Thursday, January 12, 2023

Hop on, hop off bus tours show off a new city to fine advantage

The views from the top floor of "Hop on and Hop Off" buses are usually splendid.
Here, the bus passes under a beautiful ceiling of trees on Las Ramblas in Barcelona. 
Malaga and many other cities offer these popular tours. Check it out next visit!




Hop on and off tourists enjoy a beautiful, sunny afternoon in a new town. 

IF YOU'RE new in town and want to get a good, basic overview of your host city, you can't beat a hop on and hop off bus tour. 
We try to do one in every city, usually on the first full day of our visit. It's a terrific way to get to know your new town, making notes of  museums, plazas, cafes or parks you want to spend more time with.
It's also a great way to remind yourself of why you've returned to a particular city.
USUALLY, a taped narration in many languages allows you to learn in your favorite language.  Sometimes, there's a live guide -- even better.  Always engaging.  Particularly if you're on a limited time schedule, the hop on and off bus tour gives a great overview so you can feel as if you've learned something about your new town, even in a few hours.
THE HOP ON AND off feature also allows one to budget time for return visits to particular spots if you're staying longer.
Most day tours hit a few major attractions within the allotted hours. But if you take a hop on and off bus tour, you are free to do just what the tour says -- hop on and off and roam the city all day.
A "bus top view" here in Funchal, Madeira, is a lovely
way to see the sights of a new town on a sunny day.

  IF YOU ARE a bus aficionado, the first bus tour you take in the new city will give you a clear concept of how the routes work, what places are near to the hotel where you are staying, what's going on in the street culture and how you can get around in case you want to rent a car or use public transportation.
WE LOVE TO roam without feeling time constraints. But if time is short and you want to get the best bang for your dollar or euro, and make optimum use of your time, we recommend the hop on and off tours.  Consider them an introduction. You'll learn a lot. A bus tour gives a crash course of information, much more than a stroll through town can glean.

Convenience, education and a variety of sights are three major plusses of hop on and off tours. Barcelona's is one of the best!
Just moments off their flight to Lisbon, Keller and Cookie
booked a hop on and hop off tour for the next morning.
We recently took wonderful "hop on"  tours in Barcelona, Malaga, Porto, Lisbon, Amsterdam, London and Paris.
Malaga is known for beautiful beaches, stately buildings, a fine
Picasso museum, palm trees, friendly people, flamenco, fun food

It's fun to sit back, listen and learn,  make new friends and leave the driving to others. If you see something you like, hop off. You'll be picked up at the same spot, usually an hour or two hours later.
TOURS ARE not for everyone, and  not all tours are created equal. But a "hop on and off" experience gives an excellent grounding. Perhaps you're interested in art museums or classic architecture. You might prefer a wine tasting or brewery tour. We've taken dozens of  "hop on and off" bus tours.  One of the best is in Malaga, that appealing southern Spain city known for stunning beaches, lively culture and fabulous food. It's also the birthplace of Picasso and boasts a wonderful museum devoted to him. Our last visit was brief but the hop on-off tour was a great "capsule," a reminder of all we love about Malaga.  It made the best use of our time in this popular Andalusian city, with a return to Museo Picasso Malaga.
This portly gentleman was photographed from
one of our recent hop on and off tours in
Madrid, Spain, on a sunny autumn day.
WE SUGGEST securing a top-floor seat on your "hop on-off" bus so you get a good overview and can make notes on what you'd like to see more of. That’s the beauty of hop on and hop off tours. You pass  the highlights and can return to the places that interest you most.
Check out the options. You can often book a "hop on and off" tour right from the airport when you arrive in Lisbon, London, Malaga, Amsterdam, Munich, Copenhagen, Paris or most major cities around the world, including the United States.
TRUE, THE HOP on and off bus tour is not the only way to discover a city, but there are few better or more economical ways to explore a new or familiar destination. If you're touring more than a single day, you can buy two or three-day packages which save money. Figure $30 to $40 a day and as little as $89 for a three-day pass. Each city is different.
We enjoy the way we "tune out" the rest of the world on a hop on and off bus tour. We turn off our phones and simply relax into the rhythm of our new town. It’s lovely to make notes of what you and your partner, friends, family or tour group might enjoy more of.  Drivers are helpful and knowledgeable, too, eager to share the delights of the cities they call home.
PLEASE check out individual cities tourist bureaus. Good way to begin research.

Northern Portugal is a wonderful place to visit for a few days
or a week.  This charming village, Valenca, is a picturesque
town which boasts centuries old architecture and nice people
STORIES ON TAP: Some fun features await from our recent global wanderings: Playing tourist in Los Angeles, charms of a small Portuguese village called Valenca, a perfect day in Malaga, whether to take a ship's tour or not, munching your way through Las Vegas with a delightful food tour, and much more. We're always looking for new ideas so please email us your suggestions, or comment on this page. Enjoy the holidays and please remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh spin and insights on travel, the arts, family, nature and more. As always, we welcome sharing of the stories and links:


  1. We love these buses. Great value, too.

  2. Always take a half day orientation your. Great beginning to a new adventure.