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Vatican City Travel Guide

This place is sacred to over a billion people and of active interest to another billion. So lets’ roll this off the cuff here. You’re here for The Sistine Chapel, The Vatican Museum, The Swiss Guard, the Basilica of St. Peter, the incredible architecture, the paintings, the famous guided tours and the sheer historical impact of the place. It’s grand, it’s beautiful, it’s rich, it’s stately. The Pope lives here. If you’re looking for even more reasons, then you’re just being nit-picky. We’d say a lot more about the place, but hey, that’s what the guided tours are famous for.

Best Time To Visit Vatican City

There isn’t any one best time to visit. There’s never an off-season; the Vatican is always crowded with tourists. You won’t be spending more than a day or two touring the place, unless you happen to be some sort of scholar. The more important question is what time of day and week to visit Vatican City.

On Wednesdays, the Pope meets the general audience for an address. You might want to visit for the midnight mass on Christmas Eve, which is really, really special. Don’t visit on Sunday; things tend to be closed. As for the rest of the days, you should aim to come between 11:00 am and 03:00 pm, when things are the liveliest. Crowds are always a bit higher during rainy weather.

How To Reach Vatican City

Getting In 

There are no airports for flights into Vatican City. Taxi, tram, metro, bus or foot… you’ll have to do it from Rome. No boats or planes. Just ask around how to get there. Everyone knows and a few might actually point out their favourite-most-scenic route to take. It’s a spiritual experience, after all.

  • Metro Line A Stop Cipro/Ottaviano
  • Buses 49, 490, 491, 23, 492, N11, N10
  • Tram No. 19

Getting Around

You must foot it, and believe me, you would not have it any other way. Most of the place is anyway off limits to the common people. What little you can see is best taken in at a leisurely pace, and you can’t do that if you’re zipping around in a car (which is a privilege usually only extended to diplomats and other VIPs). Just make sure to wear comfortable shoes.

Guided Vatican City tours are the best way to get around. The prices for the Holy See sponsored tours are:

  • Vatican Museums + Garden - EUR 32
  • Vatican Museums + Saint Peter's Basilica - EUR 37
  • Necropolis + Vatican Gardens + Vatican Museums - EUR 37

Tourist Attractions In Vatican City

What To See

  • St. Peter’s Basilica: Not the actual mother church, but still the most important Catholic Christian building in the world.
  • St. Peter’s Square: A massive ellipse perfect for people watching and the occasional pope watching.
  • Vatican Museums: A series of incredible museums that are charged for and viewed as one. Sistine Chapel included.
  • Vatican Gardens: It covers most of the Vatican hill. Fountains, forests, flowers & sculptures.
  • Vatican Necropolis: An underground series of burial chambers that ends with what is widely regarded as the final resting place of St. Peter.

Hotels & Restaurants In Vatican City

Where To Stay

  • Unless the current Pope happens to be in your best-buddy caller list, you’re not sleeping over at the Vatican. Check out nearby accommodations in Rome instead.

What To Eat

  • Again, if you’re looking for nice restaurants in the Vatican, you’re just missing the point of the place. No one here particularly cares for the state of your stomach. Cuisine isn’t high priority.
  • There are a few restaurants scattered about. Just ask and be directed to them. Don’t expect to be wowed by the food. Also, forget about alcohol bingeing. It’s coffee, mineral water and the occasional wine in this Holy City.

Festivals & Events In Vatican City

  • Apart from the occasional mass, don’t expect the Vatican to share your enthusiasm for festivals.