Sightseeing buses are world-famous for providing comfort, beautiful cityscapes and a tour of the major tourist points of interest. In London, they have been around for years, offering a range of different routes, more than 50 different stops, and an incredible view of the city. The buses have become a reference for the tourist industry, for thanks to their double decker capacity and for all the conveniences they provide.
The concept spread and in 2007 the capital city of Bahia, Salvador, inaugurated the first sightseeing bus in Brazil. The route takes in the city’s main tourist points whilst a guide explains everything by microphone, with an audio system offering translated versions of the dialogue in four languages: Portuguese, English, Spanish and French. There are two different routes that allow passengers to hop on and off as they please, and they operate from Mondays to Saturdays, except public holidays. For more information: www.salvadorbus.com.br
Brasília also has sightseeing buses, a two-hour guided tour with narration in Portuguese, English and Spanish. The bus takes tourists past Brasília’s Cathedral, the National Congress, Alvorada Palace and many other sights. The buses leave daily at 10.30am and 4.30pm, as long as there are at least five passengers. For more information: www.catedralturismo.com.br
In southern Brazil, Curitiba (Paraná) and Gramado (Rio Grande do Sul), both have their own sightseeing buses. In Curitiba the service is offered by the city council, and visits the main parks, theatres and monuments. The line circulates every 30 minutes and the trip lasts two and a half hours. Passengers can get on and off at four different locations. Equipped with narration in Portuguese, English and Spanish, the line operates from Tuesdays to Sundays. For more information: www.turismo.curitiba.pr.gov.br. In Gramado, the route has more than 30 stops and passengers are free to hop on and off as they please; buses operate daily, and tourists can also get to know the main tourist points in Canela, a neighbouring town, as well as Gramado. For more information: www.bustour.com.br.
The latest city to introduce sightseeing buses is São Paulo. It is a project run by the city council and the route visits eleven points of interest. Tourists can get off the bus at these stops and use their tickets to enter museums and exhibitions, and then carry on the tour by catching the next bus. The buses recently began offering free Wi-Fi. All of the drivers are female and the buses are hybrids, allowing them to operate on electricity at lower speeds, with rechargeable batteries. The buses are equipped with an audio system in Portuguese, English and Spanish, and operate daily (but at different times depending on the day of the week). For more information: www.capital.sp.gov.br.