St. Peter’s Basilica Visiting Guide

St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is a church built in the Renaissance style.

Known for its incredible work of Renaissance architecture, it’s also the holiest catholic shrine and the greatest of all the churches of Christendom.

Legends say that the Basilica was erected above the grave of St. Peter, the first Bishop of Rome and one of Jesus’ twelve apostles. 

Popes are now buried inside St. Peter’s Basilica to uphold this custom.

St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the world’s most popular Basilica out of the four important others.

This article is the best guide to plan your trip to St. Peter Basilica.

Tickets for St. Peter’s Basilica

Tickets for St. Peter’s Basilica
Image: Tiqets.com

Entry to St. Peter’s Basilica is free.

However, you’ll need a ticket to view some prominent areas of the Basilica.

As the entry is free, brace yourself to face a heavy crowd. 

The best possible way to avoid the St Peter’s Basilica long queue is to Buy a Guided Vatican tour ticket that gives you access to the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter Basilica. 

This Skip the Line ticket is highly recommended if you want to save at least an hour of waiting and/or if you are traveling with kids and seniors.

Ticket Price:

Adult (18+ years): €52
Child (6 to 17 years): €44
Infant (upto 5 years): Free entry

Guided tours of St Peter’s Basilica

Booking guided st peter’s basilica tours are undoubtedly the best way to have a memorable experience of this world’s largest church.

There are a lot of guided Vatican tours available that will give you an authentic experience of St. peter’s Basilica as well as the dome of St peter’s basilica.

Peter’s Basilica with Dome Climb and Crypt

The first stop on this guided trip is the St Peter’s Basilica, which is scheduled to open at 8.15 am. Next, you can experience the mosaics in the morning light.

Here, you’ll find the artwork of renowned artists such as Pieta by Michelangelo and Baldachin by Bernini.

You will learn more about the history of the Basilica on your visit to the Papal Crypt.

After spending two and a half hours with the local guide, you can also explore independently.

The tour’s small group size is limited to approximately 15 visitors.

Ticket Price:

Adult (18+ years): €46
Child (6 to 17 years): €37
Infant (up to 5 years): Free entry

Peter’s Basilica guided tour

This one-hour tour does not include a trip to the Basilica’s Dome.

You can either select the 10.30 am or the 1.30 pm time slot while booking your tickets online.

Ticket price:

Adult (18+ years): €27 
Child (7 to 17 years): €22 
Infant (0 to 6 years): Free entry

Audience with Pope Francis

This tour is a fantastic chance to pray with Pope Francis in Papal Audience held at St. Peter’s Square.

On this tour, your guide will arrange everything, including a prime location in front of the Pope.

Additionally, you get a set of headphones to hear everything.

This tour is about 4 hours long and only possible on Wednesdays.

Ticket price:

Adult ticket (15+ years): €39
Child (4 to 14 years): €34
Infant (up to 3 years): Free entry

St Peter’s Basilica Combo Tours

St Peter’s Basilica Combo Tours
Image: Michael kalafatas / Getty Images. Mustafa Simsek / Pexels. DanFLCreativo

The combo Vatican tour ticket help save around 15% to 20% on the ticket costs. 

Plus, you get to see many things in both Vatican City and the city of Rome.

Four package excursions are popular with visitors to St. Peter’s Basilica.

Vatican Museums + Sistine Chapel + Saint Peters

There are long lines at the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and Saint Peter’s Basilica entrances.

You can avoid these queues and enter all three of these attractions right away by taking the single-guided combo tour.

This is a three-hour guided tour.

Ticket price:

Adult (18+ years ): €72
Child (6 to 17 years): €59
Infant (0 to 5 years): €25

Vatican sites + Colosseum

Vatican sites + Colosseum
Image: Viator.com

This combo is an ideal Rome tour, with an expert guide to lead your tour and to give you valuable and interesting facts all along the way.

This six-hour tour covers the most important sites of Rome like St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill.

It will help you save time and avoid waiting in ticketing queues at these attractions.

Additionally, a headset will be provided at the attraction so you can hear the guide.

