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Your reviews on Hop on/Hop off buses in European cities

Your reviews on Hop on/Hop off buses in European cities

Old May 24th, 2014, 05:59 AM
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Join Date: May 2005
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Your reviews on Hop on/Hop off buses in European cities

The question often pops up: is it worth taking a hop on/hop off bus in xxx?

Well Fodorites, what have been your experiences with these bus tours in European cities?

I'll start:
Paris: It really like the hop/on hop/off bus here. Paris is huge and it gives you a good flavour of the city and the main sights.
Rome: So, so. You miss the heart of the city but you still see some main sights including the colosseum and the Vatican.
Helsinki: I liked it because it took us to places we wouldn't have gone to otherwise.
London: The bus we took had a good audio guide so I really enjoyed seeing London this way.
Bath: I liked the hop on/hop off tour here as well. It goes all around the city and offers a lot of history about it.
kleeblatt is offline  
Old May 24th, 2014, 06:25 AM
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Paris is not huge. I prefered a bike or a segway.
Rome, dead right the centre is walkable only and getting more so
London, well the normal buses are pretty good
Bath, so walkable hard to imagine using powered transport
Edinburgh, walk it
Munich, walk it
Amsterdam, catch a tram
Barcelona, catch a bus and read a book
bilboburgler is offline  
Old May 25th, 2014, 12:07 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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Depends on many things:
How much you already know of the city
Whether you speak the local language
How much time you have
Whether the HOHO bus takes you to far reaches (I'm thinking Brussells & Bath) that would be difficult to cover in a limited time

I liked it in Helsinki & Brussells, but definitely not in Izmir, Turkey.
di2315 is offline  
Old May 25th, 2014, 06:56 AM
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We took the HOHO buses in Paris, Brussels, Vienna, Budapest, Copenhagen and Helsinki. To me they are a great way to get an overview of the cities and help me plan what I want to do my 3rd, 4th and 5th days in the city (as we usually take the HOHO buses on days 1 and 2.

I enjoyed them all, probably found them a better value in Brussels, Budapest and Copenhagen. Actually we got the 24 hours in Copenhagen and the ticket seller let us have an extra 36 hours for free, which helped us tremendously getting to the places that were further away. (I think we were there during a rather slow period which is why they gave us such a good deal)
Ruby99 is offline  
Old May 25th, 2014, 07:19 AM
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I took it in Rome for my first visit. It was fine. I was staying outside the city (the Marriott convention hotel not far from the airport), was on my own, and had only a few hours of free time.

I was intensely jealous of some colleagues who were in another conference "stream". At the end of their sessions, they were then offered two-hour guided tours of Rome in either vintage Italian chauffeur-driven cars or on the back of a motorcycle. Everyone who went said it was fabulous (and then some).
WeisserTee is offline  
Old May 25th, 2014, 08:06 AM
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Never taken a HOHO and live an area where they pass through and have been to just about every city described above but Bath and Helsinki, some many times.

The HOHO Bus costs over $40 in NYC and when I hear the tour guides description they are often laughably wrong.

Unless there is a mitigating circumstance which makes walking or traveling about difficult there is no reason to take these things. Walk, take trams, buses, bicycles, cabs, or subways, and make the experience your own.
IMDonehere is offline  
Old May 25th, 2014, 10:03 AM
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So far, I have not enjoyed any.

London, we kept getting stuck in traffic in places where we could not get off the bus. It was annoying to see the place I wanted to stop and be stuck for twenty minutes waiting to get off. The audio on ours was horrible. If the weather is wonderful and if you can get on top of a double decker, then the ride alone can be fun.

Paris is boring by bus. I would rather actually be going to particular places I am interested in and not do drive by.

Bath is so small, no point seeing it by bus when you can easily walk, looking in shop windows and smelling the lovely breads and pastries at bakeries as you go, and stop into shops that interest you or for a cup of tea.

Rome is so walkable, why see anything at a distance when you can see it up close? Busses can't even get close to some things you want to see. It wastes time that you can spend actually experiencing places.

Barcelona - busses are useful to get you to particular places cheaply. Otherwise, walk, though things are somewhat spread out. Taxis are cheap, so we split between taxis and walking or the bus.
Sassafrass is online now  
Old May 25th, 2014, 10:33 AM
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I enjoy walking and discovering things on my own. Much better use of my time and I can do what I want, when I want and don't have to wait for the bus and its schedule etc.

