Buying Direct: To bypass long ticket lines at the Vatican Museums, make reservations before your tour begins. You can purchase a ticket, which includes both the Museums and the Sistine Chapel, up to 60 days in advance. Book your reservation through the Official Vatican Museums Ticket Office. (St. Peter's Basilica is free to enter and does not require a reservation.)
When to Visit: If your Rick Steves tour begins or ends in Rome, the best time to visit the Vatican is right before or after your tour. If you would like to visit the Vatican during your tour's free time, here are the best windows to do so:
- Best of Europe in 14 Days (tours that start on a Sunday): Day 13 (Friday) after 2:00 p.m.
- Best of Europe in 14 Days (tours that start on a Tuesday): As the Vatican Museums are closed during free time on Day 13 (Sunday), to see the museums and Sistine Chapel you'll need to stay an additional night in Rome.
- Best of South Italy in 13 Days: Day 2 after 2:00 p.m.
- Family Europe: Amsterdam to Rome in 14 Days: Day 13 after 2:00 p.m.
Note: Tour itinerary specifics are always subject to change, and in rare cases there may be a group activity planned during these times.
Helpful Resources: If you have a mobile device, be sure to download Rick's self-guided tours of St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel using the free Rick Steves Audio Europe App.