Looking into visiting the Vatican at night? If so then you 100% should. Trust me on this.
I mean, I have visited the Vatican both during the day and at night. And, real talk? The evening is FAR superior to the day.
See, if you visit the Vatican during the day then it will be absolutely packed with people who are, literally, being herded towards the Sistine Chapel.
So, if you enjoy feeling like a glorified cow that is being packed into a small corridor then you are a better person than me.
Because this chick right here loves a Vatican night tour. It’s just so much more personal and a whole lot quieter.
This way you can actually hear what your guide is saying and not be preoccupied by someone hitting you in the head with a selfie stick,
Plus, you’ll basically have the place to yourself and can enjoy the ethereal beauty of the Vatican in the evening.
However, to make the best decision possible, continue on with this mega epic insider post and learn all about the best Vatican after hours tour.
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Best Vatican Night Tours
My #1 pick for the best Vatican night tour is this VIP experience here. 🇮🇹 It’s a good price, is loved by all, and includes a glass of bubbly🍾.
⭐️ Rating: 4.6/5.0 (132 Reviews) Price: $103 per person Duration: 2.5 hours 📍Meeting Point: Via Germanico, 00192 Roma RM, Italy Operator: Gaudium Travel Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
Roam the Vatican at night as part of a small group or private tour.
See, the shared version of this Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Night Guided Tour is limited to just 15 guests.
On the other hand, you can always spend some euros on a super snazzy private tour instead.
Either way, you’ll skip the lines and dive straight in with the wonders of the Vatican Museums.
In a nutshell, this Vatican at night tour takes you past the Fontana della Pigna (aka, the Pinecone), the Octagonal courtyard, the Hall of the Muses, and the galleries of the Candelabra and Tapestries.
This is where you’ll get a close-up of world-revered sculptures excavated from the Villa of Cassius near Tivoli.
“Although it is a bit expensive, our guide was worth it. We could see that she is more detailed and more knowledgeable than the other guides around (with all due respect to her colleagues). She was also more respectful, asking us to keep the way always open, and minding her tone of voice to don’t disturb the other tours. This is one thing that I personally find important.”Veridiana (read more reviews now)
Plus, you’ll get to stare down some of the most beautiful mosaic floors in Italy while in the Round Hall and the Greek Cross Room.
Just don’t forget to eye up your next vacation spot in the Gallery of the Maps before ending up in the ornate Sistine Chapel.
Yeah, your expert guide will give you the inside scoop on how Michelangelo went about creating this masterpiece and what the frescoes represent.
Currently, this is where cardinals gather to elect the new pope. But, there’s a bunch of kooky facts you’ll only get to hear about when you book this Vatican night tour.
|Itinerary covers all the key museums, galleries, and the Sistine Chapel||Parts of the tour may feel rushed|
|Available as a private or shared tour||The tour package covers skip-the-line admission and guide service|
|The tour covers skip-the-line admission and guide service|
|The tour package covers skip-the-line admission and guide service|
⭐️ Rating: 5.0/5.0 (91 Reviews) Price: $87.43 per person Duration: 2 hours and 40 minutes 📍Meeting Point: Via Santamaura, 14B, 00192 Roma Operator: What a Life Tours Details: Read more on Viator Now!
Now, this gem is one of the top-rated Vatican night tours.
Seriously intimate, the VIP After-hours Vatican Museums by Night Tour with Sistine Chapel is limited to just 12 people per group.
Or, you do have the choice of booking a private tour. However, the itinerary is pretty much the same as the previous tour.
But, before you get started on your guided exploration, you’re invited to a toast where you can sip on a glass of bubbles and meet your fellow travelers.
Therefore, this is an awesome pick if you’re celebrating a special occasion. You know, like visiting the Vatican at night.
On the other hand, solo travelers might appreciate breaking the ice with other travelers before heading to the museums.
