Which is the best hop-on hop-off bus in Budapest? Big Bus vs City Sightseeing

Delve into the city's vibrant culture with Budapest hop-on-hop-off bus tours. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, these buses offer a convenient and relaxing way to explore the city's museums and landmarks. With informative, multilingual audio guides on board, you will also learn more about the city’s past. Hop on and off at your leisure and explore the city at your own pace!

Both the Big Bus and City Sightseeing tours cover all major attractions, from the Castle District to Margaret Island, and Hungarian State Opera, St. Stephen’s Basilica, and more. But which one reigns supreme for your Budapest itinerary? Here’s a breakdown of their routes, stops, and included facilities to help you make an informed decision.

Your Budapest hop-on-hop-off tour operators compared

Operating Hours
Book Tickets
Big Bus
Red Route
Clock icon
9am to 5pm
10 to 20 mins
Danube sightseeing cruise (optional) and round-trip transfers to and from the Budapest Airport to the Keleti railway station
City Sightseeing
Red & Green Routes
Clock icon
9am to 6pm
10 to 15 mins
Danube sightseeing cruise (optional)

Which Budapest hop-on-hop-off tour is best for you?

If you are on a budget

Big Bus hop-on-hop-off buses are more affordable than other tours. However, the City Sightseeing buses cover both Red and Green routes, passing by Astoria, Anker Lane, Nyugati station, Liszt Ferenc Square, as well as Keleti station. The sightseeing cruise is a cost-effective addition, where you can spot several historic sights along the river bank. The guided walking tour also helps you save a pretty penny, as you can observe the landmarks up close and learn about their history at no extra cost.

  • Big Bus hop-on-hop-off bus tour with Danube River cruise
  • City Sightseeing hop-on-hop-off bus tour with Danube River cruise

If you are short on time

Hop-on-hop-off bus tours are ideal for visitors who do not have much time but want to tick off as many places as they can from their wishlist. If you only have a few hours on hand, invest in Big Bus tours, which include round-trip transfers to and from the Budapest Airport and the Keleti station. Keleti is a few minutes away from popular sights like the Parliament, Shoes on the Danube, the Hungarian State Opera, and others. You can choose transfers from the airport to the City Center and stroll down Vaci Street to browse boutiques, souvenir shops, and cafes.

  • Big Bus hop-on-hop-off tour with miniBUD airport shuttle round-trip tickets

If you want to explore in-depth

If you are in the city for a few days and want to make the most of your visit, consider booking the Big Bus hop-on-hop-off city card combo. You can make unlimited use of the city’s public transport and enjoy free entry access to several major museums and landmarks. The City Sightseeing hop-on-hop-off tour passes by over 25 stops throughout the Red and Green route, making it ideal for visitors looking to explore more of the city. 

  • Budapest card combo with Big Bus hop-on-hop-off tour
  • City Sightseeing hop-on-hop-off bus tour with Danube River cruise

If you are looking for a unique experience

If you want to experience a slice of Hungarian culture, choose Big Bus tours, which includes access to the Szechenyi spa. The Budapest thermal baths are famous around the world for their healing properties. Their grand Neo-Renaissance architecture is also a huge draw for history enthusiasts. With several wellness pools and sauna services, Szechenyi is the perfect place for visitors looking for a unique relaxing experience in the city.

  • Big Bus hop-on-hop-off bus tour with Szechenyi Spa full-day entry tickets

Note: The Big Bus and City Sightseeing bus tours including a Danube sightseeing cruise offer flexible cancellation facilities. If you book these tickets online, you can cancel them up to 24 hours before the experience begins, and get a full refund on your purchase.

A detailed look at Budapest hop-on-hop-off tours

Choosing your perfect Budapest hop-on-hop-off tour can be quite overwhelming and confusing, given the plethora of options available. Here are a few more details about the biggest tour operators in the city to help you narrow down your options.

  • Stops and route details: The City Sightseeing hop-on-hop-off bus tour passes through 25 stops across the Red and Green route, crossing Andrassy Avenue, Astoria, and the Keleti railway station. With these tickets, you can explore the entire Castle District, Vaci Street, City Park, and its surrounding areas. 
  • Includes public transport access: The Big Bus city card combo is a game-changer for visitors looking to spend a few days in the city. You can use their public transport system and cover attractions like the Fairy Tale Museum, Ethnography Museum, and Zelnik Gold Museum, which are slightly farther away from the Castle District. 
  • Extended validity: If you are unsure about your itinerary and day of visit, book City Sightseeing hop-on-hop-off tours. They are valid up to 12 months from the date of your purchase. 
  • Wheelchair accessibility: The Big Bus and City Sightseeing tours, including Danube sightseeing cruises, are accessible to visitors in wheelchairs. You can contact the service provider in advance to help you up the steps. Please note that a bus can only accommodate one wheelchair visitor, meaning if there is another wheelchair user on board, you have to take the next bus. 
  • Multilingual audio guides: Both the Big Bus and City Sightseeing buses offer audio guides in over 16 languages. It is perfect for visitors who want to learn about the landmarks at their own pace in their native tongue. 
  • Round-trip transfers: If you have elderly visitors or travelers with limited mobility in your group, choose Big Bus tours with transfers to and from the Budapest Airport. You can choose your drop-off points and take advantage of the ample luggage space. 
  • Walking tours: All Big Bus and City Sightseeing hop-on-hop-off bus tours include guided walking tours with a professional, English-speaking tour guide. Opt for the Big Bus Budapest card combo with 2 guided tours for a deeper understanding of the city’s history. 
  • Pet policy: Due to cruise restrictions, pets are not allowed on Danube sightseeing cruises. If your furry companion is accompanying you on your visit to Budapest, we recommend you pick the Big Bus hop-on-hop-off bus tour, including round-trip transfers to and from the airport. 
  • Entry access to landmarks: While every hop-on-hop-off bus tour is designed to help you save money, the Big Bus city card combo is perfect for history buffs. With a one-time purchase, you can explore several museums and historic sites within the city.

