Europe

Hop-On Hop-Off Buses Rome Guide: Should I Use Them To Travel?

Updated on:  
July 25, 2021
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4
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Chloe Lay
Chloe Lay
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Before you hop on these hop-on hop-off busses in Rome, learn more about these busses, including the different companies' routes and prices, so nothing will catch you off-guard!

Rome, Italy, is a great city with tons of sights to see and things to do. From the Vatican City to the Colosseum, the Pantheon to the Trevi Fountain, it’s pretty much impossible to be bored!

If you’re planning a trip to Rome, though, you don’t just want to think about what you’re going to be doing, but how you’re going to be doing it. A hop-on-hop-off bus tour is one way to get around the city—but is it the best option? Here at Pilot, we’re all about helping you make the most of your trips, so we’ve put together this helpful guide to hop-on-hop-off buses in Rome. Let’s check it out!

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash


What Is a Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour?

A hop-on-hop-off bus tour is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: It’s a bus that drives around the main tourist sights of a particular city, allowing riders to get on and off as they please so they can easily visit the main attractions.

You’ll find hop-on-hop-off bus tours in many cities with lots of tourists, including Paris, Berlin, Istanbul, and London. The whole concept is loosely based on the classic red double-decker buses that are so famous in London.

As well as providing easy transportation to each tourist sight, most companies that run bus tours like this also include free Wi-Fi, city maps, and audio guides to listen to as you’re driven around. It’s a great way to learn more about the history and culture of a place while you’re on the move.

How Much Are Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tours in Rome?

A number of companies offer bus tours in Rome. They’re all based on pretty much the same model, but there are slight variations between each company. Some of the open-top bus tours you’ll see around the city are:

-     BigBus Rome

-     Grayline Rome (also known as “I Love Rome”)

-     CitySightseeing Rome

-     City Tour Roma

-     Roma Cristiana, run by Omnia Vatican

Each of these companies runs slightly different tours at slightly different prices.

BigBus Rome

BigBus Rome is probably the biggest hop-on-hop-off bus company operating in Rome. Tickets range from €15 to €38 if bought directly from a tour operator, or you can receive a discount if you book online in advance of your departure date. Check out the on-street prices here.

Classic one-day ticket:

-     Adult: €30

-     Child (aged 5–15): €15

Premium two-day ticket:

-     Adult: €34

-     Child (aged 5–15): €17

Deluxe three-day ticket:

-     Adult: €38

-     Child (aged 5–15): €19

These ticket prices include flexible ticket options, free walking tours, pre-recorded commentary, free onboard Wi-Fi, and a hop-on-hop-off ticket that will allow you to see seven of the best sights in Rome.

The BigBus Rome route
Image courtesy of BigBus Tours

I Love Rome

The I Love Rome tour run by Grayline uses bright-pink buses to make it easier for riders to spot their bus while they’re out and about. Buses run every 30 minutes, and there are a number of ticket options available. Children 12 and under always ride free.

Daily ticket:

-     Adult: €22

-     Youth (aged 13–20): €15

24-hour ticket:

-     Adult: €25

-     Youth (aged 13–20): €16

48-hour ticket:

-     Adult: €32

-     Youth (aged 13–20): €20

Single ride ticket:

-     Adult: €17

-     Youth (aged 13–20): €12

5-hour special ride ticket:

-     Adult: €18

-     Youth (aged 13–20): € 13

I Love Rome bus tour route map.
Image courtesy of Grayline

These ticket prices include free walking tours, pre-recorded audio, free onboard Wi-Fi, a detailed route map, and a hop-on-hop-off ticket that will allow you to see seven of the best sights in Rome.

Other Operators

CitySightseeing Rome offers one-day, 24-hour, and 48-hour tickets, ranging from €12 to €32, depending on the length of ticket required and the age of the rider. You’ll also gain access to a free app, which provides a walking tour, Wi-Fi, an audio guide, and a ticket to take you past seven of Rome’s top sights.

Tickets for City Tour Roma are free for children under 12, and they offer single-run, 24-hour, and 48-hour bus tickets. Prices range from €15 to €32, and tickets include free Wi-Fi, an audio guide available in 13 languages, access to an app to track the location of buses, and your transportation to seven famous sights.

City Tour Roma’s bright-pink bus
Image courtesy of City Tour Roma

Roma Cristiana’s bus tour is included in the price of the Omnia Vatican Card, which costs €69 for a 24-hour ticket or €129 for a 72-hour ticket. This higher cost also includes tickets to the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel, as well as entry to a range of other attractions in Rome. You can also buy the bus tour as a standalone ticket for between €12 and €32. This bus tour has more stops than the other providers, and it has a focus on the important religious sites of the city (though it also stops at the key ancient sites like the Colosseum).

How Long Does the Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Take?

Hop-on-hop-off bus tours can be a great way to see the main sights of a city, particularly if you’re in a hurry. If you’re planning to stay for a weekend or just a couple of days, it can be a super convenient way to see the city’s main tourist attractions without necessarily having to make a full visit to all of them.

Most of the tourist bus routes in Rome visit 7 sights, plus the train station. A straight-through ride (i.e., a ride where you don’t get off the bus at any point) takes around 90 minutes. However, if you want to make the most of your tour and get off at each stop, it will probably take much longer—especially if you need to queue up and buy tickets for the main attractions.

Where Do the Hop-On-Hop-Off Buses Stop in Rome?

As mentioned, most of the tour bus companies in Rome stop at seven sights. These are most of the biggest and best-known tourist attractions in the city, so you can feel pretty confident that you won’t be missing out on anything important! The buses stop close to the following sights:

-     Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore

-     Colosseum

-     Circus Maximus

-     Piazza Venezia and Teatro Marcello

-     Vatican City

-     Spanish Steps

-     Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain
Photo by Christopher Czermak on Unsplash


The Cristiana Roma buses don’t stop near the Spanish Steps, but they also stop at these locations:

-     San Giovanni dei Fiorentini

-     Santa Agnese in Agone

-     Torre Argentina

-     Santi Apostoli

-     Santa Maria degli Angeli

-     San Giovanni in Laterano

-     Santa Maria in Ara Coeli 

-     Largo Argentina

What Is the Best Way to Tour Rome?

For many people, a hop-on-hop-off bus tour is the best way to tour a city. It’s so convenient to have transport included in a tour, and you can rest assured that you’ll be covering all the biggest attractions in a city.

For others, though, a hop-on-hop-off bus tour misses the point of a city break. Sure, you’ll get to see the sights from the bus and get some information, but you might also feel like you’re rushing around and missing out on the real Rome.

If you’re thinking that a hop-on-hop-off bus might not be the right fit for you, Rome also has a great public transport network. Single tickets cost just €1.50, or you can buy one- to three-day tourist tickets, which could help you save money if you’ll be using public transport a few times a day.

The center of Rome is also relatively small, and it’s an easy city to explore on foot. There are walking tours available to take you around the city’s highlights, or you can do things the old-fashioned way and simply use a map to find your way around.

Plan Your Trip to Rome

Taking a hop-on-hop-off bus tour can be a great way to go sightseeing in a new city. Sit back and relax as the bus takes you from sight to sight, and listen to the audio guides to learn more about what it is you’re actually seeing.

Whether you’re just visiting Rome or planning to head elsewhere, you'll want to make sure your travel itineraries are intact, especially if you're travelling with family or friends. This is how Pilot can help. We've developed a social itinerary planner that'll help organize all of your travel itineraries, ideas, and documents in one place so that you and your travel buddies can focus on enjoying the trip! Why not give it a try now?

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