Budapest Hop-on Hop-Off Tours

Convenient Bus & Boat Sightseeing in Budapest

a green and red double decker tour bus The Hop On Hop Off tours offer you practical and convenient city sightseeing by bus, showing you the most famous Budapest’s sights.

From the air-conditioned, cool double deckers you can see and learn about the city’s most important historical and cultural monuments.

Guiding is provided through headphones where you can select from several languages to listen to the guide.

No matter what’s the weather like, you’ll be sitting comfortably in the specially designed sightseeing bus and enjoying the city’s panorama.

In nice warm weather you can enjoy the sunshine on the open-top, cabrio buses while in bad weather you’re protected from the cold and rain in the closed vehicle.

You can hop on and hop off at any stop you like.

Here are the most popular bus tours that we tried and recommend to everyone wanting to quickly, efficienetly see all the famous landmarks.

Quick Links: Giraffe Tours – Big Bus Tours – Program centrum Tours – What Travellers Say?

Details: Tour Companies, Itiniearies, Duration, Tickets

Currently three companies operate hop on hop off bs and boat tours in our city:

  • Big Bus Tours – an international company with tours in severaal European cities. Offers a 26-stop bus route departing at every 30 minutes with a boat tour and a night tour included.
  • Giraffe Hop on Hop Off by the Citytour Hop On Hop Off Ltd. – their office is located at 2., Andrássy út district VI. and is open: Mon-Sun: 8.30-18.00. The company was founded in 2008 by the merge of two big local travel agencies: Eurama and Budatours. Today Giraffe offers several tours of various lengths (bus, boat, walk) in and outside the Hungarian capital. They have two daytime hop on hop off bus tours (red line and yellow line), a boat tour, and a night tour.
  • Program Centrum

Each Hop On Hop Off city tour lasts approx. 2 hours, you can hop on and join the tour or get off at any of the stops.

The first tour‘s (includes two bus routes, a boat tour and a night tour) ticket is valid for 48 hours (1. Giraffe Tour, ticket costs 22 EUR/20 EUR), the second tour‘s also for 48 hours (2.  City Circle Sightseeing, ticket is 22 EUR/20 EUR) so you can join the sightseeing when it’s most suitable for you during the 2-day period.

The third tour (3. Big Bus Tour) includes 20 stops and the ticket is valid for 48 hours. Ticket: 27.76 EUR

1. Giraffe Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Tours – 4 Routes

a red, open air Hop on Hop off Sightseeing Bus on Erzsebet Sqr.

You can choose from 4 city tours: 2 during the day, a river tour, and a night tour.

You can choose from 22 languages to listen to the audio guiding:

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

You can join the sightseeing or leave at any stop you want. They also offer a walk tour.

The three colour-coded bus tours are:
  • Red Line – 16 Stops: Departs from József Nádor tér in the city centre, every 30 minues between 9.30 and 14.00, then at 15.00 and 16.00 – it covers all the major sights in 16 stops. Duration 2 hours.
  • Yellow line – 20 Stops: The yellow line departs from Erzsébet Square in downtown, every 30 minutes between 10.00 and 12.00, then at 12.000, 13.00 and 14.000. Includes 20 stops, duration 2 hours.
  • Night Tour: The night tour departs every day at 19.15 in May, September and October, every day at 20.15 in June, July and August. Duration: 1.5 hours. Departure from Dock8 at Vigadó tér (Pest, city centre, Danube Promenade).
  • Boat Tour – tours depart at every 30 minues between 11.30 and 16.30 then at 19.00, 21.00, 22.00. Four additional tours on the weekends (Friday, saturday, Sunday): at 14.00, 15.00, 16.00, 17.00The tour lasts 1 hour.
  • Walk Tour: the 2-2.5 hour tour is every day at 10.00 departing in front of the Opera House on Andrássy Av, No. 22.

Your ticket will be valid for 48 hours.

Tickets: full price: 22 EUR, students: 20 EUR.

Red Line – Itinerary-Main Stops (16):

1. Start:József Nádor tér

The tour starts in downtown Budapest, near most major hotels near the river Danube.

2. Stop: Erzsébet Square – You can change for the Yellow Line.-

Erzsebet ter with the lake and the Budapest eye in the background.A small, centrally located park with a lake and a popular club, concert venue and bistro underneath it: Akvárium Klub.

