On a recent trip to Paris, my friends and I decided to try out a hop on/hop off tourist bus. The bus had 2 routes which covered the vast majority of the tourist attractions in the city. Each route took about 2+ hours to complete, and we paid about 30 euro for a 2 day pass.
This was the first time I’ve ever done a hop on/hop off bus, and having been to Paris twice now – I’ve both walked and bus-hopped around. At the bottom of the post is my personal opinion on tour buses, but directly below are some pros and cons we’ve come up with to help you decide if a hop on/hop off bus is the way to go for your next trip!
You see more of the city in less time.
Riding around the city on a bus lets you see a large part of the city in just a few hours. This is a huge essential if you only have a day to spend in that city.
Most of the time, it’s relaxing and comfortable.
The joys of site-seeing while sitting down!
You can conserve your energy.
No long walks and no lugging your backpack around for hours!
They are usually very informational.
Most buses have tour guides or information stations at each seat, allowing you to learn a lot more about the city then if you were just walking by yourself.
Most buses are double-decker buses, meaning the top of the bus is open; giving you amazing, unrestricted views of the city (see photo gallery below for some of our best shots!)
The routes take a long time to complete.
Some of the routes are 2+ hours, which is a pain if you’re looking to get to the places the bus JUST came from.
During peak tourist seasons, these buses can be FULL of people, meaning you actually have to stand on the bus; which really isn’t that much different then walking around.
A lot of people = a lot of germs. Thousands of people ride these buses every month, and if you think about it; that’s pretty gross and upsetting.
They stop running at a certain hour.
Meaning your night-life plans are a little harder to plan, and you will probably have to pay for other modes of transportation at night.
They don’t go everywhere.
Obviously they can’t go everywhere in the city, but there are some well-known tourist locations that the buses wouldn’t have access to; meaning on top of the bus price, you’ll have to find your own transportation to and from those tourist attractions as well. (Example; none of the tour buses in Paris, France go to the Catacombs of Paris, meaning you will need to rely on the Metro to get you there. It’s easy enough (take the M9 for a few stops from the Eiffel Tower station)…but still, it would be great if the buses went there, too.
I have visited Paris twice; the first time, my boyfriend and I walked around the city, and although I loved discovering new places in the city by foot, I was exhausted! (Mostly because I was such a travel rookie, I had high heels on almost the whole time…)
The second time, my sister and I got around the city using one of the hop on/hop off tours and I loved it.
I think both ways of exploring the city have their upsides; but if you’re only in that place for a limited time, I would highly suggest the bus; because it’s a good way to make sure you see the entire city.
Although I do love touring places the buses don’t go, I ultimately really enjoyed our bus tour and I would prefer doing that and then walking to other lesser-visited places if we have time left in that city. Here are some of the best photos I’ve taken while touring on a hop on/hop off bus! Can’t get views like this on the street;