Early Entry Sistine Chapel & St Peter's Basilica Express Service

504 reviews

2 hours

Max 20

Why take this tour?

Enter the Vatican Museums 30 minutes before the general public to see the Sistine Chapel with only a handful of other visitors. Then use a special entrance to St. Peter's Basilica, skipping more lines for a gudied tour of Christianity's most impressive church. Perfect for visitors who want to hit the highlights without the lines.


  • Created with Sketch.Bypass the crowds with early-entry access
  • Created with Sketch.Enjoy a specially-curated route through the galleries
  • Created with Sketch.Savour the solitude afforded by the Sistine Chapel when devoid of crowds
  • Created with Sketch.Enter St Peter's Basilica and enjoy a 45-minute tour led by your guide

Health & Safety Standards

At Walks we take your health and the health of our community seriously. To accomplish this, we have set a series of standards that will be implemented across every tour;

  • Walks has been certified by SanseeShield.com
  • Walks Guides have received health & safety training, are self-monitoring temperatures daily, and trained in group social distancing practices
  • We ask our guides and guests to wash their hands regularly and carry hand sanitzier
  • Our guides and guests are required to wear masks in accordance with the local government regulations
  • If headsets are needed, they are disinfected at the beginning and end of your experience
  • All Walks tours are always small groups to give you the maximum comfort and safety

Take a shortcut: Skip the line at the Vatican & St Peter's Basilica

From August 6th, all Italy sites we visit will require clients and guides alike to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test completed within 48 hours prior to entry. They will also require a legal form of ID matching the vaccination or test results. This does not apply to children under 12. You can read more about it here.

Note that due to changed opening times of the Vatican Museums and site restrictions, the order of sites visited may be reversed

Introducing a wonderful and affordable way to see the Vatican's greatest treasure without the crowds.

Read more

From August 6th, all Italy sites we visit will require clients and guides alike to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test completed within 48 hours prior to entry. They will also require a legal form of ID matching the vaccination or test results. This does not apply to children under 12. You can read more about it here.

Note that due to changed opening times of the Vatican Museums and site restrictions, the order of sites visited may be reversed

Introducing a wonderful and affordable way to see the Vatican's greatest treasure without the crowds.

30 minutes before the Vatican Museums open to the public, you'll slip in with your expert guide and small group of 20 people or fewer, and quickly make your way to the Sistine Chapel. As you tread through the galleries on our specially-planned route, you'll view some highlights with few (if any) other people around to disturb you. You won't pause for long but during your walk (about 15 - 20 minutes in duration), you will get a sense of what the Papal Palaces look like and the kinds of treasures they hold.

From the time you meet your guide, a lot of what they say will be building up to the moment you enter the Sistine Chapel. While you wait in line or stroll through the galleries, they'll teach you about the life and times of Michelangelo. Using a special hand-out, they'll explain to you the meaning behind his Sistine Chapel frescoes, and tell you what details you should be looking out for once inside.

When you arrive you'll be ready (as ready as you can ever be, anyway) for one of the most awe-inspiring works of art in existence. Spend 20 serene minutes in the Chapel with only a handful of other people and then, just as the crowds begin to show up, you can either head back to the museums to experience them on your own, or follow your guide through a special access entrance into St. Peter's Basilica.

Inside the Basilica your guide will give you a full 45-minute tour that includes more world-famous art, like Bernini's monolithic baldachin and Michelangelo's famously heart-wrenching Pietá.

This express tour fits the Vatican's two most important sites into two fantastic, wait-free hours: Perfect for those who want to see these two incredible highlights without a full Vatican Museums Tour, and ideal for families with children.

  • Sites Visited
  • Vatican Museums
  • Sistine Chapel
  • Pinecone Courtyard
  • St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Michaelangelo's Pietà
  • Bernini's Baldachin
  • St. Peter's Square
  • Tour Includes
  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Expertly guided walking tour
  • Skip the line ticket for Vatican Museums
  • Skip the line access to St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Headset
Visitors look at the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel
Michelangelo's Final Judgement in the Sistine Chapel

Verified guest reviews


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Latest Reviews

This was great!

