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Hop-on Hop-off Budapest Bus Tours Compared

Which Budapest Bus Tours Are Best?

Updated: September 1, 2023

This post covers each of the hop-on-hop-off tours in Budapest, Hungary.

We include details about tour routes, landmarks you’ll see along the way, prices, and opportunities to save money on tickets.


BUDAPEST HOP-ON HOP-OFF TOURS

The following section provides information about each of the hop-on-hop-off tours in Budapest, Hungary. 

If you’re looking for ways to save money on tickets, make sure to check our deals and discount section.


Big Bus Tours

This is one of the most popular open-top bus tour companies in the world, and they offer one of the best Hop-on Hop-off services in Budapest.

There are a total of 21 stops spread across two routes including locations like Buda Castle, the Szechenyi Baths, Lukacs Baths, St. Stephen’s Basilica, Parliament, Dohány Synagogue, Castle Garden, Hungarian State Opera House, Hungarian Parliament Building, Astoria, Castle Hill, and more.

Guests can expect to enjoy panoramic views of Budapest from the top of this open-top tourist bus.

The tour is available via pre-recorded commentary/audio guide in these languages: 

Hungarian, English, Italian, Japanese, Arabic, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Greek, and Hebrew.

Tickets are available for 1-3 days, and each ticket type includes at least one additional activity for free, making them similar to a discount combo package!

Two of the three ticket types (Essential and Explore) are fully flexible, which means you can change your ticket date to another travel date within 14 days of your original date, up to 72 hours before beginning your bus tour.

Discover Ticket 

  • 1-Day Hop-on Hop-off Tour
  • Guided Budapest Walking Tour
  • Danube River Cruise
  • 10% off with no coupon code required
    • €32.40/Adults | €29.20/Children (ages 6-18)
    • €108.50/Family (2 Adults, 2 Children)

Essential Ticket 

  • 2 Day Hop-on Hop-off Tour
  • Guided Budapest Walking Tour
  • Danube River Cruise
  • Fully Flexible
  • 10% off with no coupon code required
    • €36.90/Adults | €33.20/Children (ages 6-18)
    • €123.60/Family (2 Adults, 2 Children)

Explore Ticket 

  • 3 Day Hop-on Hop-off Tour
  • Guided Budapest Walking Tour
  • Danube River Cruise
  • Fully Flexible
  • 10% off with no coupon code required
    • €41.40/Adults | €37.30/Children (ages 6-18)
    • €138.70/Family (2 Adults, 2 Children)

Purchase Big Bus admission or learn more.

If you buy tickets and decide not to take the tour, there’s no need to worry – you can return them for a full refund and free cancellation up to 24 hours before your tour begins.

You can also save money on tickets by taking advantage of a combo package which we will cover in greater detail in our deals and discount section.


Tour Routes

The main route offered by Big Bus Tours is their red line, and it includes almost every stop (20 out of 21) in the city.

The included commentary provides a general overview of Budapest and it takes 1 ½ hours to complete.

The second route is their blue line, and it focuses entirely on the citadel and Buda Castle.

There are only 3 stops on this tour, but it’s a great option if you want to learn more about this specific area of the city – and it takes just 30 minutes.


City Sightseeing

Like their competitors, this company is also well known for providing outstanding hop-on hop-off tours all over the world including Budapest.

There are a total of 21 stops spread across 2 routes, including popular locations like St. Stephen’s Basilica, Heroes’ Square, the Citadel, Buda Castle, Great Market Hall, Great Synagogue, and more.

The included audio commentary is available in these 16 languages: Hungarian, English, Spanish, Turkish, Chinese, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Arabic, Polish, Portuguese, and Russian.

Tickets are available for 1-3 days and each ticket option includes extra activities and attractions for free, almost like a tourist pass or combo deal.


 24 Hour Ticket

  • 1-Day Hop-on Hop-off Tour
  • Free Budapest Walking Tour
  • Danube River Cruise
  • Discount Booklet
    • €36/Adults | €28.80/Children & Students | Children 5 and under Free

48 Hour Ticket

  • 2 Day Hop-on Hop-off Tour
  • Free Budapest Walking Tour
  • Danube River Cruise
  • Discount Booklet
    • €41/Adults | €32.80/Children & Students | Children 5 and under Free

72 Hour Ticket

  • 3 Day Hop-on Hop-off Tour
  • Free Budapest Walking Tour
  • Danube River Cruise
  • Discount Booklet
    • €46/Adults | €36.80/Children & Students | Children 5 and under Free

Purchase City Sightseeing admission or learn more.

Even if you decide not to take the tour after purchasing tickets, you can still return them up to 24 hours before the service begins for a full refund.

This bus tour is included with at least one tourist pass, allowing you to save some money on admission.

We’ll cover this and other savings opportunities in our deals and discount section.


Tour Routes

The longest route offered by City Sightseeing is their red route which includes 21 stops. The audio commentary provided includes basic information about Budapest.

It takes about 1 ½ hours to complete the route.

 Alternatively, you can also take the yellow route which includes 10 stops throughout the city including some not found on the other service such as Corvin Plaza and Corinthia Hotel.

This circuit will take about 1 hour to finish.


NIGHT BUS TOURS

Each of the Budapest Hop-on Hop-off bus tour companies also offers panoramic night tours which cover some of the most notable sites after the sun goes down. 

While you can’t jump off and on the bus at your leisure on these tours, they are an ideal option if you’re short on time or you want to see popular landmarks lit up after dark.


Big Bus Tours

In addition to their daily Hop-on Hop-off service, this company also offers a bus tour after dark which covers a lot of the most notable sites in the city. 

