Want to know the best way to get your Vatican Museum tickets and see the Sistine Chapel?
Find out all about how much they cost, who is eligible for discounts, how to skip the line, and more!
On this page, you will find a comprehensive guide to getting tickets for the Vatican Museums, including:
If you were to just walk up to the ticket counter at the Vatican Museums, you would pay:
17€ per adult over 18
This is the flat cost without any pre-sales or tour fee added on.
If you book your Vatican Museums tickets ahead of time, some additional fees will apply, whether you book through the Vatican Museums official website or a reseller.
To visit the Vatican Museums on Friday or Saturday night (I HIGHLY recommend this!), you should book in advance.
The cost is the same as for a daytime visit.
On the last Sunday of every month (unless it's a religious holiday), the Vatican Museums are open and free for everyone.
Hours are reduced: they open at 9 AM and close at 2 PM, with last entrance at 12:30 PM.
In addition to large crowds, the lines can be very long.
If you don't come first thing, or book in advance (only available via the Vatican website when you book a tour with them), you risk waiting in line so long that you don't even get in by 12:30.
I often get asked about who is eligible for discounted Vatican Museum tickets.
The clearest answers I can give are:
The Vatican Museums are free for:
There is NO discount for:
Where I wrote SOME, you will need to check the Vatican website for specifics.
There is a much longer and more detailed explanation of who is eligible for discounts and free entry.
The ticket gets you into the Vatican Museums on the day you reserve/enter.
There is no re-entry.
Once you are inside, you may stay as long as you like.
A typical visit can last anywhere from 2-5 hours.
The basic ticket does not include the audio-guide or any tour.
What will you see? (Click here to visit my page with my top 10 Vatican Museum Must-Sees.)
The Vatican Museums hold one of the largest art collections in the world.
If you follow the whole route of ALL the museums, you will walk about 7.5 kilometers, or about 4.5 miles (although it's not likely you will do all that in one visit!)
The Vatican Museums are actually made up of several museums.
The Vatican Museum tickets get you into all of them (although not into every room, as there are some rooms normally off limits to regular museum visitors.)
The collections include paintings from some of Italy's greatest artists like Raphael, Michelangelo and Caravaggio.
There is an extraordinary collection of Egyptian antiquities, including papyrus, pottery, and mummies in their sarcophagi.
You'll see spectacular ancient Roman and Greek sculpture in the Pio-Clementine Museum, amazing wall tapestries down one long hallway, ancient and antique maps in another, and of course, the Sistine Chapel.
Yes, the Sistine Chapel is included in all Vatican Museum tickets.
It is the very last thing you visit.
There is no ticket that allows you to ONLY see the Sistine Chapel.
You must purchase Vatican Museum tickets and at a minimum, go through the main galleries of the museums to get to the Sistine Chapel at the end.
There is no other way (for visitors to get) into the Sistine Chapel.
St. Peter's Basilica is a church, and there is no fee to enter.
The basilica is the other must-see when visiting the Vatican, but it's a separate building and site from the Vatican Museums, and is not included in the ticket to the museums.
This being said, the lines to enter the basilica from its main entrance in St. Peter's Square can be long, because everyone must go through security.
When you enter the Vatican Museums, you already go through security, so if you could enter the basilica from the museums, you wouldn't need to do this again to visit St. Peter's Basilica.
From the Sistine Chapel, there is a 5-minute shortcut to St. Peter's Basilica.
The Vatican Museums ARE included in the Vatican Gardens ticket!
But it does not get you into the basilica from the Sistine Chapel, as this is available only to tour groups.
If you're planning on visiting Vatican City, click here to see how to plan your visits during your trip.
You may purchase tickets to the Vatican Museums on site.
If you opt for this, you will likely face very long lines.
They give priority to people who have booked in advance.
Once those people have gone in and gone through security, they will let more people in a little at a time.
Unless you arrive very early (before the museums open), or in low season, you risk having a long wait in the queue before you can get in just to purchase tickets.
Once past security, you will then have to wait in a second queue to purchase your tickets.
You can pre-purchase Vatican Museum tickets online through the Vatican Museums official website.
There is a 4€ booking fee per ticket but trust me, it is so worth it during mid and high season when the lines are snaking around several blocks.
The languages for the official Vatican Museums ticket office online are Italian or English.
You will need to first select the kind of ticket you want (usually just "Admission tickets"), then at the next screen you will see the days with availability.
Time slots available on the Vatican website are every half hour, from 8:30am until 3pm.
Whatever time slot you choose, you will have 15 minutes' leeway on either side of that time.
In high season, they sell out quickly and you often will not find all time slots available.
Sometimes it is possible to get tickets even on the same day but in high season, you should try to plan for this at least 1-2 days in advance.
Next you will select the number of full-priced or reduced-price tickets.
You can pre-book and pre-pay the audio-guide, but you can also decide this once you are at the museums.
The audio guides are available in 10 languages (Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Portuguese.)
I've had a lot of experience with the Vatican Museums website, and I will tell you that it can be quirky.
Some banks have very high security measures in place to protect their clients against fraud, and you may find it difficult to book a ticket online through the Vatican Museums website.
This is in addition to the difficulty you may have in actually finding the tickets you want!
Once you have completed your online purchase, you will receive two emails: one to confirm your payment only.
The second email is the really important one: it contains your voucher for your Vatican Museums ticket.
You can print out the voucher (you only need the first page. Don't print the last 7 pages, it's a waste of paper!) or show it on your smartphone/tablet.
On the day and time you booked, bypass the huge snaking line and go to the entrance of the Vatican Museums, and show the guys there your voucher.
Once you pass through security, go to the left to the "cassa" and turn in your voucher for an actual ticket.
You may find you have to wait in a small line of others who, like you, have pre-booked.
But it's a short wait.
Head up the stairs (or elevator), and go through the turnstile.
Now you have one more huge escalator to go up and finally you will be at the entrance to the Vatican Museums.
If you want to take a tour of the Vatican Museums, of course they take care of purchasing the skip the line Vatican Museum tickets for you.
If you just want to pre-purchase Skip the Line Vatican Museums tickets (only), there are some benefits of doing so through an online agency:
What happens if you cannot purchase Vatican Museum tickets in advance (maybe your credit card isn’t working, or, you left it too late and it’s your last day in Rome and there is nothing available on the Vatican Museums website)?
One option is to try to book this ticket through an authorized ticket vendor like GetYourGuide.
They may have tickets available.
Another option is to book a tour.
If you do not want a tour or to purchase through a reseller, you can go to the Vatican Museums entrance and try to purchase same-day tickets.
You will likely have a long wait in line.
Disclosure : If you make a purchase or booking through a link on this page, I may receive a small commission - at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my site!
If you pre-book Vatican Museum tickets through the Vatican Museums website, and then need to cancel, there is nothing to do.
There are no refunds whatsoever.
If you book a tour with an outside tour company to the Vatican Museums and then need to cancel, contact the agency you booked with to find out their terms and conditions for cancellations.
If you pre-book a ticket to the Vatican Museums through their website, and then need to make a change, visit the Vatican Museums online ticket office.
From the menu, you may choose to modify the date and time, and/or the names on the booking. You may do this only once.
If you have booked a Vatican Museums tour through an agency and need to make a change, check with the agency to find out how to make changes through them.
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