A Step by Step Guide
You’ve heard about the lines, you’ve heard about the crowds, you’ve read the post about if you should go to the Vatican and you’ve decided, yes I must see the Sistine Chapel! I will see the Laocoon! I will find the Pope Mobiles! But you really want to skip the line when you visit this world renowned site of artistic and Catholic pilgrimage. With enough advanced planning, you can. As a tour guide and tour manager who has been in the industry for years, I’ve bought hundreds of these tickets and know first hand that the process can be a little confusing. Below is your Step by Step Guide to Booking Skip the Line tickets at the Vatican museums through the official Vatican ticket office. There are as many steps as apostles (ahem, twelve) and each step is accompanied by a picture of what you should see on your screen to make it as easy as possible.
Here are a few things to remember before you start the booking process:
- In high season (April through November) these tickets sell out fast – don’t wait to book!
- The Vatican Museum is closed on Sundays and for certain holidays
- Tickets are usually available 3 months in advance. If it shows that the entire month is sold out that is probably because you are either too early…. or too late.
- You’ll need a Visa or Mastercard to make the purchase. No American Express, no Paypal.
- This is a guide to booking general access skip the line tickets. In Step Two I will mention how to book other special access tickets to the Vatican but will not go into detail on these.
- If all the tickets are completely sold out, you can still find tickets online sold at a marked up rate by third party ticket sellers like tiqets.com. Don’t ask me how this is legal but … there we are.
Your Guide to Buying your Own Skip the Line Tickets to the Vatican Museum
Step One Follow this link to access the page you’ll see in the picture below and then press Enter. https://biglietteriamusei.vatican.va/musei/tickets/
Step Two Select “Admission Tickets.”
NOTE: There are numerous other options on this page such as the Night Openings on Fridays from April to October, the train from Vatican gardens to Castel Gondolfo, access to really off the beaten track places like the Niccolina Chapel (which they’ll open for €500) and more. Scroll through and have a look at what the options are or continue reading for how to book the regular admission ticket during general admission.
Step Three Select Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. (Last time I checked, the lunch isn’t worth it).
Step Four Select your month and number of people you are booking for. Then hit “Next.” Remember if your month isn’t shown it’s because it is still too early to buy those tickets.
Step Five Select the day you’d like to book your tickets. A green box means tickets are available. A red box means tickets are not available at all perhaps because it is a Sunday, there is a special closure for a holiday or the tickets are sold out on that day.
Step Six Select your time slot. This will be the time you should show up at the Vatican. Note: If you are up to half an hour late, they will still let you in. But you can’t get in earlier than the time on your voucher. In general, try to be on time 🙂
Step Seven Select your full price tickets or reduced tickets. Full priced tickets for adults are €17 plus the €4 booking fee. Children between 6 and 18 or students under 25 are €8 plus the €4 booking fee. If your child is under 6 years old they do not need a ticket. IMPORTANT: You must bring ID to verify the age of anyone using reduced tickets. If you are a student, you should have your regular ID AND a Student ID. Once you are at the Vatican you will probably be asked to prove your ages to them and if you can’t you’ll have to pay the difference from the reduced to the full priced ticket on the spot.
Step Eight This page is long so it is broken into three pictures below. Instructions are in the captions.
Step Nine The page telling you that you are about to buy something and if you disappear for five minutes you’ll lose everything you’ve done so far. So take this moment to grab a Visa or a Mastercard before clicking “Conclude Reservation.”
Step Ten Fill in your card details and be sure to scroll all the way down to enter your CVV code before clicking “pay.” On many screens you can’t see this until you scroll down.
Step Eleven This step has no picture and depending on your credit card you might not be asked to do this. Sometimes you will get a request to put in a security code for your credit card as a final authorization of the payment. Some cards have this, some do not. If you don’t know your credit card’s security code, you’ll have to contact your bank. When you see a page with a green check mark and the words: Success then… you’ve done it!
NOTE: This is where sometimes the website simply doesn’t work. It doesn’t happen often but occasionally it seems to get stuck here either loading the payment page forever or saying the payment didn’t go through. You can try another credit card or give it a few hours and try again.
Step Twelve You’ll get two emails. One is your receipt of payment, one is your voucher. The voucher is what you will need on the day of your Vatican visit. You will just need the first page which you can either print and bring with you or bring an electronic copy on your phone.
Now, take that voucher to the Vatican on the day and time you have selected, happily stroll by that huge line, show your voucher to the guards and you’re in!