Vatican City travel guide

Vatican City Tourism | Vatican City Guide

You're Going to Love Vatican City

Mainly known as being the residence of the Catholic religion's Pope, Vatican City is less than 125 acres and has under 1,000 inhabitants. It is also home to some of the most lavishly decorated buildings and churches.

What to do in Vatican City

1. Get Amazed by the Vatican Museums

The galleries in this incredible complex incorporate art from the last 3,000 years in more than 1,400 rooms, such as the impressive Hall of Maps. The visit culminates in the Sistine Chapel, which was painted by Michelangelo in the 15th century.

2. Visit St Peter's Basilica and Square

This is the church that was built over St Peter's tomb and is one of the biggest in the world. Make sure to climb the dome for wonderful views. The basilica is open until 6:00 pm or 7:00 pm depending on the season, and visitors must have knees and shoulders covered to be allowed entrance.

3. Attend a Papal Audience Session

The Pope is available to meet audiences twice a week. The first session is on Wednesdays at 10:30 am, lasts 2h, and seats are available on a first come first served basis. The second is on Sundays at midday, and on this occasion, the Pope appears from his window overlooking St Peter's Square and gives a 20m speech.

4. Watch the Change of the Swiss Guards

The Swiss Guard has been guarding the Pope since 1506. While their changing of guards ceremony is not very ceremonial, it happens daily just outside of St Peter's Basilica. If visiting in early May, it is possible to watch a bigger ceremony as new members are sworn in every 6th of May.

5. Explore the Vatican City Catacombs

Also known as Vatican Scavi, a tour of the catacombs will take visitors underneath St Peter's Basilica where they will be able to see St Peter's tomb in addition to some Papal tombs. Only 200 people are allowed in per day, and in order to gain access, it is necessary to email the Vatican with the request.

When to visit Vatican City

Vatican City in
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1 night at 3-star hotel
Vatican City in
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1 night at 3-star hotel

Spring and Autumn are the best months to visit the Vatican City weather wise as temperatures are lovely and mild. Those looking to attend a Papal audience should visit on a Wednesday or a Sunday.

How to Get to Vatican City

Entry requirements

While entrance into the Vatican City does not require a visa, the country is only accessible via Italy, which means that all visitors will need to have a valid entry into Italy. This includes unlimited visa-free entry to citizens of EU countries, and limited visa-free entry to citizens of other countries, such as the USA and Australia.


While the Vatican City does not have its own airport, the best way to arrive by plane is to fly to one of Rome's two airports. The Leonardo da Vinci International Airport is the main option for international flights, while some budget airlines, such as Ryanair, service the Rome Ciampino Giovan Battista Pastine Airport.


While driving inside the Vatican is not permitted for non-residents, it is possible for travelers to drive to the outer border of the Vatican City and then walk in.


A large number of local Rome buses arrive to the border of Vatican City, with numbers 40 and 64 running frequent services from Rome's Termini central train station.

Where to stay in Vatican City

There are no lodgings for travelers inside Vatican City itself, however, a large range of accommodation for all budgets is available in surrounding Rome, from hotels to furnished apartments and hostels.

Where to stay in popular areas of Vatican City

How to Get Around Vatican City

Public Transportation

Public transport is not available inside Vatican City due to the small size of the country.


Taxis are available from outside the Vatican Museums and can bring travelers back into Rome. They are mainly available during the opening hours of the museums.

The Cost of Living in Vatican City

Daily services such as restaurants and grocery shops are all located just outside of Vatican City in Rome, where an average inexpensive meal costs around €10 ($11), and groceries cost around €60 ($66) a week per person. Credit cards are accepted in major establishments and ATM machines are available in the Vatican and in Rome.