Decoding Time: Your Ultimate Guide to Vatican Museum Hours and much more!

The opening hours of Vatican Museums are 9 am to 6 pm from Monday to Saturday.

The last entry to the Vatican shuts at 4 pm.

We’ve mentioned a table below to help you understand Vatican Museum opening hours much better.

DaysOpening HoursClosing Hour
Monday9 am6 pm
Tuesday9 am6 pm
Wednesday9 am6 pm
Thursday9 am6 pm
Friday9 am6 pm
Saturday9 am6 pm
Sunday (Except last Sunday of each month)CLOSEDCLOSED
Last Sunday of every month9 am 2 pm

Exceptions in Vatican Museum Hours

Exceptions in Vatican Museum Opening Hours
Image: NiseriN from / Getty Images (Canva)

Though the Vatican follows strict operating hours, there are some exceptions related to the opening and closing times of Vatican museums based on the different days and months of the year.

Mentioned below are the exceptions related to the Vatican Museum hours:

  • From 14th April to 28th October 2023, on every Friday and Saturday, the museum will open as usual at 9 am, but the closing hour of Vatican museum will get extended to 10.30 pm.

The last admission time for Vatican on these days will be 8.30 pm.

  • Vatican Museum remains closed on Sundays, except the last Sunday of the month.

The opening hours of Vatican Museum on the last Sundays of every month are 9 am to 2 pm, with the last entry at 12.30 pm.

  • Apart from the Sundays of the week, The Vatican museums remain closed on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul (29 June), Christmas Day, and The Feast of Saint Stephen (26 December).

Vatican Museum Closing time in 2023

Apart from Sundays and some special occasional holidays, the Vatican museum will remain closed on specific dates in 2023. 

For a smooth Vatican tour in 2023, it’s good for every visitor to know these closure dates. 

  • Sundays (Except the last Sunday of every month)
  • 1 January, 2023 and 6 January, 2023
  • 11 February, 2023
  • 10 April, 2023
  • 1 May, 2023
  • 29 June, 2023
  • 15 & 16 August, 2023
  • 1 November
  • 8, 25, 26 & 31 December, 2023

Sistine Chapel Opening Hours

The Sistine Chapel’s hours are the same as the Vatican museum’s hours.

  • Monday to Saturday: 9 am – 6 pm
  • Sunday: Closed (Except last Sunday of every month)

Last Sunday of the month: 10 am – 2 pm

To make sure you make it to the museum at the right time, we suggest you learn about the best ways to reach the Vatican Museum
Knowing this in advance will help save you time and avoid any inconvenience.

St. Peter Basilica Opening Hours

St. Peter Basilica
Image: Economictimes.indiatimes.com

St. Peter Basilica opens every day throughout the year. 

However, the opening hours of Basilica vary based on the season.

  • During Winter:
    • 1 October – 31 March: 7 pm to 6.30 pm
  • During Summer:
    • 1 April – 30 September: 7 am to 7 pm

Best time to visit Vatican

The historical and architectural beauty of the Vatican City and the Vatican Museums remain preserved and unmatched throughout the year.

No matter the time of visit, this sacred ground’s precious heritage is genuinely remarkable and worth a visit.

So, the best time to visit the Vatican Museum can be categorized based on different factors.

Best month to visit the Vatican museum

The best time to visit the Vatican is during the low season, starting from November to the end of February, followed by the shoulder month of March.

During the low season, the place tends to receive less crowd. 

Planning a visit between November and March will help you have a more refined experience of the Vatican tour.

You will be able to appreciate the beauty of the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica at your own good pace and in a less crowded environment. 

From April, the peak season begins. The city tends to get crowded. So if you want to avoid crowds, skip the peak season.

Though the months between November to March are the low tourist season for the Vatican, Christmas and New Year week are exceptions. 

The Vatican welcomes a lot of visitors during Christmas and New Year.

Best day to visit Vatican Museum

Best day to visit Vatican Museum
Image: DanFLCreativo Free for Canva Pro (Canva)

The best day to visit the Vatican depends on the priorities of a particular visitor.

If you wish to visit the Vatican for the Pope’s audience, plan your trip on Wednesday.

Papal Audiences are held every Wednesday, with the presence of the holy Pope at St. Peter Square, which can fit around 10,000 pilgrims. 

If you plan to be a part of the papal audience and have the holy chance of praying with the pope, then Wednesday is the best day to visit the Vatican. 

However, Wednesdays are pretty crowded as most of the visitors wish to attend the audience with the pope.


The Vatican attracts a lot of crowds during its peak season, between April to October.

While the period between November to February is the low visiting season for the Vatican museum. 

