Walks of Italy

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Vatican Highlights Tour

Key Details

  • City: Vatican
  • Duration: 2hrs 30mins
  • Start Time: 3.15PM

Tour Highlights

  • Our shortest Vatican Museums Tour is still comprehensive; covering all the major highlights of the museums and leaving you inside St. Peter’s Basilica to explore on your own.

  • With a carefully-timed visit after most guests have left, you'll avoid a lot of the huge crowds at the Vatican - particularly important in summer.

  • With Skip the Line Access, you’ll avoid the Vatican’s notorious lines (both at the Museums & St. Peter’s Basilica) while small groups of max 20 keep it intimate and expert Walks of Italy guides engage.
See the Sistine Chapel on our Vatican Museums Tour The Sistine Chapel Roof Expert guide describes Michelangelo's frescoes The School of Athens by Raphael Spot Rocky in the Raphael Rooms Nero's bath (its literally priceless!) The Belvedere Torso, Vatican Museums Ancient Greek sculptures, Vatican Museums Ancient Greek sculptures, Vatican Museums The Laocoon Group, Vatican Museums Apollo Belvedere, Vatican Museums Priceless ancient tapestries, Vatican Museums Admire the dome of St. Peter's Basilica (hidden) The Pinecone Courtyard (aptly named) Get more from your visit with an expert guide The ceiling of the Gallery of the Maps Plus skip the line entrance to St. Peter's Basilica


Get more from your visit with a great guide & good timing.

Give the Papal Palaces the attention they deserve on our Highlights of the Vatican Museums Tour. This is the shortest of all of our Vatican tours, focusing less on the details and more on the bigger picture: art, power and politics in the Vatican City.

Our expert guides will bring the Vatican’s dramatic past to life. From the Raphael Rooms, to the statue galleries and the unmissable Sistine Chapel, you'll see the best the Museums have to offer while also getting the stories and context behind the art. And although we can't avoid the crowds, we have timed our Vatican Museums tour to visit at one of the latest entry times so you’ll avoid the worst of the crowds. This is particularly helpful during the summer months, when tens of thousands of travelers visit every day.


In order to make the most of every moment we give you privileged entrance at the Vatican Museums. This allows you to skip the notoriously long general access line, which, during high season, often stretches for hours. We’ve also carefully chosen the finishing point of the tour so you can either spend more time inside the Sistine Chapel or follow your guide through the no-line passageway and directly into to St. Peter's Basilica. This shortcut saves you not just a 20-minute walk out of the Museums to the Basilica; but potentially hours of waiting in line.

After a short introduction from our guide, you can visit the Basilica on your own, to explore Michelangelo's 'Pietà' among other stunning works of art and architecture.


This tour will never have more than 20 people on it, making it smaller and more intimate than many other tours on the market, giving you fantastic access to your expert guide. All our guides are art historians, architecture buffs and passionate storytellers who are specially trained to give you a real sense of the drama and power that has played out in these very halls.

Our small group Vatican Museum tours ensure that you get the best from your Vatican visit, seeing beyond world-famous masterpieces to appreciate the bigger picture.

Sites visited

  • Sistine Chapel
  • Raphael Rooms
  • Belvedere Courtyard with Apollo Belvedere & Laocoön & His Sons
  • Pinecone Courtyard
  • Gallery of the Candelabra
  • Gallery of the Maps
  • Gallery of the Tapestries
  • St. Peter’s Basilica (optional)


  • Skip the Line Access tickets to the Vatican Museums
  • Skip the Line Access to St. Peter’s Basilica (optional)
  • Expert Walks of Italy tour guide
  • Small groups, never more than 20 people
  • Headsets


5-stars from over 753 Customer Reviews

I was impressed when I called the customer service number. Our organizer showed up exactly on time (at 3PM) - but I was expecting him to be early for some reason, so I called the phone number on our confirmation email - got a live operator who reassured me all was well - and it was. Thank you!
I rate this tour a 5 because Elena was really nice and she understood her topic really well and she made it fun, even for a 12 year old.
Awesome customer service and professionalism. I had a great time. thanks!

Important information

Before you travel, please read our important notes about possible disruptions & site entrance requirements

As with all museums, particular galleries of the Vatican museums can sometimes be closed without prior notice and pieces removed for restoration or loan. In the case of a gallery being closed, your guide will take you to another section of the museums instead.

Also, please remember that the Sistine Chapel is a holy place, and attire must be appropriate for the visit. Both men and women are asked to wear clothing that covers at least the shoulders and knees. Walks of Italy cannot be held responsible for denied entry due to improper dress. Please note that, since the chapel is at the end of the Vatican visit, it is sufficient to bring extra coverings with you and put them on before our entrance to the holy areas.

On rare occasions, when St. Peter's Basilica is being prepared for high masses or a special private event, including the Easter ceremonies, the tour group exit and/or the basilica itself can be closed without prior notification. Your guide will still give you an introduction to the church should you wish to visit this on your own at a later occasion. We are unable to provide refunds or discounts.

While the Vatican Museums are equipped with elevators for wheelchair access, they are not conveniently located on the group tour route and only give access to specific sections of the Museums. Please contact us at info@walksofitaly.com if you have walking disabilities or if you are in a wheelchair. We can then work out a suitable alternative.

Please ensure that all members of your party have a valid ID on them on the day of the visit. This is particularly important for guests who have qualified for a senior, student, or child reduction.

