Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome

There are several Hop On/Hop Off (HO-HO) bus companies in Rome. The HO-HO buses get mixed reviews by visitors. For some, they are a great way to acclimate to the city. Most “routes” take a little more than two hours to complete and allow you – during a pre-purchased period – to jump on and off at your leisure. With each company you get a map and a headset or you can use your own 3.5 mm headset (on most buses) if you like. The commentary is often pretty basic, but it will give you an overview.

Unfortunately, due to Rome’s narrow streets, the HO-HO buses cannot go DIRECTLY to a few of the more popular sites such as the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and the Spanish Steps. So you may have to do a couple blocks of walking! If you purchase a 24-hr ticket. most allow you to ride the buses over and over during that period. While these are perhaps a good way to “see” the city and gain some basic knowledge, the bus, metro, tram system, or just walking would be more practical, and less expensive, to use.

Due to some changes to prevent traffic congestion, in October 2010 the routes of the Hop On/Hop Off buses were radically scaled back. Prior to October 2010 many of the comanies have 14-16 stops throughout the city. After the implementation of the traffic congestion reduction rules, many HO-HO buses were limited to nine or ten stops. Who knows how long this “traffic reduction” policy will be in place? If you plan to utilize the HO-HO buses, you will be walking more than previous yesars.

The buses are often open on top – so no fun in the rain or wind – but they will give you great views. Just be ready to stand up to get your picture when you drive by that site…. as everyone else on the bus will be standing in your way! Most of the companies in Rome offer a 24 or 48 hour ticket. I’m not sure you’d need a 48 hour ride on the HO-HO as Rome is easy to walk or to navigate with public transportation.

The comments and prices are reflective of rates today (January 2012) and you should certainly verify through the vendors website! Note that all buses have “different” routes on Sundays and holidays because the street in front of the Colosseo is open ONLY to pedestrian traffic on those days. So you will not ride by the Colosseo in a HO-HO bus on a Sunday!

For the most part, the routes are all similar. The exceptions would be the archoebus and the Roma Christiana bus routes. See their routes below. Most operators offer some form of a discount for children although the Green Line Tours do not give you much of a break. There are also family discounts available from some vendors – check their websites for best deals.

Whereas many of these sites say their “tour” starts at Roma Termini, you can buy a ticket on the buses or at most stops. At Roma Termini, the drivers tend to take their breaks so often you may have to wait here for the “route” to start. There are many, many companies in Rome and online that sell the HO-HO tickets.

For the best price, it’s usually advantageous to go to the source. Avoid buying from a tour company or middleman. It’s a very competitive market and if you get near one of their stops (or especially at Roma Termini) you will be approached by a sales representative. Better to explore your options (and the company’s prices and bus features) in advance.

The title for each of these HO-HO descriptions is the link to the home site of that vendor…



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The Trambus 110 Open

110 bus Colosseo 600x398 Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome110 bus Ponte VE 600x398 Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome

The 110 Open is the “original” HO-HO bus in Rome, jointly founded by Trambus S.p.A., operator of Public Transport services in the Roman territory, and Les Cars Rouges, industry leaders of double decker bus-based tourism services in Paris. Since its inception, the Trambus 110 Open has transported more than 2.5 million tourists throught the wonders of Rome. With the Trambus 110 Open ticket, you also enjoy reduced entrance fees for many museums throughout Rome.

Ticket Prices

110 bus Rates Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome

The Trambus 110 Open operates seven days a week, 365 days a year with 26 buses running daily. Currently the “tours” start around 08:30 from Viale Einaudi and operate through 19:00. The entire route takes about two hours and encompasses ten stops. Monday through Saturday the Trambus 110 Open operates on the the same route. On Sundays, the route is different as the Via dei Fori Imperiale (the road in front of the Colosseo) is closed to traffic. Tickets are valid for up to 48 hours. The Audioguide system is in 8 languages with disposable earphones.

