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Early bird, but not too early

It has been years that many tour operators, bloggers, vloggers and travel story-tellers, have been advertising a “secret” way of seeing the Vatican Museums “before the crowds” or promising that you’ll be completely alone inside the Sistine Chapel. Visiting the Sistine Chapel alone is possible but not with the so-called Early option.

The “privilege” was advertised as the so-called VIP entrance, early morning Vatican, VIP early morning Vatican before the crowds etc….. none of these things is so Vip or privileged anymore…. Everybody discovered this secret and the term “vip entrance” lately got inflated more than a Venezuelan bolivar.

We from City Lights Tours have been working in the area for the last 10 years and we have experienced the trend change in the past 5 years, at least.

Few years ago, the Early Vatican tour was some sort of Vip tour as the Vatican Museums doors would open at 8am and all the “vip” groups ready to enter, would be inside in about 10-15 minutes.

Now, that’s not the case anymore. Numbers of visitors increased over the years, making crowds ten times worse than it used to be.

If you are flexible and you are planning to spend several days in Rome, have a look which day is the best to visit the Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel.

In case you are thinking of going early there is a new way that only we, who are always on the spot, can discover for you.

Go early yes, but not too early: get a tour at 8.30am

Practically what happens: all the groups/tour companies with “vip” and “early” entrance will start to queue up from 7.20am on, waiting to enter at 8am. In this case, you go early to catch the spot in the security check line. You start early but you will be outside until the 8am access is allowed, exactly at 8am. If you’re lucky you and your group will be in at around 8.15am – 8.20am. So, if you start to line up at 7.20, you’ll be in at 8am; if you get your spot in the line at 7.30/35am, you’ll be in at 8.10am and so on… If the math isn’t wrong, the time you spend outside lining up in front of the Vatican Museums is 40 – 60 mins. So, logically, there is no “vip”, “early” or even worse “skip the line”.

8am groups line at the entrance of the Vatican Museums

Our trick is to meet at 8.20am, grab a coffee-to-go and with our group(s), each up to max 10 participants, enter at 8.30am by skipping (obviously) the line of those entering at 9am and, moreover, by skipping the line of the groups queuing from 7.20am. Small groups up to 10 people are allowed to skip all the lines and enter through a privileged access from 8.30am on.

Keep in mind that there are days before and after some extraordinary closures of the Vatican Museums that the line for the 8am tours is so long and some groups enter at 8.50am!

So, you don’t have to be necessarily “vip-early”, be just “smart-early”, join the Early Vatican Tour With Privileged Access which is a real privileged access and we can promise you will feel like a real vip.


All you should know about delayed and canceled flights in Europe

All you should know about delayed and canceled flights in Europe

It’s holiday time and everybody are impatiently waiting to leave their work desks, daily routine and travel toward exotic, new destinations.

You have probably booked your trip including your trains, flights, hotels, tours in many destinations you are planning to visit and you can’t just wait to get your luggage and start the new adventure.

Exactly! Adventure!

Even if you go to the most romantic city in the world or you have chosen the quietest place on Earth, the trip might become an adventure because of some unforeseen and unexpected issues.

You probably know what we are talking about! Flights!

The start of your trip or a connection in some half-way stop can become a nightmare. We wish you the best flight ever and all the connections on time, but we would like to help you in case you have some undesirable issues with flights in Europe.

There is a European Regulation according to which all the passengers that had a canceled or delayed flight, have the right to some kind of compensation.

If you have time and you would like to know every single detail of it, you can find the EU Regulation that establishes “common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or delay of flights” here

Otherwise, if unfortunately you have already had a canceled or delayed flight you can find the forms (in all the EU languages) here

Usually, all the companies have these forms on their web pages but it’s (strangely! 🙂 ) difficult to find them. Once you have the EU regulation number and the company name, maybe it will be easier to “google-it” and go straight to the right web page.

As for the reimbursement, it can be from 250€ up to 600€ according to different cases.

Also, it is very important to keep all your receipts and evidence of expenses during the unplanned cancellation or delay, as the company is obliged to pay you back for extra expenses you had due to the canceled or delayed flight. They are obliged to reimburse you for most of them

However, we hope you’ll be drinking cocktails on the beach or watching the sunset on a rooftop as soon as possible and after having all your flights on time!

So, happy travels!


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