Vatican City is home to great artistic gems that are worth visiting. And yes, some are more expensive than others. If you want to visit the Sistine Chapel, you will inevitably have to pay to buy a ticket, but I'll tell you how you can lower the budget of your visit to the Vatican.
Your skip-the-line tickets to discover the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel at your own pace
The most convenient option to avoid the long queues at the ticket office of one of the most visited monuments in the world.
If what you want is to visit the Vatican at your own pace in the most economical and comfortable way possible, these tickets to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel without queues are your best option.
- Recommended if... you want to avoid the long queues at the ticket office and buy your tickets in advance without a guided tour and at your own pace through the Vatican Museums. With the option of including an audio guide.
How to get the cheapest tickets to the Vatican
If you want to spend as little as possible on your visit to the Vatican, I recommend that you buy a single ticket (without audio guide or guided tour) on official websites such as Hellotickets or at the Vatican Museums ticket office.
Note that these tickets, bought online, give you access to the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and the Rooms of St. Raphael and all this without having to wait in the long queues that form at the ticket offices.
From around 30 euros for general admission and 18 euros with discount (for children from 6 to 17 years old or students up to 25 years old), you can visit the infinite rooms of the monument and its entire collection of paintings and sculptures.
Also, if you prefer not to miss a single detail of the works of art hidden in every corner of the Vatican, you can purchase an audio guide with your reservation.
Another way to save money: combined tickets
To save money on your trip to Rome, there are other options that may also be of interest to you. If you are planning to visit other essential monuments such as the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, as well as the Vatican, there are money-saving packs with which you can buy combined tickets at a lower price. You can choose between these two options:
Tickets without guided tour
If you are one of those who prefer to spread the visit to the main attractions of the city over several days, I recommend you to get this offer of tickets to the Vatican and the Colosseum. I'll tell you in detail:
- What's included: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica (you'll also get audio guide and explanatory video).
- How much time I have to use it: 3 days.
- Price: about 76 euros.
Combined guided tour
But there are travellers who want to go further and opt for the guided tour to get a more contextualised view and better understand its history. If this is your case, don't worry because there is also a way to save with this pack of guided tours of the Vatican and the Colosseum. Please note:
- What's included: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel.
- How long it lasts: Half day tour.
- Price: about 88 euros.
Who can enter the Vatican for free
The Vatican Museums, with the Sistine Chapel inside, are fee-paying and you will need to buy your Vatican ticket to visit them. There are always exceptions and it is true that some groups can visit the Museums for free.
Please note that even though access is free for these groups, they still need to buy their ticket for free and will have to queue at the ticket office. These are the groups that can enter the Vatican free of charge:
- Babies and children up to 5 years old
- Disabled persons with a recognised degree of disability of more than 74% (in this case, if they need to be accompanied, their companion can also enter free of charge).
- Pilgrims, priests or members of a religious congregation whose group has been officially accredited to enter the Vatican.
Are there any discounts for entry to the Vatican?
No. You will not find coupons, vouchers or free tickets to the Vatican anywhere. There are, however, certain groups of people or groups of people who are entitled to a reduced rate. These are:
- Children and young people between 6 and 18 years old
- Students aged 19-25 who have official documentation from their university or college to prove that they are still studying in the current year.
How it works
If when you book your ticket online you select the "reduced rate" option, you will need to bring the documents proving your entitlement to this rate (identity card for minors, official student card, etc.) to the door.
If you have booked with a travel agency, make sure they have the necessary documentation from you to avoid any surprises on the day you enter the museums.
If you have any doubts or are not sure whether the documentation you can provide will guarantee you access at the reduced rate, you can always queue directly at the ticket office and ask at the ticket counter.
If you are travelling with a religious congregation that has been accredited, you may be entitled to a special guided tour or other advantageous conditions when purchasing tickets, but you will need to check with your travel organiser.
When is the Vatican free?
If you want to save as much as possible on your visit, there is the option of free admission to the Vatican: the Vatican Museums are free on the last Sunday of every month, from first thing in the morning until 12:30. Honestly, it's a visit I don't recommend you to make on a Sunday at all.
The crowds inside the Museums, the long queues to get in and the risk of not being able to get in despite having queued for miles can tarnish what is supposed to be one of the most interesting visits of your trip to Rome.
St. Peter's Basilica, free all year round
If you feel like visiting the Vatican but don't want to spend money on it, you can always settle for a stroll through St. Peter's Square and visit St. Peter's Basilica, which I recommend 100%. Once inside, you'll be able to admire, among other wonders, the spectacular statue of Michelangelo's Pieta, a true work of art, as well as the spectacular nave, the Baldachin and Bernini's Dome. Not bad for free, right?
Of course, you'll have to wait in a long queue to get in (and go through a security check) but it's well worth it, I assure you.
The most complete option: a guided tour
An option that requires a slightly higher budget, but is the best value for money, is to book a guided tour of the Vatican which, in addition to giving you queue-free access to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, includes the company of an official guide who will accompany you during the tour.
With a guided tour, in addition to better understanding the works and the context of everything you are going to see, you are assured a visit to the key points of the Vatican. This option costs around €48 on Hellotickets and is very convenient considering all that it includes. What you'll appreciate most is the fact that you can skip the queues.
So, what can I see for free at the Vatican?
Vatican City itself is free to enter. You can walk across St. Peter's Square, walk through the colonnade and even enter St. Peter's Basilica without having to pay for it or buy a ticket. To make it clearer, here is a summary of what you can see for free in the Vatican and what you can't see for free:
No ticket is required and it is free of charge:
- St. Peter's Square
- St. Peter's Basilica
- Access to St. Peter's Square during the Papal Audience and the Angelus on Wednesdays and Sundays.
- Going to mass in St. Peter's Basilica
Admission fee required:
- Vatican Museums
- Vatican Gardens
- Sistine Chapel
- Climbing St. Peter's Dome
- The Vatican Catacombs: the crypts and the Necropolis, in the basement of the Basilica with the tomb of St. Peter