Figuring out transportation is often one of the most stressful parts of a vacation. It's expensive, time-consuming, and difficult to find safe, comfortable seats.
However, if you make transportation the focal point of your trip, it becomes an exciting vacation where you can see plenty of great things, whether scenic landscape or inner-city attractions. By riding the bus routes, you can experience the city like a local, taking in all the overlooked sights that the tourists often avoid.
Traveling by bus is a great way to experience many places. You'll see sights that you can't when flying between destinations, and you don't have to worry about the driving and navigation. When you're behind the wheel, it's harder to truly enjoy the sights around you.
It also helps if there's a tour guide who can point out all the fantastic sights and landmarks along the way, telling you the history and significance behind each one.
Bus tours are also more affordable than other types of tours. The cost of running a bus tour isn't as expensive as a flight or taxi.
For your next vacation, don't overlook the beauty and magic of taking a bus ride all over the world. Here are some of the best bus tours on the list.
20 Ciudad Bolivar to Santa Elena de Uairen in Venezuela – The Lost World and Stunning Landscapes
This 293-mile trip takes about 11 hours to complete, and you'll love every minute of it. Take in the incredible landscapes of The Lost World from Ciudad Bolivar to Santa Elena de Uairen.
The bus route snakes along the Orinoco River, so you can take in green savannas, towering tepuis, tabletop mountain, waterfalls, and unique mountain ecosystems.
Once you arrive in Santa Elena de Uairen, which is located very close to the border of Brazil, there's plenty to see. This historic town is very near the location of the highest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls. You'll have to hike if you want to see Angel Falls, and it's usually a six-day trek. It's the perfect way to end your gorgeous bus tour.
19 The Rhine River Tour – A Storybook View of Germany
Germany's Rhine River bus tour will take you through the history fairy-tale towns of Germany, including robber-baron castles and nostalgic riverboat cruises.
The Rhine River runs from Switzerland to the Netherlands for about 750 miles, but the most popular scenic place to be is a 36-mile section between Mainz and Koblenz. There's a lot to see and experience during this stretch.
The castles you'll see along this tour are incredible as well. You'll see Marksburg Castle, Rheinfels Castle, Rheinstein Castle, and Pfalz Castle. These buildings have been around for hundreds of years. Many bus guides will let you stop at these castles so you can take a tour.
18 Niagara Falls Tour – See America’s Tallest Waterfall for Miles
Niagara Falls, which is on the border of New York and Canada, is an incredible sight. The waterfalls are huge, pouring hundreds of thousands of gallons of water over the cliffs every second.
The falls are actually a combination of three different falls. Their job is to help with draining Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, and the sight is spectacular.
There are many bus tours surrounding Niagara Falls. You can start in Canada and work your way down or begin in New York state and work your way up through the scenic valleys of the country. Some tours also leave through Detroit, offering gorgeous views of Lake Erie along the way.
17 Miami, FL to Portland, OR – One of the Longest Bus Rides in the U.S.
If you're in for a truly spectacular, but rather time-consuming experience, hop on this three-and-a-half-day bus tour from the southeast tip of the U.S. to the Pacific Northwest.
While you soak in the sights of the deep south, midwest, rocky mountains, and Pacific Northwest forests, you'll enjoy a tour of some the best sights in the U.S.
The bus tour is long, so you'll have a variety of stops along the way, including St. Louis, MO; Topeka, KS; Denver, CO; Cheyenne, WY; and Salt Lake City, UT. Each of these cities has a variety of great sights to see, and you'll enjoy every minute of this trip.
16 Bus No. 69 in Paris – Experience the World’s Most Romantic City by Bus
Want to experience Paris like a native? Hop on Bus No. 69 and experience the city above ground. It runs all the way across from east to west. It's not the fastest way to get from one point to the other, but it is the most scenic.
The best part about this bus ride is that you can hop on and off all day long. Check out the Pere-Lachaise Cemetery, Notre-Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, Musee d'Orsay, Les Invalides, the Eiffel Tower, Place des Vosges, Palais-Royal, Place de la Bastille, and Les Tuileries.
You can also stop off at Paris' famous creperies and cafes. It's a great way to explore the city as you've never seen it before.
15 From One Side of Buenos Aires to the Other – Enjoy the Argentine Capital
Buenos Aires is one of the prettiest, most culturally exciting places in South America. There's a public bus that, for just 50 pence, will take you from one side to the other.
You'll board near Caminito in La Boca, a popular tourist street made famous by the tango. The tour will take you past coffee shops, antique shops, and the gorgeous Casa Rosada.