People bask in the sunshine in good weather sitting on the benches around the lake.

The square is also a frequented by skateboarders – you can view their breakneck stunts all year round.

Budapest latest and most spectacular attraction, the Eye also stands there.

The gigantic Ferris wheel operates almost all year round, every day from 10.00 to 24.00 and offers a stunning view if you dare to take a ride on it.

The park regularly hosts festivals, one of our favourite is the WAMP Gastro & Design Fair on Sundays.

Landmarks: the City Centre, St Stephen’s Basilica

3. Stop. Andrássy út – You can change for the Yellow Line.

At the beginning of Andrássy Avenue, near St. Stephen’s Basilica.

It’s full of dazzling buildings (Opera), mansions and former palaces (mainly Art-Nouveau).

the Hungarian national Opera House on Andrassy ut4. Stop: The Opera House – You can join the walk tour starting at 10.00 every day.

The Hungarian National Opera House is one of Budapest’s top attractions standing on the elegant Andrássy Boulevard.

The neo-Renaissance 19-century building awaits culture lovers with a rich ballet and opera program in two seasons each year. You can explore the interior on guided tours.

 

Liszt Square in summer5. Stop: Liszt Ferenc Square - You can change for the Yellow Line.

Liszt F. Square, just off Andrássy út,  is more of street packed with restaurants and bistros.

It has a lovely plaza with wooden benches and some greenery with the statue of Franz Liszt in its centre.

Landmarks: Music Academy, Budapest’s  ” Broadway” (Theaters).

the Millenium monument and the surrounding statues on Heroes' Sqr6. Stop: Heroes’ Square

Hősök tere is a sprawling plaza at the end of Andrássy avenue, next to City Park.

Numerous statues of Hungarian historic figures and the Millennium monument dominate the square.

Landmarks: two large art museums: Hall of Arts/Műcsarnok and Museum of Fine Arts (currently closed until 2018 due to a major reconstruction project), City Park, Holnemvolt Adventure Park (the former Amusement Park), Hungarian Circus, Vajdahunyad Castle, Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden

7. Stop Keleti Railway Station:

The stop is located near one of the three main train stations, the Keleti Railway Station in district VII.

 

 

 

 

the top of the new York Palace's facade8. Stop: New York Cafe

The legendary coffee house on the ground floor of the New York Palace, stands on Grand Boulevard and is often referred to as the most beautiful cafe in the world.

In its heyday, during the turn of the 19-20 centuries, it was a centre of literary life.

Today it belongs to a luxury hotel, the Boscolo Budapest Autograph Collection, but you can drop by for a coffee and scruptious cake to oggle the laish interior.

9. Stop: Astoria – You can change for the Yellow Line.

Not much to see here, Astoria is a busy transportation centre at edge of the inner city in district VII where Rákóczi út and the Small Boulevard meet. It received its name after the Astoria Grand Hotel that once stood on the corner (today it is the Danubius Hotel Astoria).

Landmarks: The Great Synagogue in Dohány Street is just a few steps from here as well as the Hungarian National Museum on Múzeum krt (on Small Blvd.)

10. Stop: Váci utca

the Hard Rock Cafe in Vaci utcaThe stop is in downtown Pest, right at the main pedestrian shopping street, Váci utca, and a few minutes away from the biggest market hall in Budapest.

Although the street is known for its many shops, cafes and restaurants (altogether around 500) it also offers some historic sights.

The wall of mediveal Pest stood once here.

There’s a lovely baroque church, the Church of St. Michael that hosts organ concerts. Most of the buildings were built inthe 19. century though.

Váci útca end at one of Budapest’s most famous squares, Vörösmarty tér. People on the terrace of Gerbeaud cafeThe marble statue of Hungary’s famous poet Mihály Vörösmarty domintaes the square.

An iconic coffee house and confectionery, the Gerbeaud can also be found here. The square hosts Budapest’s main Christmas fair as well as a spring fair around Easter.

Do stop for a cappuccino (today they prepare coffee from freshly roasted, specialty beans supplied by a local roaster  company, Casino Mocca) and a slice of cake (Dobos, Sacher, or Gerbeaud: layers of yeast-based pastry with home made apricot jam, ground walnuts with a chocolate icing on top) or dessert. Somlói galuska, a classic Hungarian dessert is really nice here.

