Make sure to buy your skip-the-line tickets online before your visit!
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When to visit St. Peter's Basilica
Try to avoid Wednesday mornings: it’s the day of the Papal audience. If the audience is held in St. Peter’s Basilica or in St.Peter’s Square - then it’s closed for visitors until 12:00 or even further.
Be aware that the Pope can decide anytime to have the Basilica for himself and apparently this is not uncommon: in this case it will be closed to tourists. We advise therefore not to plan your Vatican visit for the last day of your stay, have at least a backup day.
The best time to go to the Basilica is either early in the morning, before 09:00, or in the afternoon, after 16:00. About an hour before the closing time, you will most likely never see a waiting line, even in high season.
On Sunday the Vatican Museums are closed, but the Basilica is open: it will be less crowded than on Saturdays. The attendance will still be higher than on weekdays: lots of tourists arrive at St. Peter’s Place without knowing the museums are closed , and they all head to the Basilica. Sunday afternoon/evening is a good option for the visit if you’re coming just for a weekend.
Mondays and Wednesdays tend to be more crowded than other weekdays. Saturday is the busiest day.
Avoid holidays and important religious dates, they attract more visitors to Vatican. During Christmas holidays Vatican is overcrowded the same way as it is during the peak months (April-May, August-October).
Tips for a few days in Rome
Planning your visit
You can do both the museums and the Basilica the same day. The question is more about which one to start with?
- If you’re coming without a pre-purchased ticket - it depends on the time of the day. The morning is when the line for the museums is the longest, so it makes sense to visit the Basilica first.
- If you arrive with a ticket - consider that crowds disturb much more in the museums, than in Basilica, so it’s better to choose time when there are less people in the museums.
- If you’re taking a tour - no worries then, the groups usually take a “secret passage” leading from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter’s Basilica. If you didn’t book a tour - you can try to follow one of these groups to avoid a twenty minute walk between the two attractions. Another reason to do first the Museums and then the Basilica - is that after your visit you’ll find yourself closer to the historic city.
However, it’s not mandatory to see both the museums and St.Peter’s Basilica the same day. You can easily split the visit in two days!
The entry to St. Peter’s Basilica can’t be booked in advance.
Consider that on Sundays when the entrance to the Vatican Museums is free (the last Sunday of the month) the Basilica also sees a huge increase in visitors, try to avoid this date.
There’s a strict dress-code in Vatican: shoulders and knees shouldn’t be naked. Nobody will let you enter in shorts or miniskirt, even if you’ve been standing in the line for hours.
While in Rome
In case you drop your luggage at KiPoint in Termini station (to take the Leonardo Express to Fiumicino airport after) be prepared for a waiting line to get your luggage back in the evening. It takes quite long time (you need to pay and get your bag), add half an hour while planning your route to the airport, just to be secure you won’t miss your flight because of this queue!
A video tour through the Basilica
Basilica Saint Peter's: at the heart of the Vatican
Are you planning a **holiday in Italy ** or a **weekend in Rome **? Of course, you have noted to ** visit St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome **, the cornerstone of ** Vatican **, but you are wondering what is the best way to discover it serenely. Hurikat is there to give you good advice.
How to access Saint Peter’s Basilica?
- You cannot drive inside the ** smallest state in Europe **, which is why it is necessary to park nearby. The Prati, San Pietro and Dacar car parks are all located near the Vatican.
- However, driving in Rome can quickly turn out to be a nightmare. Prefer to come by metro (line 8, station * Ottaviano *) or by bus (lines 23, 49, 492, 982, 32, 81 or 590, station * Risorgimento *).
- Bus 64 runs along the entire historic center of Rome. For the Vatican, get off at the * Largo di Porta Cavalleggeri * station.
- Special facilities have been set up to accommodate people in wheelchairs.
How to optimize your visit?
- If you plan to ** visit the dome **, plan to start your visit with it. You will end directly inside the basilica and thus avoid having to queue again.
- If you have to go to the bathroom, prefer the one located under the south pillars. They have much less waiting than those located near the basilica shop.
What to see around St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome?
- The Vatican is right next to the ** historic center of Rome **. If you are in Rome only for one or two days, you can definitely visit the biggest monuments in the process.
- We particularly recommend the Château Saint-Ange, the Forum and of course, the Colosseum.