110 bus Map Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome

There are currently ten stops on the Monday – Saturday route:

1. Viale Einaudi
2. Colosseo
3. Circo Massimo
4. Bocca della Verità
5. Piazza Venezia
6. San Pietro
7. Ara Pacis
8. Trevi
9. Barberini
10. Termini

For a complete route summary, see this PDF from the Trambus 110 Open website. On Sundays and Hoidays, the route is different. Here’s the map:

110 bus Map Sundays Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome

The Stop & Go Ticket allows you to hop on/off at any of the stops all day long. You can buy your Trambus 110 Open tickets online, onboard the bus, at the Trambus Open Info Box (Stazione Termini), at the Trambus Open Info Box (Colosseo), and at authorized dealers.



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Archeobus

archeous Bus appian way 600x413 Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Romearcheous Bus in town Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome

The Archeobus is operated by the same company that runs the Trambus 110 Open, and thus you can buy combined, discounted tickets. Click on the Archeobus title link above for more information. The Archeobus route goes through the center of Rome and then along the Park of Via Appia Antica. Like the Trambus Open 110ticket, you also enjoy reduced entrance fees for many museums throughout Rome.

The Archeobus also operates seven days a week and 365 days a year. It begins its route at 09:00 and last picl up is at 16:30. The entire tour on the Archeobus lasts about 1.5 hours. Their Stop & Go Ticket allows you to hop on/off at any of the stops all day long. The Archeobus tickets are valid for 48 hours.

Ticket Prices

Archeobus Rates Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome

Unlike many of the other HO-HO buses, this bus takes a slightly different route, thus supplementing the company’s other HO-HO bus, the 110 Open. It does go through the center of town, but then heads off to the Appian Way up to the Villa dei Quintili. On weekdays ( Monday – Saturday), the route has fifteeen stops, and is as follows:

Archeobus bus Map Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome

1. Termini – Viale Einaudi
2. Piazza Venezia
3. Colosseo
4. Terme di Caracalla
5. Porta di San Sebastiano
6. Sede Parco Regionale Appia Antica
7. Valle della Caffarella
8. Catacombe di San Callisto
9. Catacombe di San Sebastiano
10. Cecilia Metella
11. Sant’Urbano
12. Capo di Bove
13. Stadio delle Terme
14. Bocca della Verità
15. Termini

For a complete route summary, see this PDF from the Archeobus website. On Sundays and Hoidays, the route is slightly different, with one additional stop. Here’s the map:

Archeobus Map Sundays Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome

The Stop & Go Ticket allows you to hop on/off at any of the stops all day long. Just like the Trambus 110 Open, you can buy tickets online, onboard the bus, at the Trambus Open Info Box (Stazione Termini), at the Trambus Open Info Box (Colosseo), and at authorized dealers.



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Rome Open Tour

Rome Open Bus Hop On/Hop Off Buses in RomeRome Open Bus3  Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome

The Rome Open Tour group operates ten double-decker green buses. Their tours last two hours and currently have eleven stops. They offer commentary in eight languages (Italian, English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese and Russian). You get limitless trips and you can buy a 24 hour or 48 hour ticket. The Rome Open Tour runs seven days a week and 365 days a year. The first bus departs at 09:00.

Ticket Buses

Rome Open Bus ticket2 Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome

The Rome Open Tour bus makes eleven stops (Well, actually ten as like most routes, the first and last stops are the same…) Here is the map for the Monday – Saturday route. You can see a scalable PDF map by clicking here.

Rome Open Bus map 600x411 Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome

1. Stazione Termini – Piazza dei Cinquecento angolo/corner Via Cavour
2. Santa Maria Maggiore
3. Piazza Venezia
4. Colosseo
5. Circo Massimo
6. Isola Tiberina
7. San Pietro
8. Castel Sant’Angelo
9. Augusto Imperatore
10. Trevi
11. Return to Stazione Termini

Like the other HO-HO buses, this bus also has a slightly different route on Sundays and holidays. The Rome Open Tour is one of the more popular HO-HO buses in Rome, although not widely advertised.