However, Days like Christmas eve, Christmas day, and New year’s are exceptions during the high season and receive a huge crowd.

So if you wish to enjoy your tour around the Vatican Museum in a less crowded environment, plan your trip between November to February.

It is best to avoid Mondays, Saturdays, and public holidays as these are the most crowded days at the Vatican Museum. 

Morning hours are usually crowded at the Vatican Museum as most visitors come in early to beat the crowds, but that eventually works against them.

So, the best time to visit the Vatican museum is in the afternoon, when most of the crowd leaves. 

If you haven’t booked your Vatican Museum Tickets online, you might spend more than 45 minutes standing in long queues at the ticket counter.

This waiting can extend to 60 or 90 minutes during peak season. We recommend you plan your tour in advance and book the Vatican museum tickets online.

How long does the Vatican take?

Where do you buy your tickets? 

If you purchase the tickets in advance, you don’t have to wait in long lines at the ticket counter. It will save you two hours of waiting time outside of the museum.

What do you want to see once you get inside the Vatican? 

 Vatican City has four other major attractions: the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s Square. 

Here’s a rough breakdown of how long the Vatican Museum takes to explore the places-

AttractionTime it takes
Vatican Museums2 hours
Sistine Chapel30 minutes
St. Peter’s Square30 minutes
St. Peter Basilica1 hour

How much time you will need to admire the beauty of these four attractions depends on the ticket you have chosen. 

If you select a Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel ticket, you will have skip-the-line access to the mentioned attractions. 

However, you can also save time with a guided tour of the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. 

These guided Vatican tour tickets allow you to have a thorough tour of the Vatican led by an expert guide.


1. What are the opening hours of the Vatican Museum?

Vatican Museum opening hours starts from 9 am to 6 pm Monday to Saturdays. (last entry at 4 PM).
The museum is closed on Sundays, except for the last Sunday of each month when it is open and free of charge.

2. Is the Vatican Museum open on holidays?

The Vatican Museum is closed on the following holidays:
January 1, 2023; January 6, February 11, April 10, May 1, June 29, August 15, August 16, November 1, December 8, December 25, December 26 and 31st December.

3. Can I visit the Vatican Museum at night?

Yes, you can visit the Vatican museum at Night with the Vatican Night tour Tickets.
The night tour of the Vatican Will help you see the museum in a whole new light.

4. Is the Vatican open all day?

No, The Vatican Museum opens at 9 am and closes at 6 pm from Monday to Saturday. The last entry to the museum is at 4 pm.

The museum remains closed on Sunday, except the last Sunday of every month, when free entry is allowed from 9 am to 2 pm.

5. What days are the Vatican museums closed?

Vatican Museum remains closed on Sundays, unless it’s the last Sunday of the Month.
Apart from Sundays, these are the days when Vatican Museum remains closed:

1 January, 2023 and 6 January, 2023
11 February, 2023
10 April, 2023
1 May, 2023
29 June, 2023
15 & 16 August, 2023
1 November
8, 25, 26 & 31 December, 2023

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Know More About Our Vatican Tickets

Skip the Line Tickets for Vatican Museum

Vatican Skip the Line Tickets: This ticket allows you to Skip the queue outside the Museum’s entrance, and you get to enjoy priority access to the Vatican Museums.

Tickets for Last Minute Vatican Museum

Last Minute Vatican Ticket: If you wish to visit the Vatican Museum but haven’t booked the ticket in advance. This same-day ticket will be your lifesaver and help you access the museums.

Early Access Vatican Ticket

Early Access Vatican Ticket: Early access Vatican Ticket allows you to visit the Museum before it opens for the general public. Visit the museum peacefully in a less crowded environment.

Guided Tour of Vatican

Guided Tour of Vatican: With this ticket, you will get an expert guide to lead your tour and walk you through the museum telling interesting stories and facts related to exhibitions, arts, architecture and the Vatican museum itself.

Vatican Night Tour

Vatican Night Tour: Buy this Ticket and you can visit the museum during night hours or evening hours, giving a whole amazing experience of a Vatican visit.

Private Tour of Vatican

Private Tour of Vatican: With this ticket, you get a guide dedicated to your group only. With this private tour, you will get to spend more time with your guide and ask him about everything you want to know about the Vatican.

VIP Vatican Tour

VIP Vatican Tour: This ticket will get you a VIP Tour experience of the Vatican, exploring and learning about everything with luxury.

rome city pass

City Pass: If you don’t want to burn a hole in your pocket, buy separate tickets for every attraction you wish to visit in Rome, Buy a City Pass which gives discounted entry to a lot of Roman attractions.

Featured Image: VaticanNews

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