Visiting Vatican City on one of the top rated Vatican tours is the best way to skip lines, save time and see all the main highlights in just half a day! Vatican City is the smallest country in Europe and in the world (it’s tiny – the total area of 0,44 km²) yet it is home to some incredible sights. This article will help you book the best small group Vatican tours, the best guided Vatican tours as well as inform you about the correct dress code for Vatican tours.

Best Top Ranked Vatican Tours

What Should I See In Vatican City?

Vatican City is a small area of Rome that is also a country! It is a city-state surrounded by Rome and it is the headquarters of the Catholic Church. Yes I know it sounds strange to have a state within a city, but this map might help. 

Vatican City on the Map of Rome

Vatican City on the Map of Rome

The 4 Must-see Attractions In Vatican City

The Vatican Museums

These are the public museums of the Vatican with one of the world’s greatest art collections. This includes ancient sculptures, important masterpieces of Renaissance art, Egyptian mummies, modern paintings and tapestries.

Here are the main areas most visitors get to see: Gallery of the Chandeliers, Gallery of Maps, Gallery of Tapestries, Raphael Room. There are also two palaces and Vatican Gardens that some tours include.

You must enter the Vatican Museums to reach the Sistine Chapel which is definitely the highlight for most of the 6 million people that visit the museums manually.

Hot Tip: While you can purchase the ticket online and enter without a tour, you will most likely be lost among the treasures and will miss out on things. Trust me, book one of the guided tours of the top rated Vatican tours listed below to avoid disappointment.

Sistine Chapel

The two most famous frescoes in the world, both painted by Michelangelo can be found here in the Sistine Chapel.

The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is the first masterpiece, pained by young Michealngeloe at the start of the 16th century. There are nine panels depicting stories from the book of Genesis, the most famous image shows a bearded God pointing his finger at Adam. Honestly, you will have a sore neck from just looking up and admiring more than 300 figures.

The second famous fresco in Sistine Chapel is the Last Judgment painted by Michaelangelo later on.

Sistine Chapel also serves an important religious function as the place where the priests meet to form a “conclave” to elect a new pope.

Vatican City Sistine Chapel

Top Rated Vatican Tours will include the entry to Sistine Chapel

Piazza San Marco

The main square of Vatican City – St Peters Square is an architectural masterpiece designed by Bernini. It is the place where the pope holds weekly mass and pilgrims come from around the world. There are two semicircular colonnades that create the illusion of two outstretched arms welcoming you into the square and the focal point is the biggest church in the world St Peters Basilica. There are 144statues of Saints on top of the colonnades. 

You can enter the square for free and anytime. 

St Peters’ Basilica 

Largest and most spectacular church stands on the original place of St Peters crucifixion. The basilica itself is simply breathtaking, but make sure you don’t miss the three highlights” Pieta by Michelangelo, Bernini’s famous baldachin (stands over the main altar) and the Dome which you can climb up to for epic views. You can walk up the 551 steps to the top of the dome or take a small elevator halfway and then follow on foot for the last 320 steps.

Entry to the basilica is free but a strict dress code applies. The line to enter from the square is always huge so I recommend entering from the Vatican Museums via the shortcut – this can only be done when you are part of one of the recommended top rated Vatican Tours I have listed below.

To enter the dome you must get a ticket or join a tour.

Why Should You Join One of the Top Rated Vatican Tours?

There are two great reasons to join one of the top rated Vatican Tours.

Skip the Line Vatican Museums

Firstly, it will help you to skip the line for the Vatican. The guided tours use a different entrance than the standard one, so you won’t be standing on the streets for 2 hours waiting to get in!

Get a Better and Comprehensive Experience

Secondly, visiting the Vatican Museums along with the highlight: Sistine Chapel might feel overwhelming when you visit on your own. With the help of your guide on one of my recommended Vatican Tours, you will get a great explanation about things you are seeing and why there are special. The tours are designed to maximise your time here but there is also another bonus:

Enter St Peters Basilica Through the Shortcut From Vatican Museums

When you visit one of the best-guided tours in the Vatican, you will get to exit from the Vatican Museum directly into the St Peters basilica! This saves you exiting the museum, walking around to the entrance of the basilica, and then standing in a line to get in again! 

If you do end up not joining a tour of Vatican Museum, you can book a ticket to skip the line (trust me the line can be 2-3 hours long in the main season) and then pay an extra 7 Euro for the audio guide.