Review of Madrid HoHo sightseeing service
Poor audio commentary
The tour is given by audio commentary. The information that the guide provides is limited and due to traffic congestion, often does not match the where you are. Additionally, the recording is low quality and is interrupted by the driver whenever the bus makes a stop. If you are riding during busy periods the buses can be overcrowded, creating an unpleasant experience.
High wait times
Since most of Madrid’s sightseeing spots are within walking distance of each other, the tour seems to be a waste of time. Adding to this is the fact that although advertised as coming every 8 minutes, many riders waited 15 minutes in the morning and 25 minutes in the afternoon for a bus! It can also be difficult to find the correct bus stop since they are only marked with a small sticker on the bus stop roof.
Customer service issues
Another downside was the lack of safety. Before everyone had purchased their tickets the bus was already moving. They also lack in the customer service department. The bus drivers can be very rude. Combined with the long waiting times and crowded buses, this made for an unpleasant experience.
(Note: The bus company has stated that they are working to improve the audio guide system.)
What are positives of Madrid city sightseeing bus
Great coverage with 2 routes
The tour has two routes which are enough to cover many sightseeing spots within the city center. The stops along the routes are spaced close together.
This tour offers two routes so you can choose between historical and modern sightseeing spots. Route one focuses on historical Madrid and route two focuses on modern Madrid
Nice overview of Madrid
The bus is a quick and easy way to get to know the layout of the city center. It can sometimes be difficult to walk and sightsee at the same time, but from the bus you can really appreciate the city’s architecture from a new vantage point.
Covers major sights of Madrid
Some of the highlights of the tour include the Royal Palace of Madrid, the Museo del Prado, the Museo Reina Sofía, and the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. The Royal Palace is the official home of the Spanish royal family and the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is home to Real Madrid.
You will also have the opportunity to walk along Paseo del Prado, which is a beautiful tree-lined walk. You can visit Plaza de Cibeles, a neo-classical designed plaza famous for its fountains. I recommend you take both of these enjoyable walks. There is also a two-day pass if you would like more time to take in all of the sights.
Ticket prices of Madrid HoHo Bus
There are one day and two day passes. Adults cost €21.00 for one day and €25.00 for two. Children aged 7 to 15 years old cost €10.00 for one day and €13.00 for two. Children aged 6 years and younger are free.
Tour passes are available for one or two days. Cancellations up to one day in advance receive a full refund.
I recommend skipping the Madrid bus tour
I would skip the hop on hop off bus tour unless you’re only in Madrid for a very short time, or you are the kind of person who likes to get an overview of a city before setting off to explore. Madrid isn’t a difficult city to get around. It is easy to walk to many of the main attractions.
Madrid also has a great public transportation system; fast and cheap! Although tons of tourists have done the Madrid bus tour, almost half have given it an average (or lower) rating! Below are some reviews from people who have taken the bus tour.
Not worth taking Hop on Hop off in Madrid
In my opinion, the bus route can be comfortably covered on foot in less than one day. And most of the places you’d see only from outside anyway, on the bus tour.
The bus can’t go into Plaza Mayor or the Retiro Park. And streets of Madrid’s most iconic neighborhoods are banned to cars and buses, etc.
I would rather do a free walking tour and only consider the bus if I don’t feel like walking due to sore feet or very bad weather.
However, buses do provide a glimpse of the city together with some historical information that you may enjoy.
While Madrid Hop on Hop Off sightseeing bus may not be worthwhile, I found Madrid Bus Vision tour useful. This is a no-stops bus tour of Madrid. You board the bus, sit on the roof and take in the sights as the bus goes round Madrid. The 90 minute bus tour gives a great overview of the city
There is no need to sign up for the Hop on Hop Off bus (City Sightseeing bus ) because most of the key attractions in Madrid can be found within two or three kilometres of the city centre.
However, if you are still interested, here is my review of Madrid Hop on Hop Off bus tour.
Review of Madrid Hop on Hop Off bus
Audio commentary in several languages is available on-board, and the open top upper deck allows you to bask in the Spanish sun while taking in the sights.
Frequency of buses
Busses operate every eight to nine minutes during high season and every 15 minutes during low season, so even if you just miss one you don’t have to wait long.
City Sightseeing Bus Routes
The bus operates two main routes which offer easy access to Madrid’s main attractions.
Route one begins at the Prado and trundles through the city’s historic streets. Stops include Barrio de Salamanca, Gran Via, and Plaza Mayor.
Route two, which departs from Plaza de Neptuno, offers a look at modern Madrid and stops at many of the city’s contemporary museums. Stops include Museo de Esculturas, Museo Arqueologico, and Plaza de las Cortes. This route also passes very close to the Bernabeu stadium, home of world-renowned football team Real Madrid.
Night Bus Tour
A night service runs from mid-July to mid-September and allows visitors to enjoy some of the city’s iconic monuments which are illumined after dark. The ruta-nocturna begins outside the Prado and follows a similar path to the route one service, but doesn’t stop.
Why recommendation against Hop on Hop Off bus?
- Madrid is best explored on foot.
- If it’s wet or windy the open top deck isn’t particularly pleasant, and the downstairs can be crowded as everyone shelters from the weather.
- During the morning and afternoon rush hours, traffic in Madrid can move at a snail’s pace. If you’re riding the bus during these times you’ll be caught up in it, though if the weather is good you can just sun yourself on the top deck!
Where to buy tickets for Hop on Hop Off bus
Passengers can buy single day or multi-day tickets at the main office (between the Prado Museum and the Ritz Hotel), on the bus or online in advance (which offers a small discount).