The Vatican is on so many people’s bucket lists, and for good reason. Located within the Italian capital city of Rome, the Vatican is a city-state and the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope lives here, and there are museums and sculptures and beautiful buildings. The tiny city is a must-visit when in Rome, and we are some of the best Vatican tours to ensure you make the most of your time here. Below you'll find some amazing tips and tricks to make sure you spending your time making stress-free and fantastic memories!
Wear appropriate clothing
When visiting the Vatican, ensure you’re wearing appropriate clothing. Entry to the museums as well as the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Gardens and St. Peter’s Basilica is only permitted to those who are dressed appropriately. Sleeveless and low-cut garments aren’t permitted, and neither are shorts or skirts that fall above the knee. Hats are also not allowed inside the Vatican. Visible personal objects (such as tattoos) that 'may offend Catholic morality, the Catholic religion and common decency' are also prohibited and may result in you being turned away from your visit.
Take notice of the rules
There are various rules in place in and around the Vatican City. Whether it’s the fact that photography is prohibited in the Sistine Chapel or the fact that you can’t eat or drink in any of the exhibition halls, be sure to pay attention the rules in place throughout your visit. Be respectful of your surroundings and other visitors, and it will make for a more enjoyable trip overall. In the wake of current global events, there are some extra rules and regulations in place to ensure the safety of any Vatican guests. This means you can relax during your visit, safe in the knowledge that your health and safety are taken care of and at the forefront of the venue and tour guides.
Book your trip in advance
The best Vatican tours can be booked in advance, and you should do so to avoid having to spend larger amounts on money and/or queuing when buying a ticket on the day. Whether you are visiting Rome on a romantic getaway and want to book a private tour of the Vatican, or you just want to take the stress out of organizing the entire trip yourself, there are plenty of different Vatican tours that will ensure you have the best day visiting the heart of Catholicism. For something a bit different, why not climb St. Peter’s Dome and visit the Papal Crypts? Or, if you really want to see the Vatican with as few people as possible around you, head in before opening hours and get VIP Early Access. The best Vatican tours offering something a little bit special, and make for an amazing experience creating memories of this wonderful part of the world.
Check the Papal Audience calendar
If it’s not just the art and architecture you’re interested in, be sure to check the Papal Audience calendar in advance to avoid disappointment. It’s free to enjoy an audience with the Pope, and can be combined with some of our best Vatican tours to make for the most perfect and exciting day. General audiences are on Wednesdays and depending on what time of year you choose to visit Rome, there are plenty of other occasions in the Catholic Church calendar that will allow you to get a glimpse of the Pope himself as he presides over events in the Vatican.
Visit during off-season
Generally speaking, Rome is a busy city and many of these visitors flock to the Vatican too. For many it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience; art, religion, architecture and so much more can be found here, and it is a pilgrimage for some. The Vatican and its museums see a lot of visitors through the doors every year. If you visit during off-season, you’ll see a quieter side of the small city. The weather will be mild and the crowds will be reduced between mid-January and March as well as November and mid-December. A less crowded trip means there’ll definitely be spaces available on the best Vatican tours, so you can truly make the most of your time here.
Get in for free
Did you know that on Sundays, the Vatican Museums are free to get into? There is also free entry on World Tourism Day, which is September 27th. Get here early though, because there are bound to be plenty of other visitors hoping to make the most of the free entry. If you are visiting Italy on a budget - on a gap year or while inter-railing, maybe - then this is a great way to cut the cost of your time in Rome with having to miss out on one of the most iconic tourist destinations in the world.
Eat before your visit
You can’t eat in the exhibition halls but there are restaurants and cafes within the museums and the rest of the Vatican. However, they have a tendency to be expensive and underwhelming in terms of what food they offer. With this being said, it is best to eat before you visit or after you’re done - although you’ll need sustenance for all the walking around the museums and courtyards included on the best Vatican tours!
The Vatican is one of the world’s most famous and most popular tourist locations, and it’s not hard to see why. There is so much to discover here, and the best Vatican tours are designed to ensure you get to see the best of what the city has to offer in a short period of time so that you come away with amazing memories, more knowledge than before and a sense of what lies at the heart of the Catholic Church.