VATICAN CITY SOLO TRAVEL
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO! VATICAN CITY TRAVEL GUIDE 2023
PLAN AND BOOK YOUR VATICAN CITY SOLO TRAVEL
- VATICAN CITY: DID YOU KNOW?
- VATICAN CITY TRAVEL PLANNING
- VATICAN CITY TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS
- VATICAN CITY TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
- CITY GUIDES & ITINERARIES
- HOW TO BOOK VATICAN CITY TRAVEL
- VATICAN CITY ECO-TRAVEL IDEAS
- VATICAN TRAVEL SAFETY
- VATICAN CITY BUDGET TRAVEL TIPS
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Benvenuti nella Vittà del Vaticano!
Hi! I’m Gwen, and my passion is using my 28 years of solo global travel and sustainability knowledge and experience to help the solo over 50’s be and stay adventurous through solo travel with their eco-friendly, responsible travel foot forward. Here is my guide to Vatican City solo travel, all from my travel in Vatican City, so you can book and realize your solo trip to Vatican City. What are you waiting for?
VATICAN CITY: DID YOU KNOW?
About Vatican City
Vatican City – the smallest country in the world consisting of 100 acres within Rome’s historic center. It is the center of the Roman Catholic church and home to St. Peter’s Square, St. Peter’s Basilica – built in the 4th century and rebuilt in the 16th century – and the Vatican Museum, which includes the Sistine Chapel.
Languages in Vatican City
Although it used to be Latin,the official language is now Italian.
Vatican City Culture
Vatican City is a monarchy ruled by the Pope who holds the seat of the Roman Catholic church. Naturally, Roman Catholicism is the official religion of Vatican City and is also its primary business.
The government is called the Holy See.
The City is mostly populated by males, but nuns also live in the City. The only people allowed to live in the Vatican are the clergy and the Swiss Guard, which has been guarding the pope and the Vatican since the 16th century.
Popular Activities in Vatican City
Vatican City comprise of the pope, clergy and the Holy See overseeing the operation of the sovereign state as well as its authority over Catholics throughout the world. Vatican City is a wonderful place for site seeing, especially for its history, iconic art, architecture and gardens.
If you visit St. Peter’s Basilica or The Vatican Museum, you must have your knees and shoulders covered as a sign of respect. If you fail to prepare, you purchase plastic cloaks before entering.
Vatican City Transport
VATICAN CITY TRAVEL PLANNING
Vatican City Currency
Like Italy, Vatican City uses the Euro (€). Exchange rates are usually favorable for Europeans but could fluctuate in the other direction.
Unlike Italy, Vatican City is not a member of the European Union and its Euro is issued by the Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Vatican City State.
Tipping in Vatican City
Traveling in a new country is easier when you know the country’s tipping etiquette in advance as each country has its own rules. That said, country rules and norms can shift, so here is an international tipping resource for over 70 countries to use as a general guideline that I have found is constantly updated.
What’s not on there is how to tip a concierge, beauty salons or spas, travel or tour guides, etc. For these extras, it is acceptable to tip 10% at minimum. Remember, tipping is for good service only.
Additionally, you should always tip in the local currency (if tipping in cash), and do not be offended if your tip is refused as it may not be the norm. I feel it’s always better to offer a tip for good service than not, unless I know it will be considered offensive, like in Japan.
Vatican City Holidays
It’s a complete bummer to spend time and money on the holiday of a lifetime only to show up at a key attraction, or try to access travel or banking resources, only to find them closed due to a national or local holiday.
Therefore, a key activity to do in your early Vatican City vacation planning stage is to know the holidays in Vatican City.
VATICAN CITY TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS
Travel Documents for Italy / Vatican City
From the U.S., you will need a valid passport with an expiration date greater than 6 months from your return date to the U.S. It is advised to always check the U.S. State Department in advance of traveling to Italy and Vatican City for pertinent, up-to-date Italy travel advisories and information. If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.
At this time (October 2023), a travel visa is not required for U.S. citizens who travel in Italy 90 days or less and within a 180-day period. However, in mid-2025 it is expected that the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETAIS) will go into effect that is designed to strengthen European borders and streamline entry. At that time, a printed ETAIS visa waiver (the “ETAIS”) will be required to enter the Schengen Area for tourist, business or transit purposes of 90 days or less. You will be able to apply online for the ETAIS visa waiver, which will also require a fee (7 EUR). Requirements for an ETAIS are available now. Watch for ETAIS updates if you are planning to solo travel to Italy in 2025.
Choose from Top Travel Document Holders
Vaccinations for Italy / Vatican City
There are normally no vaccinations required for Italy and Vatican City. The U.S. State Department provides up-to-date required vaccination information for traveling to Italy. It is advised to always check for any Italy / Vatican City travel restrictions and required vaccinations during your planning stage and again before you leave.
If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.