The main difference to keep in mind is that their panoramic night tour does not include the option to jump off the bus and explore at your leisure.

Instead, this is a closed-circuit trip that takes roughly an hour to complete.

While on this night tour, you can expect to see landmarks such as the Chain Bridge, St. Stephen’s Basilica, and Heroes’ Square all lit up at night.

The audio commentary provided is available in the same languages as their daily Budapest Hop-on Hop-off buses.

Admission can be purchased individually, but they are also included with Deluxe 3-Day tickets.

NOTE: This tour is not currently available as of June 2022.

If you decide not to take this tour, tickets can be returned for a full refund up to 24 hours before the service begins.

This tour is not included on any discount pass, so the best way to save money on admission is by getting it for free with a Deluxe ticket.

Night tours begin and end at St. Stephen’s Basilica, it covers dozens of landmarks on both sides of the Danube River.


City Sightseeing

This company also provides night tours by bus in Budapest which allow you to experience the best landmarks in the city after the sun goes down.

One thing that sets this service apart from its competitors is that it lasts for almost 2 full hours, so it’s twice as long.

City Sightseeing’s night tour follows the same route as their red line and it includes a variety of sites such as the Citadel, St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Chain Bridge, and more.

The only difference between this and their main daily tour is that it takes place at night and you can’t jump off to explore the city at your leisure.

Audio commentary is provided in the same languages as their daily Hop-on Hop-off tours.

Admission is included with both their 2 and 3-day tickets, but it can also be purchased individually.

NOTE: This tour is not currently available as of June 2022.

Even if you’re not sure you want to take this tour, you can purchase tickets without fear and return them up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.

Some tourist passes include deals on the 2 and 3-day Hop-on Hop-off tours from City Sightseeing which cover the cost of this night tour.

Check our deals and discount section for more details.

Much like their competitors, this tour also begins and ends at St. Stephen’s Basilica and covers dozens of notable sites on both sides of the Danube River.


DEALS AND DISCOUNTS

This section will help you learn more about the best ways to save money on tickets for both Hop-on Hop-off tours and night bus tours. 

Don’t forget that each 2 and 3-day admission provided by both Big Bus Tours and City Sightseeing includes additional activities at no extra cost!


Tourist Passes

Some of the best Hop-on Hop-off tours are included either at a discount or at no extra cost with both major Budapest tourist attraction discount passes, like the Budapest Card.

If you’re planning to visit multiple locations or enjoy a variety of activities while in this city, using a tourist pass could save you a lot of money on general admission prices.

Depending on which pass you choose and how you use it, you could save 20% - 50% off or more on the following services:

  • Danube Wine Tasting Cruise | €33
  • Budapest Tuk Tuk Tour | €47
  • Organ Concert in St. Stephen’s Basilica | €20
  • Szechenyi Thermal Baths | €21
  • Gellert Thermal Spa & Bath | €22
  • Budapest Caving Adventure | €44
  • Miniversum Theme Park | €11
  • Museum of Fine Arts | €9.50
  • The Ludwig Museum | €4.75
  • Hungarian National Museum | €7.75
  • City Park Segway Tour | €32
  • Budapest Night Bike Tour | €25
  • and more!

For more information about how to use a tourist pass and how much money you can save, make sure to read our post covering Budapest tourist attraction discount passes.


PROS AND CONS

In this section, we will cover a few factors you may want to consider before taking a hop-on-hop-off bus tour of Budapest. 

If you’re trying to decide whether or not this tour will fit your needs and meet your expectations, take a look at our list of pros and cons.


PROS

Here are just a few of the things you might love about taking a hop-on-hop-off bus tour in Budapest, including some of the reasons that these are ultimately positive features.


Excellent Overview of the City

Whether you’re short on time or you just want to learn some general details about Budapest, a hop-on-hop-off bus tour is a great way to become familiar with the city.


Explore at Your Own Pace

While the tours themselves typically last between 1-2 hours, your ticket is good for days at a time, giving you the opportunity to jump off and explore various landmarks at your own speed.


Get Around the City

Since Hop-on Hop-off tours stop at most of the popular landmarks you will likely want to see, you can use this service as a way to travel between locations. 


CONS

Although most people will be able to find at least one good reason to take a hop-on-hop-off bus tour, there are a few negatives you should consider first.


No Guaranteed Seat

While fully guided bus tours and other outings in Budapest will allow you to pay for a seat by the window, seats on these double-decker buses are first come, first serve.

During busy periods of the year, you might only have standing room.


Not Very Extensive

If you’re looking for more than just a basic overview of the city, you won’t necessarily get it from a hop-on-hop-off bus tour.

These services typically only offer a few details about each of the locations you’ll see on the trip.


Inefficient Tour

Anyone short on time won’t be able to take advantage of the ability to hop on or off at your leisure and take an entire day to explore the city at their own pace.

For a more efficient option, consider a guided walking tour, bike tour, segway tour, and more.

NOTE: Night bus tours don’t allow you to hop off, so they can be a pretty efficient alternative.


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About The Author

Boglarka Bordas

Boglarka is a tour guide and content writer. While obtaining her degree in Professional Writing from The University of Texas at San Antonio, she visited DC and went on her very first Free Tours by Foot. She loved it so much that she has been part of FTBF since 2015. Working as a guide has given her the freedom to travel, including trips to the Bunny Island off Japan, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, eating her way around Italy, hunting for the Loch Ness monster in Scotland, and finally seeing her first Broadway show in New York. Her family is from Hungary - Boglarka means Buttercup in Hungarian!
Updated: September 1st, 2023
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