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The longest line I have ever seen was at the Vatican Museum in Rome. To get into the museum and eventually see the Sistine chapel, you needed at least half a day in the past. The line would start at the museum entrance and go around the corner into a long street, where it would go around another corner. If you were unlucky, the line would (almost) go into Saint Peter’s Square, which is well over a kilometer away. Luckily, there is an effortless way to skip these endless lines.

The days of the kilometer-long line to enter the Vatican Museum is over. At least if you book a ticket in advance. You can buy a ticket directly at the museum, but unfortunately, those tickets tend to sell out. Luckily there are resellers of tickets with much more last-minute availability than the museum itself. The downside is that you will have to pay a premium for these tickets.

A guided tour is the best way to visit the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel

A much smarter way to visit the Vatican Museum is by booking a guided tour. Not only will you get into the museum smoothly, you will also be able to enjoy the museum much more.  When you buy a guided tour through the museum with a small tour group. Tour groups get special fast entrance into the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel.

It is not just the fast access that make a guided tour of the Museum a good choice. Inside, the crowds are as big as they are outside. You need someone to help you get around and make sure you get the most out of your stay. And let’s face it, without doing extensive research before you enter the museum grounds, you have no clue what you are looking at. A guide will bring the historic pieces insight the museum alive.

When you visit the museum with a guide, you have someone explaining to you what you are looking at. On top of that, the museum is big, a guide will help you spending time at what is worth it and skipping what isn’t.

Four benefits of visiting the Vatican Museum with a guided tour

  1. Guided tours can skip the line
  2. A guide will help you navigate the large crowds inside the museum
  3. Inside the museum, the guide will explain what you are looking at
  4. A guide will help you focus on what is worth spending time on and skipping lesser interesting parts of the museum.

What is the best time to visit the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel?

The museum and chapel are most crowded in peak season. Peak season in Rome is around the European summer vacation: July and August. Use our crowd predictions for Rome to find the best date to travel to Italy’s capital.

Given the critical religious role that the Vatican plays, you can also expect significant crowds at the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel around Christian holidays such as Easter and Christmas. The best months to visit the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel are November, (late) January, February, and March. During these months, crowds will be smaller. 

If you are looking for smaller crowds, we recommend visiting the museum and chapel early in the morning or closer to closing time. Weekends aren’t recommended because it can get very crowded. 

Avoid-Crowds.com' Crowd forecast

Medium Crowds expected on in

Public holiday in destination country: NO

School holidays in destination country: NO

Cruise passengers in (nearby) ports: 6554

Local events: NO

School holidays in the following countries: NONE

Cruise ships in port: Costa Smeralda 6554

When are the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel less crowded?

The best time of the year to visit the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel is in the low season. The low season typically takes place in autumn and winter, with the obvious exception of Christmas. Best months to visit the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel without crowds are November, (late) January, February and March. Weekdays are typically less crowded than Saturdays or Sundays.

During the day, the Vatican Museum gets most crowded between 11 AM and 3PM. Visiting the museum around the opening or closing hours will give you a less crowded experience.

What is the best guided tour at the Vatican Museum?

When you go online, you can find endless guided tours through the Vatican Museum.

Is the Vatican Museum Crowded?

Yes! In our experience, the Vatican Museum is one of the most crowded museums in the world.

How do you get into the Sistine Chapel from the Vatican Museum?

To experience the Sistine Chapel, you must buy entrance tickets to the Vatican Museum. A brief visit to the chapel will be included in your ticket.

Is the Vatican Museum worth it?

We visited the museum and Sistine Chapel a couple of years ago. Even though the museum is very crowded, making the experience a bit less enjoyable, we recommend going. The Sistine Chapel by itself makes the Vatican Museum worth it.

Is the Sistine Chapel Crowded?

We visited the Sistine chapel as part of our visit to the Vatican Museum. The experience is unlike anything else. You will see the Sistine chapel in a large group for a limited time. This experience is the most crowded feeling you will experience in your life. Suppose you want to visit the Sistine Chapel during quieter hours. In that case, we recommend visiting the museum during opening or closing hours.

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