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Roma Cristiana

Roma Christiana offers a Vatican card, walking tours including the Vatican, and combination tours – mostly with a modern pilgrim theme. For many first-time visitors, this may not be your HO-HO tour-of-choice as the stops/dialogue are structured perhaps a little less to the tourist sites. Yet if you’re looking for a Vatican connection, then this group may be your best option.

The Roma Christiana bus route covers eleven stops and runs about two hours. Their buses also run seven days a week and 365 days a year. The first HO-HO bus departs from the San Pietro stop around 09:00. Their buses have commentary in eight languages.

Ticket Prices

The Roma Christiana group offers multiple ticket options. Some include the HO-HO bus, metro, and local bus services. In general, their HO-HO bus is one of the least expensive in town. They also offer walking tours – so there are multiple pricing otions.

Christian Rome Open Bus tickets Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome

• Roma Cristiana HO-HO bus for 48 hours: 21€ – Children under 10 are free
• Vatican Card and one-day local ATAC Bus Pass: 19€ – Children under 10 are free
• Vatican Card and three-day local ATAC Bus Pass: 25€ – Children under 10 are free
• Ticket – A Roma Cristiana trip no-stop tcket: 13€ – Children under 10 are free

The Roma Christiana HO-HO bus bus makes twelve stops. It runs through the center of town and does stop near many churches. Below are two maps of the Roma Christiana route:

Christian Rome Open Bus Tour Map 600x373 Hop On/Hop Off Buses in RomeChristian Rome Open Bus Tour Map2 600x328 Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome

1. San Pietro in Vaticano (Via della Conciliazione, 44)
2. Palazzo della Cancelleria (Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 178)
3. Santa Maria ad Martyres Pantheon (Via delle Botteghe Oscure, 32)
4. Santa Maria in Aracoeli (Piazza Venezia)
5. Santa Maria degli Angeli (Via Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, 70)
6. Stazione Termini (Piazzale del Cinquecento)
7. Santa Maria Maggiore (Via Liberiana, 16)
8. San Giovanni (Via Merulana, 169)
9. Colosseo (Via di San Gregorio)
10. Circo Massimo (Piazzale Ugo La Malfa)
11. San Bartolomeo all’Isola Tiberina (Piazza di Monte Savello)
12. Palazzo Farnese (Lungotevere dei Vallati, 7

The Roma Christiana stops near many of the religious and cultural attractions in Rome.



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CitySightseeing – Rome

Citysightseeing Rome bus1 600x399 Hop On/Hop Off Buses in RomeCitysightseeing Rome bus2 549x500 Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome

CitySightseeing operates two routes in the city of Rome. They are the Line A which begins at Via Marsala and runs from 9:00 to 17:00 and the Line B route begins at Largo di Villa Peretti and operates from 8:45 to 15:45 (Times are seasonal so do verify when booking). Both routes run seven days a week and every day of the year except Christmas Day. Tickets are valid on both lines. One child is free with each adult ticket. Commentary is available in eight languages.

Ticket Prices

• Adult 1 day: €15.00
• Child 1 day: €8.00 (Child 1 day ages are between 4 and 15)
• Adult 2 day: €17.00
• Child 2 day: €8.00 (Child 2 day ages are between 4 and 15)

If you book online, your ticket will be valid for 3 months from the chosen date.

Citysightseeing Rome Map 600x426 Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome

The two routes of the CitySightseeing HO-HO bus have recently changed. As posted on their website (September 2011), their two routes are as follows:

LINE A – Duration: 100 minutes

1. Via Marsala
2. Santa Maria Maggiore (Via Liberiana)
3. Colosseo
4. Circo Massimo
5. Bocca della Verità
6. Piazza Venezia
7. Vaticano
8. Via Ludovisi and Piazza Barberini (at the beginning of Via Barberini)

LINE B – Duration: 90 minutes
1. Santa Maria Maggiore (Via Liberiana)
2. Largo di Villa Peretti
3. Colosseo
4. Circo Massimo
5. Isola Tiberina
6. Piazza Venezia
7. Vaticano
8. Via Ludovisi and Piazza Barberini (at the beginning of Via Barberini).

