If you want to explore cities in a comfortable, warm, dry and yet comprehensive way, hop-on hop-off rides are ideal. We introduce you to 10 popular tours!
It doesn’t matter whether it’s wind, sun, heat, cold, rain, snowfall or hail – it’s always pleasantly warm, dry and comfortable on the bus. And if it also takes you exactly where you want to go, the comfort is perfect. Hop-on hop-off tours for city trips offer you exactly that and even add one more thing: During the ride past the most beautiful sights of each place, a recorded voice or even a live commentator tells you all sorts of interesting things about the city and their highlights, and you can jump out of each of them, take a closer look at the building, museum, and Co. and then continue the journey a little later exactly where you left off. Here are 10 exciting hop-on hop-off tours that we highly recommend!
General information about hop-on hop-off tours
Hop-on hop-off tours are available in most major cities around the world and allow you to buy tickets for one or more consecutive days, which in turn allow you to explore the city either with commentary directly from Bus to explore or get off at important sights and get back on at any time (hop-on-hop-off).
In most cities where such tours are available, several providers compete for customers. Two of the largest providers worldwide are Big Bus Tours and CitySightseeing. You can sometimes use the competition from the companies to your advantage: While it is always advertised that tickets bought online in advance are particularly cheap, the truth is that you negotiate the price of almost every provider directly on site can – especially when you could just as well use the competition, and especially in the off-season, when passenger numbers are generally far lower. Personal example from Edinburgh: Thanks to two suppliers underbidding each other, two friends of mine and myself were recently able to buy three tickets for just £10, which would have normally cost a total of £60.
It should be noted with all providers that there are often several routes through the city with different (usually overlapping) stops. In this case, you can almost always buy single tickets for just one route or combined tickets for several routes.
Hop-on hop-off tickets also often come with additional advantages: Usually you get discounts by presenting the ticket at various souvenir shops, restaurants, bars and more, and on the bus itself there is often the possibility of buying particularly inexpensive additional combination tickets for Various sights and other attractions to purchase. The commentaries on the bus itself are usually held in several languages, which you can set yourself at the push of a button. New headphones are always provided to you free of charge; if you want to listen particularly comfortably, you can also plug in your own pair.
The German capital has many wonderful sights to offer that German citizens will also find interesting – and not just because a large part of our country’s history is inevitably linked to our state capital. As in most cities with hop-on hop-off tours, there are different providers in the federal capital, but they all basically go to the same points. These include the Kudamm, the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, Alexanderplatz, Gendarmenmarkt, the main train station (for good connections also outside of Berlin), the Museum Island, the Neptune Fountain, Bellevue Palace or the Topography of Terror along the remains of the Berliners Wall. You can buy discounted combo tickets for Madame Tussauds and Dungeon Berlin, for example.
Fantastic city trips are also waiting for you in beautiful Spain, for example to sunny Barcelona. As in Berlin, there are also several providers here, from the well-known CitySightseeing tours to smaller, local providers, who also head for all important points in the city. Some of the highlights: the famous Sagrada Família, Park Güell, Plaça de Catalunya (from which you can access La Rambla) and Plaça d’Espanya, museums such as the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, the Museu Marítim or the Museu d’Història de Catalunya, Port Olímpic with the adjacent zoo, the World Trade Center of Barcelona, Port Vell and the cable car station to the city mountain Montjuïc. Attention: Depending on the provider, the sights of the city in Barcelona are divided into up to three different routes, which you can travel individually or with a combined ticket without any restrictions.
The city of love (and lights), Paris is not only ideal for romantic trips to the Eiffel Tower, but also for exciting city breaks full of history, art and culture. Most bus companies divide their routes here into two sections: the classic tour of the city center, with stops at attractions such as the Louvre, the Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral or the Eiffel Tower, and the tour of the artist – and alternative district of Montmartre, where buses stop at sights such as the Sacré-Cœur or the famous Moulin Rouge. You can also go on a voyage of discovery on the water with a combination ticket: in addition to the bus tour, CitySightseeing also offers a Seine river cruise from Port de Suffren, located between the Eiffel Tower and the Trocadéro Gardens.
