Home Travel 10 city passes put to the test, from Rome to New York

10 city passes put to the test, from Rome to New York

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Seductive nonsense? Or genuine money-savers? The problem with city passes is that there is no standardised version of the product.

Hundreds of major cities create their own special cards for visitors which promise everything from discounts or free entry to attractions as well as free public transport and access to sightseeing city buses. Some cards also try to wow with ‘queue jump’ schemes at the most popular attractions.

We’ve taken the official City Cards for ten different cities and put them to the test…

Barcelona

The basic Barcelona City Pass includes ‘skip the queue’ tickets for the Sagrada Familia which could save you hours

The basic Barcelona City Pass includes ‘skip the queue’ tickets for the Sagrada Familia which could save you hours 

How much? From £67.75.

What you get: The basic Barcelona City Pass includes ‘skip the queue’ tickets for the Sagrada Familia (normally £17) and Park Guell (normally £8.50), the use of a sightseeing hop-on hop-off tourist bus for one or two days (normally from £30) and airport bus transfers to the city centre (normally £8.60 return), a 10 per cent discount on some other attractions and an audio guide app.

Public transport included? No.

How to get it: Available at barcelona.com

Worth the money? Yes, but only just. Paying for everything separately works out slightly cheaper, but the ‘skip the queue’ option for the Sagrada Familia could save you hours. 

Madrid

How much? £50.80 for two days.

What you get: The Madrid Card gives you free entry to more than 50 attractions, including the Prado Museum (normally £12.70) and the El Pardo Palace (normally £7.60). 

Public transport included? No. You need to buy a separate Tourist Travel Pass costing £12 for two days.

How to get it: At the Civitatis Tours and Tickets shop in the city.

Worth the money? No. Entry costs to most Madrid attractions are reasonably cheap, and you can visit the Prado Museum for free between 6pm and 8pm.

Copenhagen

How much? £67.80 for two days.

What you get: The Copenhagen Card gives you free entry to 87 attractions, including the Tivoli Gardens (normally £15.30) and the Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tale House (normally £7.40).

Public transport included? Yes. Unlimited travel on trains, buses and metro (usually from £9.10).

How to get it: Order at copenhagencard.com or buy on arrival at more than 70 outlets.

Worth the money? Yes. But only if you’re planning to hit the museums hard by visiting at least half a dozen.

 Paris

The Passlib' isn't worth the money unless you visit at least three attractions, says Rob Crossan

The Passlib’ isn’t worth the money unless you visit at least three attractions, says Rob Crossan

How much? £100.80 for two days.

What you get: The Passlib’ gets you a one-hour boat cruise (normally £12.80), a one-day sightseeing bus tour (normally £29), access to more than 50 museums, including the Louvre (normally £14.40), and the Versailles Estate (normally £17). The Eiffel Tower is not included unless you pay an extra £17 for an enhanced card.

Public transport included? Yes. You get unlimited travel, including on the Metro zones 1-3 (normally £18.20 for two days).

How to get it: Buy at en.parisinfo.com or any Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau welcome centre (there are six). You can also have it delivered to your hotel.

Worth the money? Not unless you’re planning to visit at least three attractions.

Berlin

How much? £19.50 for two days.

What you get: The cheapest Berlin Welcome Card includes discounted (but not free) entry to more than 200 attractions. It includes 25 per cent off the entry to the Berlin Television Tower (normally £19) and a tour of the Olympic Stadium (£9.30)

Public transport included? Yes, unlimited travel in the central AB zones (normally £7.30 a day).

How to get it: At visitberlin.de.

Worth the money? Yes, even if you just use the metro and visit three attractions.

New York

The cheapest pass in New York is a Sightseeing Flex Pass, from £53.40

The cheapest pass in New York is a Sightseeing Flex Pass, from £53.40

How much? The cheapest is the Sightseeing Flex Pass, from £53.40.

What you get: The cheapest type of Flex Pass gets you free entry to two of the 100-plus attractions listed, which include Central Park Zoo (normally £15.40), the 9/11 Tribute Museum (normally £12) and the City Sightseeing hop-on hop-off Uptown and Downtown bus tours (normally from £38).

Public transport included? No.

How to get it: Buy at sightseeingpass.com.

Worth the money? Yes. It’s outstanding value when you consider that a sightseeing bus ticket on its own doesn’t cost much less than a pass. 

Stockholm

How much? £81.80 for two days.

What you get: The Stockholm Pass gives you free entry to more than 60 attractions, including the Royal Palace (normally £12.80) and the Vasa Museum (normally £12), as well as a free hop-on hop-off bus and boat tours (normally £44.90). You also get a free guidebook.

Public transport included? No, unless you buy an additional travelcard for £12.40 a day.

How to get it: At stockholmpass.com.

Worth the money? Yes, if you use the bus and boat tours.

Rome

The Roma Pass gives you free entry to one of more than 45 attractions, including the Colosseum

The Roma Pass gives you free entry to one of more than 45 attractions, including the Colosseum

How much? £23.75 for two days.

What you get: The Roma Pass gives you free entry to one of more than 45 attractions, including the Colosseum (normally £10.20) and the MAXXI National Museum of 21st-Century Art (normally £10.20).

Public transport included? Yes, on all bus, metro, trams and rail (normally £5.10 per day).

How to get it: At romapass.it You can also buy it in person at subway ticket offices and official tourist infopoints.

Worth the money? Yes. It’s one of the best-value city passes.

Cape Town

How much? £66.50 for two days.

What you get: The Cape Town City Pass gives you free entry or discounts at more than 90 attractions. Free options include the Table Mountain cable car (normally from £15.40 return) a Waterfront sunset champagne cruise (normally £20.80), and the City Sightseeing hop-on hop-off bus tour (normally £12 a day).

Public transport included? No.

How to get it: At capetown.citypass.co.za.

Worth the money? Yes. Visit at least three attractions during 48 hours to make a saving.

Dublin

How much? £67 for two days.

What you get: The Dublin Pass gives you free entry to more than 30 attractions, including the Guinness Storehouse (normally £22) and the Jameson Distillery tour (normally £21.20). You also get a free 24-hour hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus ticket (normally £18.70).

Public transport included? No.

How to get it: At dublinpass.com. Download the pass or print out the email confirmation and take it to a Visit Dublin or Discover Ireland tourist office.

Worth the money? Yes, if you’re planning on visiting three attractions during your trip. 

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