For a printable, scalable PDF map of these two routes on weekdays, click Here. There is a different route on Sundays and holidays. For that map, click Here. Note that the Line B route buses only run once an hour on most days.



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Ciao Roma

Cia Roma Bus 2 600x321 Hop On/Hop Off Buses in RomeCia Roma Bus 3 600x450 Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome

Ciao Roma buses are operated by Grayline. The buses start their route from the Grayline offices near Piazza dell’Esquilino. The buses run seven days a week, 365 days a year. There are currently 12 stops listed. The buses operate from 09:00 – 18:30. The route takes about two hours. The commentary is available in thirteen languages. You can buy tickets for 24 or 48 hour periods. Ciao Roma tickets are sold for a calendar date, as opposed to the other buses 24 or 48 hour usage periods

Ticket Prices

• Adult 24 hours: €20.00
• Child 24 hours: €12.00 (Child ages are between 6 and 12)
• Adult 48 hours: €30.00
• Child 48 hours: €18.00 (Child ages are between 6 and 12)

Your ticket allows you to hop on and off at the following stops:

1. Piazza dell’Esquilino
2. Piazza Venezia
3. Colosseum
4. Circo Massimo
5. Tiberina Island
6. Piazza Navona
7. Vatican City
8. St. Angel Bridge
9. Ara Pacis
10. Via Veneto
11. Barberini Square
12. Piazza Repubblica
13. Piazza dell’Esquilino

As mentioned, unlike many of the other vendors, the Ciao Roma HO-HO bus does not start or stop at Roma Termini. Rather, it starts at the Grayline Rome Office, located about a 5 minute walk, south from the train station. See the Grayline Office designated by the “A” on the Google map below.

ciaoroma thumb Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome



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Green Line Tours

Green Line Tour Bus 1 600x389 Hop On/Hop Off Buses in RomeGreen Line Tour Bus 2 600x358 Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome

Green Line Tours operates a HO-HO bus in Rome. Their buses have twelve stops located throughout the city center. The entire loop will take about two hours on the Green Line Tour. The tickets are valid for unlimited circuits in a 24 hour period. The buses operate seven days a week and 365 days a year. Tickets can be purchased on board the buses. The routes on Sundays, like the other operators, do change on Sundays and holidays. The first tour departs from Roma Termini at 9:00 AM and the last departure is timed for 4:00 PM from Termini.

Ticket Prices

Green Line Tickets Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome

• 24 Hours: €21 Adults – €13 Juniorx
• 48 Hours: €31 Adults – €18 Juniors
• 72 Hours: €40 Adults – €28 Juniors
• One-Run, Non-Stop: €14 Adults – €10 Juniors
• After 13:00: €17 Adults – €12 Juniors

You can get a discount for lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. There are discounts if you buy the tickets online.

Green Line brochure Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome

Unfortunately, the map on the Green Line website is not functioning. There is not a list of ths stops for this HO-HO bus. Of course, the Green Line Tours offers many other types of tours through Italy.


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Summary

The advantage of the HO-HO buses is that you can get off at any stop, look around the area, go back to the stop and get on the next bus that comes along. They are great for getting a feel for the city. The downside of the HOHO’s, as reported by most visitors, are headphone jacks that do not work, bad weather, crowds, and having to wait for the NEXT bus!

If you’re going to be in Rome for more than a quick visit, then you are better off utilizing the public transportation system. A one-time ticket is only €1. An all-day ticket, good on the metro, trams, and buses is only €4 – far less expensive than the HO-HO systems. The HO-HO buses are good for getting acclimated to the city,or if you have a brief stay in Rome.