Hate spending so much money on the ticket also. With that hefty price, I could see and enjoy sights in more depth myself.
ileen is online now  
Old May 25th, 2014, 12:43 PM
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Barcelona: a waste of money! 35 euro pp for a 2 day ticket which is NOT the same as a 48 hr ticket. Buses only start to run at 9 am and the last bus goes at 8 pm. The tours (2 different) are much too long ... 2 hrs for the red tour, 1 hr 40 mins. for the blue tour, and buses travel only in one direction. If you want to get back to where you started, you will have to take the full tour.
It also seemed as if Bus Turístic have far too few buses running for the number of tickets sold. Sometimes we just walked away because the line that was waiting at the bus stop was far too long.
For the 70 euros we paid (2 x 35 euros) we could have taken several taxi rides!
MyriamC is offline  
Old May 25th, 2014, 01:08 PM
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I used to think they were a tourist money pit until I was persuaded to take the HOHO in Barcelona and had a bit of an epiphany. To me the whole point of the HOHO buses is NOT to use them as primary transport to get to all the places you want to visit. It's to get an overview of the city, to see how close or far apart the attractions are and thus which you'll want to use public transport for and which you'll walk to later in the trip. A general sense of orientation. So do it once and do it right at the start of your visit. Don't get off. Do the full circuit.
RM67 is offline  
Old May 26th, 2014, 03:50 AM
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They are hop on hop off buses, and they should be used as such. It is just because people stay on the bus for the whole tour that others don't have a chance to get on. Never again, anyway.
MyriamC is offline  
Old May 26th, 2014, 04:07 AM
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I've never taken the HOHO buses because whenever I see them in NYC everyone on the top level looks so bored. No one is talking or pointing to sights and there is no animation in their faces.

One thing I never want to do on vacation is to sit on a bus.

Walking tours are a better overview of a new city.

MyriamC - you could have taken quite a number of taxi rides in Barcelona for the E70. We took taxis a lot as the cost was reasonable and only once were we stuck in traffic but only for a few minutes. We saved our energy for the sightseeing and decided that taxis were worth the additional cost.
adrienne is offline  
Old May 26th, 2014, 04:37 AM
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Our hotel was very centrally located and we don't mind walking, which is was what we did in the end. We didn't want to lose precious time waiting in line for a bus that was full. And we took a few taxi rides. Very reasonable prices indeed.
MyriamC is offline  
Old May 26th, 2014, 05:30 AM
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Terrible waste of money. All those cities are either walkable and/or have actual public transport including above ground buses or trams. Buy a guidebook and a transport pass, pick up a map of the system or find one online. I did once try HOHO, in Barcelona (it was a lot cheaper then), and got stuck on the bus. Never again.
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Old May 27th, 2014, 06:43 AM
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Obviously pretty much any city that has a hoho bus route will have ordinary buses and possibly trams and a metro too. The idea of the hoho as I see it is not to run up a huge bill using this service every day to get from point to point. It is to introduce you to the city, give you some idea of scale and orientation, and the proximity (or otherwise) of the attractions you may wish to visit later.

There is no need to wait endlessly, grumpily and hottly in queues if you do not keep getting on and off - in fact the bus we caught in Barcelona was half-empty the whole way round the route. Us staying on did not preclude anyone else from getting on or off - there was always plenty of room. Not that it's really for anyone else to dictate how long you get to spend on there once you've purchased a ticket - you are free to use the service as you see fit and however best suits you.

Btw, we also got some nice shots of the Gaudi buildings and the marina from our slightly elevated position ahead of visiting these attractions by public transport or on foot later in the week.
RM67 is offline  
Old May 27th, 2014, 10:58 AM
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"It is to introduce you to the city, give you some idea of scale and orientation, and the proximity (or otherwise) of the attractions you may wish to visit later."

I use maps for that.....
thursdaysd is offline  
Old May 27th, 2014, 12:31 PM
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thursdaysd - there are many people who cannot read a map - I've met some of them (unfortunately).
adrienne is offline  
Old May 27th, 2014, 01:44 PM
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I don't feel my Rome HOHO experience was a "terrible waste of money" and, ileen, nor does my use of one mean that I don't enjoy walking and seeing things on my own.

I was staying outside Rome at a business hotel for a business meeting. I had three hours of free time. It was my first trip to the city. I was on my own. For me, it was a sensible way to get an overview of Rome in the limited amount of time I had. The bus tour lasted a little over an hour. I enjoyed it. I then walked around on my own for an hour, did a little shopping and stopped in a cafe before catching the Marriott bus back to the hotel.

If you don't like bus tours, fine, but there's no need for the holier than thou, judgmental attitude towards people who opt to take them.
WeisserTee is offline  
Old May 28th, 2014, 12:06 AM
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Thanks for all your replies.

I used to think these buses were a tourist trap but afater years of experience going to different cities in Europe, I've become a fan. They are great for the first day or two so you can get a feel of the city and learn about its history. After having a tour of the city, you'll understand your maps more and will have a better idea of what you'd like to see and how far the distances are.
kleeblatt is offline  
Old May 28th, 2014, 01:53 AM
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In addition to the HOHO bus, here in Vienna there is also the "Ring Tram," a vintage tram that circles the former walled InnerStadt along the tram line. I have been tempted to take the tour just to hear the commentary, though whenever I see one, the passengers all seem catatonic, transfixed by the narrative on their headphones. If walking is not your thing, or if you're short on time, the "drive-by" is probably better than nothing.

Our son and I were in Copenhagen earlier this month and happened to be at Den Lille Havenfrue (The Little Mermaid) as a HOHO bus approached. The passengers all dutifully lined up to take photos with the statue before climbing back aboard the bus. We were sitting on the rocks with an ice cream and thought the scene kind of funny.
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