Built over the tomb of St. Peter, St. Peter's Basilica is the place from where today the Pope addresses his prayer to the whole world. Among the things to do in Rome, visiting St. Peter's Basilica can be a very interesting experience, but only if you know some tips to avoid the endless queues.
Visit the Vatican's most iconic sights without worrying about queuing up
On this guided tour, which lasts about two and a half hours, you will explore St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums with an expert guide and without queuing.
With this ticket, you will enjoy a two-and-a-half-hour tour, full of architecture, art and history, in which you will get to know in depth St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums thanks to the detailed explanations of an expert guide.
In addition, you will be able to contemplate the popular paintings of Italian Renaissance artists such as Caravaggio, Raphael and Michelangelo. All this without queuing up. And if you want, you can ask for headphones so you can listen to all the explanations clearly and not miss any detail.
Recommended if... You are short on time on your trip to Rome, this is the ideal experience as it will allow you to skip the queue and have an efficient and concise tour of St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums.
The best queue-free entrance to St Peter's Basilica
The interior of St. Peter's Basilica is so impressively rich in detail that taking an organised tour is the perfect way to make sure you don't miss a thing. On this guided tour you will have at your disposal an official Vatican guide, an expert in the symbology and art you will see inside St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums, plus the great advantage of being able to skip the queues.
What to consider before booking a ticket to St. Peter's Basilica
- First of all, you should know that the entrance to St. Peter's Basilica is completely free of charge. In case you want to visit this place on your own, you can do so, without the need for a guide or a reservation. The queues to get in without being part of an organised tour are quite long, but don't worry, I'll tell you how to avoid them below!
- When you book either tour, you will receive a confirmation email, so it is very important that you provide a valid email address that you normally use when purchasing. Check that everything is correct in the email and keep it handy to show the guide.
- If for whatever reason you don't want to do the tour after you have booked it, don't worry, you can get a refund, but you must initiate the refund process within 24 hours of the tour time. You will get the instructions in the mail.
Skip the lines at St. Peter's Basilica
Entering St. Peter's Basilica is free and you don't need a ticket to get inside, but the long lines you'll find at the door at almost any time of day will make you think twice. That's why there are options to skip the long lines and enter the Basilica directly.
For example, with this option of a guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums, you will enter the church directly after passing through the Vatican Museums (with an expert guide) and you will save waiting time.
My advice is that, if you are going to visit St. Peter's Basilica on your own, set aside at least 3 hours to see everything at your own pace and take advantage of the climb to the dome.
Practical information about St. Peter's Basilica
- St. Peter's Basilica opens its doors at 7 am and closes at 7 pm in summer(April-September) and at 6:30 pm in winter(October-March). On Wednesdays, the Basilica is closed to the public for the papal audience, and resumes its usual opening hours from 1pm.
- The best time to visit St. Peter's Basilica is usually first thing in the morning, when the doors open, until 9am. In any case, I advise you to consult the Vatican calendar to anticipate any event that may alter the opening hours and the influx of visitors.
- To get to St. Peter's Basilica, in Piazza San Pietro, it is best to take metro line A to the Ottaviano - San Pietro stop. Don't miss the theatrical grandeur of the walk to the square.
- Entrance to the basilica, as I have already mentioned, is free. Only the Sacristy and the Treasury Museum, as well as the dome, require a specific entrance ticket.
- Remember the dress code that applies to all places of worship in Rome: shoulders and knees covered, which means no shorts, skirts or sleeveless tops.
- If you have any more questions, check out my guide to the best tips for visiting the Vatican.
Visit also the Vatican Museums
This option that includes a visit to the Vatican Museums as well as St. Peter's Basilica is ideal, since the Vatican Museums is the place where the jewel in the crown of the Holy See is located: the Sistine Chapel. In addition to other rooms of great interest such as the Rooms of Raphael, the Vatican Picture Gallery or the Gallery of Maps.
The experience in the Vatican Museums will be led by an official Vatican guide who will give you an in-depth view of the rooms you will visit.
What to do at the end of your visit
If your visit has made you a bit peckish and you want to kill your appetite in the Vatican area, beware of the traps that this part of the city has prepared for tourists. Here I tell you where to eat near the Vatican so that you leave there with a good taste in your mouth.
And having visited the seat of Christianity in all its splendour, perhaps you would like to go back to the origins of this cult. For this, a visit to the Catacombs of Rome is a very interesting experience, as you will be able to see the tombs of some of the first popes and the artistic and religious expressions of the first Christians. For information about tours of the city's underground world, click here: Rome Catacombs Tickets: how to buy and prices.
And here's a post about what to do in Rome, so you can plan the rest of your trip.