  • For more info on riding the buses in Rome, click here.
  • If you’d like to read more about the metro system, click here.
  • To see info on the types of bus and metro tickets, click here.
Photo Credits:
Header – Citysiteseeing Bus Roma by einramdreyer website
110 Open – Photos of the 110 Open Trambus from www.trambusopen.com
Archeobus – Photos from the Archeobus website
Rome Open Tour – Photos from the Rome Open Tour website
Roma Cristiana – Photo from the massynos’ flickr site
Roma Cristiana 2nd Map – Photo from the AMOITALY site
Citysightseeing Roma – Photo 1 from the MrVRman flickr site
Citysightseeing Roma – Photo 2 from the kexi flickr site
Ciao Roma Bus – Photo 1 from the Craig James White flickr website
Ciao Roma Bus – Photo 2 from the jovike flickr website
Green Line Tours – Photo 1 from the MrVRman flickr site
Green Line Tours – Photo 2 from the m_hodgey flickr site

 


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Please contact me, Ron in Rome, at
Ron Phillips Travel
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6 Responses to Hop On/Hop Off Buses in Rome

  1. Michael in Seattle says:

    Ron, excellent information.

  2. Pat says:

    I recently took the hop on hop off bus tour purportedly run by Grayline in Rome. It was one of the worst experiences I have ever had traveling. The recorded comments were not in sync with where the bus was. This was not my first trip to Rome and I was well aware that we were no where near several locations purportedly being described. The personnel on the bus were rude and unhelpful. In one case the person supposedly announcing the stops was too busy on what was obviously a personal cell phone call to mother making the announcements. He carried on his conversation very loudly to the point that it interfered with what commentary there was. This was particularly distressing in view of the fact that my son, who is blind, was traveling with us and this was a wholly worthless experience for him. I don’t know whether Grayline actually runs this operation or they have simply licensed the company that does. Regardless of which it is having their name associated with this operation does not do anything to enhance their reputation or image.

  3. Ron in Rome says:

    If you loolk at this link, http://www.trambusopen.com/en/pdf/archeobus-weekdays_txt.pdf you’ll see thast the bus stops at Via Nicola Salvi, 64 Sundays & Holidays only… rather than the Colosseo stop as the Via dei Fori Imperiale is closed on Sundays.

  4. Lee says:

    Archeobus phone:

    The only number that answered, after calls to many numbers found on the internet, calling from the US: 011 390646954695. They answered at 11 a.m. Rome time.

    I do not speak Italian, and the person who answered spoke some English. I was unable to clarify the location from which the Archeobus starts, and unable to learn the number of or names of the stops. Also unable to learn what stops are included on Sundays during the winter season.

    The Archeobus employee did confirm that the bus runs every day. I’d sure love to know where it will stop on the one day I am in Rome. Anyone know?

  5. Ron in Rome says:

    Steve, the HO-Ho tours could serve as a way to acclimate yourself to the city. But I’m not a big fan of them. Since October 2010, when new regulations went into effect, they are limited as to where they can park inside the city. Thus, most HO-Ho buses have only 8-9 stops instead of the previous 13-14. The commentaries are weak, but the view from the top of the bus is good! Certainly if you do a Ho-HO bus, one day would be plenty. The red 110 is the original and has the most buses operating… but they pretty much stop at the same places. You just don’t want to be left standing at a stop, waiting on a bus.

    The Roma Pass would be an option if you plan on going to two major sites AND using the transportation system. Read the article, Should I purchase a Roma Pass… for more help. Depending on where you are staying, you may or may not need bus and metro connections. If so, it could be a good buy – or you could walk the city as it’s an easy town to see on foot! You could also just buy daily bus tickets for 4E as needed.

  6. Steve says:

    Hi Ron,
    I have about 2.5 days in Rome (arriving around noon). Being a first timer in Rome, what can you recommend? Should I take the Roma Pass AND also take any of those HO-HO tours? Which HO-HO would you recommend? Maybe a day on the HO-HO would be enough then I’ll explore the rest by myself? Thanks again. Your website if very very helpful.

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