Europe Italy Rome 4 Best Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours in Rome

4 Best Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours in Rome

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You’ve heard the expression ‘when in Rome’, but when it comes to getting around in Rome as a tourist, you might want to avoid the local way of travel. If you’re looking to get around the city to all the top sights, a Vespa or car rental is hardly the most relaxed way to explore. Let’s face it, the streets of Rome are essentially a Mad Max film with very few enforced road rules or etiquette. However, there is one way to get to all the top sights with one transit ticket and a lot less stress, and that’s a hop-on hop-off bus in Rome! 

We here at Road Affair want to make sure you have the most relaxed vacation in the Eternal City, which is why we have crafted this list of the best hop-on hop-off bus tours in Rome. This way you can easily put together your perfect itinerary and get the most bang for your buck! 

These are the best hop-on hop-off buses in Rome:

How Do Rome’s Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours Work?

Hop-on hop-off bus tours in Rome work in a very simple way. First, purchase your ticket to one of the hop-on hop-off bus tour companies. This could be a one-day ticket or a multi-day ticket. Once you’ve got your mobile or printed ticket, head to one of the bus stops, which are located at various popular attractions across the city, and simply show your ticket and hop on the bus. You can opt to jump off at any of the stops or ride the entire loop as a tour! Double-decker bus tours in Rome are a great way to immerse yourself in the city as their open-top top deck allows you to take in all the sights and snap some seriously awesome pictures. Live or pre-recorded audio is always included on board and is a great way to hear interesting tidbits about Rome’s history and architecture. 

Best Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours in Rome

There are several fantastic hop-on hop-off bus tours in Rome, but before we dive into the benefits of each one, we want to remind you the best one will be different for everyone. Before purchasing a ticket for a hop-on hop-off bus tour, first, ask yourself what you’re looking to get out of the experience. For some, a hop-on hop-off bus tour is a great way to explore all the top sights and get familiar with the city if they only have a few short days in Rome. This would mean a one-day pass would be enough. For others, it’s a flexible and affordable way to get around the city, which means a multi-day ticket might be the way to go. It’s also best to figure out which tourist attractions in Rome you are planning on visiting, as tourist passes and combination tickets could offer you savings!

1. Big Bus Rome Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Big Bus is a very recognizable company with buses in over 20 major cities across the world. This popular bus tour is easily one of the best as all their buses have open-top second levels, a lower level with air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, free earphones, and pre-recorded commentary in nine languages. Another great feature of Big Bus is their Big Bus app which shows real-time updates, schedules, and stops all on your phone, making it that much easier to navigate the city using the bus. 

Routes of the Big Bus Tour in Rome

Big Bus tours in Rome follow one hop-on hop-off route (Red Route) with eight different stops at major attractions like the Vatican, the Colosseum, and the Spanish Steps. If you want to ride the whole route as a tour, then it will take roughly an hour and 40 minutes to complete. If you’re looking to jump on and off at several attractions, then Big Bus has got you covered with buses arriving every 11 minutes at stops! 

Red Route (Day Tour):

  • Duration: 1 hour, 40 minutes
  • Frequency: Every 11 minutes
  • First bus: 9 a.m.
  • Last bus: 6:34 p.m.
  • Stops: Termini Railway Station, Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, the Colosseum, Circo Massimo, Piazza Venezia, the Vatican, Ludovisi/Spanish Steps, and Piazza Barberini/Spanish Steps. 

Tickets for the Big Bus Tour in Rome

There are three different types of tickets for Big Bus in Rome, a Discover Ticker, an Essential Ticket, and an Explore Ticket. All tickets purchased for Big Bus are valid not only for Big Bus buses but also for City Sightseeing buses and Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi (ORP) buses, plus you’ll receive a free digital walking tour of the city. 

You can opt to purchase your tickets through the official website or app, or on a third-party seller website like GetYourGuide. We recommend purchasing your Big Bus ticket through GetYourGuide as unlike on the official website, your ticket is 100% refundable up to 24 hours in advance. GetYourGuide also offers a handy feature where you can reserve now and pay later, which is perfect for those who aren’t quite ready to commit their wallets. Tickets on GetYourGuide are the same price as the official website, so you have nothing to lose by purchasing on their website! 

Those traveling with little ones should note that those under the age of five years old will not be required to purchase a ticket. Child tickets are available for kids aged five to 15, but teenagers 16 years or older will need to purchase an adult ticket. 

