The Vatican, a country and a city all in one tiny, little land is jam packed with things to do and see. The city sits fully encircled by the large and exciting city of Rome. One day in The Vatican should suffice and is generally the recommended time for The Vatican, but you will be busy, so plan accordingly.
First priority to visit in 1 day:
1.St. Peter’s Basilica
One of the most remarkable churches in the world, and certainly the biggest is St. Peter’s Basilica. St. Peter’s Basilica is not the mother church of the Catholic church but it is held as one of the holiest Catholic spots in the world. The basilica is a site to behold. No matter how much we hype it up you will surely be in awe when you arrive. You may also be in awe at the lines which form at the entrance. It is free to enter but lines can be massive. Aim to get there as early as possible. The church opens at 7:00 AM. Be sure to wear conservative dress, covered knees and shoulders, or you’ll be denied entrance.
2. Vatican Museums
Throughout the years popes have collected massive amounts of artwork from various cultures and countries. Most of those pieces are today displayed in the Vatican Museums. At any one time, there are around 20,000 pieces on display of the 70,000 in the museums possession. The collection is nothing short of impressive. Again, lines here are long. You will need a ticket and should certainly plan to book in advance, unfortunately this does not get you out of the legendary lines. If you do make it the Basilica by 7, you can head straight to the museums after that. But if it’s from 9:00 AM through late morning, don’t bother and save the visit until around 3:00 PM, when the crowds will again thin out a bit.
Next priority to visit:
3. The Sistine Chapel
While technically part of the Vaitcan Museums, the Sistine Chapel deserves its own mention. The Sistine Chapel is where many important Vatican happenings take place, including the Papal conclave. However, the structure is best known for its stunning frescos done by Michelangelo, which adorn the entirety of the ceiling.
4. St. Peter’s Square
As you go from one place to another, you’ll surely pass through St. Peter’s Square, the main square which sits in front of the Basilica. It is the spot where the Pope can be seen from when he comes out to speak, and was designed in such a way that the most possible people could have a view of the event.
How to spend your 1 evening in The Vatican
You will want to clear out from the Vatican by nighttime. Any nightlife can be found throughout Rome, which surrounds The Vatican on all sides. You don’t have to go far to find bars, restaurants and clubs.
What you cannot do in a day
- See the pope
Amazingly, one day is more or less enough to see most of the Vatican. There is little you cannot get to in that time, one such thing is to meet the Pope. While this is a rare occurrence it happens on Wednesdays, if the pope is in town. If you’d like to meet the pope, check his schedule. If not, you’ll want to stay far away from the Vatican on that day as you’ll have trouble getting anyway or doing anything.
Tips to visit The Vatican in a day
Do I need advance booking of Attractions?
You need to book the Vatican Museums in advance. This can easily be done in advance online but you’ll have to choose your date as well as your entry time. A full priced adult ticket costs €16.
How to travel within the city?
By foot. The Vatican is 1/6th of a square mile in total. It is the tiniest country in the world and is easily walked.
Should I buy a City card?
The only Vatican card available is one which can be bought in conjunction with Rome. The OMNIA card can only be purchased for a 72 hour period and it costs €72. The only way to get full value out of this is by really, really rushing. Depending on how much you plan to do and in how much time, this may be a great investment.
Should I take the city sightseeing bus?
The only bus option in the Vatican is a tour of the Vatican Gardens. There is no general sightseeing bus and the best way of seeing everything is on foot.
Recommendation on walking tours
While a general walking tour of the city is not necessary you may wish to hire a guide within the Vatican Museums to get a full picture of what you’re seeing.
More than 1 day in The Vatican?
Unless you wish to spend more than one day within the museums you won’t need an additional day and you’d be better off focusing your attention on Rome, the city wrapped around the Vatican.