VATICAN CITY TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
Electronics for Vatican City
Want to use your 110V electronics while traveling in Vatican City? Vatican City’s voltage is 230V, and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. If you do not already have electronics (hair dryer, clippers, curling iron, etc.) made for Italy’s voltage, you will need to bring a voltage converter to use your electronics. Below are top-rated power converters for you to compare and buy.
Choose the Converter That’s Right For You
Most smartphones, tablets, laptops, cameras and similar electronics don’t require a converter (double-check your device(s) before you leave home), but you will still need a plug adapter.
Traveling to Vatican City, Type C, F and L adapters will fit Italy’s electronic outlets. I recommend bringing at least one of each adapter type accepted. I do not recommend using those single adapters for 100+ countries. They have been known to break and/or cause a power short.
Be prepared before you visit Italy. Bring a solid, reliable, and grounded power adapter to safely charge your electronics in Vatican City. Below are top-rated U.S. (Type A and B) to Italy power adapter options, from the only brand I travel with, for you to compare and buy.
Choose the Italy Adapter That’s Right for You
Type C Adapters
Type E/F Adapters
If you are going to another country in addition to your trip to Vatican City, check this international travel adapter guide to make sure you’re prepared.
Cyber Security While Traveling
Having a virtual private network (VPN) service and portable WiFi is always a good idea to not just stay connected, but stay connected securely in your hotel and all public spaces, like airports, train stations, and restaurants.
CITY GUIDES & ITINERARIES
Use my solo travel guides, itineraries, travel tips, day trip ideas, and recommended things to do in these top Italian destinations, all from my travel in Italy, to plan your best Italy solo travel.
The more I travel in Italy, the more that gets added to this Italy Travel Guide. Keep checking back.
Rome with Vatican City
FREE Rome Itinerary Download
Download the 3 Days in Rome Itinerary PDF WITH clickable links for your travel devices.
Best Things to Do in Vatican City
2 Week Itinerary with Italy & Vatican City
FREE 2 Week Itinerary Download
Download the Italy in 2 Weeks Itinerary PDF WITH clickable links for your travel devices.
HOW TO BOOK VATICAN CITY TRAVEL
It’s important to book the top three travel necessities early: flights, accommodations and ground transportation.
No travel Vatican City guide would be complete without the booking tools below. These, along with fun Vatican City things to do and ecotourism ideas, will allow you to realize your solo trip to Vatican City.
Cheap Flights to Rome
The closest airport to Vatican City is Fiumicino or Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO). With the ever-growing demand for airline tickets to Rome, flights book quicker these days. Find cheap flights to Rome now.
Don’t Wait to Book Your Flight to Rome
Vatican City Places to Stay
Second in importance to buying airline tickets to Rome is finding the best place to stay in Vatican City for your solo travel to Vatican City. Develop your Vatican City travel itinerary now and find the best accommodations in Vatican City to knock one more item off your Vatican City travel planning list.
Find the Best Solo Travel Accommodations in Vatican City
Getting Around Vatican City
There are also taxis, of course, and you can easily find a rental car if that better suits your Italy and Vatican City solo travel itinerary.
Find the Best Deals on Vatican City Rental Cars
Things to Do in Vatican City
Here are some more of the top things to do in Vatican City to book for your solo Vatican City trip.
Best Vatican City Food Tours and Activities
VATICAN CITY ECO-TRAVEL IDEAS
There are ways to reduce your eco and carbon footprint through air travel, accommodations, tours, and activities in Vatican City. To help avoid greenwashing businesses, here are some eco-friendly or sustainable travel (also called responsible travel) tips and resources, you can use to book your travel.
Air Travel Tips
Skyscanner provides a ‘Greener flights’ filter highlighting flights that emit less CO2.
Purchase carbon offsets through your airline or through a third party, like MyClimate.org, Carbonfund.org, or terrapass. Carbon offsetting allows you to buy a certificate to reduce carbon emissions, a major contributor to climate change, which in turn contribute community projects across countries to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The best eco-friendly forms of ground transportation in Vatican City and Rome are public transportation, walking, or renting a bicycle or electric scooter. They are also apt to cost less than other ground transportation.
Explore Vatican City Bike and Electric Scooter Rentals
When booking a rideshare in Vatican City, select the Bolt Green or Uber Green options instead of a traditional rideshare, or use Carpoolworld, to support the use of electric cars and carpooling for cleaner transportation in Vatican City.
Look for accommodations with the following self and third-party assessed certifications when you book:
Green Globe – Green Globe certifies hotels, resorts, conference centers, transportation, attractions, tour operators, and other tourism businesses globally on sustainable operations and management. Look for Vatican City and other European Green Global members.
Green Key Global is an internationally recognized environmental certification for the lodging and meetings industries, including hotels and hostels, campsites and holiday parks, restaurants and attractions in 65 countries. Search for Green Key awarded sites.
