Since we are still getting to know each other, here is another fun fact about me: I love hop on/ hop off bus tours. A hop on/ hop off bus is typically a double decker bus with an open top that travels between popular tourist attractions and sites through different lines. Some buses have a rain cover that retracts, some do not. I don’t care, I love them all. It might be a taboo activity for someone aiming to become a staunch traveler and culture junkie, but the bus tours tend to be my orientation to a new place. Different lines introduce me to the different areas of the city and the distance between places I have seen and read about. However, my love of the buses goes a little deeper because each time I ride, I transform into an action/ landscape photographer. The trick is finding a bus without a cover and also getting a seat in the back on the top-level. Why, you ask? Because when the bus stops and you turn around, there is an unobstructed, panoramic view of this new and fascinating place. The top front is nice with the big window, but that window and all that’s on it shows up in your pictures. Umm…no. I am a master of taking amazing shots while trying to remain balanced and/ or still so I can focus my camera. It doesn’t hurt that the bus height provides a unique photo vantage. The bus is my photography tour and am very proud of the images I am able to capture.
You can’t get these standing on the ground!
The added bonus to my “photo tour” is that the bus also serves as prepaid transportation throughout the city. Hop on/ hop off bus tours are sold in 24 and 48 hour increments. Therefore, if you purchase your ticket at 2 pm on Tuesday, you have unlimited usage until 2 pm Wednesday. After I get a lay of the land and hundreds of photos one day, I use the rest of my time as transportation to different areas and specific tourist spots I want to explore.
- Each line lasts from 1 to 2 hours roundtrip.
- Earphones are provided for the multi-lingual commentaries.
- Maps of the different stops and lines are provided. These are useful throughout your trip as it will help you get to know the city.
- Tickets can be purchased at any stop on any bus line or on tour sites such as Viator and Isango.
- My favorite hop on/ hop off bus tour company is City Sightseeing. I also enjoyed Big Bus Tours in Istanbul, L’Open Tours in Paris and Barcelona Bus Turistic (I’ll let you guess where that one is).
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