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Tens of thousands of people visit the Vatican Museums each day to see St. Peter’s Basilica, masterpieces by the likes of Michelangelo and Raphael, and the Sistine Chapel. Get inside the UNESCO-listed complex almost an hour before it opens to the general public on this 3-hour, early-access tour that’s limited to just 12 participants. Enter through a reserved doorway to skip the lines, and stay a step ahead of the large crowds on this carefully planned route that ensures you make the most of your time.


  • 3-hour, small-group tour of the Vatican Museums including the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica
  • Get inside almost an hour before the crowds arrive at 9am
  • Enter through a groups-only doorway to skip the long lines
  • Cover nine miles of museums in the morning when it’s quieter
  • Get context to the Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms, and masterpieces by the likes of Michelangelo
  • This small-group Vatican tour is limited to 12 participants ensuring you can always see and hear the guide
  • Stay and admire St. Peter’s Basilica for as long as you want after the tour concludes

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Early Access Vatican Museums Small-Group Tour with St Peter’s and Sistine Chapel

Statues inside the Vatican Museums

Meet and greet your guide opposite the entrance to the Vatican Museums, a collection of galleries filled with classical and Renaissance masterpieces, including the Sistine Chapel frescoes. Walk inside through a reserved door without any waiting. This access is even faster than the priority lines.

Once inside, there are more than 2,000 rooms and nine miles of art, so follow along with your guide who will point out the highlights and explain the story behind each piece. The small-group nature of your tour allows you to remain close to your guide at all times, but a headset is included to make sure you can always hear the commentary clearly.

Stroll through rooms like the Gallery of Maps, with its golden, vaulted ceiling; the Raphael Rooms, painted by Renaissance artist Raphael; and the stunning Sistine Chapel, considered to be the Pope’s home chapel, with Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam and The Last Judgement. On your early-access tour, you’ll find the galleries to be considerably quieter than they would be later in the day.

Finish with a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church ever built and one of the holiest and most important sites in Christendom. Get an overview of its long history from your guide, and get an up-close look at the Pietà, one of Michelangelo’s earlier sculptures that depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion.

Your tour ends inside the basilica. After you’ve finished exploring with your group, you can stay as long as you want on your own. It’s the perfect time to head down into the crypts or climb up to the top of St. Peter’s dome (own expense) for uninterrupted views of Rome.

Customer Reviews


5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2017

This tour was amazing!


5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2017

Very informative ang patient, thorough guide of one of the most beutiful churches in the world as well as the museum.

Christine C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2017

The tour was well organised and our tour guide was amazing, we didn't feel rushed and because the group was small it was more like having our own personal guide.
Would highly recommend this tour, highly informative and no fuss from beginning to end.

John H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2017

Only way to do it. Go early in the AM and have the rest of the day to wander on your own.

Franklin S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

My brother recommended Viator for tours while we were in Europe. Unfortunately, we missed a tour in Barcelona but booked one for the Vatican with St. Peter's and the Sistine Chapel. A group of 12 with an English-speaking guide. Fabulous tour! Our tour guide was amazing! Very knowledgeable and her English was very understandable! There were a lot of people when we entered both the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's and she kept the group close together and provided a narrative that was both engaging and informative! We have recommended this tour to friends since we have been home and we will book tours again with this company when we travel in the future!


5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

I cannot stress enough how imperative it is to book an early morning skip-the-line tour when visiting the Vatican. I have done the Vatican three ways, 1. no pre-booked tour, just waited in line with the rest of the schlubs, 2. booked tour, but not early access, and 3. booked tour, early access. 3 is by far the smartest. The lines outside of the Vatican are ALWAYS insanely long, and the crowds inside are just as bad if you go during regular hours. Yes, this tour costs a bit more, but take it from someone who knows i.e. learned the hard way, IT IS WORTH IT. You meet early in the morning and a predesignated point across the street from the entrance. You can take a cab here, possibly even a bus. The alternative is standing in the line that snakes the block, and walking all the way around in line. That line is no joke my friends! I always visit in October or November, which is outside the summer season, and the lines are still crazy, so I can't even imagine what they are in summer. The tour guide then hands out the audio devices, and you literally walk across the street and walk right through the door, bypassing everyone in line and avoiding their evil and jealous gazes. This particular tour was excellent, we were given a tour of the gardens, highlights in the museum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's. We made it through most of the tour before the rest of the crowds were herded in. I hate the throngs of people, so this was really worth it for me and made it so much more enjoyable. Also, if you are traveling with older adults or young children, weigh the extra cost of the ticket against standing in that long line outside for hours, and then walking miles of museum inside. WORTH IT.

WoohooWorld! United States of ... 

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Very nice tour. I went in January and it was like having the Vatican and the Tour Guide to myself.

Patricia W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017


Linda M S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Perfect way to enjoy this amazing location. Tour guides bring the art, history and people to life with their in depth knowledge. The 3 hour tour was just right. Having the head sets with ear phones, allowed us to easily hear the guide speak while not having to stay right beside her. we started at the vatican museums, which were amazing. Guide was great in calling out the highlights in the maze of rooms. We had enough time in the Sistine chapel, and prior to entry were told what to look for so we could just quietly study this masterpiece. .Recommend the smaller group tour, and early access. also I think trip was nicer in off season as things were busy but not crammed. Plenty of space to look around. Short lines.

Colin C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Excellent! The only way to see the Vatican Museums. Tour guide was knowledgeable and fun. Early access time slot means you don't get jostled by the crowds - I've been at multiple times of day and this was the best. Wonderful value for money and totally hassle free.

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