Ticket price:

Adult (13+ years): €87 
Child (6 to 12 years): €63 
Infant (up to 5 years): Free entry

Vatican Museums + Papal audience

This Vatican tour is only available on Wednesdays because that’s when the Pope gives an audience.

This six-hour guided tour begins with a meeting with Pope Francis I.

As the sermon continues, you can either join him in prayer or take in the scenery while it lasts for two hours.

You can start your guided tour of the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica at 11.30 am while avoiding the crowds at each of these popular tourist destinations.

Ticket price:

Adult (18+ years): €80
Child (4 to 17 years): €49
Infant (up to 3 years): Free entry

Peter’s Basilica + Necropolis

This combo Vatican tour begins at the Vatican Necropolis, below St. Peter’s Basilica.

It proceeds to the tomb of the apostle Peter, the first pope of Christianity.

The next stop is St Peter’s Basilica.

The total duration of this tour is about two and a half hours.

Ticket Price:

Adult (15+ years): €59 
Child (0 to 14 years): Free entry

What makes it so special?

St. Peter’s Basilica is known to be an incredible work of Renaissance architecture; it is also the holiest catholic shrine and the greatest of all the churches of Christendom.

With a seating capacity of 60,000, it covers an area of over 22,300 square meters.

The Basilica houses a series of priceless treasures in marble and bronze, papal tombs, and several famous paintings. 

You can see the statue of Pieta, created by Michelangelo along with the bronze statue of st. Peter and the statue of Longinus.

The tomb of St. Peter is also a significant attraction for tourists.

Opening hours

St. Peter’s Basilica is open throughout the year. 

However, St. Peter’s Basilica hours can change according to the season. 

In Winter, i.e., from 1 October to 31 March, the basilica opens at 7 am and closes at 7 pm.

In Summer, i.e., from 1 April to 30 September, it opens at 7 am and closes at 6.30 pm.

Papal audience timings

Pope at St Peters Basilica
Image: Time.com

The Pope interacts with people every Wednesday, including locals and tourists.

The papal audience at St. Peter’s Basilica typically begins around 10 am and goes on for two hours.

It sometimes starts at 10.30 am in the winter. 

Usually, people arrive early by 9 am, so, good seats get taken.

Hours for Mass

Masses are held daily at the St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City and are free to attend. 

If you wish to attend the mass, you don’t need to buy tickets. 

However, you will have to wait in line to go through the security checkpoint. 

It would be wise to reach one to two hours before the scheduled mass time to ensure a good spot.

St. Peter Basilica holds mass in Italian or Latin

English masses are unavailable.

Best time to visit St. Peter Basilica

Early morning, between 7 am and 9 am, would be the ideal time of day to visit St. Peter Basilica.

The least number of people are present at this hour.

If you can’t make it early in the morning, the next best time to visit this Vatican attraction is around 4 pm. 

The Basilica witnesses the least crowds in November and between January to March, making it the best time to visit St. Peter Basilica.

December is also an excellent time to visit. However, the Vatican gets busy during Christmas and New Year’s.

Pro tip: You must be dressed modestly following the Vatican dress code in order to enter the Basilica. . 

Remember to wear clothes that cover your knees and shoulders.

How to Reach St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is located in Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City. Get directions.

Vatican City is all connected with a thorough public transportation system, be it the way to Vatican Museum or St. Peter Basilica. 

There are no restrictions on public transportation in and out of Vatican City, so it’s the easiest way to reach Saint Peter’s Basilica.

By Metro

The nearest metro station to the Vatican City is Ottaviano–San Pietro–Musei Vaticani.

You can get to this stop by taking one of the frequent Line A Metro trains.

After exiting the metro station, a 10-minute walk will get you to St Peter’s Basilica Rome, located at the end of St. Peter’s Square.

By Train

St Pietro is the nearest train station to St Peter’s Square.

You can reach St. Peter’s Square from the train station, which is a 12-minutes walk.

By Bus

Bus numbers 64, 62, 40, and 81 take you to St. Peter’s Basilica. Bus no. 64 is the most used line, connecting Termini station with Vatican City.

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