11. Stop: Várkert Bazaar

Southern palaces in Várkert Bazaar in BudaA Várkert (Castle Garden) at the foot of the Castle Hill in Buda is a relatively new addition to the city’s top landmarks.

The series of buildings deisgned by architect Miklós Ybl at the end of the 19. century had been completely restored in previous years.

Today the former palaces house exhibitions, events, there’s a nice Renaissance-style garden and an escalator that takes you up almost to the Royal Palace.

TIP: You can take some great photos of the Pest side from many points as you explore the area.

the railway of the Funicula rin Buda12. Stop: Funicular, Clark Adam Square – You can change for the Yellow Line.

The Funicular (Budavári Sikló) is a special normal gauge railway vehicle at the foot of Castle Hill that will take you up to the Royal Palace.

The construction was initiated by Ödön Széchenyi, son of the Greatest Hungarian, Count István Széchenyi between 1868 and 1870.

It carries passengers every day between 7.30 and 22.00.

Fares: one-way full price: 1 200 HUF, return: 1 800 HUF, children-one-way (ages: 3-14): 700 HUF, children return: 1 100 HUF. You’ll find more information on the Funicular here.

Landmarks: the “0” km stone on Clark Adam Square, the Chain Bridge

the Castle District of Buda, as seen from Pest13. Stop: Castle district

One of the oldest part of the city dating back to the early middle ages.

Landmarks: the Royal Palace that houses the History Museum and the Hungarian National Gallery, Fishermen’s Bastion, Matthias Church, Szentháromság Sqr., lots of Gothic Medieval and Baroque buildings, charming cafes and bistros. A couple of smaller museums.

the Gellert Hill and the Buda end of the Liberty bridge14. Stop: Gellért Hill

A dolomit rock in Buda with the Liberty Statue and the Citadel perched on its top.

Lots of parks, winding footpaths and wonderful panorama.

Landmarks: Statue of Bishop St. Gellért, the Gellért Baths, fantastic view from the top of the hill, the Citadel fortress

15. Stop: Március 15. Square TIP: You can get on the Blue Boat Line at Dock 8A.

Marcius 15. Square with the Inner City parish Church and Kiosk's terraceMárcius 15. Square is one of our favourite places in the city.

This small plaza along the Danube Promenade offers wonderful views of the Danube with the white graceful Erzsébet Bridge spanning it.

The two-towered Inner City Parish Church is the oldest building of Pest. The first temple was built on Roman ruins of Contra Aquincum in the XI. It was rebuilt and expanded in the follwoing centuries  for many times.

The remains of Contra Aquincum, a Roman fortress from the II. century were moved to a glass covered,underground room during the square’s reconstruction in 2010-11.

TIP: KIOSK restaurant is a fine place to have lunch or a drink while admiring the panorama form its terrace.

16. Stop Eötvös Square – You can change for the Yellow Line.

The Danube promenade with the white Erzsebet bridge in the backgroundEötvös tér is where the Danube Promenade (Dunakorzó)  and a strip of luxury hotels (Sofitel, Marriott, InterContinental)  start. This is the heart of the inner city.

The Chain Bridge, the Shoes on the Danube, Parliament on Kossuth Square are all within walking distance.

You’ll also find many restaurants and cafes in the area.

Yellow Line Itinerary – Main Stops (20)

The yellow line covers slightly more stops but the duration is the same as the red line’s cc. 2 hours. We only describe the ones that are not in the Red Line’s route.

1. Stop – Erzsébet Square – You can change for the Red Line.

2. Stop – Városháza Park

A tiny square near Deák Ferenc tér (M1, m2, M3 metro) that frequently hosts fairs around major holidays (Easter, Christmas).

3. StopCentral Synagogue in Dohány Street

Budapest’s great synagogue, the second largest in the world and the largest in Europe, is a beautiful work of architecture built in the middle of the 19. century.

It is the place of worship and the most important religious monument and symbol of the city’s Jewish community.

The Holocaust Memorial Garden is in the courtyard: the metal willow tree comemorating the victims of the nazi holocaust.

Landmarks: Hungarian Jewish Museum & Archives, Jewish District: a fastly developing area with ruin bars, restaurants, designer shops, art galleries, restaurants and cafes (My Little Melbourne, My Little Brew Bar, Warm Cup) and two more synagogues (kazincy Synagogue, Rumbach Street Synagogue).

