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St Peter’s Basilica Tickets & Tours

St. Peter’s Basilica is built over the tomb of St. Peter, the first Pope of Christianity.

Also known in Italian as Basilica di San Pietro, it is one of the world’s most renowned and significant religious and architectural landmarks.

It is always seen along with Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel because they are all next to each other.

The Basilica is renowned for its stunning Renaissance and Baroque architecture.

It was designed by famous architects like Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Every year, more than five million tourists visit the Basilica.

This article covers everything you must know before booking St Peter’s Basilica tickets.

Things to know before booking tickets

You can buy tickets for St. Peter’s Basilica online in advance or at the attraction.

Online ticket prices are usually cheaper than tickets at the venue.

When you buy online, you can avoid the long queues at the attraction’s ticket counters.

When you book early, you also get your preferred time slot.

Because some attractions sell a limited number of tickets, they may sell out during peak days. Booking early helps avoid last-minute disappointments.

To book tickets, go to the St. Peter’s Basilica ticket booking page and select your preferred date, time slot, and number of tickets to buy.

You will receive the ticket confirmation in your email after the booking.

There is no need to get printouts of the ticket. 

You can show the e-ticket on your smartphone when you visit the attraction.

Recommended Reading: Is St. Peter’s Basilica worth it?

Guided tours of St Peter’s Basilica

Bascilica Guided Tour
Image: Clay Banks

If budget is not an issue, you must opt for a guided tour of the Basilica.

Here are the two reasons why a guided tour makes so much sense:

  1. Besides being a religious attraction, the Basilica is a heritage site containing some of the world’s most famous artwork. A local expert guide can explain the importance of everything, making your visit more worthwhile.
  2. These guided tour tickets also allow you to skip the line, thus avoiding a waiting time of approximately one hour or more.

We present three of our favorite St Peter’s guided tours.

Basilica with Dome Climb and Crypt

This guided tour starts at 7.30 and 8 am, and the first item on the agenda is to explore the Basilica.

Then, you take an elevator to the first terrace of the dome to experience the mosaics in the morning light.

Next, you see the work of the artists – Bernini’s Baldachin, Michelangelo’s ‘Pieta’ etc.

When you visit the Papal Crypt, you get insights into the history of the Basilica.

The guide takes a small group tour of around 15 tourists during this tour.

The local guide will be with you for two and a half hours, after which you can roam.

Must read: St. Peter’s Basilica Dome climb

Ticket Prices

Adult (15+ years): €49
Child (2 to 14 years): €44
Infant (up to 1 year): Free

One-hour guided tour

This guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica is pretty much the same as the last one, except for two small changes:

  1. It doesn’t include the climb of Basilica’s dome.
  2. The duration of this tour is one hour.

Once the guided tour ends, you can explore independently inside the Basilica.

You can opt for the 10.30 am or the 12 pm slot on the ticket booking page.

Ticket Prices

Adult (18+ years): €24
Child (7 to 17 years): €19
Infant (up to 6 years): Free

Audience with Pope Francis

This tour is a fantastic opportunity to pray alongside Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Square.

Your tour guide takes care of everything, including finding a good spot in front of the Pope.

You also receive a set of headsets so that you can hear everything.

This 4-hour-long tour is possible only on Wednesdays.

Ticket Prices

Adult (15+ years): €34
Child (4 to 14 years): €29
Infant (up to 3 years): Free

The Rome Tourist Pass is a super saver. For just €97 per person, the pass includes entry tickets to Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and Pantheon and a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica. You also get a 10% discount code, which you can use (five times!) to get discounts on future purchases.

Frequently asked questions about tickets

Here are some questions tourists ask before purchasing their tickets for St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Does the Basilica offer free tickets?

Regular, self-guided tours are free for everyone. However, guided tours require a fee.

Can I buy tickets at the venue?

Yes, tickets are available at the venue’s ticket office. However, due to the high demand for the world-famous attraction, there are long queues at the ticket counter spanning up to 2 hours. Additionally, popular timeslots may sell out quickly, so it’s better to get them online in advance.

Do we need to print online tickets?

Visitors can present their tickets on mobile devices, but printed tickets are also accepted at the St. Peter’s Basilica. You only need to show your reservation to the Basilica staff for guided tours.

What is the Basilica’s arrival time?

Guided tours have a specified time, and you must arrive well in time to account for security checks and an additional 15 minutes before the designated timeslot.

What is the Basilica’s late arrival policy?

Your entry to the attraction cannot be accommodated if you are late to your slot.

Does the St. Peter’s Basilica offer discounts for locals?

