Discover St Peter’s Basilica Opening Hours for 2024!

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St Peter’s Basilica is the holiest spot in Vatican City, open from 7 am to 7 pm all days of the week.

However, these opening hours are subject to change based on the season. 

If you plan to visit the Basilica, it is essential to be aware of the diverse operating hours of the church as well as the timings for the various other sections within the premises. 

In this article, we’ll discover everything you need to know about the St. Peter’s Basilica hours, closure dates, time needed to explore, and much more! 

All St Peter’s Basilica Timings at a Glance!

All parts of the Basilica are open from Monday to Sunday unless repairs or other facts affect the activity. 

AreaOpening HoursClosing Hours
St Peter’s Basilica entry7 am7 pm (April – September)6.30 pm (October – March)
Dome8 am 6 pm (April – September)4.45 pm (October – March)
Grottoes7 am 6 pm (April – September)5 pm (October – March)
Treasury Museum9 am6.15 pm (April – September)5.15 pm (October – March)
Scavi Office for ticket booking (weekdays)9 am5 pm

The Basilica and all its activities remain temporarily closed from 9 am to 12.30 pm on Papal Audience Wednesdays. 

General Opening Hours of the Basilica during the week

In the summer months, from April to September, you can explore St Peter’s Basilica from 7 am to 7 pm.

In winter, the timeframe is reduced, and you can visit the Basilica from 7 am to 6.30 pm from October to March. 

These timings also change during special occasions like Easter and Christmas.

During the Papal Audience on Wednesdays, the Basilica will be closed from 9 am to 12.30 pm.

These days, you can explore the Basilica from 12.30 pm to 7 pm or until 6.30 pm, depending on the month of your visit. 

Papal Audiences are canceled in July, so the Basilica will follow regular timings on all Wednesdays during this month. 

The final entry to the Basilica is 30 minutes before closing time, so plan your visits with this information in mind.

Timings for a Sunday Visit

Visiting St. Peter’s Basilica on Sunday
Image: Reuters.com

St Peter’s Basilica follows the same mass timings from 7 am to 7 pm as the regular masses mentioned above. 

Sunday is special for all pilgrims, as they travel from all over the world to attend mass in the Basilica. 

The Basilica will be especially crowded on this day because of the masses, so schedule your visit around them!

Check out our St Peter’s Basilica mass article to discover the timings for weekday and Sunday mass so you can avoid some crowd. 

What is the best time to explore St Peter’s Basilica?

St. Peter’s Basilica Holiday closures and Special Hours
Image: Livemint.com

The St Peter’s Basilica is least crowded from 7 am to 9 am, and you should arrive half an hour before it opens to line up. 

The Basilica is also less crowded in the evening time after 4 pm.

We recommend visiting the Basilica on Tuesdays, as most of the pilgrim crowd arrives on Wednesdays for a combined Papal Audience visit.

It is also the least crowded from November to March, excluding the Christmas and Easter seasons.

We highly recommend visiting in January or February for the least crowds and a pleasant exploration experience!

How long does it take to explore? 

It takes around 2 to 3 hours to explore all the Basilica areas completely.

We recommend adding another 1.5 hours of spare time to your visit since there are no skip-the-line tickets for the entry queues.

On most days, the lines can take anywhere between 15 to 120 minutes to get through. 

If you take a St Peter’s Basilica Guided Tour with Papal Tombs and Dome access, it will take you 105 minutes for the whole experience.

On this tour, you will explore the Tombs for 15 minutes and the Dome for 20 minutes at your own pace.  

St Peter’s Basilica Dome Climb Hours 

Visitors planning to climb the dome from April to September must visit from 8 am to 6 pm when the dome is open.

The dome timings are reduced from 8 am to 4.45 pm in winter from October to March. 

We recommend arriving an hour before your time slot to get through the gate security and climb to the top at your own pace. 

The Dome is closed on Easter. 

Vatican Grottoes Opening Hours

St. Peter’s Basilica during Easter 2023
Image: Time.com

The Vatican Grottoes is open from 7 am to 6 pm from April to September.

The Papal Tombs are open from 7 am to 5 pm from October to March.

Arrive an hour before the time slot mentioned on your guided tour ticket so have enough time to pass the long main entrance queue and get to the Grotto entrance inside the Basilica. 

Timings for the Sacristy and Treasury Museum 

The Sacristy and Treasury Museum houses ancient relics, artifacts, and sacred remains of Popes, which are centuries old.

You can access this museum area from 9 am to 6.15 pm from April to September.

The Treasury Museum opens from 9 am to 5 from October to March. 

Closures in St Peter’s Basilica

The Basilica is open throughout the year, except on all Wednesdays from 9 am to 12.30 pm, because of the Papal Audience. 

St Peter’s Basilica is also closed on holy days when masses are held in St Peter’s Square, so checking the official website in advance is necessary.

You might not be allowed to enter the Basilica without a ticket if there is a Papal, Christmas, or Easter mass happening.

Visitors will be allowed to enter after the day’s mass services have ended. 

The Basilica is also closed on days when heads of state or other important people visit.

Easter Season 

St Peter’s Basilica receives the most crowd during the Easter season every year, as pilgrims want to get blessings from the Pope.

Easter usually falls in April or May; in these months, the Basilica is open from 7 am to 7 pm.

If it is in March, you can visit from 7 am to 6.30 pm. 

However, the Basilica’s timings change because of the Papal Masses and other celebrations. 

The Basilica timings during the Easter week are:

  • Palm Sunday and Maundy Thursday: Papal Mass at 9.30 am, visit in the afternoon.
  • Good Friday: Papal Mass at 5 pm. Basilica will close early.
  • Holy Saturday: Basilica will close at 1 pm, and the Dome and Grottoes will close at 12 pm.  
  • Easter Sunday: Basilica will open at 1 pm after mass and Urbi et Orbi in St Peter’s Square.
  • Easter Monday: Basilica will open after the Pope’s mass. 

Discover a helpful visiting guide to St Peter’s Basilica, and see the best attractions with cheap ticket prices! 

FAQs on St Peter’s Basilica Opening Hours

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