Living Building Challenge – if you want to stay in a true, sustainable building, find one certified by the Living Building Challenge. LBC’s certification directory shows all project types globally. Hopefully they will put in a filter soon to allow searching by hotels or hospitality type.
LEED Certified – the USGBC’s LEED Certified label on buildings, like many of the Marriott’s hotels, are those that have verifiably employed multiple and varying green building strategies to improve human and environmental health. Search the LEED directory for Italy / Vatican City certifications.
GSTC Certified – the Global Sustainable Tourism Council provides global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, as well as international accreditation for sustainable tourism Certification Bodies. Booking sites that offer GSTC certified sustainable are bookdifferent, EcoHotels, and Transat.
Another way to find an establishments implementing eco-friendly or sustainable practices, certified or not, is through Booking.com in which you’ll need to find and review each establishment’s ‘Sustainable Initiatives’ within the booking process. Starting 2022, however, you’ll be able to filter searches for accommodations with the Travel Sustainable badge.
Find Your Travel Sustainable Stay in Vatican City
Eco-Friendly Things To Do
Vatican City has ecotourism ideas available to explore for your next vacation.
Top Eco Friendly Activities in Vatican City
There are more ways to do your part for the planet in your responsible travel, like bringing sustainable and eco-friendly products to protect Vatican City’s environment.
VATICAN TRAVEL SAFETY
Before You Go
Always consult your government’s Vatican City travel advisory for your Vatican City travel destination in the beginning travel planning phase and up to your departure date.
Buy Vatican City travel insurance and international medical insurance for your solo travel to Vatican City to protect yourself and cover for emergencies.
Safety in Vatican City
The U.S. State Department has continually placed Italy & Vatican City on a Level 2 alert as “terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Italy”. However, these “terrorist” activities could simply be demonstrations. I’ve never felt unsafe traveling in Italy or Vatican City.
Theft or pickpocketing, which could happen in most places to be honest, is typically the normal tourist concern.
Please note: when you go to the Sistine Chapel, keep your belongings on you where you know they cannot be accessed (i.e., do not keep valuables in your pockets) because pick pocketers (even young children) love to pick your pockets while you’re looking up at the ceiling. It almost happened to me. Just be careful.
Beyond that, there is nothing I can recall from Vatican City making it more of a “safety concern” than traveling in my own home country, so my standard tips for female and solo travelers are:
- always carry photo ID with you; if you don’t want your passport on you at all times, at least carry a copy of it.
- always be “street wise”.
- always be aware of your surroundings, especially if you feel the need to imbibe or feel the need to “let loose” – you’re on vacation so have fun!
- never leave your food or drink unattended.
- keep your belongs on your person, or at least in your view in close proximity, at all times.
- be open to meeting and talking with new people – that is where a lot of the travel experience lies – but be careful on how you divulge personal information.
- research places in advance, if possible, so you know what to expect (i.e., “have a familiar view” – I like to Google the street view of new addresses I’m going to first).
- if something, someone or someplace makes you feel uncomfortable, go with your gut – leave.
Italy / Vatican City Covid Travel Tips
VATICAN CITY BUDGET TRAVEL TIPS
Best Time to Visit Vatican City
Like other countries in Europe, Vatican City’s high, tourist season, and most expensive time, is the summer (June and July). Crowds are not as heavy in the spring (April and May) and Fall (September to October), and prices in these months are better than the summer season.
The least expensive time to go to Vatican City would be November to March. If you want good weather and prices, try booking well in advance for Spring or Autumn, or you can try in August when most Italians take vacation and crowds tend to drop.
Staying in hostels could save you a lot of money on accommodations in Vatican City, especially if you stay in a dorm-style room. Save more money by booking well in advance.
Some Vatican City hostels also offer private rooms, which I choose from time to time. Private rooms in hostels could possibly be cheaper than hotels in Vatican Cityl – it depends on where you stay and how far in advance you reserve.
Don’t overlook exploring hostels in Vatican City if you’re on a budget.
Reserve Your Vatican City Hostel
Best Time to Book Travel
Ready to book your solo travel to Vatican City? The sooner you book your reservations, the more you’re likely to save money and get the best flight, accommodation, and rental car choices and deals.
Don’t miss out and find the best Rome flight deals. The best time to book travel is now. Bundling flight, hotel and/or transportation reservations may even save you more money on your trip to Vatican City.
Book Vatican City Travel Early to Save Money
Vatican City is a big tourist draw. I’m thankful I had already toured St. Peter’s and the Vatican Museum / Sistine Chapel years ago so I could forego them again on my most recent trip to Rome. Lines have always been long, but I think they may have gotten longer.
With any major tourist draw, I recommend getting tickets in advance, if available, and showing up at least an hour before opening so you can have best possibility of getting through with as little people as possible and in time to go enjoy something else that day.
That said, it is a must to see St. Peter’s Square, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Vatican Museum, including the Sistine Chapel. Definitely go to the top of St. Peter’s Duomo for an amazing view of Rome. It’s very worth it.