4. Stop – Astoria – You can change for the Red Line.

5. Stop – Eötvös Square – You can change for the Red Line.

6. Stop – Vigadó Square – You can go on a boat tour at Dock8A

the Vigadó hall and the Fountain in its courtyardThe elegant building facing the Danube is the Vigadó hall (formerly Redoute) a concert hall and cultural centre that was build in the 19. century.

It was once the venue of grandiose balls and concerts by famous composers and musicians.

It was renewed a couple of years ago and it’s worth your time to take walk inside and admire the dazzling interior.

7. Stop – The Whale/Bálna

the southern tip of the Whale BuildingThe Whale/Bálna is a monstrous steel and glass building on the Pest riverbank.

It was meant to be  thriving  shopping and cultural centre, with a but unfortunately it still feels quite abandoned.

There’s a Sunday market and the New Budapest Gallery.

It frequently hosts events and festivals (Cheese Festival, Belgian Beer Festival). Nice view of the Danube and the Buda side from the cafe and pub terraces

8. Stop – Zwack Unicum Museum & Visitor Centre

The factory of the famous Hungarian digestive, the Unicum is in district IX.: Dandár utca 1.

The museum introduces how the herb liqueur is made but you can also get an insight in the tumultuous history of the Zwack family. Opening hours: Mon- sat: 10.00-17.00.

9. Stop – Gellért Square

Gellert Sqr with the yellow tram 49 in front of it.It’s a lovely square in front of the Gellért Hotel and Thermal Bath.

The newest metro line, M4 has a stop here.

You can take a hike up to the Citadell for some awesome photos or have a dip in the pools of the Gellért.

10. Stop – Funicular/Clark Adam Sqr. – You can change for the Red Line.

St. Anne Church with its two towers on Batthyany Sqr.11. Stop – Batthyány Square (M2/red metro)

It’s a small square north of Castle Hill in Víziváros/Watertown, dotted with churches (the two-tower Church St. Anne regularly hosts organ concerts), historic buildings and statues.

It also has a Food Market, not as impressive as the Great Market at Fővám tér –  where you can shop for local produce and food stuff.

 

 

12. Stop – Margaret Bridge – (trams 4, 6)

the yellow structure of Margaret Bridge from the Pest sideIt’s one of the most beautiful bridges of the city and the second oldest  that was refrubished  a couple of years ago.

It connects the southern corner of Margaret Island and the Buda side. Scenic views, excellent place to take photos of the Danube and the Parliament.

You walk to the island, a refreshing green park with many leisure activities, from the tram stop in the middle of the bridge.

13. Stop – Nyugati Train Station (M3/blue metro, trams 4, 6)

Nyugati is one of the three major railway terminals in the capital city. Built by the Eiffel Company in the second half of the 18. century it boasts striking architecture.

The square, that is also called Nyugati is a major transportation hub where the Grand Boulevard (Nagykörút), Váci út and Bajcsí-zsilinszky út intersect. There’s a large shopping centre, WestEnd, accessible from the underway or from Váci Road.

14. Stop – Jókai Square – You can change for the Red Line.

15. Stop – Andrássy Avenue 2. – You can change for the Red Line.

The stop is at the western end of the elegant boulevard, close to the Basilica and Erzsébet tér. Lots of opportunity for luxury shopping, taking a coffee break or just stroll and admire the marvelous buildings.

16. Stop – Széchenyi Square/Chain Bridge (tram2) – You can change for the Red Line at Eötvös tér, just a short walk to the south of Széchenyi tér.

teh facade of the Hungarian Orthodox Cathedral on Petőfi square17. Stop – Petőfi Square (tram 2) – You can go on a boat tour at Dock8A.

Petőfi Square is part the Danube Promenade next to Március 15. tér and Erzsébet bridge.

The statue of the revered national poet Sándor Petőfi (hero of the 1848-49 Revolution and war of Independence) stand here.

There’s a drinking well should it be a scorching hot day. The Hungarian Orthodox Cathedral also stands here. Nice spot to admire the Buda side and the Danube.

18. Stop – Fővám Square/Central Market (M4/green metro, tram 2).

the vast interior of the Great market Hall from the upper floorThis is the southern end of Váci utca and the location of the Central or Great Market Hall, the first covered food market of the city. You can shop and eat at three levels.

Ideal place to pick up some Hungarian paprika spice, wine, honey, sweets, have a piece of strudel or a more heartier dish on the gallery.

