Built over the tomb of St. Peter, St. Peter's Basilica is the place from where today the Pope addresses his prayer to the whole world. Among the things to do in Rome, visiting St. Peter's Basilica can be a very interesting experience, but only if you know some tips to avoid the endless queues.
The best entrance without queues to St. Peter's Basilica
The interior of St. Peter's Basilica is so impressively rich in detail that taking an organized tour is a perfect idea to not miss anything.
In this guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica with dome climb you will have at your disposal an official Vatican guide, expert in the symbology and art that you will see inside the basilica, plus the great advantage of being able to climb with exclusive access to the dome without waiting in line.
Before entering the Basilica, you will take a short walk through St. Peter's Square as an introduction, where you will discover the architectural and spiritual importance of this place.
Recommended: If you are short on time on your trip to Rome, this is the ideal experience as it will allow you to skip the queue and have an efficient and concise tour of St. Peter's Basilica and its dome.
What to consider before booking a ticket to St. Peter's Basilica
- First of all, you should know that the entrance to St. Peter's Basilica is completely free of charge. In case you want to visit this place on your own, you can do it, without the need of a guide or reservation. The queues to enter without being part of an organized tour are quite long, but don't worry, below I will tell you how to avoid them!
- When booking either of the two tours, you will receive a confirmation email, that's why it is very important that you give a valid email address that you normally use when purchasing. Check that everything is correct in the email and keep it handy to show to the guide.
- If for whatever reason you don't want to do the tour after you have booked it, don't worry, you can get a refund, but you must initiate the return process within 24 hours of the tour time. You will have the instructions in the mail.
Skip the line at St. Peter's Basilica
Entering St. Peter's Basilica is free and you don't need a ticket to get inside, but the long lines you'll find at the door at almost any time of the day will make you think twice. That's why there are options to skip the long lines and enter the Basilica directly. For example, with this option of a guided tour of the Museums and St. Peter's Basilica you will have direct access to both places (with an expert guide) and you will save waiting time.
My advice is that, if you are going to visit St. Peter's Basilica on your own, set aside at least 3 hours to see everything at your own pace and take advantage of the climb to the dome.
Practical information about St. Peter's Basilica
- St. Peter's Basilica opens its doors at 7 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m. in summer( April-September) and at 6:30 p.m. in winter( October-March). On Wednesdays, the basilica is closed to the public for the papal audience, and resumes its usual schedule from 1 p.m.
- The best time to visit St. Peter's Basilica is usually early in the morning, when the doors open, until 9 a.m. The best time to visit St. Peter's Basilica is early in the morning. In any case, I advise you to consult the Vatican calendar to anticipate any event that may alter the schedules and the influx of visitors.
- To reach St. Peter's Basilica, in Piazza San Pietro, it is best to go by metro line A to the Ottaviano - San Pietro stop. Do not miss the theatrical grandeur of the walk to the square.
- The entrance to the basilica, as I have already mentioned, is free. Only the Sacristy and the Treasury Museum, as well as the dome, require a specific entrance fee.
- Remember the dress code that applies to all places of worship in Rome: shoulders and knees covered, which means no shorts, skirts, or tank tops.
- If you have any more questions, check out my guide with the best tips for visiting the Vatican.
Visit also the Vatican Museums
You can extend your tour of St. Peter's Basilica with a guided visit of the Vatican Museums, home to the jewel in the crown of the Holy See: the Sistine Chapel. In addition to other rooms of great interest such as the Rooms of Raphael, the Vatican Picture Gallery or the Gallery of Maps.
As in the other tour, the experience in the Vatican Museums will be led by an official Vatican guide who will give you an in-depth view of the rooms you will visit. This is the more interesting experience of the two, as you will be able to combine two of the most important visits of any trip to Rome, St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel.
Recommended: If you have a little more time and don't mind doing a tour that takes up part of the afternoon, this is the best experience. After all, the Sistine Chapel is another of Rome's must-see sights.
What to do at the end of this visit
If you have visited St. Peter's Basilica on your own, I recommend that you take the opportunity to access the Vatican Museums and discover the Sistine Chapel with your own eyes, as well as its many other rooms of great interest and beauty. You can read more about this experience here: Sistine Chapel Tickets: how to buy, prices and schedules.
If the visit has made you a bit hungry and you feel like killing the bug in the Vatican area, beware of the traps that this part of the city has prepared for tourists. I tell you here where to eat near the Vatican so that you leave there with a good taste in your mouth.
And having visited the seat of Christianity in all its glory, you may want to go back to the origins of this cult. For this, a visit to the Catacombs of Rome is a very interesting experience, as you will be able to see the tombs of some of the first popes and the artistic and religious expressions of the first Christians. For information about tours of the city's subway world, click here: Rome Catacombs Tickets: how to buy and prices.
Frequently asked questions
Will I have to wait in line to enter St. Peter's Basilica?
Unfortunately, long lines and waiting times are common due to strict security checks and the large number of visitors. Despite this, there are tickets and tours that allow you to skip the line.
Is it possible to climb the dome of the Basilica?
You can indeed climb the dome of the Basilica for an additional cost, but it is definitely worth it. The views from the dome are considered the best views in Rome.
Is it possible to visit the tomb of St. Peter?
The tomb of St. Peter is not currently open to visitors as it is in a delicate state of preservation. Although you can visit the tombs of other popes, the tomb of St. Peter in particular has restricted access to the public.