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. 




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, and make note of places, museums, plazas, cafes or parks you want to spend more time with. 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.
Many day tours can only hit so many major attractions within their 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 place you are staying, what's going on in the street culture and how you can get around in the case you want to rent a car or use public transportation.
WE LOVE TO roam without feeling time constraints, but if we want to get the best bang for our dollar or euro, and best use of our time, we opt for the hop on and off tours.  We look at them as an initiation. And we've learned that a narrated tour gives us much more information than we could glean when left to our own devices.
Convenience, education and a variety of sights are three major plusses.
We recently had wonderful hop on and hop off tours in Barcelona, Porto, Lisbon, Amsterdam and Paris.
Just moments off their flight to Lisbon, Keller and Cookie
booked a hop on and hop off tour for the next morning.
Camaraderie, sparking an interest, expertise, stress free, active/exercise.
OKAY, TOURS of any kind are not for everyone, and at the same time, not all tours are created equal. While I might thrive on a wine tasting tour, someone else might prefer a brewery tour, or adore a tour that deals with street art in an off-the-beaten path area of your city. It’s not a one size fits all approach, and that’s that's the beauty of a hop on and hop off bus tour. You'll pass all these places and can return or book a specific interest tour.
Check out the options before you go, and you can often book one right from the airport when you arrive in Lisbon, Amsterdam, Munich, Copenhagen, Paris or most major cities around the world, including the United States.
This portly gentleman was photographed from
one of our recent hop on and off tours in
Madrid, Spain, on a sunny autumn day.
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 get beneath the surface of a 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. Sometimes it’s nice to just put the phone down and perhaps even turn it off. It’s lovely to make note of what you and your friends or family or tour group might find with the help of someone who, in all likelihood, knows just what path to take you down.;;
or check out the individual cities tourist bureaus

Northern Portugal is a wonderful place to visit for a few days
or a week.  This charming village, Valenca, is a charming
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, 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.