One of the best ways to get oriented to a city, especially on a first visit, is by taking a Hop-On Hop-Off Tour. These tours enable you to get oriented to the layout of the city, see some of the major sites, and learn interesting facts from the tour guide along the way. They are flexible, too, enabling you to “hop off” to explore a site longer, then “hop on” at another point to continue. These tours are especially popular with visitors who are only in the city for a short time. To get you started, here is your guide to the 10 best Hop-On Hop-Off Tours.
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There is a certain type of traveler—we don’t have a name for them—who have a benevolent streak that co-exists quite happily with a hunger for travel and love for a bargain. This strange mix finds its expression when the opportunity arises to visit a place where some sort of calamity has struck, and they see the chance to do some good, while at the same time enjoying low prices, sparse crowds and grateful locals.
There is no better current example of a place matching this description than Athens.
For its price I think the Rome Hop-on Hop-off Double Decker Bus Tour is the best little tour of Rome you can get. Being on the top deck means you get a great perspective of some of the greatest monuments in the city. The audio commentary–despite not being recorded and not from a live guide–comes on at the right moment and is clear and very informative.
Rome – like most Old World cities – is notoriously difficult to navigate because of its many intertwined layers of urban design, stretching back from antiquity to today. This is part charm, part treachery, for while it is certainly a thrill to wander in a place so beautiful and rich in history, it is also common to find distraught travelers bickering in the heat over wrinkled maps.
In fact, the centro storico (historic center) is not so sprawling or unpatterned as it first appears. I found this Hop-on Hop-off Double Decker Bus Tour to be an excellent orientation guide to the city, providing a pleasurable overview of key sites, with an insightful audio commentary and fresh breeze to boot. This video gives you a taste of the many places you can see and visit easily and quickly.
If you want to view the sights in this beautiful Italian city, then there’s no better way than to board the Verona Hop on-Hop off bus and relax in the comfort of the open top deck. Listen to the multi-lingual commentary, enjoy the stunning scenery and jump on and off at an array of stops of historical interest and with breathtaking views.
Fans of TV shows and movies, especially those with a Big Apple backdrop, will have a lot of fun on this 3-hour-plus New York TV and Movie Sites Tour. I know I did! Jam-packed with more than 60 instantly recognizable sites, the tour is not only highly entertaining but also gets you oriented to New York City in a truly unique way.
As a San Francisco local, I will admit that I often times resent tourists. Tourism does drive our economy and pump money into the city, but when I am running down the Embarcadero and dodging those said tourists, I admit that I grumble to myself. I think that it can be a natural reaction as a local; to feel a step above tourists because you know the ins and outs of the city you call home.
I’ve been a fan of the Hop-On, Hop-Off tour for ages; the benefits are outstanding and the only downside a lingering worry for some that they might be a little, well, déclassé. Nonsense to that, I say!
So, I was in Sydney last week and took up an invitation from our team there to check out the latest sightseeing innovation – why did it take so long for someone to think of this? – in the form of a harbour-based Hop-On Hop-Off tour. It didn’t hurt that I chose a perfect Sydney winter’s day – the sort that leaves you with an unexpected tan – or that the harbour seemed to be full of activity. On second thought, the harbour is always that way, it’s just that some days seem extra alive.
It would be fair to say that I’m usually a little sceptical about hop-on, hop-off bus tours. They’ll often not cover anything in much detail and thus lack the sink-the-teeth-in factor that a really fascinating tour has. But in a big city like Athens, sometimes it isn’t the detail you need – it’s the overview. And that’s where the quick flit round comes into its own. Working out what fits where, and what you’d actually like to see in more detail is the key thing.