Visiting St. Peter's Basilica | Opening Hours, Location, Tickets
Visiting St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter's Basilica is a must-visit attraction for its storied history and grandeur. It is located in the heart of Vatican City and has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since the year 1984. There are many reasons to visit this architectural marvel, some of which are that it is the final resting place of Peter the Apostle, it is the holiest church in the world, and it holds many important relics from Christian history. Visiting St. Peter's Basilica would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you absolutely must not miss.
Planning a trip to this popular attraction can be a bit of a hassle and so we’ve put together all the information you need for a smooth visit to St. Peter’s Basilica.
COVID Safety Measures at St. Peter's Basilica
- All visitors must obtain a Green Pass to enter St. Peter’s Basilica.
- Mandatory temperature checks will be conducted for all visitors.
- All frequently touched areas will be regularly cleaned.
- All visitors must maintain social distance inside the premises.
- St. Peter’s Basilica will operate with limited capacity.
- Group visits are not permitted, only individual celebrations can take place.
Best Time to Visit St. Peter's Basilica
The high season at St. Peter’s Basilica is between April and September, while the low season is between November and March. Plan your visit to St. Peter’s Basilica during the low season to avoid huge crowds.
Another tip is to visit early in the morning or late in the evening. There will be lesser crowds and you will be able to enjoy the beauty of the church without having to worry about being pushed around.
How to Get to St. Peter's Basilica?
Duration: 10 - 15 minutes
- Take Line A or the red line of the metro going towards Battistini.
- Alight at Ottaviano-S.Pietro or Cipro-Musei Vaticani station, both of which are close to the entrance.
- Walk south till you reach St. Peter’s Square. You will find the entrance to the Basilica here.
Duration: 30 - 35 minutes
- Take bus routes 40 or 64 from Roma Termini.
- Step off at Piazza Pia bus stop and walk towards Vatican City.
- Alternatively, bus routes 32, 81, 982 stop at the Piazza del Risorgimento, which is about 10 minutes away by walk.
Duration: 20 - 30 minutes
- St. Pietro is a train station in Vatican City.
- Get off at St. Pietro station and walk towards St. Peter’s Square.
- St. Peter’s Square is just a 10-minute walk from here.
Duration: 40 - 50 minutes
- There is just one tram stop in Vatican City.
- Take Tram 19 and alight at Piazza del Risorgimento coming from Piazza dei Gerani.
- The entrance to the Basilica is about 10 - 13 minutes from here.
Do I Need a Passport to Enter St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City?
St. Peter’s Basilica is located in Vatican City, a sovereign state. However, you do not need a separate passport to enter the city-state or visit its attractions. As long as you have a passport to enter Italy, you can enter Vatican City and directly walk into St. Peter’s Basilica.
Know Before You Visit St. Peter's Basilica
Audio guides: Audio guides are available at the entrance.
Cloakrooms: Leave behind items that are not allowed inside.
Restrooms: There are three public restrooms at the Basilica.
Snack Bar: You will find a snack bar on the roof of the Church.
Gift shops: Many gift shops are present throughout the Basilica.
Post office: Collect stamps or send postcards from any of the three post offices at St. Peter’s Square.
- St. Peter’s Basilica is accessible by wheelchair.
- Wheelchairs can be rented across Rome from St. Peter’s Basilica Wheelchair, M.i.a. Medical, and Vemrent.
- The ramp entrance is towards the right side of the colonnades. Accessible restrooms are also located in this area.
- Elevators are present at various points throughout the premises.
Strollers: Strollers are not allowed inside the Basilica. They can be left in the cloakroom.
Baby-changing facilities: Some restrooms are equipped with baby-changing facilities.
Relaxation areas: You will find seats inside the chapels and other areas inside.
Family tours: We recommend choosing a guided tour or private tour if you’re traveling with kids.
Food: You will find a range of snacks suitable for kids at the snack bar on the roof.
Dress code: You will not be permitted to enter the Basilica if your knees and shoulders are not covered.
Photography: Only the use of phones and handheld devices are allowed inside.
Artworks: Do not touch any of the artworks inside the Basilica.
Cell phones: Keep your cell phone's on silent mode inside, especially during mass.
Smoking: Smoking is strictly forbidden inside the premises.
Grab a bit to eat after your visit to St. Peter's Basilica. Here are some nearby restaurants.
- Capitan Cono: Enjoy a spread of light Italian dishes with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free choices. (0.3 km away)
- Feffo: For some tasty desserts, light snacks, and coffee, Feffo is a great option. (0.3 km away)
- Bono Bottega Nostrana - San Pietro: Voted one of the best restaurants in Rome with the most delicious paninis and charcuterie. (0.3 km away)
If you plan on extending your stay in Rome, here are a few hotels close to St. Peter's Basilica.
- My Bed Vatican Museum: Enjoy the best of the modern world amenities with homely rooms in the heart of Rome.(0.6 km away)
- Al Ponte Del Papa B & B: Have a peaceful stay at this cozy hotel that comes with a sun terrace and delicious breakfast options. (0.3 km away)
- Growel Exclusive Suites San Pietro: Capture breathtaking views of the city as you unwind in a luxurious suite.(0.6 km away)
How to Enter St. Peter's Basilica?
There are a few different ways in which you can enter St. Peter’s Basilica. Here they are!
The entrance to the Cupola or Dome is located towards the right side of the portico. Once you book your ticket at the ticket office, you can head up to the Dome for the most stunning views of the city. The average queue time here is about one hour.
Opening hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
2. Necropolis & Treasury
Unlike the rest of the Basilica, you have to pay to enter the treasury section. Here you will find important relics from Roman history including ancient tombs, columns, and sculptures at the Necropolis. Entrance to this section is on the left side of the Basilica and you need to buy tickets in advance to enter.
Opening hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
The Vatican Grottoes are a set of Papal tombs located below St. Peter’s Basilica. You will find St. Peter’s Tomb here, which allegedly contains the remains of the Apostle. Book your tickets to the Grottoes online or from the Scavi office. This area is accessible only through guided tours.
1 April to 30 September : 07:00 AM to 07:00 PM
1 October to 31 March : 07:00 AM to 06:30 PM
4. Hidden Entrance
There is a hidden entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica that not many know about. It is located through a small door on the right side of the Sistine Chapel.
What’s Inside St. Peter's Basilica?
- St. Peter’s Basilica is a popular attraction in Vatican City. Expect crowds throughout the year.
- Early mornings and evenings generally have lesser crowds in comparison to the rest of the day.
- All visitors must abide by the dress code of the Church. Knees and shoulders must be covered.
- Wear comfortable shoes because you’ll have a lot of walking around to do.
- Mandatory security checks take place for all visitors. These lines can get long and cumbersome.
- Don’t forget to visit the Dome and the Vatican Necropolis, both of which are accessible through the Basilica.
Frequently Asked Questions About Planning Your Visit to St. Peter's Basilica
A. The best time to visit St. Peter's Basilica is early in the morning or late in the evening. This is because there will be less crowds and you will be able to enjoy the beauty of the church without having to worry about being pushed around.