Are Budapest hop-on-hop-off tours right for you?

Are Budapest hop-on-hop-off tours right for you?
  • Budget-friendly sightseeing at its best: With a one-time purchase, you can explore most of what the city has to offer. If you are planning to visit multiple museums and landmarks, investing in hop-on-hop-off tickets is more economical than paying for individual tickets. 
  • Convenient and flexible: Hop-on-hop-off buses are perfect for escaping the hassle of navigating public transportation or renting a car. These tickets allow you to explore at your own pace. You can get off at any stop, spend as much time as you like at a particular location, and then catch the next bus on the same route. 
  • Includes detailed commentary: All Big Bus and City Sightseeing tours include multilingual audio guides and walking tours. These provide interesting facts and historical context to enhance your understanding of the landmarks you visit. 
  • Pre-planned itinerary: Hop-on-hop-off bus routes typically cover the major attractions in a city. If you are confused about where to start and which places to visit, you can use these designated routes to chalk out your Budapest itinerary
  • Suitable for all: These buses are accessible to all kinds of travelers, from families with young children to elderly folks, and visitors in wheelchairs. You don’t have to worry about directions, parking, or traffic. The buses allow you to relax and enjoy the sights.

Book Budapest hop-on-hop-off bus tours

Big Bus: 1/2/3-Day Budapest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour with Danube Cruise
Free cancellation
Instant confirmation
Mobile ticket
Flexible duration
Audio guide
More details
City Sightseeing: 24/48/72-Hour Budapest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour with Danube River Cruise
Free cancellation
Extended validity
Instant confirmation
Mobile ticket
24 hr. - 72 hr.
More details
Combo (Save 10%): 24/48/72/96/120-Hour Budapest Card + 1/2/3-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Tickets
Free cancellation
Instant confirmation
Flexible duration
Audio guide
Transfers included
More details
Combo (Save 5%): Big Bus Budapest Hop-On Hop-Off Tour + miniBUD Airport Shuttle Round-Trip Tickets
Instant confirmation
Mobile ticket
Flexible duration
Audio guide
Transfers included
More details

Frequently asked questions about Budapest hop-on-hop-off tours

Which Budapest hop-on-hop-off operators offer the best value for money?

While all Budapest hop-on-hop-off bus operators provide budget-friendly options, the City Sightseeing bus tour offers the best value for money. This bus passes through 25 stops along the Red and Green routes. With this ticket, you can go beyond the Castle District, and explore landmarks near Astoria, Andrassy Avenue, Keleti station, as well as Batthyany Square. 

Are hop-on-hop-off tours worth it?

Budapest hop-on-hop-off bus tours are ideal for first-timers, looking to escape the hassles of public transportation. They run along a designated route, helping you figure out which landmarks you want to visit. They also include add-ons like walking tours, multilingual audio guides, and free Wi-Fi. Depending on the kind of tickets you book, the Big Bus operators also provide round-trip transfers to and from the Budapest Airport to the Keleti station.

What should I keep in mind when booking a hop-on-hop-off tour?

Depending on whether you want convenient transfers, unique cultural experiences, or sightseeing options, book your hop-on-hop-off bus tour. While the Big Bus tours offer a range of options, including round-trip transfers, and access to Szechenyi thermal baths, the City Sightseeing buses cross over 25 stops and pass through both the Red and Green routes.

Are there any additional benefits to choosing Budapest hop-on-hop-off tours?

Besides saving money on individual ticket prices, most Big Bus and City Sightseeing hop-on-hop-off tours include audio guides in over 16 languages, guided walking tours, and free Wi-Fi. These add-ons offer a closer look at the history and cultural significance of the city’s landmarks.

How are hop-on-hop-off tours different from other city tours?

The Budapest hop-on-hop-off bus tours offer a relaxing, budget-friendly, and convenient way to explore the city without the hassle of navigating public transport in a new city. You can customize your itinerary and get off at any stop along the bus’ designated route. These buses run frequently, every 15 to 20 minutes along the same route. After exploring a landmark, you can hop on the next bus and continue your journey.

Can I use my 2-day ticket on any two random calendar days?

No, if you have purchased multi-pass hop-on-hop-off tickets with 48 or 72-hour access, you have to use them on consecutive days.

Are mobile tickets accepted?

Yes, you do not have to print out your hop-on-hop-off bus tickets. Bring a valid identity card and show your email voucher on your mobile phone to board the bus.