Guided tour

Vatican City: Basilica, Dome Climb & Optional Crypts Tour

Vatican City: Basilica, Dome Climb & Optional Crypts Tour

From US$ 32.80 per person

Discover St. Peter’s Basilica from a new perspective as you climb to the top of the dome and admire 360 degree views across the Vatican and Rome. Then explore the dome’s stunning interior on your own or opt for a guided tour of the basilica and crypts.

About this activity

Free cancellation
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Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures apply. Learn more
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Duration 45 minutes - 2.5 hours
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Live tour guide


  • Climb to the highest point in the Vatican City and enjoy spectacular views
  • Experience the splendor of the dome from the first level balcony and hear about the Renaissance era from an expert English-speaking guide
  • Enjoy fast access inside the basilica when you descend, so there’s no need to join the growing lines below
  • Upgrade to a guided tour of the basilica and Vatican Crypts to make the most of your visit
Full description

Experience St. Peter's Basilica from the top of the dome and admire views of the Vatican and Rome. See the dome's interior on your own or select a guided tour of the basilica and crypts.

Meet your guide in St. Peter’s Square, then head up to the first level of the dome to the viewing balcony. Admire the array of incredible mosaics depicting the saints, the magnificent Latin scripts which circle the dome, and the top of Bernini’s 3-story canopy below.

Listen to your guide share facts and stories about the history of the dome, and everything you need to know about the Dome’s artists and Renaissance splendor. From the first level, take the spiral staircase to the top of the dome and enjoy some free time to explore at your own pace. Then head above the double structure of the dome and pass by windows that give a tantalizing glimpse of the Vatican rooftops below.

After 320 steps find yourself on the viewing platform 448 feet above the basilica floor. From the highest point within the Vatican, admire breathtaking and panoramic views of the city, including the Vatican Gardens below.

Looking into the distance, you can also marvel at the monuments of ancient Rome, including the Colosseum and the Pantheon. The only point above you is the cross containing the timbers from the True Cross. When you leave the dome there is no need to line up again to get inside the basilica, the stairs bring you directly down to the basilica floor so you can avoid the long lines which you’ll have seen growing across St. Peter’s Square from the top.

Enjoy some free time to explore the most important church in the Christian world and its many treasures, or if you opted for the extended tour, follow your guide to the Vatican Crypts that lie beneath.

With your guide, navigate through the basilica, admiring the array of statues, chapels, and pilgrim sites located here, before descending to the underground crypts. Here, you can see where hundreds of popes and members of royalty have been buried since the 11th century.

  • Entrance into St. Peter’s Dome
  • Optional entrance into St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Informative leaflet about the Basilica and Dome
  • Expert, English-speaking tour guide
  • Headsets where appropriate, so you can always hear your guide
  • Small groups of 25 people or less
  • Gratuities
  • Hotel pickup/drop-off
  • Food/beverages
Not suitable for
  • Wheelchair users
Covid-19 precautions
Safety measures in place
  • The number of visitors is limited to reduce crowds
Traveler requirements
  • You are required to bring and wear a mask
  • All participants who are 12 years and older must present a Reinforced Green Pass that is valid in the EU and has a verifiable QR code. Reinforced Green Passes can only be obtained by uploading either proof of full vaccination or proof of a Covid-19 infection within the last 6 months to either the Green Pass or Covid Certificate app
  • All participants must also bring a valid government-issued photo ID (e.g. passport, driver's license, etc)
  • All participants are required to bring and wear FFP2 masks. Blue surgical masks will not be accepted

Select participants and date



Meeting point

Piazza della Città Leonina, near the arches, where the square meets via di Porta Angelica. Facing the arches, our meeting point is located at the corner of the square, on the left-hand side, next to the kiosk.

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Important information

What to bring

  • Comfortable shoes

Not allowed

  • Shorts
  • Sleeveless shirts
  • Unaccompanied minors
  • Short skirts
  • Weapons or sharp objects
  • Luggage or large bags

Know before you go

  • On arrival at The Vatican, please follow the signs for the Groups Entrance with Online Reservations, there may be a wait at this entrance of up to 10 minutes
  • All visitors must pass through airport-style security, during high season the wait at security may be up to 30 minutes
  • The dome’s elevator takes you to the first terrace, to climb to the top of the dome you will have to use the stairs (320 steps)
  • Please allow yourself approximately 20 extra minutes if you wish to climb up to the dome
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.6 /5

based on 281 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Value for money
  • Service
  • Organization

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Our tour guide was very knowledgeable. It was a very interesting tour, we did climb the steps to the top of the dome , the steps are very narrow and steep certainly not for anyone with clostophobia or a fear of hights but it was worth making it to the top as the views were amazing.

January 8, 2022

It was good overall. First bit was 30-40mins only and not really explained properly about the second stage which was the dome, which I had to do by myself which I didn’t mind. It was just when it was time to split up from, this was not expressed properly therefore, everyone was kinda confused. It says here optional crypt visit which I was not sure whether this was free or paid for as it was never offered or mentioned during the tour.

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December 17, 2021

This was my first time travelling to Italy and my first time visiting the Vatican and it did not disappoint. It is every bit as incredible as people will tell you. The tour guide is fantastic - they will tell you the history of the Vatican and how it came to exist. Michelangelo’s painting in the dome stunned me into silence, it was the most incredible and breathtaking thing I’ve ever seen. It is 100% worth every penny going to the Vatican and climbing the dome to get as close as you can to Michelangelo’s painting. I will 100% pay for this tour again next time I visit the Vatican and Italy.

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November 19, 2021

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Product ID: 278782