For details of what you may and may not bring inside the Vatican Museums (you may not, for example, carry backpacks), click here. Guests who do bring these items will be required to leave them in the Vatican cloakroom and will be responsible for collecting them at the end of the tour. Please note that it is a 15 to 20 minute walk from St. Peter’s Square back to the entrance of the Museums.

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I was impressed when I called the customer service number. Our organizer showed up exactly on time (at 3PM) - but I was expecting him to be early for some reason, so I called the phone number on our confirmation email - got a live operator who reassured me all was well - and it was. Thank you!
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I rate this tour a 5 because Elena was really nice and she understood her topic really well and she made it fun, even for a 12 year old.
(No comment)
Awesome customer service and professionalism. I had a great time. thanks!
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Felix was great fun, he had a wonderful attitude and we really enjoyed his commentary. To try and understand this area without a tour guide would be very difficult. You should be proud of Felix he is an asset to your company and for us the perfect host to show us around Vatican City.
Felix was awesome! He was my first of three walks of Italy tours. I wish I would have done the longer tour because he was so knowledgeable!!
It was a great tour thanks to Felix! He was very knowledgeable and had a great sense of humor. I had originally booked the Pristine Sistine your and do to my error, we came a date late. The tour had taken place the day before. I felt so stupid and disappointed, but I called your office and you were able to get me on the this tour with Felix. It the end it all worked out great! I would recommend this tour and Felix! Thanks for what appeared to be a fiasco and making it a great day!
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Great tour and our guide was excellent!
Terrific guide! Very professional and informative.
We were redirected to this tour (recommended by and with the same guide) after our express Sistine Chapel tour was washed out. I would have liked to spend a little more tine in the Chapel rather than the museum however the weather prevailed. Regardless the guide made it extremely enjoyable and informative.
Ambra was a wonderful tour guide. The only issue we had was that we were dropped on the street by our ride and were accosted by a person trying to sell front of the line tickets and insisted that we were too late and that our tour had left without us and tried to get us to buy new tickets and write to you for a refund. He was very persistent. Thankfully we were able to get away from him and meet our tour.
The tour was good, but being during peak season the crowds were too busy to really make it an enjoyable experience. Guide was very pleasant and informative.
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This tour was fantastic! So imformative Enza our tour guide was great! Your company is wonderful! We took 4 tours with you!
We were disappointed that one of the people in our party had a migraine and could not attend and that we had to lose the money. No offer from the staff for any other way to be compensated.
Toni was fabulous! she knew her content and was very sensitive to helping us endure the excessive heat in Rome that day.
Very good, our guide was personable and knowledgeable
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We loved our tour and our guide! Our guide was so knowledgeable and adorable!
I thought the tour was very good and great to do just the highlights. It was very expensive so my only criticism would be value for money but overall enjoyed the tor and guide was fantastic.
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Sevy was great. Enjoyed tour!!
There was a slight misunderstanding as we thought we would have more time in the Sistine Chapel. Laura told us that we had 20 minutes, but we assumed that was to go to the toilets and have a drink and didn't realise it included our time in the Chapel! Laura did say we could stay there if we wished, however we also wanted to make sure that we would see St Peter's Basilica so thought we should leave with everyone else to be on the safe side. Apart from that, we thoroughly enjoyed it and Laura was very informative.
Flavia was amazing!
I lived my tour guide Guilia! She was knowledgeable, friendly, funny, and spoke English beautifully. I enjoyed the tour and would book with Walks of Italy again!
The earphone system was not working very well so we missed a lot of the information. Also, we rushed through some of the galeries and spent too much time in the aistine chapel. Saint Peter was not included. I did not know
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I showed up on wrong day and your guide fixed it for my son and I. So grateful. Loved tour and will recommend your company. Thank you!
The Vatican closed the Sistine Chapel early that day.. completely out of the control of Walks... but it meant we missed some things and had to force-march through the building. Francesca did a fantastic job of giving us information, for setting up our expectations, providing back story and context.
The guided tour in The Vatican with Laura was excellent. The audio sets were also excellent (we could hear Laura clearly with the volume at mid-range).. The meet-up was chaotic. The bar meet-up area had several other tours meeting there also, and there was no clear way to identify Walks of Italy other than to go from tour to tour, asking. When your people finally showed up, there was no sign. A young lady just started handing out things and we stumbled on her as part of our wandering from group to group. It would be nice to be clearer with an exact spot to meet (e.g., on the side where the busses pull in or opposite to where the busses pull in), or at the very least have a sign once your people show up.
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I loved the way our guide made time for both the children and the adults in our group.
Very good tour. We learned much more about the Vatican and art history than we would have if we toured on our own. The skip the line tickets are a must due to the crowds. Our guide Luigi was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic and did a great job. Highly recommend both the tour and guide.
Crazy crowds! Monica made our tour pleasant and informative despite the mobs and we are so grateful for her guidance! A very worthwhile tour!
I had trouble before we started with the pickup device. We changed, but then the connection for the earpiece was iffy throughout the tour. Monica was simply terrific and taught me things I didn’t know from previous tours and got us through the crowds wonderfully. Thanks for a greattour
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Jeb was great - very concise and knew what to highlight. It was perfect for people who want to learn but don't want to spend an eternity touring and wasnt boring
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Enjoyed our tour !
Really enjoyed the tour and appreciated the headphones with the wrap-around clip. Learned so much about the map rooms that I had not heard on prior tours - thank you!
Amazing guide and the tour was fantastic! Highly recommended!
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