The attraction offers free entry for all on self-guided tours, but guided tours do not offer discounted admission.

Does St. Peter’s Basilica offer a student discount?

Unfortunately, the attraction does not offer a dedicated student discount on their guided tour tickets.

Does the Basilica offer a military discount?

The attraction does not offer a military discount on its guided tour tickets.

Does Roma Pass include access to attractions?

Yes, the 3-day OMNIA Vatican Card and Roma Pass combo is a cost-effective option that provides entry to all the top sights in Vatican City. Enjoy a 3-day hop-on, hop-off bus tour. The card also allows you unlimited access to the public transportation network free of charge. You can avail yourself of free entry to two out of five top attractions and a reduced admission rate to 30 top sights.

What is St. Peter’s Basilica’s refund policy?

This attraction of Rome has a flexible cancellation policy. You can cancel your ticket until 11.59 pm on the day before your visit for a full refund by selecting a refundable ticket during checkout.

How can we reschedule the Basilica’s ticket?

The attraction does not allow you to change the date and time of your visit under any circumstances.

Do the tours of the Basilica happen if it’s raining?

The attraction is an all-weather experience, so all tours will be operational.

When was St Peter’s Basilica built?

St Peter’s Basilica has a history dating back to 2000 years ago. Work on it was begun by Pope Julius II in 1506 and completed in 1615 under Paul V. However, this is not the original church of St Peter. What we see today is the second. The original church was built in the 4th century by Emperor Constantine on the spot where St. Peter was buried. By the early Renaissance, though, the ancient church was in serious disrepair. Later, Pope Julius II went head to head with Michelangelo to build the Basilica by tearing down the old structure and making a new one.

What is the Basilica’s height?

The world’s largest Basilica is a whopping 186 meters (610 feet) tall (218 meters if we consider the porch), with a height of 46 meters (151 feet) in the central aisle. The main dome of the Roman Basilica is 136 meters (446 feet) high and 42 meters (138 feet) large in diameter.

Who built the Basilica?

Construction on the current site was started by Pope Julius II in 1506 and completed in 1615 by Paul V. The original church was built in the 4th century by Emperor Constantine on the spot where St. Peter was buried.

Who designed and built St Peter’s Basilica’s Dome?

The St. Peter’s Basilica dome was designed by Michelangelo, who constructed the dome in 1547. However, after Michelangelo died in 1564, his pupil, Giacomo Della Porta, took over the construction of the Basilica’s dome. By then, the structure had reached the drum of the dome. Giacomo Della Porta raised the dome’s vault about 7 meters (22 feet) and completed the construction in 1590. The dome has a double calotte with an inner diameter of 42.56 meters (140 feet) and 136.57 meters (448 feet) from the base to the top of the cross. The lantern is 17 meters (56 feet) high.

Who is buried under the Basilica?

St Peter is supposed to have been buried under the Basilica. However, the Basilica is known to have many more graves. It is a shrine built by the Vatican to memorialize the site of St. Peter’s burial.

Is the Basilica the largest church in the world?

No, St Peter’s is not the largest church in the world. Basilica of Our Lady Peace, in Ivory Coast, is the largest church in the world as per the Guinness Book of World Records. St. Peter’s Basilica was once the largest church, but in 1990 after constructing the Basilica of Our Lady Peace, it became the second-largest church in the world.

Why is the Basilica famous?

It is famous for many reasons. Since it is in Vatican City, the Pope often says mass here. St. Peter’s is one of the largest churches in the world, with a capacity of 60,000 people. Its architecture goes back to 1506. St. Peter’s Basilica also houses work by famous artists like Michelangelo and Bernini. It has many treasures, including Christian relics, the tombs of Popes, and many other influential personalities.

Do I need to purchase tickets to enter St. Peter’s Basilica?

There is no admission fee to enter the attraction, which is open to the public and free of charge.

Can I purchase tickets in advance for specific areas within the Basilica?

Yes, you can purchase tickets in advance, especially for access to the dome or other attractions within the basilica. Buying tickets ahead of time can save you time and help you avoid long lines.

How do I purchase advance tickets for the dome or other attractions within the Basilica?

You can purchase the tickets online through the ticket booking page. These tickets may have specific time slots for your visit.

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Combo tours

Combo tours are pretty popular in Rome for two reasons:

  1. There is so much to see in both the Vatican and the city of Rome.
  2. Combo tour packages help save around 15 to 20% on ticket costs.

We present four combo tours that are quite popular among tourists visiting St Peter’s Basilica.

