their accompanying person
  • admitted journalists
  • Icom (International Council of Museums) and Icomos (International Council on Monuments and Sites)
  • University professors in art history or archeology

These free tickets can NOT be pre-ordered on the internet. They can be picked up on-site at the “Permessi Speciali” counter in the lobby of the Vatican Museums and you do not have to wait in line.

3. Tip Vatican Museums in Rome: Guided tours of the museums

The Vatican Museums in Rome are so big that one day is not enough to see everything. You get a good overview with guided tours that are geared to a specific visit duration and show the most important works and the Sistine Chapel. To prepare for the visit, a map of the museums can be downloaded.

Vatican Museums Guided Tour

Especially time-saving is the tour of the Vatican Museums with Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. You will only see half of the Vatican Museums, but you can go straight from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter’s Basilica.

Guided Tour Vatican Museums

This passage is open only to guided groups and only from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter’s and not back. You usually save a good two hours. The reason for this is that you do not have to go back to the exit in the museums and you save yourself from another one kilometer walk from the exit of the museums to St. Peter’s Basilica.

At St. Peter’s Basilica you do not have to queue at the security checkpoint any more. The passage to St. Peter’s is of course only possible if the cathedral is open to visitors. St. Peter’s Basilica, for example, is closed during the Pope’s Mass, during the Pope’s audiences in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday and during the Angelus prayer of the Pope on Sunday noon. The aerial photo shows the location of the Sistine Chapel and the walkway between St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums.

Tip 4 Vatican Museums in Rome: No photos in the Sistine Chapel!

Photography is allowed inside the Vatican Museums with the exception of the Sistine Chapel, as photographing is prohibited in the Sistine Chapel. Mobile phones must also be switched to silent. In the Sistine Chapel, the use of smartphones is completely prohibited and in the museums of the Vatican in Rome, there is no Wi-Fi!

Vatican Museums beautiful Gallery

Sanitary facilities, changing tables and a nursing room are available. For wheelchair users and strollers there are barrier-free visiting routes. Animals may not be taken to the Vatican Museums, except for guide dogs. Smoking is prohibited in the Vatican Museums. This also applies to electronic cigarettes.

Tip 5 Vatican Museums in Rome: Lost and Found in the Vatican

If you lose personal belongings in the Vatican Museums, get in touch with the nearest guard who will contact the lost property office. You can also write to accoglienza.musei (at) scv.va by mail. Unclaimed lost property will be deposited with the gendarmerie of the Vatican.

Vatican Museums Opening Hours: When are the museums open?

The Vatican Museums are open from Monday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm, last admission is at 4pm. On Sundays, the Vatican Museums are usually closed. But there is one exception: Every last Sunday of the month, the Vatican Museums are open from 9am to 2pm throughout the year.

Vatican Museums Patio

Before the regular opening hours you can visit the museums with a special ticket for early entry. From mid-April to the end of October, the Vatican Museums in Rome are also open Friday evenings, always from 7pm to 11pm (last entry at 9:30).

This special early entrance and sightseeing in the evening has the advantage that there are not that many visitors in the museums and you can visit the works and in particular the Sistine Chapel more peacefully. During normal opening hours, the Vatican Museums are always full.

The Vatican Museums in Rome are always closed on the following dates:

  • 1st of January New Year
  • January 6 epiphany
  • March 19th Saint Joseph
  • Easter Monday
  • 1st of May
  • June 29 Peter and Paul
  • 15th of August Ascension Day (2018 also closed on 14th of August)
  • 1st of November All Saints Day
  • December 8, Mary’s conception
  • December 25th and 26th (Christmas)

The Vatican Museums can be reached by metro line A at the “Ottaviano” stop and by tram 19 at the “Piazza Risorgimento” stop.

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