“This was the best tour of the Vatican I have had and I have been there 3 times. It was still crowded, but not nearly as crowded as the general tours which consisted of being herded through with throngs of people. We had skip the line tickets on those occasions, but that was a misnomer. What made this after hours tour exceptionally great was our amazing guide. Mario was the very best tour guide we have ever had and we travel a lot. His English was impeccable and he has studied history, art and theater. We learned so much and we had a delightful theatrical performance, as well. Hope you are lucky enough to get Mario as your guide. Only negative was that the evening tour does not include the basilica.”Mary (read more reviews now)
Plus, this tour includes headsets. Therefore, you’ve got zero chance of mishearing any of the expert commentary provided by your local guide.
And, this tour gives you the choice to linger in the Sistine Chapel once the guided part of your tour comes to a close.
Then, you can make your own way outside into St. Peter’s Square and check out the basilica under the night sky.
Just be aware that while I did this tour and loved my guide, Mario, I was a bit disappointed that we were there when the museum was still open.
So while you do get to visit the Vatican at night, it is still crowded since the museum was open.
|Complimentary Prosecco offered at the tour office||Only – again – that parts of the route may feel hurried and St. Peter’s Basilica will be closed (standard with any Vatican at night tour)|
|Available as a private or shared tour|
|Tour size capped at 12 participants|
|Headsets provided to groups of 6 or more|
|Tour includes skip-the-line admission and guide service.|
⭐️ Rating: 4.5/5.0 (21 Reviews) Price: $36.52 per person Duration: 3 hours 📍Meeting Point: Via Tunisi, 4 Operator: The Ultimate Italy Details: Read more on Viator Now!
Now, touring the Eternal City is hungry work.
But, this Night Vatican Museums Tour with the Sistine Chapel ensures that your tummy doesn’t rumble while you pore over some of the most incredible art in the world.
See, the best Vatican night tour with food starts with a light appetizer buffet and refreshments in the Pinecone Courtyard.
I mean, it’s not a banquet but it’ll fill a hole and add atmosphere to this Vatican after hours tour.
Plus, the buffet is accompanied by a live classical music recital on select nights.
So, once you’ve satisfied your appetite, you’ll progress with a super VIP tour of the museums and halls.
Of course, the highlights include the Gallery of the Maps.
“I was pleasantly surprised by how much of the Vatican museums we were able to see on the tour. We could leisurely view the Sistine Chapel and all collections beyond the SC. Our guide, Ilaria, was a delight and a wealth of knowledge. We really enjoyed her. The tour was the highlight of a very busy week in Rome.”Lee (read more reviews now)
Commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII and based on drawings by the friar and geographer Ignazio Danti, this is one of the coolest parts of the museum.
And, you’ll see the finest of the Raphael Rooms (Stanze di Raffaello). In fact, the frescoes in these reception rooms are on par with the Sistine Chapel.
And, before you reach the crowning jewel of the Vatican, you’ll fawn over lifesize fauna statues in the Room of the Animals.
Note, this tour starts a little earlier than the others due to the buffet.
|Light snacks and refreshments included in the price||Larger tour group size of up to 20 guests|
|The tour is inclusive of skip-the-line admission and guide service||It’s not clear when booking if your chosen Friday will have the live music element|
⭐️ Rating: 5.0/5.0 (9 Reviews) Price: $253 per person Duration: 3 hours 📍Meeting Point: Cafè Vaticano, Viale Vaticano 100 Operator: LivItaly Tours LLC – Experiencing Italy Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
Whereas the first two tours give you the choice to go private or shared, this Vatican After Hours Private Tour is all about creating an exclusive, VIP experience.
In fact, this is the best private Vatican night tour cost-wise. See, you’ll need a minimum of 2 to book.
But, as you add additional people, the price per head decreases.
Of course, the tour follows the same steps as above.
Therefore, you’ll cruise through the Pinecone and Octagonal courtyards free from the crowds.
You’ll then admire the likes of the Laocoön, Apollo Belvedere, and Discobolus sculptures as your guide tells you everything you need to know about these works and this incredible place.
Plus, you’ll crane your neck at the Sistine Chapel and hear everything you need to know about the art here.