Vatican Museums + Sistine Chapel + Saint Peters

Distance between Vatican Museums and Basilica: 1.2 km (0.7 miles)

Time Taken: 6 minutes by car

Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and Saint Peter’s Basilica have long lines at the entrance.

This guided combo tour can help you skip the lines and enter all three attractions without waiting.

The duration of this guided tour is three hours.

After the guide leaves you, you can explore more for as long as you wish.

Ticket Prices

Group Tour in English (maximum 20 people)

Adult (18+ years): €144
Child (6 to 17 years): €134
Infant (up to 5 years): Free

Small Group Tour in English (maximum 10 people)

Adult (18+ years): €280
Child (6 to 17 years): €272
Infant (up to 5 years): Free

Private Tour

Adult (18+ years): €3200
Child (6 to 17 years): €800
Infant (up to 5 years): Free

Vatican sites + Colosseum

This is the perfect guided tour if you are in Rome for a day or two.

In 6.5 hours, you can cover all of the following:

– St. Peter’s Basilica
– Vatican Museums
– Sistine Chapel
– Colosseum
– Roman Forum
– Palatine Hill

You will skip the lines at all these attractions, thus wasting no time. Read more about Visiting St. Peter’s Basilica and Colosseum.

You will also get a headset so that you can hear the guide.

Ticket Prices

Adult (18+ years): €262
Child (3 to 17 years): €242
Infant (up to 2 years): Free

Vatican Museums + Papal audience

Papal Audience
Image: Ashwin Vaswani

This tour is possible only on Wednesdays because the Pope gives an audience at St Peter’s Basilica.

You start this 4-hour guided tour with an audience of Pope Francis I.

You can decide to pray with him or enjoy the surroundings as the sermon continues.

The Papal audience goes on for two hours.

At 8 am, you start your guided tour of the Basilica and, soon enough, also meet the Pope.

Ticket Prices

Adult (18+ years): 28
Child (6 to 17 years): 20
Infant (up to 5 years): Free

St. Peter’s Basilica + Square + Papal Grottoes

This tour starts at 2 pm, and after meeting your professional English-speaking tour guide and Vatican expert, you will take in the extraordinary architecture of St. Peter’s Square before exploring the wonders and works of art inside the Basilica.

Walk through St. Peter’s past, admire the beauty of the Renaissance and Baroque eras, and see works of art created by Michelangelo, Bernini, and Bramante.

Lastly, head to the Papal Grottoes to see the space where previous pontiffs were buried.

After this 90-minute tour, you can stay inside the basilica.

Ticket Prices

Adult (18 to 64 years): 25
Child (6 to 17 years): 18
Senior (65+ years): 25

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Opening hours

From 1 April to 30 September, St. Peter’s Basilica opens at 7 am and closes at 7.10 pm.

From 1 October to 31 March, the Basilica opens at 7 am but closes an hour early at 6 pm.

Papal audience timings

Every Wednesday, the Pope meets people, which includes both believers and tourists.

This Papal audience at St Peter’s Basilica usually starts at 10 am. In the winter months, it may even begin at 10.30 am.

The security check begins from 8 am to 8.30 am, and people arrive early to get good seats.

The good spots get taken by 9 am.

The Papal audience is almost 2 hours long.

Important: The Papal audience is only available on Wednesdays, so it is in high demand. Book your 2 hours with the Pope

Hours for Mass

Many tourists want to know English Mass timings at St Peter’s Basilica.

However, you must understand that there are no scheduled English Masses at this Basilica.

If you are okay with Mass in Italian or Latin, check the schedule.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit St Peter’s Basilica is as soon as they open at 7 am. 

Till about 9 am, the notoriously long lines of the Basilica are yet to form, and you get to explore in peace.

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

By this time, large group tours have either left or would be planning to return to Rome.

How to avoid the crowd

Besides timing your visit, here are two other tips to help you avoid the crowd and long lines at St Peter’s.

Avoid Papal appearances

If you visit St. Peter’s Basilica as a tourist, you may not be particularly interested in Papal appearances and Mass.

If you don’t wish to see the Pope, avoid visiting the Basilica on Sundays and Wednesdays when it gets crowded.

Similarly, it would help if you avoided holy days such as Easter and Christmas, which see many crowds.

Book a guided tour ticket

Basilica Waiting Line
Image: colosseumrometickets.com

The best way to avoid the St Peter’s Basilica queue is by booking a guided tour.

These guided tours allow you to skip the long lines and enter the Basilica through a ticket holders-only entrance.

