Best Time to Visit Vatican City


When Not to Visit

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The summer months of June through August are when Rome and Vatican City see the largest influx of visitors. Temps hover in the mid-80s and lower 90s, with very little rainfall. Even though it gets crowded, it’s an ideal time for sightseeing—and then sitting at an outdoor café with a bowl of gelato.

The weather is a bit more pleasant in the spring, with a break from the sunshine. It can also be quite busy as thousands come to celebrate Lent and Easter in the many museums and churches. One ticket gives visitors access to the more than 20 galleries in Vatican City, including the Sistine Chapel. Itineraries with self-guided tours ranging from 1.5 to more than five hours are offered with the tickets. Even with a long tour, it is impossible to see everything in one day. All self-guided itineraries end at the Sistine Chapel, obviously a “must see.”

The shoulder seasons are April to June and September to October. Daytime temps average in the mid-70s, but the nights get a bit chilly. This is when you can find some good deals on your travel. It’s also a good time to take part in activities that require a bit more exercise, since the sun won’t be wearing you out. Climb to the top of Basilica di San Pietro (St. Peter’s Basilica), for example. From the top, visitors have an expansive view of the square below. (There’s an elevator for those who don’t prefer to climb.) A strict dress code still exists in St. Peter’s: no bare shoulders, miniskirts, or shorts (men included).

The low season starts in November, carrying on through February. If you come during this time, bring a heavy coat because average daily temps rarely make it above 60 degrees. This is also the rainiest time of year. However, if you can handle the cold, this is the best time to experience the city like a local: Lines are short, museums are empty, and rates are slashed.