19. Stop – Kálvin Square (M3/blue, M4/green metros, trams 47, 49)

the Calvinist church on Kálvin sqr.Kálvin tér is part of the Small Boulevard.

The city’s New Main Street (partly pedestrian) begins here with charming squares, ample cafes, bistros and beautiful architecture.

Landmarks: the graceful, white buidling of the Hungarian National Museum is close by on Múzeum körút should you want to immerse yourself in the history of the country.

Egyetem tér is a favourite place of mine with the charming and quaint baroque University Church. Cafe Alibi is recommended for a late breakfast, lunch or excellent coffee.

Central Coffee House, just a few steps from Egyetem Sqr. on Károlyi Street is a fine example of Budapest’s historic cafes (coffee and cakes are much better elsewhere: the before mentioned Alibi or in one of the two specialty/3rd wave cafes on Múzeum krt: Budapest Baristas or Fekete Espresso & Brew Bar

20. Stop – Király Street

a firewall painting in Kiraly streetThe most interesting and the busiest section of the 1,6 km long street stretches between Károly körút and the Grand Boulevard in district VI.

As the firewall painting says on the photo Király is “the most Pesti” street in the city. It is packed with restaurants, cafes apartments for rent, hostels clubs and bars.

It is worth getting off here and explore the neighbourhood on foot. If you take detours to side streets of Király you can explore the buzzing party district, which is also the historic Jewish quarter.

Gozsdu Court  – lots of restaurants and cafes, Akácfa utca, Kertész utca, Dob utca, Kazinczy Street (there’s a synagogue), Rumbach Street (another synagogue).

Remember to look up and admire the colorful firewall paintings that transformed the look of the area in recent years.

2.  City Circle Tour

a double decker hop on hop off bus

See all the wonderful landmarks of Budapest with this chic red double-decker, and other specially designed sightseeing buses.

Your ticket is valid for 24 hours from the time of your first departure; you may hop off and hop back on the buses at any stop and whenever it suits you during the 24-hour period.

 

Itieneary (14 stops):

Stop #1:  József Nádor tér:

 

 

Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Garden-Heroes' TempleStop#2: Dohány Street Synagogue:

The second largest Synagogue in the world, in the heart of the Jewish District of Budapest.

 

Madach Square in district VII.Stop#3: Madách tér:

Across from Városház tér and Deák tér, on Károly Boulevard.

 

Erzsebet SquareStop#4: Erzsébet tér:

Right across from the Le Meridien and Kempinski hotels.

 

Andrassy avenue-St Stephen's BasilicaStop #5: Andrássy út:

At the beginning of Andrássy Avenue, near St. Stephen’s Basilica.

It’s full of dazzling buildings (Opera), mansions and former palaces (mainly Art-Nouveau).

Liszt Ferenc Square

Stop#6: Liszt Ferenc tér / Oktogon:

A busy intersection, with plenty of youthful restaurants, cafés and many people.

 

Heroes' Square-Millennium MonumentStop #7: (Heroes’ Square / City Park):

Hungary’s biggest square with the Millennium Monument: historical statues and famous museums. In the vicinity, the Budapest Zoo, the Széchenyi Thermal Bath, the Gundel restaurant, the Vajdahunyad Castle and many more attractions await visitors.

 

Keleti Train StationStop #8: Keleti Railway Station / Hungaria Hotel:

The stop is located near Keleti Railway Station.

 

Hotel AstoriaStop # 9: Astoria:

In downtown Pest, near the National Museum and the Synagogue.

 

Chain BridgeStop #10: Chain Bridge / Funicular:

On the Buda side, at the Buda bridgehead of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, underneath the Castle Hill.

 

Buda castle: Royal PalaceStop #11: Castle Hill / Dísz tér:

On the Castle Hill, within walking distance from Fishermen’s Bastion, Matthias Church, the Buda Castle and many other historical sights.

 

Gellert Hill, Citadel fortressStop #12: Citadel-Gellért Hill:

The highest point of downtown Budapest, with breathtaking views of the city and its river.

 

Váci Street in the city centre

 

Budapest ParliamentStop # 14: Parliament Building:

The Parliament is Budapest’s most revered building in the government district.

Kossuth Square got revamped in 2013: it is a more compact and greener place now with some statues of prominent Hungarian figures, a visitor center, undergound parking, and a pool in which the facade of the building reflects nicely.