We highly recommend guided tours if you are traveling with kids or seniors. They can save you an hour or more of waiting in the sun.

Recommended Reading: St Peter’s Basilica facts

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St Peter’s Basilica video tour

As you approach the Basilica, its grandeur will immediately strike you.

The facade, the dome, and the St. Peter’s Square colonnades create a visually stunning and awe-inspiring scene.

The square is a vast open space designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. It features a central obelisk and two sweeping colonnades that symbolically embrace visitors.

When visiting the Basilica, it’s essential to dress appropriately, covering shoulders and knees. Revealing clothes are not allowed.

The vast and ornate space is adorned with stunning artwork, including mosaics, sculptures, and paintings.

Don’t miss Michelangelo’s “Pieta,” a world-famous sculpture depicting the Virgin Mary holding the body of Jesus.

Beneath the basilica, you can explore the Vatican Grottoes, which contain the tombs of many popes and important figures in the Catholic Church’s history.

You don’t need to buy any tickets to explore the attraction – admission is free for visitors.

However, if you want to see and experience the better parts of the Basilica, you need to buy the appropriate ticket.

Opting for a guided tour is also better so a local expert can take you around the massive building.

Type of tickets Cost
Guided Tour of Basilica €24
Guided tour of Basilica, Dome Climb & Papal Crypts €46
Peter’s Basilica: Dome Climb with Guide €36
Papal Audience and Basilica Guided Tour €28
Guided tour of Basilica, St. Peter’s Square & Papal Grottoes €25
Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel + Basilica €140
Rome Tourist Card €108

What to see in St Peter’s Basilica

St Peter’s Basilica is one of the four most significant basilicas in the world.

It is one of the world’s largest religious buildings, with a capacity of over 60,000 people and a floor area of around 22,300 square meters (240035 sq. ft).

Before the Basilica, visit St Peter’s Square, Piazza San Pietro. It has two fountains on each side.

In front of St Peter’s Square, you will find two statues – St. Peter and St. Paul.

A 40-meter-high (131 ft) Egyptian obelisk was brought to Rome in 37 B.C.

Egyptian Obelisk
The Egyptian obelisk at St Peter’s Basilica. Image: Vatican.com

It is also best to admire St. Peter’s Baldachin, a 29-meter-high (95 feet) bronze canopy under the Basilica dome.

St.Peters Baldachin
Image: wikimedia.org

Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini worked on it from 1623 to 1634 – a total of 11 years.

The Baldachin stands over the papal altar, directly above St Peter’s tomb.

Another attraction is St Peter’s statue, which was placed in the Basilica in 1605.

The statue, which features St Peter seated on a throne, was created by Arnolfo di Cambio in 1300.

Pilgrims touch or kiss the statue’s feet, which has led to the wearing out of the right foot.

Read more about what’s inside St. Peter’s Basilica.

Interested in free entry to the Colosseum, Vatican Museums, St Peter’s Basilica, and Sistine Chapel? Buy the Omnia Card

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How to reach

St Peter’s Basilica is a UNESCO World Heritage site located on Vatican Hill in Vatican City.

Address: Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City. Get Directions.

Vatican city is so small (1/6th of a square mile, or 0.44 of a square Km), that even though it is a separate state, it comfortably rests right in the middle of the city of Rome.

Rome’s public transport moves in and out of the Vatican City without barriers or checks.

By Metro

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

Line A Metro trains, available every few minutes, can take you to this station.

Once you get down at the Metro Station, a brisk ten-minute walk can get you to the Basilica at the end of St Peter’s Square.

Ottaviano Metro Station to-St Peters Basilica

By Train

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

If you are traveling from Civitavecchia, the cruise port for Rome, this is your best option to reach the Basilica.

A 12-minute walk from the train station can get you to St Peter’s Square.

St Pietro Station to St Peters Basilica

By Bus

If buses are your preferred mode of transport, look out for buses No. 64, No. 62, No. 40, or No. 81.

Bus No 64 is one of the most used lines because it connects Termini station with Vatican City.

Roma Termini bus station is right opposite the Termini train station.

Safety Tip: Beware of pickpockets when you get into buses in Rome.

By Car

If you’re traveling by car, turn on your Google Maps and get started.

There are enough parking garages around the attraction.

# Wikipedia.org
# Britannica.com
# St-peters-basilica-tickets.com
# Rome.net

The travel specialists at TheBetterVacation.com use only high-quality sources while researching & writing their articles. We make every attempt to keep our content current, reliable and trustworthy.

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This article was researched & written by

Edited by Rekha Rajan & fact checked by Jamshed V Rajan

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