Best Time to Visit
the Vatican Museums

To dodge the throngs of tourists that converge on the Vatican Museums each day, it is advisable to visit after 2 PM. Mornings are typically busier, as many tourists aim to be the first in line. Additionally, checking the Papal Audience calendar is a good idea, since it draws crowds away from the museums.
The museums see fewer visitors during the low season, which runs from November through February. During these months, one can experience less crowded conditions. Contrastingly, peak months like April through October often mean more visitors and longer queues.
Visiting during the summer

Visiting the Vatican Museums in the summer requires planning due to high tourist traffic and warm weather. Booking tickets online in advance is crucial to avoid long queues. Dress comfortably but respectfully, adhering to the dress code of covered shoulders and knees. Rome's summer heat makes carrying water advisable, and there are refill stations inside. The museums feature extensive collections, including the Sistine Chapel and Raphael Rooms. Consider focusing on specific areas or taking a guided tour for a more enriching experience. Visiting early or late in the day helps avoid crowds. The museums are closed on Sundays, except the last Sunday of each month. Don't forget to cover your shoulders and knees!

Visiting during the winter

Visiting the Vatican Museums in winter offers a more comfortable experience with fewer tourists and cooler weather. Advance online ticket booking is still recommended to secure your preferred entry time. Winter in Rome can be chilly, so dress warmly, but remember to adhere to the dress code, which requires covered shoulders and knees. The museums' extensive collection, including the Sistine Chapel and Raphael Rooms, is more accessible during this season. Guided tours are beneficial for deeper insights. Check the museums' schedule, as winter hours may vary, and note that it is closed on Sundays and certain holidays, including Christmas and New Year's Day.

Visiting during the shoulder seasons

Visiting the Vatican Museums during the shoulder seasons (spring and autumn) combines the advantages of both peak and off-peak periods. These seasons offer milder weather and somewhat fewer tourists compared to summer, making for a more pleasant experience. It's still advisable to book tickets online in advance to avoid queues. The temperate climate allows for comfortable exploration of the extensive collection, including the Sistine Chapel and Raphael Rooms. Dress code remains important, with shoulders and knees covered. Shoulder seasons also provide a chance to see seasonal exhibits or events. Check the museums' schedule as hours might vary slightly from peak season.

The Vatican Museums and related sites host a variety of events throughout the year that can affect crowd size and availability. It is beneficial to check the official Vatican Museums' calendar for any special events or closures before planning a visit. Special exhibitions or holy days can significantly alter the typical visitor traffic patterns.
What are the best months to visit to the Vatican Museums?
What days of the week are less crowded at the Vatican Museums?
What’s the best time of day to visit to the Vatican Museums?
What are the peak hours to avoid visiting the Sistine Chapel?
How far in advance should I purchase tickets to the Vatican Museums?