Vatican
10 hours
7:45 AM
15

Highlights

  • Stroll through the Vatican gardens and take the Pope's train, departing from within the Vatican State, to Castel Gandolfo.
  • Sit down to an incredible buffet lunch at the Papal Palace made with local produce (including some products from the Pope's own farm!).
  • Take advantage of skip-the-line access at the Vatican Museums and Papal Palace.
  • Enjoy a comprehensive small group tour of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel with an expert official guide.

Tour description

Experience the full grandeur of the world's smallest (yet most fascinating) city-state.

You could easily spend hours roaming the Vatican Museums only to realize you've missed the most significant features. With the well-thought-out itinerary on this full-day Vatican tour, you’ll go much deeper than most other visitors do. In addition to an in-depth guided tour of the Vatican Museums and Gardens, you'll even walk in the footsteps of generations of Popes as you board the official papal train and head out to the summer palace in Castel Gandolfo to further your exploration.

Begin your day early at the entrance to the Vatican Museums, skipping the long lines for immediate entry into the world's foremost art collection. To add depth and color to the impressive array of masterpieces on display, you’ll be accompanied by an official Vatican guide. There's no one better to share unrivaled insight into Vatican life and the stories behind these seminal works. Take in the very best of the hallowed halls, including the Gallery of Maps, the Octagonal Courtyard, the Raphael Rooms, and many more. The pinnacle of this journey is Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel—a truly sacred artistic experience.

Stroll through the Vatican gardens to the Pope's private train.

Next, it's time to enjoy some fresh air in the breathtaking Vatican Gardens, which are only available to guests visiting as part of a guided tour (like this one). 23 hectares of lush forests, medieval monuments, classical sculptures, and landscaped gardens will extend before you. As your guide regales you with tales of the Vatican’s past, history will blossom to life before your eyes.

Continuing through the Gardens, you’ll arrive at the Vatican Rail Station, which Pope Francis reopened in 2015. You'll be one of a select few passengers to step aboard the Pope’s very own train. (And with only one train running per week, this short journey is a treasure in itself!)

Step inside the opulent summer palaces of the Popes.

Your full day Vatican tour continues at Castel Gandolfo. One of the most scenic hill towns in Italy, it's home to the Papal Palace, where generations of Popes have escaped the heat of the city during the summer months. Accompanied by your guide, you’ll begin at Villa Barberini and wind your way towards the Barberini Gardens, where a sumptuous buffet lunch of typical Roman fare awaits.

Since Castel Gandolfo is one of the most beautiful towns in the region, you'll have about 90 minutes of free time after lunch to discover it for yourself before the return trip to Rome. Enjoy a leisurely walk, explore the main square, or take some time to soak up the tranquil views over the lake. You even have the option to embark on an audio-guided tour of the Papal Palace. Also known as the Apostolic Palace, the Pope’s summer residence is ripe for exploration. You can even visit recently opened rooms like the Pope’s private chapel and bedrooms.

Sites visited

  • Vatican Museums
  • Gallery of Maps
  • Gallery of Candelabras
  • Gallery of Tapestries
  • Octagonal Courtyard
  • Pinecone Courtyard
  • Raphael Rooms
  • Sistine Chapel
  • Vatican Gardens
  • Vatican Rail Station
  • Villa Barberini Gardens
  • Papal (Apostolic) Palace
  • Castel Gandolfo

Included

Verified guest reviews

3.9 / 5
13 Customer Reviews
  1. Excellent

    5

  2. Great

    4

  3. Good

    2

  4. Average

    2

  5. Poor

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Rene

Jul 07, 2023

The tour guides were very knowledgeable and really enjoyed sharing information.

Diana

Jun 25, 2023

We were told to be there at 730. Our tour guide showed up at 8:05. The Vatican was extremely crowded which was not the tour guide’s fault. We had to stay at a steady pace so we had very little time to view the pieces of work. We could have benefited a bit more on the history/meaning of some things. Where it fell apart was at the train. Nobody told any of us the itinerary once we got on the train. The lunch left a lot to be desired. I appreciated going to the Vatican on a tour but there is a lot of room for improvement.

Robert

Jun 20, 2023

This tour would have been great except for one no small thing. We were met by our guide who provided an excellent tour of the Vatican grounds and the Sistine Chapel. We thought she would be our guide for the rest of the day. We were then taken over to the train station and put on a train. After a short train ride, when we got off, we were received by a set of buses and handed over to a driver who took us to the papal summer grounds. When we were dropped off at the train station, we were never explained what to expect or who would be meeting us on the other side. We got off of the bus with no idea what to do? or where to go? We were dropped off in front of a restaurant / concession area and just assumed we were supposed to go inside. We were served lunch, spoke to other travelers who were also trying to figure out "Now What?" After lunch and great conversations with fellow travelers, we got up and just assumed we were now on our own to walk around. We were then later intercepted by a lady who told us she was our tour guide for the next portion of our trip. (this was a 2.5 hour gap without knowing what to do or where to go) - like I said "No small thing" If our initial tour guide stayed with us for the whole day like we assumed, rode the train with us, ate lunch with us, & returned with us, this would have been an excellent tour. When we paid for a "small PRIVATE group tour" we thought this is what were going to get. Technically there were only four of us in our group so technically this meets the SMALL We never imagined we were just going to be handed off like some piece of meat or something.

Andrew

May 08, 2023

This tour was well worth taking. Guides Kinga (in the Vatican) and Patrizia (at Castel Gandolfo) were very welcoming and informative. The lunch was pleasant, too.

Joanne

Sep 27, 2022

A good day and a great lunch. Castle Gandolfo was a great stop and a nice train ride through the countryside. The day could have been improved by the person who met us in the morning giving a run down on what the day was going to entail as we didn't realise there would not be a guide with us all day and a few times we were unsure what to do.

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From $171
Free Cancellation