Things to do in
Castel Gandolfo

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Our most recommended things to do in Castel Gandolfo

Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Entrance Ticket

1. Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Entrance Ticket

Take a stirring journey through art and religious history with skip-the-ticket-line entry to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Avoid the long ticket lines and then enjoy your visit at your own pace.  Wander through the Greek Cross Gallery to see elaborately-carved sarcophagi that might just contain the earthly remains of some of antiquity's famous kings and queens. Peek at the Cabinet of the Masks, or tour the Sala degli Animali to see a virtual menagerie of fantastic beasts, real and imagined. Walk the Upper Galleries, including the Gallery of Maps, to see how cartographers depicted the world through the ages. See masterpieces by Renaissance masters in the Raphael Rooms, and rest for a while in the Borgia Apartments. Then, it’s time to marvel at Michelangelo’s exquisite Sistine Chapel, the crown jewel of the Vatican, and perhaps even of all the world’s art treasures.

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Rome: Go City Explorer Pass - Choose 2 to 7 Attractions

2. Rome: Go City Explorer Pass - Choose 2 to 7 Attractions

Explore Rome at your own pace with the Go City Rome Explorer Pass. Choose from 2 to 7 attractions and tours from a list of over 35 activities including the Colosseum, a hop-on hop-off bus tour, the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and more. Visit the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, join a mouth-watering tasting tour, enjoy an evening at the Opera, go bike riding among ancient Roman ruins, or eat like a local with an authentic Italian set menu lunch ─ the choice is yours. Save up to 35% off compared to buying individual tickets and enjoy a complimentary digital audio guide packed with attraction information and instructions on booking your visits. Enjoy the ease of a fully digital pass with maximum flexibility. You have 2 years from your purchase date to use your pass and then 60 days after you redeem your first attraction or tour. Choose activities as you go: there’s no need to pre-select attractions (some of the most popular activities may require reservations). To redeem, simply display your pass on your mobile device or print it at home. 

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Rome: Pontifical Villa Gardens at Castel Gandolfo Minibus

3. Rome: Pontifical Villa Gardens at Castel Gandolfo Minibus

Explore the 55-hectare gardens of the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo by open minibus. Listen to the audio guide as you roam the gardens to learn all their secrets. Meet your greeter in the Palazzo before starting your tour. Climb aboard the eco-friendly minibus to discover the Castel Gandolfo gardens. See tree-lined avenues, flowers, fountains, and statues. Admire views of the sapphire blue and emerald green waters of Lake Albano. Take in the remains of Emperor Domitian's residence. Find out all there is to know about the Popes, including which pontiff installed a swimming pool and which one laid low in Castel Gandolfo for months after handing in his resignation. You can upgrade your minibus tour of the gardens. Choose from a visit to the papal apartments or lunch in the papal gardens. In the Pope's summer residence, discover five hundred years of papal history in the apartments. Wander from the bedroom to the private chapel and from the library to the studio. Gaze at the balcony from which the Popes pronounced the Angelus every summer Sunday. Or, enjoy a lunch of traditional foods in the garden picnic area. Tuck into a porchetta or vegetarian sandwich, bottled water, a wine or beer, and typical wine biscuits.

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Rome: Vatican and Rome Experience Pass

4. Rome: Vatican and Rome Experience Pass

Choose from many attractions, including sites such as the Colosseum and Vatican Museums with skip-the-line entry. Take in opera shows at night, see the Sistine Chapel, travel to a fun park, or take a wine tasting and food tour. Purchase a pass for the number of attractions you want to visit - with 3, 5 and 7-choice passes available. Simply present your voucher at the centrally located Roman Forum station where your professional staff provide you with all necessary information. There's plenty to choose from to make the most of your visit to Rome. Your pass will be activated upon scanning at the first attraction, following which it remains valid for the next 90 days. Choose from the following attractions: • Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Reserved entrance Ticket• Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill Reserved Entrance Ticket• St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour• Modern Exhibition Art Gallery• Navona Underground with audioguide• Trevi Underground with audioguide• Catacombs guided tour (no transfer included)• Roman Empire Museum Reserved entrance• Leonardo da Vinci Experience with audioguide• The Altar of the Fatherland Elevator & Risorgimento Museum & Palazzo Venezia reserved entrance ticket• Trajan’s Markets Reserved Entrance Ticket• 1 day Hop-on hop-off bus• 1-hour bike rental• 72-hour public transport ticket• A night at the Opera (only if available)• Rome Imperial 3D show and audioguide• Caracalla Baths Reserved Entrance Ticket• Circo Maximo Virtual Reality Experience Reserved Entrance Ticket• Castel Sant’Angelo Reserved Entrance Ticket• Galleria Doria Pamphilj Reserved Entrance Ticket• Panoramic Terrace Breakfast• Panoramic Terrace Aperitif• Papal Udience + St. Peter's Guided Tour (only on Wednesday)• National Roman Museum (Palazzo Altemps, Crypta Balbi, Baths of Diocletian, Palazzo Massimo) Reserved Entrance Ticket• Ara Pacis Museum• Pantheon Guided Tour• Street Art Guided Tour (only if available)• Caravaggio Guided Tour (only if available)• Jewish Ghetto Guided Tour (only if available)• Navona Underground, Pantheon +Trevi Fountain Tour (only if available)• Lateran Complex tour (only if available) OUTSIDE ROME:• Ancient Appia Guided Tour (only if available)• A Walk in the Pontifical Villa Gardens in Castel Gandolfo• Pontifical Villa Garden Open Bus in Castel Gandolfo• Pope Summer Residence with audioguide in Castel Gandolfo• Ancient Ostia Reserved Entrance Ticket• Tivoli Villas: Villa Adriana + Villa D’Este