“Our guide, Giovanni, was incredible. He was so knowledgeable about the history of the Vatican and was charismatic to boot. The only minor issue we had was that with a tour like this, there wasn’t a lot of time to truly soak in what we were seeing. The Vatican is huge and Giovanni did an amazing job keeping us moving to cover as much of it as possible, but that meant passing over so much art and history. However, I cannot fault him or the tour for that; we could probably spend a week inside the Vatican and still not have seen everything there is to see. Overall, a great experience. Especially since it was a private and late night tour that allowed us to be away from the majority of the crowd. It was busy enough even at that time; I can’t imagine what the day time is like.”Solomon (read more reviews now)
Now, the Vatican is a big place and it’s impossible to cram everything into a 3-hour tour.
So, the guides on this private tour will hone in on lesser-known and particularly curious treasures.
Yup, it’s quality over quantity people.
Naturally, as a private tour, you do get a bit of input on the itinerary of this Vatican at night tour.
|Great value for a private Vatican night tour||Works out expensive if you’re a couple|
|2 choices of a start time||Not available to solo travelers – requires 2 to book|
|Includes skip-the-line entry and expert guide service|
|The more spots you book, the more you save|
⭐️ Rating: 4.6/5.0 (9 Reviews) Price: $151 per person Duration: 2.5 hours 📍Meeting Point: Caffé Vaticano, on Viale Vatican 100 Operator: LivItaly Tours LLC – Experiencing Italy Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
Standing head and shoulders above the rest, this is the best Vatican night tour for small groups.
See, this Vatican at Night Exclusive Small Group Tour is capped at 6 participants.
Therefore, you can book with the confidence that all your questions will be answered during this amazing activity.
And, there’s no need to don a pair of pesky headphones either. Yeah, super awful when they don’t work.
“Perfect time to visit this busy attraction. The small group had no wait but we still had to intermingle with other groups. Our guide was fabulous in getting us in front of relevant art pieces of interest and kept us moving. Light changes in early evening provide great pictures. Great value and worth the time.”John (read more reviews now)
Plus, if you’re a family or group of 6 and make one booking, you’ll basically wind up with a bargain of a private Vatican evening tour.
Incidentally, if you’re traveling with shy or kids nervous in crowds, then this tour will help them feel more comfortable and secure.
I mean, the same goes for shyer adults who have tons of questions to ask.
Of course, the tour itinerary is fully inclusive of the signature museums, galleries, and those always fetching frescoes you’ve heard so much about.
Plus, you’ll see all the highlights of the Apostolic Palace – the official residence of the Pope.
Ultimately, the tour concludes in St. Peter’s Square where the guide will enlighten you with an orientation loop around the basilica.
|Super-small and cozy group size||More expensive per head|
|Includes skip-the-line entry and comprehensive guide service||Group size may swell to 7/8 so as not to split a couple or small group|
⭐️ Rating: 4.0/5.0 (114 Reviews) Price: $5.52 per person Duration: 1.5 hours 📍Meeting Point: Piazza di Spagna, 00187 Roma RM, Italy Operator: Airotour Ltd – Freetourrome Details: Read more on Viator Now!
Want to see the Vatican at night but your wallet’s saying no?
Okay, this walking tour doesn’t actually go inside the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel.
But, the itinerary circles around Vatican City and concludes in St. Peter’s Square.
Plus, it’s crazy cheap – making it a rad pick if you’re traveling to Rome on a shoestring.
Now, this walking tour commences at the Spanish Steps in the historic heart of Rome.
You’ll then stroll down Via Condotti and swing by the illuminated Castel Sant’Angelo.
Ultimately, the tour winds up at the Vatican, where you’ll get a perspective of St. Peter’s Basilica beneath the night sky.
Now, as with the other night tours, the basilica is off-limits due to the late hour. So, a perk of choosing this tour is that you get a good overview of the Eternal City.
“Ricardo (Spelling? sorry 🙂 was an excellent guide. We had limited days and the tour was scheduled on a rainy night. A group of 18 cancelled along wit our reservations. Ricardo showed up anyway and was willing to take just the two of us all through the planned itinerary. We had very personal treatment and his knowledge of architecture and art history was so interesting. We HIGHLY recommend this group and especially if you can get Ricardo!”Douglas (read more reviews now)
Plus, because the whole activity is guided, you’ll pick up tons of tidbits of information along the way.
