This selection of Vatican and Colosseum tours help you skip the line and save time when in Rome. Here's the best Vatican tours and Colosseum tours in Rome.
Colosseum and Vatican tours
Rome, the capital of Italy, needs no special introduction. Often described as an open museum, this amazing city has tons to offer.
Two of the main attractions in Rome that you'll want to visit are the Vatican City and Colosseum. You'll soon discover though, that tens of thousands of other visitors also have the same idea!
This results in monumental queues to buy Vatican and Colosseum tickets. If you don't want to spend half of your precious time in Rome standing in line, I suggest taking Vatican and Colosseum tours.
Why taking Vatican and Colosseum tours is a good idea
If you have limited time in Rome, you'll want to make the most of every second you can. Taking a guided tour removes the hassle of queuing for Vatican and Colosseum tickets. You'll also get the benefits of an expert guide who'll explain what it is you are actually seeing!
Additionally, you should note that as of 1st July 2019, independent visitors who want to visit the Vatican Museums and St Peter’s Basilica might have to queue twice. This is because the passage leading from the Sistine Chapel to the Basilica is only accessible to people who are taking a tour.
For time-conscious visitors, a skip the line Rome tour is by far the best option.
Why taking Colosseum and Vatican tours might not be so good
The main downside to taking a guided tour of the Vatican City and Colosseum, is that you may feel rushed. You'll be on the set schedule for the tour, and due to the very nature of a 3 or 4 hour tour, you can't possibly see everything.
If you have plenty of time, and want to see things at your own pace, it might not be your cup of tea.
Choosing which tour in Rome to take
This is actually a bigger problem than you might think! There are literally hundreds of tours in Rome, and sorting through all of them can literally cause you a headache.
Fortunately, we've done the hard work for you. Our selection of the best Vatican and Colosseum tours in Rome has been carefully curated based on variety, ratings, and the number of reviews. These are all available through our trusted partner Get Your Guide, who we use ourselves when booking tours when we travel.
Rome in One Day – Vatican and Colosseum tours (Guided Tour – 6.5 hours)
If you want to see Rome’s highlights with a tour guide, this is one of the best options.
The total duration of the tour is 6.5 hours, and it includes guided tours to the Vatican Museums and St’ Peter’s Basilica as well as the Colosseum. There will also be time to visit the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.
Transportation is not included, so make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes as there is a lot of walking.
Rome and Vatican City Full-Day Tour by minivan – See Rome in a day (Partially guided tour – 8 hours)
This full-day minivan tour will cover all the highlights of Rome in one day. It is ideal if you have limited time and you need a knowledgeable guide to drive you to all the best places in Rome.
You will visit some of the most photographed spots in the city, such as the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum and Piazza Navona. You will also be taken to the Capitoline Hill, one of the hills surrounding Rome, offering great views of the city.
The highlights of this Rome itinerary have to be the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums, where you will have priority access.
Note that this tour doesn’t include a guided tour of the museums, so you can explore at your own pace
Skip-the-Line Vatican, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's (Guided Tour – 3 hours)
This guided tour is great if you want to learn more about the Vatican Museums and St Peter’s Basilica.
Available in six languages and at many different times throughout the day, it will definitely suit your itinerary in Rome. You will visit several of the most important galleries in the Vatican Museums, including the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel, and your guide will explain more about the artworks.
You will also visit St Peter’s Basilica, and learn more about its architecture and the role of Vatican City in today’s world.
Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Fast-Track Ticket Options (Non-guided tour)
If you only want fast-track ticket options without a personalized guided tour, this is an option worth considering.
You can take this option either with or without an audio guide, and visit at your own pace. There are several available time slots daily, and on some Fridays it is possible to visit in the evening.
Note that this tour doesn’t include a ticket to St Peter's Basilica or access to St. Peter's Basilica's dome – while entrance to the Basilica is free of charge, whether you can enter or not will depend on the number of visitors at the time.
Entire Vatican & Vatacombs – Treasures of the Sistine Chapel (Guided Tour – 3 hours)
No, this is not a spelling mistake! During this three-hour tour, you can check out the Vatican Museums, St Peter’s Basilica as well as the Vatican Catacombs with the Papal Tombs.
Apart from the Sistine Chapel, you will visit some of the most important galleries in the Vatican Museums, such as the Rooms of Raphael and the Belvedere Courtyard. You will also visit both the main level and the catacombs at St Peter's Basilica.
Your tour guide will also offer information on the Vatican State, and the history of the magnificent buildings.
Vatican – Early Entry to Museums, Sistine Chapel & St Peter's Basilica (Guided Tour – 3 hours)
This early morning Vatican tour starts at 7.30 am, promising to help you enjoy Vatican City without the crowds.
As it is designed for small groups of max 12 people, you will have a personalized experience of the popular spots inside the Vatican City and St Peter’s Basilica. Complimentary breakfast of coffee and croissants is included
Special Evening Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Tour (Guided Tour – 2 hours)
This small group tour led by a professional art historian guide helps you discover the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel after hours.