  • The Discover Ticket allows for unlimited hop-on hop-off travel in a 24-hour period. Ticket prices start at €33 for adults and €16 for children. Purchase tickets or learn more
  • The Essential Ticket is valid for a 48-hour time period with unlimited access to the Red Route. Tickets start at €39 for adults and €19 for children. Purchase tickets or learn more
  • The Explore Ticket is a multi-day ticket valid for 72 hours with unlimited access to the Red Route. A one-hour Panoramic Night Tour is also included in this ticket if you’re traveling between June 1st and October 30th. Ticket prices start at €46 for adults and €23 for children. Purchase tickets or learn more
  • The GoCity Explorer Pass is a fantastic tourist pass that allows you to bundle and save up to 50% on tours, attractions, and transportation with one ultimate pass. You can choose to group anywhere from two to seven attractions, and the more you group the more you save! A 24-hour Discover Ticket for Big Bus is one of the options available, along with entrance to the Leonardo Da Vinci Experience and the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill with an audio tour. Two-attraction Explorer passes start at €74 for adults and €44 for children. Kids aged four or younger do not need a pass. Purchase a pass or learn more

Buy Your Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tickets Now

2. City Sightseeing Rome Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

City Sightseeing is another fantastic Rome tour bus company that offers double-decker buses with free Wi-Fi, pre-recorded commentary in eight different languages, and air conditioning. City Sightseeing also has an app that shares real-time bus schedules, stop maps, and a walking tour of the city available in five languages, making it easy to navigate the bus system and city. 

Routes of the City Sightseeing Tour in Rome

There is one hop-on hop-off route available through City Sightseeing, and that’s the Red Route (Day Tour). The route makes eight stops at several popular attractions, like the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, and the Vatican. It takes just over an hour and a half to ride the full route as a tour. 

If you’re looking to jump on and off the bus to visit attractions, then you can be assured a bus will come to the stop every eight to 16 minutes, depending on the season you are visiting. In the summer high season (April to October), you can expect to see a bus come around every eight minutes. During the winter season of December to March, the bus frequency changes to every 11 minutes. In the low season months of November, January, and February, the bus comes around every 16 minutes. You can keep track of bus frequency and real-time updates by using the ‘Sightseeing Experience’ app. 

Red Route (Day Tour):

  • Duration: 1 hour, 40 minutes
  • Frequency: Every 8-16 minutes (depending on season)
  • First bus: 9 a.m.
  • Last bus: 6:40 p.m.
  • Stops: Terminal A Largo di Villa Peretti or Terminal B Largo di Villa Peretti, Santa Maria Maggiore, the Colosseum, Circo Massimo, Piazza Venezia, Vaticano (Vatican), Fontana Di Trevi (Trevi Fountain), and Piazza Barberini.

Tickets for City Sightseeing in Rome 

Four different types of tickets can be purchased for City Sightseeing, a one-day ticket or a 24-, 48-, or 72-hour ticket. All tickets purchased for City Sightseeing either through a third-party seller or on the official website are valid for City Sightseeing buses, along with Big Bus Rome and Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi (ORP) buses. 

You can opt to purchase your ticket on the official website or a third-party seller such as GetYourGuide. We recommend the ladder as they exclusively offer the most budget-friendly ticket (more on that below), plus you have the option to reserve now and pay later if you aren’t 100% certain you want to pay for the ticket yet. 

City Sightseeing does not require children ages four and under to purchase a ticket as they can ride the bus for free. Kids aged five to 15 can purchase a discounted child ticket, but those 16 or older will need an adult ticket. 

  • The One-Day Ticket is exclusively available on GetYourGuide. Instead of the ticket being valid from 24 hours after your first scan, it will only be valid for the day you purchase it. It will also be valid for unlimited use on all three bus companies’ day tours, and tickets start at €26 per adult and €11 per child. Purchase tickets or learn more.
  • The 24-Hour Ticket allows for unlimited hop-on hop-off travel on the Red Route, along with the other two bus companies’ day tours, for a 24-hour period after your first scan. Tickets start at €33 per adult and €16 per child. Purchase tickets or learn more
  • With the 48-Hour Ticket, you will get unlimited access for two days (48 hours from the first scan) to the City Sightseeing Red Route and the affiliate hop-on hop-off bus companies’ day tours. 48-Hour Tickets start at €39 for adults and €19 for children. Purchase tickets or learn more
  • The 72-Hour Ticket allows you (you guessed it) 72 hours of unlimited access to all three open-top buses in Rome on their day tours. Tickets start at €46 for adults and €23 for children. Purchase tickets or learn more.

Buy Your City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Tickets Now

3. Greenline Tours Rome Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

If you’re looking for a hop-on hop-off in Rome that offers more than one route to ride, then Greenline Tours might be for you. Greenline offers three different routes that you can hop on and hop off at any time, and every ticket purchased can access these routes. On board, you’ll find a multilingual assistant to answer all your questions, free headphones, free Wi-Fi, and pre-recorded audio commentary in 16 different languages. They also have a ‘GLT’ app with updates, schedules, and maps to use. 

