One of the best things about visiting Rome is bearing witness to the thousands of years of history across the various cultural and historic sites in the country’s capital. After all, why come to Italy if you’re not going to spend your time sightseeing?
But what’s not so great about touring Rome is the lengthy waiting times to gain entry into places like the Colosseum and the Vatican. Luckily, many private tour guides offer skip-the-line Vatican tours, where you can get early access to these sites without waiting in a long queue. In this blog, we’re going to go over everything you need to know about skip-the-line tours: what they are, what they involve, and how they’ll compare in price to a regular Vatican tour. Let’s take a look!
What is a skip the line tour at the Vatican?
A skip the line tour is exactly as it sounds; it’s a tour that enables you to gain entry into the Vatican and other attractions without waiting in line beforehand – sometimes for up to hours at a time. Not only can you skip the long waiting times, but skip the line tours are also led by knowledgeable guides who can provide additional information about the sites that you’re visiting, as well as helping you avoid the waiting time usually associated with regular entry.
How many people are included in a skip the line tour?
Skip the line tours Vatican are reserved for smaller, private groups, and can usually only accommodate up to 6 people. This is beneficial in a number of ways; not only will you get a more intimate tour experience, but you’ll also get to spend more time talking to your tour guide, asking endless questions about the Vatican’s history and artefacts while you explore the historic site.
With a skip the line tour, you also benefit from a more personalised experience; in larger group tours, tour guides typically follow pre-programmed schedules, and may often rush past the areas of the Vatican that you might find the most interesting. This is because large group tours follow a tight schedule, and individual tour guides will likely host several groups per day.
With a private tour, you’ll be able to take your time exploring the parts of the Vatican that interest you most, whether it be the Vatican Museum or St Peter’s Basilica. And as we already mentioned above, you won’t be limited when it comes to asking questions; your tour experience will feel more like an interesting conversation than a rigid Q&A session.
How much more expensive are skip the line tours?
When it comes to pricing, skip the line tours are typically slightly more expensive than regular entry tickets for the Vatican: at What a Life tours, our skip-the-line VIP tour starts at $389, and includes a tour of the historic Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, Raphael Rooms, and Gallery of Maps. The tour lasts 4 hours, usually starting at 10am and finishing at 2pm.
In comparison, regular Vatican tours cost anywhere from $45 to $800, depending on what kind of tour package you’re opting for, and whether you opt for a private company or book through the Vatican’s official tour guide service. The Vatican itself does offer large group tours that cost around $45 per person, but you won’t get as intimate an experience as you would with a private tour.
Plus, given that you could end up waiting in line outside for 2-3 hours at a time, that’s 2-3 hours lost that could be spent exploring the beautiful Italian capital! So really, a skip the line tour is the most cost-effective option, especially if you’ve flown in from far to see the historic Italian site.
Is a skip the line tour worth it?
Absolutely! Aside from allowing you to gain entry to the Vatican before everybody else, perhaps the most lucrative part of a VIP tour is the undivided attention you’ll receive from your tour guide. If you – or any of your family members – are history buffs, or passionate about the Italian renaissance or Italian art, an in-depth conversation with an expert while exploring these sites is certainly worth the extra money.
Can I tour the Vatican on my own?
While it is certainly possible to tour the Vatican on your own, it’s not the best option, especially if it’s your first time visiting the historic site. Not only is it jam-packed with tourists, it’s also absolutely massive, with 26 museums and miles of history to explore. We’d highly recommend opting for a professional tour guide for the most enriching experience, whether it be a private tour or an official group tour.
Do you still need to go through security with a skip the line tour?
Yes. While a skip the line tour does mean you get priority access over other visitors, you’ll still need to go through security as usual. However, given that VIP tours tend to only include around 6 people, it shouldn’t take long for you and your group to get through security promptly. Just make sure you’ve read up on what you can and can’t take into the Vatican – this will help you move through security faster.