It’s the smallest country on the planet yet holds many of the Catholic world’s most significant sites.

St Peter’s Basilica, The Sistine Chapel, Piazza San Pietro… these famous places and more are all contained in the 44-hectare, independent state within Rome known as Vatican City. Explore this unique destination presided over by the Pope, visiting a range of religious sites and museums that contain stunning artworks and historical relics. After a few hours, you might like to relax with an authentic Italian espresso or slice of pizza, as you soak up the centuries of history and culture that surround you.

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Vatican City travel highlights

Vatican City holiday information

At a glance

Best time to visit Vatican City

Culture and customs

Eating and drinking

Geography and environment

Health and safety

Further reading

Vatican City travel FAQs

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Check the Essential Trip Information section of the itinerary for more information.

If you visit the Vatican Museum as part of a guided tour, a tip for the guide will be appreciated. Apart from this you will not have the opportunity to tip, and it’s not expected.

For security reasons the Vatican Museum does not provide Wi-Fi access, however in open areas and in Piazza San Pietro you may be able to pick up the regular mobile phone signal from the neighbouring city of Rome.

In open areas within the Vatican Museum and in Piazza San Pietro you may be able to pick up the regular mobile phone signal from the neighbouring city of Rome. Make sure that global roaming is activated with your service provider before leaving home. The Vatican Museum strongly discourages the use of mobile phones inside the exhibition spaces and using your phone inside St Peter’s Basilica is frowned upon, as with most working churches. At a minimum, you should switch your phone on to silent. Mobile phones are strictly forbidden inside the Sistine Chapel.

Toilets can be found within St Peter’s Basilica and in the Vatican Museum, however there are none on Piazza San Pietro. The best option in this area is to leave the square and find a local café.

Cup of coffee = 2 Euro
A glass of beer = 5 Euro 
Bottle of wine in a restaurant = 16 Euro
Small gelato cone = 3 Euro

Drinking water from taps in Vatican City is considered safe. For environmental reasons, try to use a refillable water bottle rather than buying bottled water.

Major credit cards are accepted at the ticket offices for the Vatican Museum. Cafes and shops within the museum will also accept credit cards. Small souvenir shops within St Peter’s Basilica or in the square will only accept cash.

There are only a few ATMs in Vatican City, so it’s easier to withdraw cash in the neighbouring city of Rome before you enter.

Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey. 

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance

The Vatican is closed on Wednesday mornings for papal audiences, which is when Piazza San Pietro is busiest. The Vatican Museum is closed on Sundays, except on the last Sunday of each month when entry is free, however on these days you can expect to find large crowds. St Peter’s Basilica is open every day, however, may be especially busy on Sundays and special religious days such as Easter. Masses are held in St Peter’s Basilica frequently throughout each day.

Homosexuality is legal in Vatican City, but it is a much-discussed topic in the Roman Catholic Church. The Vatican sees same-sex relationships as a sin and for this reason, LGBTQI-travellers may attract unwanted attention and officials, such as police, may not be sympathetic if anti-social behaviour is reported. For this reason, we encourage our travellers to exercise discretion when in the Vatican.

Modest clothing is recommended for travellers who wish to visit the Vatican. If you are wearing low cut or sleeveless tops, shorts, miniskirts or a hat, you may be refused entry.

You are permitted to take photos for personal use only, in all areas of the Vatican Museums, apart from the Sistine Chapel. The use of tripods, stands, selfie sticks and any professional photography equipment must be authorised in advance by the Directorate of the Vatican Museums. Flash photography is not allowed at any time.

Responsible Travel

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.