You'll also go past Plaza de Mayo, which is the most famous square in the city. There's also the British Clocktower, the Kavanagh Building, and 9 de Julio Avenue, which includes a giant obelisk statue to commemorate the city. Get out and take photos at any point to get the full experience.
14 Hawaii Island Tour – See Something Besides the Beach in Hawaii
When people think about Hawaii, they generally picture gorgeous blue water, surfing, snorkeling, and white sandy beaches where you can relax for hours. However, there's a lot more to the island than just the beaches, and a bus tour is one of the best ways to experience it.
There's a popular island bus tour which will take you all around the island, through palm trees, past Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head, the Halona Blowhole, and more.
You can also use such a bus tour to transport you to the many hikes in the mountains of Hawaii. Hiking in this paradise is some of the best in the Pacific.
13 Switzerland’s Golden Pass – Five Hours Connecting Luzern with Lake Geneva
It's true that this isn't a bus ride, but it's certainly one of the most scenic land trips you can take. A ticket on the Golden Pass train will take you through Switzerland's most photogenic scenery.
It's a five-hour train ride from Luzern to Lake Geneva. There are three segments with two transfers, so you can get off and explore the Swiss countryside.
You can view the mountains, quaint Swiss towns, and other alpine scenery through the large, curved windows of certain train cars, designed for allowing views of the mountains. It's the best way to experience the pristine scenery in this country.
12 Andean Circuit in Argentina – History, Cuisine, and Breathtaking Views
The Andean Circuit is a breathtaking journey that takes you from Salta to Iruya in Argentina. The landscapes on this trip aren't the lush rainforests you're used to seeing in South America. Instead, the landscapes are drier but no less beautiful.
You'll take in cactus-filled deserts, incredibly-colored geological formations, deep canyons, and cliffs of dizzying heights. You'll enjoy about 12 hours of these beautiful Argentine heights.
The peaceful town of Quebrada de Humahuaca is a gorgeous place to stop along the way. Check out the native craft fair and lovely mountain backdrop.
11 Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Tour – California’s Finest Vineyards and Orchards
When you hear California, you probably instantly think of the sunshine and beaches in southern California. However, the third largest state in the United States offers a variety of climates and scenic views, and Napa Valley and Sonoma wine country are at the top of the list.
These valleys are covered in gorgeous vineyards and fruitful orchards. It's one of the largest producing areas of wine and fruit in the United States, so there's plenty to see here.
There are bus tours that will take you all over the region so you can take in the breathtaking mountain sceneries, sample delicious food and wine, and stop off for some hiking in the winding hills.
10 Edinburgh Castle Tour – Scenic Transportation for Scotland’s Capital
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland with incredible architecture, shops, bars, restaurants, and museums you'll want to see. One of the most famous landmarks in the city is the Edinburgh Castle.
The Edinburgh Castle dominates most of the skyline in Edinburgh. It's a historic fortress on Castle Rock that served as both a military fortress and a castle for royalty in the past.
This bus tour will take you in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle where you'll have great views of the structure as well as the Royal Lyceum Theatre, George Street, historic Heriot Row, and plenty of antique shops and boutiques.
9 Rome by Bus – Drive Around Ancient Roman Ruins
One of the best ways to explore the sights of Rome is by bus. This gives you an up-close opportunity to take in both modern shops and ancient ruins from the Roman Empire, and it's a lot cheaper than a taxi.
Try for a hop-on, hop-off bus tour which will allow you to walk freely around your favorite destination. Take some extra time to explore the Piazza Venezia, Ponte Garibaldi, St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican, and the medieval Viale Trastevere.
You can also take a few minutes when you hop off your bus to ride in a gondola down the Roman canals. These waterways were once a chief transportation route for Roman citizens, but now, they offer a unique view of the city.
8 Bus Number 37 in San Francisco – Better Than a Cable Car
When in San Fransisco, you must ride the cable car at least once. This affords you a view of some of the more iconic streets in the city. However, it's a pretty limited ride, and you can see a lot more by bus.
If you hop on bus No. 37, you'll enjoy a more laid-back view of the city compared to some of the other bustling buses for tourists. You'll head through Cole Valley, pass the Haight-Ashbury Victorians, Visit Buena Vista Heights, and take in gorgeous views of the city the entire way.
It's also a great way to see the Golden Gate Bridge since there are tolls if you drive to it. You can hop on and off at any point because buses stop about every two blocks on this route.
7 Bangor, Maine to Los Angeles – An 85-Hour Journey You’ll Love
Here's another super-long bus tour that's worth every second. It takes you from the northeastern tip of the United States all the way to the southwestern tip in California.
