There are plenty of options for sightseeing bus tours, but not all are created equal. The one that has gained my favor over the others is the Budapest Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour (tel. 1/317-7767; wwwprogramcentral.hu). However, even this is not enough to distinguish it from some of the others who use the same hop-on hop-off information on the side of their buses. The one that I value the most runs 5,000 Ft per person, tickets are purchased on the bus and are good for 24 hours. What distinguishes this bus from the others, besides costing an extra 500 Ft to 1,000 Ft, is that you get two Danube riverboat rides. The boat-ride tickets are good until the end of the year in which you buy your bus ticket, so don't feel obligated to cruise the same night of your bus tour. The added bonus is a discount booklet for different things within the city. The office is located at the Meridien Hotel, Program Centrum Travel Agency Erzsébet Square 9-11. The first and earliest starting point is directly across the street.
Ibusz (tel. 06/40-428-794 (mobile phone only); www.ibusz.hu) has been around for a long time, but that does not always equal quality. They have 11 different boat and bus tours, ranging from basic city tours to special folklore-oriented tours. Unfortunately, the tours are pretty sterile and boring. Ibusz operates April to October 10:30am to 5:30 pm and November to March 10:30am to 1:30pm. All buses are airconditioned during the summer, and all guides speak English. Their Circle Sightseeing Tour includes a 1-hour Danube river cruise for 16€. This is not a hop-on, hop-off tour. Tours can be booked at any Ibusz office and at most major hotels, or by calling Ibusz directly at the toll-free number above. All major credit cards are accepted.
If you venture down to the river, you will find a number of companies hawking their river cruises. Almost all are created equal, the only difference will be how many bridges they happen to go under. Let your wallet be your guide for choosing.
Several companies offer walking tours of historic Budapest. Those in this section are the ones that I have personally experienced or have heard rave reviews about. For those of us who enjoy walking, but are not so enthralled with organized tours, turn to our walking tours.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.