5 Insider Tips: Experience Vatican City The Right Way
Vatican City is a curious place. It’s so tiny, yet filled with some of the most impressive pieces of art in the world, and it is a place of religious pilgrimage.
Vatican City might be small, but with so many things to do it is important to plan ahead. This is not something you can spontaneously decide to do on a day trip while in Rome.
There are a few important things you can do to ensure you have an enjoyable visit:
1. Book your Vatican tour online to avoid queues
Skip the queues by booking your guided tour online before you go.
You don’t want to spend your holiday standing in hours of seemingly endless queues just to get into one area.
When booking your ticket through Hellotickets insider travel guides you won’t miss a thing. You’ll glide right passed the crazy long lines and get to experience Vatican City in no time.
There are plenty of unofficial ticket sellers who approach tourists who are on their way to see the sites in the Vatican. People could promise that they are selling you skip-the-line passes, or cheap, expertly guided tours. But when you try to redeem these tickets, you’ll end up having unpleasant run-ins with authority.
Buy your tickets online to avoid ruining your holiday.
2. Go early in the morning or late in the day to avoid crowds
If you don’t feel like paying a little bit extra to buy your ticket online, or you just hate the idea of having to stick to a rigid, guided tour in an area packed with other tourists, you can always take the gamble and try to skip the crowds by visiting out of peak tourist times.
When you visit the Vatican in the early morning or the late afternoon, you are less likely to have a sea of people to navigate. There are roughly about 20,000 people who visit the Vatican every day. By going earlier or later in the day, you will have more space to enjoy the marvels the city has to offer.
There are a few tours that capitalize on this idea and sell VIP Vatican Breakfast experiences, which actually give you access to the Vatican before it officially opens to the general public. And yes, when we say breakfast, we mean breakfast. The tour includes a buffet-style breakfast served in the Pinecone Courtyard. After this, you can enjoy the museums before the masses arrive.
If you are not a morning person, that’s fine, too. There are after-closing time experiences that you can book. See the beautiful city in a new light after the official closing time by going on a “Vatican by Night” tour experience.
Want the memory to last? You can relive the unforgettable Vatican experience by creating your own personalized photo book – it looks like a photo album, but the images are printed directly on the paper, so it looks and feels like a real photography book or a magazine.
3. Visit between Tuesday and Friday for more pleasant experience
As a general rule of thumb, we recommend that you visit the Vatican any time in the week from Tuesday to Friday.
Weekends are understandably manic.
Mondays are packed because tourists come in from Rome as most museums are closed there on Monday.
To avoid the tourist rush we highly recommend that you visit on a weekday.
4. Don’t go to St. Peter’s Basilica on Wednesday mornings, it’s closed
Yes, we said to visit early on a weekday, but St. Peter’s Basilica is actually closed to the public on Wednesday mornings for the papal audience.
The Jewel of the Vatican is top of the list for so many people. If it is on the top of your list, choose a different day to visit.
If it isn’t on your list, then Wednesday morning could actually be a great time to visit as thousands of people flocks to see the papal audience taking place.
With everyone else flocking to see this, the museums and Sistine Chapel are empty.
5. Dress appropriately, Vatican City is a holy place
Vatican City is a holy place and as such those wanting to visit it need to dress appropriately.
Modest attire requires that cleavage, shoulders, stomach, thighs, and knees must be covered. You will be checked for appropriate attire and to ensure that you are not carrying any weapons.
A top tip here is to avoid packing heavy bags for your day trip. This will take forever to check, and you’ll start your day being irritated before even having to encounter the vast crowds.
Pack a few light snacks and be sure to eat before you enter.
Vatican City can be a truly romantic experience if you know how to skip the queues and avoid scams. It is really important that you dress appropriately, otherwise, you will be turned away and that can really put a damper on your holiday.