The Vatican City is among the most visited places not just in Rome, but in the world. Home to many amazing buildings and collections of art, there are countless attractions. Covering just over a half mile long and a half mile wide, this small area is packed with so much history and culture, you’ll want to take advantage of every moment.
Here are some tips for visiting the Vatican City so that you can make the most of your trip.
Book attractions ahead of time
You will need to have a ticket or reservation to visit the Vatican Museums, and this is easy enough to take care of in advance. Browse through Vatican tours ahead of time, so you can choose what options you want to go with and then book those tickets online. No matter where you travel, if you have the option to reserve ahead of time, this is always a wise thing to do.
After visiting the Vatican city, it is always a good idea for exploring and enjoying historical sights such as Colosseum. Book a Colosseum underground tour and explore the world-famous amphitheater.
Carefully time your visit
When visiting attractions in the Vatican City, aim for early in the day, or wait until after 4pm. While sites may not open until 9, lines begin to form as early at 7am. If you go later in the day, be aware that the sites close at 6, so give yourself enough time. From April to October, Vatican Museums open their doors on Friday nights from 7 to 11 PM, which is a nice way to enjoy the nighttime ambiance of the city.
You will want to avoid St. Peter’s Basilica on Wednesday mornings, because it is the day of the Papal audience. However, if you plan ahead and are able to secure tickets to see the Pope, you can add that to your travel itinerary.
The city attractions are least crowded days are during the week, so plan on going between Tuesday and Friday. Other museums in Rome are all closed on Mondays, making the Vatican Museums especially crowded on Mondays.
Give yourself time to see all of the sights
Before even booking your trip, make a list of everything you want to see, so that you have enough time to enjoy the sights. There are dozens of Vatican museums, with no shortage of things to see, from the Chiaramonti Museum to the Sistine Chapel Chapel. Take into account which days museums are closed and busiest, and plan accordingly.
Plan out your transportation
There are many ways to get to the Vatican City, including train, metro, tram, bus, or taxi. It is also possible to walk there if you are staying close enough. Have a map on hand, either as a paper copy or on your mobile device, with a planned itinerary, and have a plan for how you are getting from place to place.
Make sure you plan ahead with comfortable shoes either way. Do not wear flip-flops as it does not align with the dress code in Vatican City.
Bring a camera
It is a good idea to bring your camera to document your trip to the Vatican city. However, be aware that inside the museums, selfie sticks and professional equipment (such as tripods) are not allowed. Flash or other photography in general may be limited at specific points within the museums. But no worries, there are countless opportunities for taking great photos within the Vatican city!
Remember the dress code
The Vatican dress code is important to remember when planning your day, otherwise you will not be allowed to enter buildings. Do not wear revealing clothes, cover your shoulders, and do not wear flip flops. Be prepared to remove your hat upon entering buildings.