Rome Travel Guide

The Best Vatican Tours to Take in 2024: Find Your Perfect Itinerary

Fri 28 Jun 2024

The Best Vatican Tours  to Takein 2024: Find Your Perfect Itinerary

There’s nowhere quite like the Vatican Museums. A treasure trove of art and culture that’s unique in the world, it’s here that you’ll find some of the most iconic testaments to human creativity ever made. Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, The Raphael Rooms, St. Peter’s Basilica…and that’s just for starters! 

But whilst a visit to the Vatican is an absolute bucket-list must, we’d be the first to admit it’s not without its challenges. The Museums are HUGE - with over kilometers of galleries to navigate, you can quickly lose all sense of perspective here. To make things more challenging still, the Vatican can get very crowded indeed. That’s why we think a guided tour is the best way to visit. But which tour should you take?

At Through Eternity we recognize that all travelers are unique. That’s why we don’t believe in one size fits all itineraries, and instead offer a range of different Vatican tours designed to suit various audiences. Hate dealing with crowds? We’ve got an option for you. Want to get to the highlights with a minimum of fuss? We’ve got you covered. Are you a completist who wants to see everything there is to see in the Vatican? You’re speaking our language!

We have spent countless hours sitting down together brainstorming how best to organize our Vatican tours, and we’re very proud of what we’ve come up with. In this article I’m taking a look at the various Vatican itineraries we offer, and what kind of traveler they suit the best. Read on to find out the best Vatican tour for you!


Best Vatican Tours 

1. Early Morning Vatican with Sistine Chapel Semi-Private Tour


You’ll need to be up at the crack of dawn to join our special Early Morning Vatican tour, but just this once it’s well worth setting your alarm clock early! With its marvelous art treasures including the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms, the Vatican Museums house one of the best - and busiest - art collections on earth. Every day thousands of visitors travel from all across the globe to traverse the Vatican Museums’ 7 kilometers of galleries; Forget jostling for the perfect view in the Sistine Chapel and steal a march on the crowds by joining our early morning itinerary to see the Museums at their least crowded. 


Who Is This Tour Perfect For? This tour is best for visitors who want the opportunity to see the Sistine Chapel and other Vatican highlights with fewer crowds.

Tour Duration: 3.5 hours

Group Size: A maximum of just 10 participants. Also available as a private itinerary.



2. Essential Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums & St. Peter's Basilica Semi-Private Tour

You could easily spend a day more poring over everything there is to see in the Vatican, but it can be a pretty exhausting experience. If you are the kind of visitor that doesn’t want to devote a whole day to a museum, then our Essential Vatican Tour is for you. On this itinerary we focus on the highlights, devoting most of our attention to the Vatican heavy hitters - that means the Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Rooms, the Ancient Sculpture Collections and St. Peter’s Basilica. It’s still plenty to be getting on with, but it means you’ll finish your visit to the Vatican ready for more adventures rather than heading back to your hotel exhausted.


Who Is This Tour Perfect For? Visitors looking for a crash-course in the Vatican that will take them straight to the highlights

Tour Duration: 3 hours

Group Size: The maximum group size for our Essential Vatican tour is 10 participants. This itinerary is also available as a private tour



3. VIP Vatican In a Day Semi-Private Tour


Specially designed for visitors looking for a more in-depth exploration of the Vatican Museums than offered by most tours, our VIP Vatican tour provides a complete picture of the art and history of the Vatican Museums. Led by expert art historians, in addition to detailed up-close discussions of masterpieces like Raphael’s School of Athens and Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes, we’ll also have the opportunity to take a deep dive into the classical sculptures collected by popes over the centuries, including the Laocoon and Apollo Belvedere. The longer running time of this itinerary means we’ll also get to visit the Vatican’s picture gallery, a fabulous collection that is usually overlooked by visitors that is home to the only Leonardo da Vinci painting in Rome. To round things off, we’ll skip the lines at St. Peter’s to gaze on Michelangelo’s Pietà and the dramatic works of Bernini.


Who Is This Tour Perfect For? Art buffs or history enthusiasts looking for an in-depth exploration of the Vatican’s masterpieces in the company of a knowledgeable expert. 

Tour Duration: 5 hours.

Group Size: The maximum group size for our VIP Vatican tour is 10 participants. This itinerary is also available as a private tour



4. Rome in a Day with Vatican and Ancient City


There’s so much to see in Rome that it can overwhelm even the most seasoned traveler. When you only have limited time available in the Eternal City, things get even more complicated. If you have only one day to see it all, then you’re going to need a little help. That’s where we come in! We’ve designed our comprehensive Rome in a Day tour to get you to the highlights fast: from the the epic grandeur of the ancient world in the Colosseum and Roman Forum to the masterpieces of Renaissance art in the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, we’ll make sure you don’t miss a thing.


Who Is This Tour Perfect For? Visitors short on time in Rome but want to make sure they can see the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel alongside other city highlights in one day.

Tour Duration: 6 hours.

Group Size: This itinerary is our most popular private tour, so it’s reserved just for you and your group. We also sometimes run this itinerary as a small group tour with a maximum of 7 participants. Click here to check availability


5. Private Vatican Night Tour 


If you’re looking for a different way to experience the Vatican, then our Vatican at Night tour is well worth considering. Only available in the Summer months, entering the Vatican Museums after hours is a very special feeling. Enjoy the Sistine Chapel with fewer people blocking your view, and wander through the Raphael Rooms and classical sculpture gardens in the cool of the Roman evening. Best of all, Michelangelo’s frescoes and the rest of the masterpieces housed in the Vatican museums look at their spectacular best as the golden light of twilight suffuses the airy halls. With an expert art-historian on hand to guide you through the collections, this is a great and unique way to explore the Vatican Museums.


Who Is This Tour Perfect For? Anyone who wants to see the Vatican Museums in a new light. Perfect for returning visitors to the Vatican Museums!

Tour Duration: 2.5 hours

Group Size: This is a private tour, so will be reserved just for you and your group.




 St. Peter’s Basilica Tour with Dome Climb and Papal Crypts


Ok, we don’t actually visit the Vatican Museums on this tour, but our in-depth St. Peter’s tour is the perfect complement to our Vatican itineraries. Whilst we visit St. Peter’s on most of our Vatican tours, limitations of time mean that we can’t provide much more than a taster to the largest and richest church on earth. For that, you need to join a dedicated tour that gives St. Peter’s the time and attention it deserves. On this itinerary we’ll have the chance to climb to the top of Michelangelo’s dome as well as descend into the fascinating papal crypts. You’ll also have plenty of time in the basilica itself, where we’ll be able to learn all about amazing artworks from Bernini’s baldachin to Michelangelo’s Pieta and much much more. 


Who Is This Tour Perfect For? For visitors who want more than just a taster of the artistic and architectural riches of St. Peter’s Basilica. 

Tour Duration: 2.5 hours

Group Size: The maximum group size for our St. Peter’s Basilica tour is 10 participants. This itinerary is also available as a private tour. 





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