The entire journey takes about three and a half days if you drive straight through, but it takes longer because of the stops. On the way, you'll stop in Boston, MA; Buffalo, NY; Cleveland, OH; Memphis, TN; Dallas, TX; El Paso, TX; Tucson, AZ; and Phoenix, AZ.
As you can imagine, you'll see some pretty diverse culture and sites along the way, including Harvard University, the Grand Canyon, red rock formations, mountains, and so much more.
6 Bus Number 15 in Bangkok – A Whirl of Thailand History
Thailand is great when you need a beach vacation. The secluded beaches there are some of the most beautiful in the world.
If you want to see more of the inner-city parts of the country, however, hop on the No. 15 bus in Bangkok. You'll go on a spectacular journey through one of the largest cities on the planet.
Some scenes worth your time include shopping The Mall, sightseeing at the Krung Thep Bridge, historical tours of Emerald Buddha Temple, and the Grand Palace.
You'll end your tour at the historic City Pillar, the famous shrine at the edge of the city. It's one of the easiest ways to take in the breathtaking sights of Bangkok.
5 Yellowstone National Park Tour – Wildlife and Colorful Scenery on an Active Supervolcano
If you really want to experience the splendor of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, you should go camping and hiking there. However, you can't possibly see the entirety of this massive park built on a supervolcano unless you drive it.
Guided bus tours are absolutely perfect for a trip to Yellowstone. You'll see incredible sights like Mammoth Hot Springs, Old Faithful (the world's most punctual geyser), Yellowstone Caldera, Grand Prismatic Spring, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and so much more.
The park is also a nature preserve, so it's teeming with wild animals like bison, elk, moose, deer, bears, wolves, foxes, and other mountain creatures. A bus tour is the only way to see everything on your trip there.
4 Lima to Cuzco in Peru – 703 Miles of Peruvian City and Jungle
This is a long journey spanning about 700 miles, but it's highly recommended thanks to the variable terrain sporting incredible views. The bus tour actually takes the most direct route between Lima and Cuzco, so if you're headed there anyway, hop on the bus for a fantastic ride.
You'll get a first-hand look at the land of the Incas, starting in the ginormous city of Lima and making your way to the famous Nazca Lines, Eternal Spring Valley, Abancay National Sanctuary, and more features of the ancient Inca Empire.
You'll end near Machu Picchu, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Peru. Plan to spend a day or two here so you can enjoy this incredible wonder of the world.
3 Mount Rushmore Tour – A Trip Through the Black Hills
It took more than 40 years to carve the faces of four historic U.S. figures (Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington) into a giant mountain rock in South Dakota. Now, it's a very popular tourist destination for locals and foreigners interested in history and architecture.
You'll also get to visit the unfinished monument of Crazy Horse. This monument is much bigger than Rushmore, but the architects ran out of funding before it was finished.
The bus tour begins in Rapid City, South Dakota and takes you through the gorgeous Black Hills. You'll learn more about the history of the carving and some of the recreational joys of South Dakota.
The Black Hills is also a great place for camping and hiking. If you enjoy outdoor recreation, find a bus tour that will stay overnight in tents or cabins.
2 Grand Canyon – A Breathtaking View of The World’s Largest Canyon
The Grand Canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world is located in Arizona in the United States. It's great for hiking, rock climbing, biking, horseback riding, and whitewater rafting in the bottom of the canyon.
A bus tour is a great way to enjoy the breathtaking sights of the canyon. There are many roads that run along the rim stretching from central Arizona to the tip of Nevada. You can gaze into the depths of the canyon as you ride along.
Most bus tours will stop along the way and let you hike down into the canyon and stop at the local craft vendors that line the rim. The area is known for its prominent native culture, so take some time to explore this aspect of your tour.
1 Valparaiso to Puerto Varas in Chile – From the Ocean to the Jungle
Here’s another fantastic tour in South America with the best views of Chile. This country is one of the safest with the best economic infrastructure on the continent, not to mention gorgeous mountains, vast deserts, and extensive fjord networks.
This makes typical road travel somewhat of a challenge, but if you go by bus on a tour of the country, you'll avoid all the hiccups tourists usually go through.
Valparaiso is fun to explore, and when you hop on the bus from there, you'll see lakes, mountains, extensive parks, seafood vendors, beaches, and an active volcano. This is one instance where you'll be glad you took the bus!
References: checkmybus, tripsavvy, dailymail, more, ricksteves, bootsnail