Rome open top hop-on hop-off tour buses

Make an informed choice - 5 ho-ho bus lines in Rome compared


Rome hop-on hop-off City Sightseeing Sightseeing buses

City Sightseeing: popular choice for Rome hop-on hop-off buses

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At the moment there are no less than five hop-on hop-off tour (ho-ho) sightseeing buses operating daily throughout the year in Rome.


Choosing the best hop-on hop-off bus

All of Rome's ho-ho buses at first study offer a very similar product. In terms of coverage and vehicles used they are very similar.


Especially around places like Termini Station and the Vatican there is a very high chance you will be approached by a tout in the street selling one of Rome's hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tours.

The last thing you want to be is hustled into a hop-on hop-off tour by a tout that loiters around the main pick-up points or purchase the tour from your hotel or agent pushing the tour paying most commission.


This page attempts to explain the basics so the Rome hop-on hop-off tour you choose is an informed choice.

If hop-on hop-off buses are an attractive way for you to get around the sites in Rome, you may also be interested in combined tickets that bundle hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses with public transport passes.

 

Hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus similarities

All the operators use very similar double deck open top buses. Each passenger will get a disposable audio device for commentary along the way with a choice of at minimum 6 languages.


The main stops are at Termini Station and the Vatican, in terms of where the routes start and finish and where most staff are located with some companies having offices. Most buses have their first bus departing Termini around 9am with the last bus leaving at around 5 pm or soon after, in the summer months around 7 pm.


On Sundays there are often road closures that may affect routes and availability of stops to all operators. Most operators will operate a slightly different route at the weekends to the route during the week.

 

Most operators will sell you a ticket of 24, 48 or 72 hours duration from the time you start. Big Bus being the exception whose tickets are calendar days. You can board at any stop showing your ticket either paper or on your mobile.


Choosing the right Hop-on Hop-off bus

  • Big Bus is the most complete operator in terms of what is included in your ticket. Big Bus offers a programme of walking tours daily and a separate service to the south of the city visiting the Catacombs of San Sebastiano, Via Appia Antica and the Baths of Caracalla. We offer our own exclusive 10% discount code in addition to a 10% discount for booking on-line.

  • Roma Cristiana is operated by an organ of the Vatican - the tour is orientated towards those with a religious interest and is the only operator that goes out to San Giovanni Basilica south of the city centre.

  • I Love Rome offers a myriad of cheaper ticket options with restrictions. The cheapest option is for 1 lap of the circuit after 3 pm without getting off the bus (no hop-on hop-off), others include a one calendar day (as opposed to 24 hour) ticket and a 5 hour ticket.

  • If you do not need a the hop-on, hop off facility and just want to ride the bus one lap of the tour route you can save money by buying one lap tickets without hop-on or hop-off from I Love Rome and Roma Cristiana.

  • If you have a full day to sightsee you can save money by buying a one calendar day ticket rather than a 24 hour ticket available from I Love Rome, Panoramic and Roma Cristiana.

  • If you have kids it is worth looking at age bands for child fares, the different operators have significant differences in rules for age bands for children.

Our reference benchmark hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus route

City Sightseeing Rome Sightseeing Bus Route Map

2018 map: City Sightseeing bus route map (PDF Format)

All of Rome's hop-on, hop-off sightseeing operators offer a very similar core bus route, stopping at Rome's must see attractions.


We use the City Sightseeing operator as the reference route. In the text below we highlight if any operator offers anything beyond this core sightseeing bus route..


City Sightseeing reference tour stops

1. Via Marsala (Termini station)

2. Santa Maria Maggiore (Basilica)

3. Colosseo (Colosseum and Ancient Rome)

4. Circo Massimo (Circus Maximus)

5. Piazza Venezia (Capitoline Museums, Pantheon)

6. Vaticano (Vatican City)

7. Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain)*

8. Piazza Barberini (for Spanish Steps, Villa Borghese)*

*At weekends the bus skips the Trevi Fountain stop and stops above the Spanish Steps. Walk to Trevi Fountain from Piazza Barberini or Spanish Steps in around 10-15 minutes.


Big Bus Rome tour bus

Route coverage over benchmark route: Coverage similar to City Sightseeing, with separate weekday and weekend routes around Trevi Fountain area. 8 stops

Free walking tours: A programme of free walking tours will take you on informative walking tours of some of the city's most famous landmarks. These walks are exclusively reserved for Big Bus Tours Rome guests and are included free with your Big Bus Tours ticket.

Catacombs & Caracalla Circuit: Separate service included in tickets (except 1 day ticket) city centre. Main stops outside the city being the Catacombs & Church of San Sebastiano, Via Appia Antica and the Baths of Caracalla.

Ho-ho ticket options: 1, 2 or 3 days. 10% on-line discount + 10% discount code from this web site

Redeeming your ticket: On boarding first bus. Ticket valid any day 6 months from purchase.

Child ticket agebands: 5-15 years

First departure: 8:30 am - 9 am (Termini Station) depending on season

Last departure: 5- 7 pm depending on season

Frequency: Every 10-20 minutes

Audio languages: English, Italian, Spanish, French, German, Brazilian Portuguese, Mandarin, Arabic and Russian.

