Hop on Hop off bus tours – Love ‘em or leave ‘em?

Sometimes when I only have a short time in a city and no transportation I have bought tickets to the local hop on hop off bus tour, often the double decker type but never the Viking or duck tour.  (I refuse to wear silly hats people!  The line must be drawn somewhere.)  I feel like these tours can sometimes give visitor’s the quick lay of the land with the option to stop and visit sites along the way.  It has always seemed like a good value as compared to multiple taxi rides with ill-tempered drivers.  Part of me dies inside a little bit at the thought of such a “touristy” thing to do.  But, the other part of me cannot deny how fun and convenient these tours are.  My parents really enjoyed doing this in Dublin recently…

What are your thoughts intrepid friends?  Swear by the hop on hop off bus tour or scoff at the idea?  I promise not to judge you!  😉

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20 thoughts on “Hop on Hop off bus tours – Love ‘em or leave ‘em?

  1. Interesting idea. We’ve done it a couple times and, like you said, it’s convenient but very touristy. Not that having a camera and taking a picture every 5′ doesn’t give me away but I feel like I am branded getting off one of those buses. I like the combination of public transport with cabs; I have received some great information and local knowledge from the cab drivers.

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  2. Only did it once, my first time in London in 1990. I was on my own, my flight had gotten in ridiculously early with hours to kill until I met up with the people I would be staying with, so I took one to kill some time and get acquainted with the city. Live and learn but I don’t think I would do it again. First because there is nothing so annoying to me now as having someone spout out useless facts they have spouted out many times before. Second, because I would rather sit in a cafe and soak up the local color and sort out where to go. The first time anywhere I think it is okay to fall into a little bit of the tourist mentality, but I really try to avoid it at all costs!

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  3. We took hop on hop off bus tour in Barcelona just because it was faster and easier. And the second time was when we were in Edinburgh, and that’s because we were too tired after driving around Scotland, we just wanted to took it easy without thinking about which direction to go..etc..I have no idea about duck tour – what was that, what a funny name! 😀

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    • The duck tours are part car/part boat tours. They are a car/boat hybrid that takes people on a sea and land tour. They can be found in places like Dublin and Chicago which are places that are near water. I think it is a great idea in concept but they often involve silly Viking hats to be worn by riders and I don’t like that kind of stuff. (Probably fun for kids but I don’t like it.)


  4. I don’t really like them. They are rushed, there are no photo opportunities, they seem to spend an eternity at traffic lights and junctions where there is nothing interesting to see and they always stop off at a tourist shop somewhere on route.
    I did take the tour in Dublin because it was a good way of getting to the city centre from the train station.
    The Barcelona tour is excellent. I also got pesuaded to do the Budapest tour but that was terrible!
    You simply cannot beat walking!

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  5. We have RV friends that take these kind of tours routinely. They say it gives them a nice overview of a new area and then they go off and explore more on their own. I still can’t bring myself to join the line of “tourist”, but will keep an open mind. I never say, never!

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    • That’s kind of the same thing I have done a few times. It worked well with my parents who didn’t want to walk across the city. But at the same time you can’t easily stop and a lot of time is spent in traffic. But it does give you a lay of the land and a mental list of things to do on one’s own.

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  6. Never did use one. Hop on hop off. Don’t like them. I generally take a metro/subway (when there is one) day or week ticket. 🙂
    One exception (being a snobbish Frog): le Batobus in Paris, a hop on hop off small boat that rides on the seine. You can come down and back up at leisure. And since it is relatively small it is not as crowwded as those huge Bateaux-MOuches.

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    • Well, that certainly makes sense in Paris. I can completely understand. I never did take that when I was in Paris. I did a lot of walking and took the metro number of times. And then we drove in a car when we left the city through France. What a glorious country you have!

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      • Thank you. It is almost ideal. Not as cold as Germany, the UK, let alone Poland. Not too warm either. Very fertile land. A pleasant country. Only the French don’t realize how lucky they are! 🙂

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  7. I like walking tours and guided tours of museums are often very helpful, especially at places like the British museum, which is overwhelming. I have yet to take a bus tour, but will be trying one out in London when the boyfriend’s parents visit in December!

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