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From Rome: Castel Gandolfo Kayak and Swimming Lake Tour

5. From Rome: Castel Gandolfo Kayak and Swimming Lake Tour

Immerse yourself in the history and nature of this peaceful lake, located just a short distance from Rome, on a kayak tour with plenty of interesting stops and technical kayaking tips. After a quick paddling, navigation and communication lesson, you will begin your tour of the lake. Stops will include the village of the millstones, the Roman port of the Villa of Domitian, the Trampoline of the Pope, and a beautiful beach reachable only by kayak, where you can swim if the weather is right. Along the way you will see the summer residence of the Popes, atop the mountain of Castel Gandolfo and surrounded by untouched nature. You can Listen to the sound of local wildlife and the water lapping, a unique and unforgettable experience so close to Rome. Your guide will provide technical assistance throughout the tour, and offer stories and anecdotes about the lake. After arriving back at the starting point, you will have the opportunity to take a shower before heading back to the capital.

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Rome: Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo Walking Tour

6. Rome: Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo Walking Tour

Travel along the dreamy Italian countryside, far away from the hustle and bustle of Rome. a true treasure trove of art and history. Visit the quaint village of Castel Gandolfo, perched atop the sapphire blue waters of Lake Albano, mushroomed around the Pope’s Summer Palace. Be accompanied by a member of the Vatican staff on a walking tour of the "green heart" of the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo. Castel Gandolfo, which served for centuries as a summer residence and vacation retreat for the pope, is spread for 55 hectares. Enjoy the walk through the botanical and architectural wonders of the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo. Its Barberini Garden produces and ships a basket of fresh produce to the Vatican. See beautifully maintained orchards, vineyards, and over 1000 olive trees around the farm. You can upgrade your walk in the Pontifical Villas with 2 wonderful options: Popes' Summer Residence Visit the Papal Apartment to delve into 500 years of history. Wander from the bedroom to the private chapel, from the library to the studio. Look at the balcony from where the Popes pronounced the Angelus every summer Sunday. Picnic in the Papal Gardens Enjoy lunch with traditional food in the garden picnic area. Savor a porchetta or vegetarian sandwich with bottled water, wine or beer, and typical wine biscuits. Immerse yourself in this treasure trove in the outskirts of Rome. Walk in the footsteps of the Popes around the 7 rooms and summer offices inside the Palace.

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Pope’s Summer Residence Tour with Lunch

7. Pope’s Summer Residence Tour with Lunch

Enjoy a unique half-day tour from Rome that will take you to the lovely town of Castel Gandolfo where you will visit the Papal Palace and its stunning landscaped gardens. Castel Gandolfo, built on the site of the legendary ancient settlement of Alba Longa, is one of Italy’s most picturesque towns and has been home to the Papal summer retreat since 1596. Situated in the Regional Park of the Castelli Romani, it enjoys splendid views over the beautiful Lake Albano, which you will be able to admire from the grounds of the Apostolic Palace. On this tour, you will be able to explore the up-to-now hidden gems of this glorious private residence with an audio-guide in the language of your choice. Following this, you will have the opportunity to see the gorgeously manicured Barberini Gardens and the impressive ruins of Emperor Domitian’s villa, before enjoying a lunch prepared with fresh produce from the palace farm! If you have not already done so, you will have the chance to add a tour of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica with your fantastic guide onto your experience, in which case, upon your return to Rome, you will be dropped off right outside the Vatican.

