The Vatican, located within Italy’s capital city of Rome, is the heart of the Catholic church. Home to the Pope and holiday an incredible amount of historic, religious and artistic significance, it is a popular destination for visitors to the city. There are many different options when it comes to Vatican tours, depending on what you want to get out of your visit. Here are the top ways to tour the Vatican…

Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, & St. Peter’s Basilica Tour

Rated the number one tour in the world by TripAdvisor in 2019, this is definitely the best Vatican tour. In groups of 20 or less, with dedicated access that’s faster than other skip-the-line options, you can explore the best bits of the Vatican with ease. Marvel at the Gallery of Maps and the Gallery of Tapestries, and soak in the awe-inspiring art found in the fascinating Raphael’s Rooms.

This tour also gives you access to St. Peter’s Basilica, and the square where thousands of people gather regularly for an audience with the Pope himself. You can also visit the Sistine Chapel and see Michelangelo’s ceiling for yourself - one of the most important pieces of High Renaissance art in the history of the world.

If you want to visit the must-see areas of the Vatican over the space of three hours, with audio headsets and an expert guide to tell you stories and secrets, then this is the best Vatican City tour you could hope to experience.

Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Tour for Kids & Families

If you’re on a family vacation to Rome, take the opportunity to immerse your children in the wonderful learning experience that is a Vatican museum tour. Spend two hours in a group of 20 or less, exploring selected areas of the Vatican Museums: watch as your children stare in awe at the detailed art working of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, and see their faces light up at the ancient artifacts in the Egyptian Museum.

With child-friendly activities and plenty of facts from an English-speaking expert guide, your kids won’t have the opportunity to get bored and restless. And without the need wait in line for entry into the Vatican at all, they will still be raring to go when you get inside. If you are looking for the best Vatican Museums tour for children aged 7-12, this is absolutely it.

Special Visit by Night: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Tour

If you want to experience the Vatican a little differently, consider visiting at night. Once the crowds have disappeared and the sun has set, this city within a city feels a little bit more magical. Wander through the Vatican Museums without having to navigate other groups of people and experience the Sistine Chapel without the constant chatter surrounding you.

This tour will show you the Octagonal Courtyard lit up with a silhouette of St. Peter’s Basilica - something most people will never see. Your expert guide will give you behind the scenes information about the inner workings and the artwork you’ll see on one of the best tours of the Vatican: the Gallery of tapestries and the vast Raphael Rooms.

Only available at certain points throughout the year, this is one of the most exclusive Vatican City tours available!

Private Extended Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, & St. Peter's Basilica Tour with Special Access Areas

If you really want to get up close and personal with the Vatican, a private Vatican tour is one of the best ways to do so. Offering immediate access and intimate groups, you have the opportunity to see parts of the Vatican City that aren’t usually available to the public: the Bramante Staircase especially, which is a wonder in itself.

Despite the sheer size of the Vatican, this tour doesn’t overwhelm guests. Instead, our expert guides will walk you through the best bits; highlights include the Etruscan Museum, the Gallery of Maps and Pinacoteca - the Vatican Art Gallery. Spend less time in line and more time drinking in the beautiful decor, artwork and architecture that envelopes you in the Vatican City.

Sistine Chapel Tour Before Opening Hours with St. Peter’s Basilica

For those wanting to experience the beauty and splendor of the Sistine Chapel without the hoards of other visitors, an early access Sistine Chapel tour is perfect. Get in around 1.5 hours before anyone else and step into an empty chapel, ready to soak up the peaceful nature as you admire the beautiful art that surrounds you. Your expert guide will breathe life into the artwork in front of you, and you’ll leave feeling more knowledgeable than ever before.

This tour also takes you over to St. Peter’s Basilica, where you will enjoy skip-the-line access; if you want to experience the best bits of the Vatican without having to hang around at any point, this is one of the best Vatican tours available. You will finish your experience by heading to the Vatican Crypts beneath the basilica - a place many people don’t visit at all.

St. Peter’s Basilica and Dome Climbing Experience

If you are keen to see Rome from a different angle, then consider climbing the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. On this tour you can be one of the first people of the day to make the climb, seeing the intricate mosaics that decorate the inside of the dome before spending some free time on the viewing deck. See the Vatican stretched out before you, and Rome in the distance, before heading back down and into the basilica itself. Here you can marvel at Michelangelo’s Pietà as well as Bernini’s bronze canopy; this is some of the most famous artwork from within the Vatican, and if you’re pushed for time then this tour is a must.

There are so many ways to experience the Vatican City, depending on what you want to do or see. It is a place so rich in history, religion and art that no matter which tour you choose, you won’t be disappointed.