Other comments: Free wi-fi


Big Bus Rome Rome Hop On, Hop Off Open Top Tour Bus Tickets

City Sightseeing hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus

Tickets: 24, 48 & 72 hour tickets, plus attraction combos (see below)

Ho ho ticket options: HoHo and attraction combo passes available combining a 48 hour ticket with entrance to the Vatican Museums or the Colosseum or St Peter's.

Child ticket agebands: 5-15 years

First departure: 9am (Termini Station)

Last departure: 5pm (Termini Station) 7pm April to October

Frequency: Every 15 minutes

Redeeming your ticket: On boarding first bus. Both printed and electronic vouchers (e-vouchers) accepted. If you travel with a mobile device, simply show your Photo ID and present your e-voucher on your Smartphone or tablet on the day of travel.

Audio languages: Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Japanese

Other comments: Free wi-fi

 

City Sightseeing Rome Hop On, Hop Off Open Top Tour Bus Tickets

 

Hop-on hop-off Bus plus attraction ticket bundles - save time and money

For nearly all first time visitors to Rome, St Peter's, the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum are must visit places on their itinerary.


You can purchase all in one tickets for the following combinations:

- 48 hour hop-on hop-off bus + audio guided tour of St Peter's Basilica

- 48 hour hop-on hop-off bus + skip-the-line entrance to the Colosseum and entrance to the Roman Forum

- 48 hour hop-on hop-off bus + Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

- 48 hour hop-on hop-off bus + tickets for all 3, St Peter's Basilica, Vatican Museum and Colosseum

 

City Sightseeing Rome Hop On, Hop Off Open Top Tour Bus Tickets


I Love Rome Hop On Hop Off Open Top Sightseeing Bus

I Love Rome Panoramic Rome tour bus

The extensive hop-on hop-off Panoramic route comprises nine stops and encompasses must-see attractions all around Rome. The tour is tape-recorded and individual earphones are at your disposal.

Route coverage over benchmark route: Very similar to City Sightseeing, 9 stops

Ho-ho ticket options: As well as the classic 24,48 and 72 hour options there are a myriad of cheaper options. The cheapest option is for 1 lap of the circuit after 3 pm without getting off the bus (no hop-on hop-off), others include a one calendar day (as opposed to 24 hour) ticket and a 5 hour ticket.

Child ticket agebands: 6-13 years

Frequency/ departures: every 10-15 minutes from 8.30am to 6.40pm April to October, 4.55pm in the winter months.

Redeeming your ticket: On boarding first bus. Both printed and electronic vouchers (e-vouchers) accepted. If you travel with a mobile device, simply show your Photo ID and present your e-voucher on your Smartphone or tablet on the day of travel.

Audio languages: Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Russian, Portuguese, Hindi, Arabic and Dutch.

Other comments: Free wi-fi


I Love Rome Rome Hop On, Hop Off Open Top Tour Bus Tickets
Panoramic Tour Bus Rome Hop On Hop Off Open Top Sightseeing Bus

Panoramic tour bus

A budget offering, the service covers all the main sightseeing icons of Rome with 9 stops.

Ho-ho ticket options: 24 and 48 hour tickets. As well as the classic 24 and 48 hour options there is a cheaper one calendar day option.

Child ticket agebands: 6-12 years

First departure: 9am (Termini Station)

Last departure: 6.30pm (Termini Station)

Frequency: Every 10-20 minutes

Redeeming your ticket: On boarding first bus. Both printed and electronic vouchers (e-vouchers) accepted. If you travel with a mobile device, simply show your Photo ID and present your e-voucher on your Smartphone or tablet on the day of travel.

Audio Languages: Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese and Japanese)


I Love Rome Rome Hop On, Hop Off Open Top Tour Bus Tickets

The Roma Cristiana tour bus

Roma Cristiana Rome Hop On Hop Off Open Top Sightseeing Bus

The Roma Cristiana Tour is the most “different” of the main operators. Roma Cristiana is part of Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi (ORP), a branch of the Vicariate of Rome, an organ of the Holy See, directly overseen by the Cardinal Vicar to the Pope.

Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi offer a range of specialist tours for pilgrims and reflecting their ownership focus on the needs of the pilgrim.

Roma Cristiana Bus - Full Details


Route Coverage Over Benchmark Route: Roma Cristiana has 14 stops. Operated by an organ of the Vatican the tour is orientated towards those with a religious interest and is the only operator that goes out to San Giovanni Basilica.

Ho-ho ticket options: 24, 48, 72 hour, 1 day and one circuit tickets

Child ticket agebands: Under 10 free, no child ticket.

First departure: 9am (Termini Station)

Last departure: 6pm (Termini Station)

Frequency: Every 10-15 minutes

Redeeming your ticket: You need to print out your voucher after purchase and present it at an office of Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi (ORP), the main office being on St Peter's Square itself within the Vatican.

Audio languages: Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Portugese, Polish and Russian

Other comments: Free wi-fi


Roma Cristiana Rome Hop On, Hop Off Open Top Tour Bus Tickets

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