What time does the Vatican City Open?

To best plan your day to the Vatican City, check out our list below which shows when and what is open

No trip to Italy is complete without a visit to the Eternal City of Rome, the Vatican City. Undoubtedly one of the most popular attractions in the country, home to incredible architecture, history, culture, and art. However, the opening hours can be tricky, as the Vatican in Rome is composed of the Vatican Museums, the Vatican Gardens, St. Peter’s Square, St. Peter’s Basilica, as well as the Sistine Chapel. Each of these attractions has its own opening hours, so where do you start?

Opening Hours for the Top Attractions in the Vatican City

  • Vatican Museums

    The opening hours are six days a week, from Monday to Saturday, from 9am-6pm, with the last entry at 4 pm. An exception of Sundays shutting applies on the last Sunday of every month, when the museums will be open from 9 am to 12:30 pm. Most people flock into the museum’s morning time, so if you would like a less crowded experience, we suggest visiting in the late afternoon. Otherwise, guided tours usually get to skip the lines, which are the longest in Rome.

  • Vatican Gardens

    The Vatican Gardens are open Monday – Saturday, 9 am – 6pm. They are closed on Sundays and on Catholic holidays, so make sure to check what events or festivities might be on before you go. One such event which closes the gardens for the day is when the pope conducts mass at St Peter’s basilica. It will also be closed on December 8th, 25th and 26th, January 1st and 6th, Easter Sunday and more – so check your calendar! It’s also worth mentioning that although the gardens are open on the same dates as the Vatican Museums, visiting hours are restricted to mid-late mornings. This is when it can get confusing, as walking tours are not available on Wednesdays due to the Papal audience, but bus tours are. That’s why we suggest booking a tour in advance! Find the one that suits you and your timings and take the stress out of this well-worth-it attraction.

  • St. Peter’s Square

    The square is not subjugated to any opening hours and is always freely accessible to the public. The only exception is for when masses and or when an audience with the Pope takes place.

  • St. Peter’s Basilica

    St. Peter’s Basilica is open every day of the week, from 7 am until 7 pm from April through to September (summer months) and 7 am until 7 pm during October through to March (winter months). The only exception is on Wednesdays due to a papal audience where the Basilica is being used. But it reopens again from around 12-1 pm. If you are interested in visiting the Basilica’s dome, the hours are 8 am to 6 pm in the months of April to September, and from 8 am to 5 pm between October to March.

  • Sistine Chapel

    Queues and waiting times to access the Vatican Museums are legendary and they are not open every day, so we are here to inform you of your options. The Sistine Chapel’s opening times are similar to the museums, open only six days a week, excluding Sundays, from 9 am – 6 pm (with the ticket office closing at 4 pm). The last Sunday of every month also applies here. Certain dates such as public holidays result in the Sistine chapel shutting, totalling 11 days of the year. Check online or via their website for more information.

Tips for your adventure in the Vatican City

Always make sure to follow the guidelines of these attractions. As it is a religious city-state, the Vatican holds very strict religious rules to its visitors. By showing your respect and following these your adventure to the city is sure to be an easy, carefree experience. Remember to abide by the Vatican dress code – cover your shoulders and avoid wearing shorts, short dresses and skirts. The only part of your leg that should be showing is below your knee! If you’re travelling with kids, then you’re in luck, the museums and galleries are happy to welcome families with children and strollers in tow. In addition, there are plenty of rest-rooms and baby changing areas for you to sit and tend to your young one’s needs.

The biggest tip we can give when visiting Vatican City is to be prepared. No one likes to miss out or wait in queues for hours, so do your research and come ready to conquer. Or even better, book onto a tour, such as our very own Vatican Museums and Gardens Tour and take all the guesswork out of your visit. Tours are simple, easy, effective and fun!

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