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Sistine Chapel, Vatican Gardens & Castel Gandolfo Day Tour

8. Sistine Chapel, Vatican Gardens & Castel Gandolfo Day Tour

Start your day bright and early as you meet your tour guide at the Vatican Museums. Skip the line and enter 45 minutes before the general public with your special access ticket. After going through a brief security check, proceed inside to begin your tour starting with the best galleries. Follow your art historian guide along the tour route which includes the Gallery of the Tapestries, the Gallery of the Candelabra, and the Gallery of the Maps.  Then, learn about the history and process Michelangelo used to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel before entering to see it yourself. Continue to the Vatican Gardens, where only special tour groups are allowed to visit. With your exclusive Vatican Gardens tickets, breathe in the tranquil air of this mini paradise. After your Vatican Gardens tour, enter Vatican City’s only train station to board the train to Castel Gandolfo. Once the site of Emperor Domitian’s Villa, the Barberini Gardens boast beautifully-designed hedges situated amidst flowers, fountains and Ancient Roman ruins. Your guide will tell you stories about the history of the gardens and the many points of interest located within. Once you’ve explored the lush scenery of the Barberini Gardens, the tour will break for lunch (included with the tour). Sit down to a sumptuous spread of locally-sourced, organic Italian meats, cheeses, olive oil, tomatoes, and pasta. Then, have the opportunity to take a self-guided tour of the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer residence. Now a museum open to the public, enjoy exploring the Palace’s many rooms, art galleries, and collection of cars driven by former popes. Use your round-trip train ticket to return to Vatican City and conclude your memorable experience.

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Rome: Vatican & Lunch at Pope's Summer Residence Day Tour

9. Rome: Vatican & Lunch at Pope's Summer Residence Day Tour

Start your 9-hour program with a bus ride to Castel Gandolfo, a secluded and charming town that’s home to the pope’s summer residence. Explore the pope’s private Barberini Gardens by mini-bus and with the assistance of an audio guide. The Papal Palace was recently opened to the public by Pope Francis. You’ll see the treasures of this extravagant yet intimate interior, including works by Bernini. Enjoy a break for lunch and some free time to explore the town before heading back to Rome. In the afternoon, begin a 3-hour tour of Vatican City at the Vatican Museums. With your priority access you’ll skip the lines, allowing more time to discover the great works of art. Continue to the Sistine Chapel, where your guide will point out amazing art including Michelangelo’s The Last Judgement – the largest fresco ever painted by a single person. The last stop on this walking tour of Vatican City is St. Peter’s Basilica, which is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture.

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Rome: Private Appian Way & Albano Lake Full-Day E-Bike Tour

10. Rome: Private Appian Way & Albano Lake Full-Day E-Bike Tour

Escape the hustle and bustle of central Rome for a full-day mountain bike tour in the surrounding countryside and follow a route through pristine nature and landscapes that have inspired some of Italy’s best known artists. The moderately difficult 50-kilometer route will take you past some of Rome’s most historic sites, such as Trajan's Baths, the Ninfeum of Egeria, Villa dei Quintilli and Caracalla’s Baths. Departing from near the Colosseum, bike through Caffarella Park to the Aqueduct Park, named after the historic aqueducts that run through this part of the Appian Way regional park. Because of its idyllic ambiance, Aqueduct Park is often used as a film location. Take the train from Capanelle to Castel Gandolfo, before hopping on your mountain bike to explore the surroundings of Lake Albano. Stop at a local restaurant with a wonderful view of the water and relax as you enjoy a traditional lunch of Italian cuisine. Lake Albano is also known as Castel Gandolfo Lake, after the castle and the Pope’s summer residence that overlooks the lake. After lunch, head back to Rome, cycling a nice descent to set you up for the Appia Antica. Relive the glory days of the Roman Empire as you bike along cobblestone streets that date back 2,300 years. Pass ancient tombs and ruins from the Roman Republic.

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What people are saying about Castel Gandolfo

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 32,372 reviews

Only thing deceiving is that you don't have Guide at all for this tour... it doesn't mention that you have to pay for the audio guide 8 Euro plus 1.5 Euro if you want the headset. This price is strictly for the entrance. Otherwise, it was still an excellent experience

Good service. I would advise to go early. The audio guide is useful, bring your own headphones if you need them.

Very good experience. We waited just about 5 minutes to get into the museum.

Start as early as you can. It was not many people at 9:00.

walking directions from the metro would be very helpful