How to Visit the Sistine Chapel

Updated: Juli 27, 2023

This post provides details about where you will find the Sistine Chapel.

We include tips to save money on admission or even see this historic site for free!


How to Enter the Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel is located in Vatican City, and you need to enter the Vatican Museums to see the interior of this historic site.

The chapel itself is to the right of St. Peter’s Basilica, but it’s not really the exterior that most people come to see.

You will need a ticket to enter the Vatican Museums, and there are several ways to save money on admission to this attraction.

Once you’ve paid for tickets to the museums, you’ll be granted entry to the Sistine Chapel as well.

The Vatican Museums are very big, and it will take a long time for most people to walk through.

As such, you might want to consider taking a guided tour to ensure you see all of the most notable attractions, including the Sistine Chapel.

During the guided tour, don't miss the famous frescoes by Domenico Ghirlandaio and Sandro Botticelli, adding a richer history to your visit.

The variously themed months, from January to December, often highlight specific masterpieces, enhancing the overall experience.

A close-up view from The Creation of Eve, a fresco painted by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. Image source: Pixabay user Markus Baumeler.

Sistine Chapel Tickets

Tickets currently cost €17 for adults and €8 for children between the ages of 6 and 18.

Purchase tickets to see the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museums.

You can skip the ticket line for an extra €5 per ticket. This is the same price charged for tickets purchased in advance.

What this means is that you can expect to pay €22 for adults and €13 for children before taxes or other fees.

Alternatively, there is also one opportunity each month to see the Sistine Chapel for free.

The Vatican Museums open their doors to the public for free on the last Sunday of every month, which means you can actually see the Sistine Chapel without paying a dime, but you should expect long lines on these days!

You can also get tickets at a discounted rate by using a Rome discount pass, as many of them include this attraction at no additional cost.

The museums are open every Monday through Saturday from 9 am - 6 pm.

For more details, make sure to read our full post covering how to visit the Vatican Museums.

Each ticket also enables you to observe the papal conclave's historical space, a process shrouded in mystery where the smoke turns white, signifying the selection of a new pope.

The beauty of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, displaying the book of Genesis and the Life of Christ, is an awe-inspiring sight to behold.


How to See the Sistine Chapel for Free

Is the Sistine Chapel free to visit? Well, you can see it for free, but it's not necessarily the most convenient option.

Although entry to the Vatican Museums is usually ticketed, there is one day every month when they offer free admission to all visitors.

On the last Sunday of each month, the museums are free to visit from 9 am to 2 pm, including entry to the Sistine Chapel.

A section of Michelangelo's fresco in the Sistine Chapel. Image source: Pixabay user Oliver Lechner.

The only issue with this option is that it’s very popular.

This means that the lines are always very long on the last Sunday of the month, and you can expect it to take even longer than usual to get through the museums.

If you want to avoid visiting during the busiest time of the month, we recommend getting a ticket for another day of the week.

You can save money on tickets by using one of the following Rome tourist passes:


Sistine Chapel Tours

While most tours of the Vatican Museums include a visit to the Sistine Chapel, some of them focus specifically on visiting this attraction. 

Some tours actually include early access to the museums, ensuring you’ll have the opportunity to see sites such as the Sistine Chapel before anyone else. 

The Sistine Chapel tour often commences with the first mass, a sight to behold at the beautifully decorated altar.

The life of Moses, as depicted through timeless artworks, along with the portrayal of prophets and sibyls, brings alive the old testament tales in the most engaging manner.

If you want to make sure that you’ll have an opportunity to see the historic site, consider one of the following guided tours.


Take Walks

This company is highly regarded by most of their customers, and they currently offer an early bird tour which includes a visit to the Sistine Chapel.

If you want to get inside the Vatican Museums before anyone else, consider one of the following tours:


Pristine Sistine Early Entrance Vatican Tour

  • €95/Adults | €95/Students | €85/Kids
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Availability: Mon-Tue, Wed-Sat
  • Includes early Vatican access.
  • Covers the following locations:
    • Vatican Museums
    • Sistine Chapel
    • St. Peter's Basilica
  • Purchase tickets or learn more.

VIP Pristine Sistine Vatican Tour w/ Breakfast

  • €109/Adults | €109/Students | €102/Kids
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Availability: Limited
  • Includes early Vatican access.
  • Includes full buffet breakfast.
  • Covers the following locations:
    • Vatican Museums
    • Sistine Chapel
    • St. Peter's Basilica
  • Purchase tickets or learn more.

City Wonders

This is another excellent company known for offering excellent tours of the Vatican Museums, and they currently offer a service covering the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica.


The Roman Guy

Like their competitors, this company also offers a Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel/St. Peter’s Basilica tour.

Considering that this tour has a 7:45 am time slot, it’s technically an early bird tour, which means you’ll get into the museums before anyone else and potentially see the Sistine Chapel before it becomes crowded.

If you use the coupon code FREETOURSBYFOOT, you’ll save an extra 5% off tickets for this tour!

  • Tickets: Adult € 80.70/ Youth  (age 6-17) : €63.70 / Child under 6 Free
  • Every day at 7:45 am, 8:15 am
  • Click here for more details.

Free Sistine Chapel Audio Tour

Although you still need to pay for tickets to the Vatican Museums, Rick Steves actually has a free tour of the Sistine Chapel that you can listen to using your smartphone and headphones.

They also have an audio tour of the Vatican Museums themselves, including a map you can download to help find the Sistine Chapel and other notable attractions.

You can use both of these audio tours to find out exactly how to reach the Sistine Chapel and what to look out for when you get there, and they’re entirely free to use!

Download the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel audio tours.

As you move through the Vatican museums, keep an eye out for significant artworks from the School of Athens and the depiction of the Garden of Eden.

Not only do they provide valuable insights into religious history, but they also showcase the magnificence of Renaissance art, including work by Pietro Perugino.

Who painted the Sistine Chapel?

The Sistine Chapel ceiling was painted by Michelangelo, including the famous "Creation of Adam." Other painters like Perugino, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, and Pinturicchio also contributed to other parts of the chapel.

Did Michelangelo ever fall while painting the Sistine Chapel?

There are no known records of Michelangelo falling while painting the Sistine Chapel. He did face various challenges during the process, creating complex narratives and masterpieces on the chapel's ceiling.

Did Leonardo da Vinci work on the Sistine Chapel?

Contrary to popular belief, Leonardo da Vinci did not work in the Sistine Chapel. Artists like Raphael, Luca Signorelli, and Cosimo Rosselli were involved, but Da Vinci was not among them.

Can you take pictures inside the Sistine Chapel?

Unfortunately, you can't take pictures inside the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican has imposed this rule to protect the integrity of the artworks and ensure a respectful environment for viewers.

Are phones allowed inside the Sistine Chapel?

Similar to the restriction on photography, phones are also not allowed to be used inside the Sistine Chapel. This is to minimize distractions during the viewing of such significant narratives and masterpieces.


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About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.
Updated: Juli 27th, 2023
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