Including skip-the-line access, this tour will focus on some of the most famous artworks in the Vatican City.
These tours are only available on Fridays from April to October, when the Museums are open late (19.00 – 23.00). Note that St Peter’s Basilica is not included in this tour, as it closes at 18.30-19.00, but you can visit on your own before the tour.
St. Peter’s Basilica with Dome Climb and Crypt (Guided Tour – 2.5 hours)
If you want to explore the largest church in the world, this small group tour is a great opportunity.
You will visit St Peter’s Square at 8.15, before the crowds arrive, and you will then head to the dome, which is not included in most other tours. You will have the chance to admire the artwork in the majestic temple, and see the amazing views of Rome from the dome.
The tour includes a complete guided tour of the basilica, along with information on its most famous mosaics and sculptures. You will also have time to visit the crypts, where 91 popes have been buried.
Necropolis and St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour (Guided Tour – 2.5 hours)
If you are fascinated by historic cemeteries and tombs, this tour is ideal for you.
Your official Vatican guide will explain more about the Vatican City, the history of the Basilica and its artworks, and will offer a guided tour of the Vatican Necropolis, which is located right under the massive basilica. You will visit tombs and graves from the 1st century AD. According to some sources, St Peter himself is said to have been buried here.
This is a pretty unique and very popular tour, so advance booking is definitely recommended.
Papal Audience Experience Tickets with Expert Guide Included (Audience Experience)
If you are in Rome on a Wednesday (outside July), attending a Papal Audience would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Even if you are not religious, you can learn a lot about the Vatican traditions and the Papacy. Your tour guide will explain several facts about the Papacy and the Vatican, and will help you pick the best spot, in order to see Pope Francis up close.
All in all, you will be able to appreciate the ceremony due to the new information you will have gathered. This fascinating event is likely to be one of your highlights in Rome.
Colosseum Underground & Ancient Rome Tour (Guided tour – 3.5 hours)
This is one of the best options if you want a guided tour of the Colosseum, as it includes a visit to the Arena of this massive amphitheatre, as well as its network of restricted underground tunnels, not included in most other tours.
Your guide will bring this huge monument to life, offering information on activities held there in ancient times and explaining more about the gladiator fights and other events.
You will then proceed to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, where you will be offered additional information on life in ancient Rome.
Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill Fast-Track Tour (Guided tour – 3 hours)
This is the ultimate Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill guided tour, and is one of the best Rome tours if you want to learn more about those popular ancient sites.
This guided visit includes the Arena and underground areas of the Colosseum that are not covered in some other tours.
Your guide will also give some information about life in Ancient Rome, and explain how the Roman Forum was the place was everything happened.
As the areas where you will wander around are quite large, you will be given headsets, which will make it easier to follow the guided tour.
Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill Priority Tickets (Tickets only)
While a guided tour of the Colosseum is definitely worth it, this option is ideal if you want to explore those three popular sites at your own pace.
The priority tickets are valid for two days, so you don’t need to rush around to see everything in one day. As this option is quite popular, and depending on the time of year you visit, there might still be a short wait to enter.
Colosseum Skip-the-Line Self-Guided Virtual Reality Tour (VR experience – 2 hours)
For something slightly different, that is also likely to appeal to difficult teenagers, you can opt for a Colosseum Virtual Reality tour.
With the help of 3D equipment and audio commentary, ancient Rome will come alive, complete with gladiators, lions, legionaries and slaves. You will then visit Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill in your own time, benefiting from fast-track entrance.
Colosseum by Night Tour (Guided tour – 2.5 hours)
This evening tour allows you to see ancient Rome under a different light.
You will first walk around the Campidoglio piazza, offering great views of the Roman Forum. You will then proceed to visit the Colosseum. After most of the crowds have left the ancient amphitheatre, you can enjoy the monument in peace, while listening to your guide’s description. #
You can also visit Colosseum’s massive Arena as well as its underground corridors and tunnels, which are inaccessible during most other tours.
The Last Judgement: A Musical and Visual Spectacle (Performance)
A spectacle inspired by Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, this is a complementary activity to your Vatican Museum visit.
The show really brings the artwork to life, with the aid of multimedia effects, theatrical performances and an original music score written by Sting.
Angels and Demons Official Tour – The Path of Illumination (City Tour – 4 hours)
While this tour doesn’t include a visit to the Vatican Museums or the Colosseum, it will present another side of Rome.
Based on Dan Brown’s book “The Illuminati”, this Rome tour will explain some of the riddles and puzzles contained in the popular book. You will walk around some of the most picturesque squares and hidden backstreets in Rome, and you will discover hidden paths known to few people.
This is also a great family activity, especially for teenagers who will be intrigued by the mystery.
Vatican and Colosseum tours in Rome
So there you have it! This list of popular tours in Rome is by no means complete, as there are literally hundreds of tours in Rome, but it will help you decide what you want to do in the Eternal City.
If you take one of these Vatican and Colosseum tours in Rome, or any other tour in Rome for that matter, let me know what you thought!
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