Anyone who visits Vienna will quickly find that most of the sights are located here within and along the Ringstrasse – which, together with the Danube Canal, makes up the first district of the city and thus sights such as the Hofburg including Heldenplatz and the Spanish Riding School, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Albertina or the Michaelaplatz with its excavations. The two hop-on hop-off tour providers in Vienna, Big Bus and Vienna Sightseeing, therefore both operate several routes that cover this area of the city perfectly; However, both companies also offer alternative routes to Schönbrunn (palace including gardens and zoo), to Belvedere Palace, to UNO City above the Danube – Transdanubia, as the Viennese affectionately call this area of the city – to the Mariahilfer-Strasse shopping street, to the Naschmarkt and more on. Via Sightseeing Vienna there is also the option of booking the Ring Tram tour in a historic tram that travels along the Prunkstraße, as well as a boat tour on the Danube.
New York, United States
You can also explore the really big Big Apple using practical hop-on hop-off buses, especially uptown and downtown Manhattan, but also Brooklyn and Harlem via Big Bus. Some of the main attractions that the tour stops at are the Empire State Building, Times Square, Central Park, Broadway for all theater lovers, Union Square, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art or MOMA. And because no trip to New York is complete without a visit to Lady Liberty, you can of course also book a hop-on hop-off ferry as an alternative or in addition to travel to the Statue of Liberty and more.
Of course, those who come to Rome primarily want to see things like the impressive Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Vatican, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain or the Castel Sant’Angelo – and of course all the big hop-on-hop-off Tour providers of the city exactly these sights. If you want to explore Rome in detail and comfortably by bus, you should choose the Big Bus tours. Big Bus offers two routes – Central and Northeast of the city and Central and Southwest of the city. For the ultimate hop-on hop-off experience, get a combo ticket and plan at least three days—including stops at the attractions—to visit the city’s top sights.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
And once again we leave Europe – to the city of superlatives, Dubai. And of course, it also has one of the best hop-on hop-off tours in the world. Sightseeing in Dubai is extraordinary in every respect: Instead of historical sites and the like, you will primarily find attractions here that impress with their sheer size, their luxury or both together. Tours are once again being offered in Dubai by both Big Bus and City Sightseeing, with both companies offering multiple routes. The most important stops are sights such as the Burj Kalifa skyscraper with its observation deck, luxury hotels such as the Burj Al Arab, the stunningly beautiful artificial island of Palm Jumeirah, the Dubai Marina with its impressive skyscrapers, the Dubai Mall with its aquarium or the city’s fantastic beach .
Staying on the water but returning to Europe, to idyllic Amsterdam in the Netherlands. If you have ever been to Amsterdam, you will have noticed that a good part of the traffic does not take place on ordinary streets, but on the water – in the so-called canals. And that’s exactly why all the hop-on hop-off tours are offered both on land and on the water in the Dutch capital. The two largest operators here – City Sightseeing and Stromma – each offer tours by bus and boat as separate options or in a combined ticket. The stops for both providers include places such as the Rembrandt House, the Rijks and Van Gogh Museum, the Vondelpark, the Anne Frank House, the Heineken Experience for all beer lovers or the Dappermarket with a nearby windmill – and of course the canals themselves are also included their houseboats and cute bridges, extremely worth seeing.
The best time to visit Dublin is of course in March, around St. Patrick’s Day – and since you’re probably not in the best shape for long walks after the festivities, it’s all the more gratifying that you can also visit the city via three hop- on-hop-off tours from the comfort of a bus seat. Both Big Bus, City Sightseeing and DoDublin offer Dublin hop-on hop-off tickets for one or more days, visiting mostly the same attractions, including Dublin Castle, the Irish Whiskey Museum, which is conveniently located next to it Trinity College is right there (someone clearly thought of that), St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Guinness Storehouse, Phoenix Park and Kilmainham Gaol.
And finally, we go to a real long-running favorite when it comes to city trip destinations, to London. London is big and full of exciting sights, so it’s no surprise that you can take several routes from different providers. Some of them, for example, only take you to the west of the city, others take on central London and still others try to combine the best of all parts of the city. Some stops that should definitely be included: Hyde Park and Marble Arch, Westminster and Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square as well as the Tower and Tower Bridge. Speaking of Tower Bridge, you can also embark on a Thames Hop-On Hop-Off Tour that operates between Westminster Pier, Tower Pier, London Eye and Greenwich.