Alessia was such a brilliant guide to have, she was so approachable and her expertise were evidently in the area - I felt like I had Robert Langdon with me going through the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica; she made it so interesting and relatable. I was lucky enough to have been on my own for this specific tour and had so much time for questions. I was given the perfect amount of time to enjoy the Sistine Chapel - I can't recommend this tour enough if you are someone who wants to experience the Sistine Chapel the way it is meant to be enjoyed; amongst a small amount of people in serene quiet - if you are to visit the chapel through a general ticket, I guarantee you will not enjoy the experience as much, as I have now experienced it both ways. Having a guide bringing you directly into the Basilica was excellent as we went into the church with little waiting time - just for the guide to collect our entrance tickets. Seeing the Pietà statue as one of the first things was truly indescribable and, in addition to having a guide that knew so much about it - it was truly enlightening. I even had the choice to explore the crypt with Alessia or to continue exploring the main Basilica - I chose to explore the crypt where I was given so much interesting facts about the Popes of the past and the earlier constructs of the church. At the end of the tour, Alessia pointed me in the direction of the elevator and steps to the Dome. Being able to have such freedom and movement around the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica was only made possible through the guide on this tour and the fact that the tour allowed me early access to these areas - this would not have been possible had I not booked with Walks of Italy; it was more than worth it - I can't wait to book my next tour with them, they do incredible work!


Can I use a wheelchair on this tour?
Yes, but we require advance notice in order to accommodate wheelchairs on this tour. After booking, please contact us so that we can organize a private tour for you. If we cannot find a guide to lead you that day we'll offer you the same tour on the next avaialbe date or give you credit for another tour anywhere else in the world.
I'd like to climb to the top of the Dome of St. Peter's. Anything I should know?
The St. Peter's Dome climb requires separate tickets, one allows you to take the elevator up part of the way then climb a further 320 steps, while another permits you to climb the entire 551 steps. Either way the view from the top is worth it!
I want to take a selfie in the Raphael Rooms, can I bring my selfie stick?
No. Selfie sticks are strictly forbidden inside the Vatican Museums, along with flash photography. However, visitors are allowed to take non-flash photographs anywhere besides the Sistine Chapel.
I am in a wheelchair/have a mobility impairment. Can I take this tour?
The Vatican Museums are equipped with elevators for wheelchair access, but they are not located on the group tour route. If you have a mobility impairment and/or use wheelchair please contact our customer service department and we will be happy to design a private tour for you. info@walksofitaly.com. We can then work out a suitable alternative.
Is there a long line to enter St. Peter's Basilica?
On our exclusive tours of St. Peter's we avoid standing in the notoriously long line by showing up early. It’s amazing how few people are able to get out of bed in time to be there when the doors open. Even in the height of summer, you can miss the worst of the line by simply sucking it up and getting an early start. Aside from getting there early there is no way to skip the line. In high season (May – September) it can stretch over 2 hours and even in the low season it might reach an hour. The only other alternative is to take a certified Vatican Museums tour with a certified tour group – there is a passageway that runs from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter’s that is specially reserved for tour groups. Currently, it is the only way to circumvent the line at the entrance to the Basilica.
Why can't I take photos inside the Sistine Chapel?
When the chapel was restored in 1990 the biggest donors to the project (donating a whopping $4.2 million) were a Japanese television network. In return, they recieved exclusive rights to photograph and film inside and quickly banned any professional photographers from taking pictures. Although they didn't mind if tourists took photos, the Vatican guards decided to enforce the rule on everyone because it was impractical to differentiate between a normal visitor and who was a professional photographer. The Japanese network's exclusive contract has expired now but the rule persists. If you try to take any images in the Chapel Vatican, security is authorized to make you delete them.
I've heard the Vatican has a strict dress code. What should I wear?
It does, but it isn't anything too formal. The big rule is to make sure your shoulders and knees are covered - that applies to both men and women. Also remember that shorts of any length are not allowed at all in St. Peter's Basilica so if you are visiting both the Vatican Musuems and the Basilica, wear trousers or a long skirt. Occasionally visitors get away with wearing a bit less but it’s best not to risk it. Hats are also not allowed. Walks cannot be held responsible for guests who are refused entrance due to inappropriate dress so please remember to cover up.
IMPORTANT: Can I bring a bag into the Vatican Museums?
Yes, as long as it's within a certain size. You cannot bring any bag, backpack suitcase or container larger that 40cm x 35cm x 15cm into the Vatican Museums. In fact, size limits apply to all items; because of the sheer number of people that visit the Museums, space is at a premium. You can’t enter with medium to large umbrellas, any umbrellas with spiked tips, camera tripods, signage (apart from signs used by certified guides) or walking sticks – except those required by disabled visitors. All of these items can be left in the cloakroom, which is located at the entrance to the Museums. This means that you will need to walk 15 - 20 minutes back here after you finish your tour at St Peter's Basilica. On our afternoon tours you may need to leave the tour early to collect your bag before the cloakroom closes.
What items can I NOT take into the Vatican Museums
Knives, scissors, and other cutting tools must also be deposited in the cloakroom as a precaution against harming the artwork inside. No hammers, either, as one was once used to smash Michelangelo's Pietá. This probably goes without saying, but firearms are also strictly prohibited for visitors within the Vatican Museums and you can't check them in the cloakroom.

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