Routes of the Greenline Tours in Rome

The three hop-on hop-off routes available with Greenline Tours are Discover Rome (Green Route), Destination Eataly (Orange Route), and Explore Museums (Blue Route). The routes all have a few stops in common, so you can easily switch to another line for your next destination. 

The Discover Rome Route (Green Route) is the line that makes eight stops at the most popular attractions like Vatican City, the Colosseum, and Circus Maximus. The Destination Eataly Route (Orange Route) will take you past 10 stops and through the Testaccio Quarter to the world’s largest Italian food and drink market, Eataly Market. Here, you can truly live out your Eat, Pray, Love dreams by indulging in all the incredible cuisine Italy has to offer. The Explore Museums Route (Blue Route) aims to do just that – take you to the city’s top museums! There are 12 stops along this route, with popular stops including the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, the Maxxi Museum, and Bioparco Zoo. 

Discover Rome (Green Route):

  • Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Frequency: Every 15-30 minutes 
  • First bus: 9 a.m.
  • Last bus: 6 p.m.
  • Stops: Terminal 1A, Santa Maria Maggiore, the Colosseum, Circus Maximus, Piazza Venezia, Vatican City, Villa Borghese, and Barberini Square. 

Destination Eataly (Orange Route):

  • Duration: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Frequency: Every 15-30 minutes 
  • First bus: 8:50 a.m.
  • Last bus: 3:55 p.m.
  • Stops: Terminal 1B, Santa Maria Maggiore, the Colosseum, Circus Maximus, Piazza Venezia, Vatican City, Villa Borghese, Barberini Square, Pyramid/Testaccio Quarter, and Destination Eately. 

Explore Museums (Blue Route):

  • Duration: 1 hour, 50 minutes
  • Frequency: Every 15-30 minutes 
  • First bus: 8:50 a.m.
  • Last bus: 3:55 p.m.
  • Stops: Terminal 1B, the Colosseum, Circus Maximus, Piazza Venezia, Vatican City, Villa Borghese, Barberini Square, Borghese Gallery, Bioparco/Zoo, Villa Giulia – National Etruscan Museum, Auditorium Parco Della Musica, and the Maxxi Museum. 

Tickets for the Greenline Tours in Rome

Greenline Tours has five different types of ticket options, spanning from a three-stop ticket to a 72-hour ticket. Each ticket is available in digital form and allows access to all three hop-on hop-off routes. You can choose to buy your bus tickets on the official website or on a third-party seller site like GetYourGuide. We recommend purchasing through GetYourGuide, especially if you are purchasing for same-day use. On the official website, Greenline Tours often charges extra on the purchase of a ticket intended to be used that same day. However, GetYourGuide does not upsell these tickets. 

Families traveling with little ones aged five or younger won’t need to purchase a ticket for them as they can ride the bus for free. Children ages six through 12 can access the discounted child ticket, but any kid 13 years or older will need an adult ticket. 

  • The One-Day, Three-Stop Ticket allows you to get on and off the bus at three different stops of your choice during a one-day period. Tickets start at €16 for adults and €13 for children. Purchase tickets or learn more
  • The One-Day Ticket allows for unlimited hop on and hop off during one calendar day. Tickets start at €24 for adults and €15 for children. Purchase tickets or learn more.
  • The 24-Hour Ticket allows for unlimited travel for 24 hours from the moment you first scan your ticket to get on board. Ticket prices start at €25 for adults and €15 for children. Purchase tickets or learn more
  • The 48-Hour Ticket gives you unlimited travel for 48 hours from the moment you first scan your ticket to get on board. Prices for 48-hour tickets start at €32 for adults and €19 for children. Purchase tickets or learn more
  • The 72-Hour Ticket will give you 72 hours of unlimited hop-on hop-off access from the moment you first scan your ticket to get on board. Ticket prices start at €39 for adults and €26 for children. Purchase tickets or learn more

Buy Your Greenline Hop-On Hop-Off Tickets Now

4. Gray Line Rome Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Last on our list is Gray Line Rome, which features a fleet of double-decker buses with pre-recorded audio commentary in 13 different languages and free Wi-Fi. They also have open-top roofs with a detachable roof just in case it rains! 

Route of Gray Line Rome

Gray Line Rome offers one hop-on hop-off route known as the Panoramic Bus Tour (Pink Route) which makes eight different stops at popular attractions like the Colosseum Archaeological Area, the Trevi Fountain, and Vatican City. If you want to ride the full route as a tour, the loop will take you about an hour and 45 minutes to complete. If you want to jump on and off at different attractions, then you’ll be happy to know buses come around every 15-20 minutes. 

