Many major cities around the world offer their visitors city passes. The question often arises: Is it worth buying them or is it cheaper to get around the city by booking them individually?
How do city passes work?
Actually, the concept of city passes is wonderfully simple. You buy a card for an amount XY, which is valid for a certain time. Most providers have offers for 1, 2 or 3 days, some offer even longer durations.
During this time, the user has the opportunity to use certain offers in the city at a lower price or sometimes even free of charge. These are usually well-known sights, certain museums or special offers in stores or restaurants. Some cities also offer cards that include the use of public transport.
A big advantage especially in really big cities with a lot of visitors is – every now and then there is a possibility to pass the queue in the so called “skip the line” with the tourist card. This can save a lot of time and it is possible to discover even more of the city.
Is it worth buying a city pass?
We always take a very close look at every city to see whether the special offer is really worthwhile for our type of vacation. Especially for short trips, a city pass has often proven itself. If we are longer on site, our daily sightseeing workload is often much quieter and we are more “weather adapted” on the road.
Some criteria are very important for our decision to buy a City pass.
- How long will we be on site?
- What do we really want to see and what does the “normal” entrance cost.
- Are the selected destinations included in the offer of the pass.
If yes, what do I save when I buy the tickets? (Attention! Do not forget also the pass must be paid!)
- Where did we book our accommodation?
Is it centrally located and within easy walking distance of our destinations, or do we always have to plan on a longer trip by public transportation.
If it looks like we will need a lot of trips, the next selection criterion is: is the offer inclusive of public transportation tickets and what does it cost more? Some cities also offer cheap multi-day tickets. Are these cheaper?
Only when we have looked at these points in detail do we roughly estimate the cost of the ticket and the cost of our planned excursions/driving costs. If there is a noticeable saving, we buy a Citypass.
How can I buy the City pass?
Most tickets can be bought in advance very well online. This is sometimes possible directly on the city’s website or via well-known sales platforms.
Also in the cities you often get the possibility to buy a City pass in the tourist information at the airport, train station or in the city.
When is the passport valid?
In most cases, the pass is “unlocked” with the first use and is then valid for the purchased run length. Sometimes an exact usage period must also be specified at the time of purchase.
Which cities offer a City pass?
The offer is huge. There are even cities where there are several providers of city passes. We have compiled our experiences here for the city passes we have used so far.
During our stay in Vienna, we were able to take advantage of the Vienna City Card. We don't often travel with a card of this type during our city trips. This is not because of the offer that these cards provide, it is more because of the nature of our trips.