Heck, you can quiz your tour leader and ask questions about the history, art, architecture, and culture of Rome.
Remember, because this tour doesn’t enter the Vatican, there’s no need to adhere to any dress code.
Although, comfy shoes remain a must.
|Best Vatican night tour on a budget||Runs multiple nights a week, not just Fridays|
|Available to solo travelers||Lots of walking with this one – dress appropriately|
|A solid option for a general walking tour in Rome|
|Pro guide service will enlighten you on the history of both cities|
|Runs multiple nights a week, not just Fridays|
So, What’s it Like to Visit the Vatican at Night?
Well, a twilight trip to the Vatican is surreal, extraordinary, and unforgettable.
See, Vatican night tours are restricted to only the summer season on Friday nights.
Therefore, it’s a super exclusive experience.
And, only a limited number of tours are allowed into the Vatican at night which means fewer people getting in the way of your photos.
In fact, only around 8,000 spaces are available, in contrast with the 35,000 tickets that are sold during daylight hours.
Although, despite the tours being limited, you will have to accept that these tours are popular and the Sistine Chapel in particular may still feel quite busy.
Plus, all Vatican at night visits are part of a tour. Therefore, you’ll get expert commentary on all the art and history that you see around you.
All in all, with cooler evening temperatures and fewer crowds, make it a more enjoyable way to tour the Pope’s digs.
Pros and Cons of Visiting the Vatican at Night
So, is it worth it to book a Vatican night tour?
But, let’s zoom in on the pros and cons.
|All tours include the Sistine Chapel||St. Peter’s Basilica is closed at night – you’ll only see the exterior from the square|
|It’s a rad alternative to a typical date night while on vacation!||The Vatican is only open on Friday nights and between April and October|
|Vatican night tours are limited to avoid crowding||It’s more expensive to visit the Vatican at night|
|Tours include skip-the-line entry||Overall, the night tours move at a faster pace|
|You’ll clear airport-style security in half the time as usual||Tours do not include hotel pick-up|
|All Vatican at night tours are led by a knowledgeable local guide||Note that Vatican tours are not accessible to wheelchair users. However, general admission during the day is accessible for the most part, as is the Vatican Gardens WIthout Barriers day tour|
|Time slots span from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm||Due to their popularity, advance booking is a must|
|There are tours to suit all budgets||As with most tours in Rome, operators require a minimum number of participants to run (FYI, Vatican night tours tend to sell out anyway)|
|The weather in Rome is cooler in the evenings|
|Most of the exhibition is undercover anyway, making it a rain-friendly evening activity|
|Seeing St. Peter’s Basilica under the night sky is incredible|
|Light changes in the external areas and square are stunning for photography|
|It’s a great way to extend your sightseeing experience in Rome|
|Exploring one of the world’s smallest cities after-hours is a unique experience|
My #1 pick for the best Vatican night tour is this VIP experience here. 🇮🇹 It’s a good price, is loved by all, and includes a glass of bubbly🍾.
Vatican Night FAQs
Can you go Into the Vatican at Night?
Yes, you can go into the Vatican at night on Friday evenings between April and October. Otherwise, the Vatican is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 6.30 pm, with final admission at 4:00 pm.
Is Vatican City Nice at Night?
Yes, Vatican City is gorgeous at night with all the buildings lit up against the backdrop of the night sky.
And if you visit the Vatican Museum in the evening you’ll deal with fewer crowds. Therefore, you’ll be able to get up close to amazing masterpieces like the Sistine Chapel.
So, a visit to the Vatican at night is a quiet, profound, and emotionally charged experience that is not to be missed.
Can you Visit St Peter’s Basilica at Night?
While you cannot visit the interior of St. Peter’s Basilica in the evening, you can admire the stunning exterior.
How late can you Enter Vatican City?
The Vatican Museum closes at 6:00 pm every day except Sunday, with final admission at 4:00 pm.
Additional Rome Resources You’ll Love
There you have it! That just about wraps up this guide to the best Vatican night tours.
Tell me, did your favorite Vatican night tour make the list? If not then let me know now.
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