Discover Rome (Green Route):

  • Duration: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Frequency: Every 15-20 minutes 
  • First bus: 8:30 a.m. from April to October and 9 a.m. from November to March. 
  • Last bus: 6:45 p.m. from April to October and 5:30 p.m. from November to March. 
  • Stops: Stazione Termini, Santa Maria Maggiore, the Colosseum Archaeological Area, Circo Massimo, Vatican City (Sistine Chapel & Castel Sant’Angelo), Spanish Steps, and Piazza Barberini/Trevi Fountain.

Tickets for the Gray Line Tour Bus in Rome

Gray Line Rome offers six different types of ticket options ranging from a four-hour ticket to a 72-hour ticket. All of the tickets except for the One Run Ticket allow for unlimited hop-on and hop-off during the ticket’s validity. 

Kids aged five years or younger can ride the bus for free, but children ages six through 12 will need to purchase a children’s ticket. Teenagers aged 13 or older will need to buy an adult ticket. 

  • The One Run Ticket does not allow you to hop on and hop off the bus. Instead, it is valid only for one full ride on the bus route. Tickets start at €17 for adults and €12 for children. Purchase tickets or learn more
  • The Half-Day Open Ticket allows you unlimited hop-on and hop-off access for a four-hour period starting when you first scan your ticket to get onto the bus. Prices for tickets start at €20 for adults and €14 for children. Purchase tickets or learn more
  • The Panoramic Daily Ticket will give you unlimited hop-on hop-off access during one full calendar day. Ticket prices start at €22 for adults and €15 for children. Purchase tickets or learn more
  • The 24-Hour Ticket will give you unlimited access to hop on and hop off the buses for a 24-hour period starting when you first scan your ticket to board. Prices for tickets start at €30 for adults and €16 for children. Purchase tickets or learn more
  • The 48-Hour Ticket allows you to hop on and hop off as much as you like for 48 hours starting from when you first scan your ticket to board. Prices for tickets start at €34 for adults and €20 for children. Purchase tickets or learn more
  • The 72-Hour Ticket allows you unlimited access to jump on and off the bus as much as you like for 72 hours starting from when you first scan your ticket to get on board. Tickets start at €39 for adults and €27 for children. Purchase tickets or learn more

Buy Your Gray Line Hop-On Hop-Off Tickets Now

Benefits of a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour in Rome

There are several benefits to booking tickets for a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tour in Rome. First off, Rome’s roads are pretty crazy to navigate and drive on as there aren’t many regulations when it comes to road rules. By purchasing a hop-on hop-off ticket, you’ll avoid the stress of driving on crazed roads or navigating yourself around the city using maps. And don’t even get us started on trying to find parking! Another benefit to hop-on hop-off buses is that most are air-conditioned, which is especially a lifesaver in the summertime considering temperatures can get up to 40-degrees-Celsius. This way you can sit and cool down instead of walking to and from attractions. With that in mind, the open-top viewing decks on the hop-on hop-off buses also add an air of coolness and offer some pretty fantastic photo opportunities as you’ll be immersed in the city. 

Hop-on hop-off buses also offer great flexibility so that you can plan your day in advance. Unlike with taxis and rideshare apps, hop-on hop-off buses give you a set rate so that you can budget your holiday accordingly. Not only are the hop-on hop-off buses great because they take you directly to the city’s top attractions, but they also have commentary on board so that you can learn more about the city’s history and monuments! 

Tips for Taking a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus in Rome

As easy as hop-on hop-off buses are in Rome, there are a few ways you can help to make your experience even better. That’s why we have created this quick guide for tips on taking hop-on hop-off buses in Rome. 

  • Plan your day’s attractions in advance so you know which stops to get on and off at and which bus routes to ride. 
  • Download the company’s app in advance or take screenshots of the schedule, routes, and stops. 
  • Dress for the weather, which means lots of sunscreen and water in the summertime, and a light jacket for winter days. Also double check whether it will rain. 
  • Try to avoid riding the hop-on hop-off buses during peak traffic hours as the bus may get delayed. 
  • Make sure you have a fully charged phone for your mobile tickets, otherwise, you may not be able to board. 
  • Review your ticket in advance so you know what is and isn’t included in your ticket. 
  • Try to ride the full loop once during your time on the hop-on hop-off bus so that you get a feel for the city. 
  • Start your day off nice and early to get the most bang for your buck out of your ticket. 

Well there you go, you are now an expert on the best hop-on hop-off bus tour companies in Rome. All you have to do now is figure out which ticket suits you and your travel companions the best. We hope you enjoy all the fantastic tourist attractions in the Eternal City. Arrivederci!

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