Are City Passes Worth It?

by SharonKurheg

If you’re traveling to a big city, especially one that you don’t know very well, you may consider getting a city pass. That’s a pass where you pay one price and you can possibly get into some attractions for free, maybe get a discount on admission, potentially can skip the line, perhaps have free access to transportation, etc. It all depends on the pass.

Are the passes worth it? It depends. Let’s do some comparisons…

Our Methodology

None of the passes below come from the same company so they’re all set up differently. We did the best we could to compare apples to apples, so the prices we’re quoting are for 1 adult pass for 2 days, with no discounts or add-ons. If that wasn’t available, we specifically mentioned it.

When determining whether or not a city pass is “worth it,” it’s assumed you take advantage of everything, or at least “enough” of what, the pass has to offer.

In converting other currencies to dollars, I took the liberty of rounding the price to the nearest dollar amount.

Barcelona City Pass

Price: €80.00 ($87) (only 1-day passes available)
Includes: ‘skip the queue’ tickets for the Sagrada Familia (normally starts at 20/$22) and Park Guell (normally starts at 10/$11) the use of a sightseeing hop-on hop-off tourist bus for one or two days (normally starts at 28/$30) and airport bus transfers to the city centre (normally 5.90/$6), a 10% discount on some other attractions and an audio guide app.
Worth It? Yes, but barely. Cost-wise, you save a few dollars (more if you go to a lot of the attractions where you’ll save 10% on the admission). However, the “skip the line” tickets will save a lot of time.

Cape Town City Pass

Price: R1,1,100.75 ($73)
Includes: Free entry, free gift or discount at more than 90 attractions, as well as free access to the hop-on-hop-off bus.
Worth it? Yes, if you visit at least 4-6 attractions during the 2 days of your pass

Copenhagen City Pass

Price: 567 DKK ($82)
Includes: Free admission to 50 museums and sights (normal costs vary from 50 DKK/$7 to 345 DKK/$50), use of hop-on-hop-off buses & boats (normally 210 DKK/$31), sightseeing tours, free guidebook, and discounts on guided tours.
Worth it? Assuming you visit the more expensive museums and attractions, definitely!

New York City Pass

Not surprisingly, there are several options for “City Passes” in NYC. CityPASS, The New York Pass, Sightseeing Flex Pass, The New York Explorer Pass, etc.

This page has a link to help you decide which pass would be best suited for you and your visit to NYC.

Rome City Pass/Roma Pass

Price: 32 ($35)
Includes: free entry to one or more than 45 attractions (normally at least $10 each), 10-15% discounts to multiple other museums/sites/experiences, all public transportation (normally $5 per day), “skip the queue” access to Castel Sant’Angelo and Musei Capitolini Roma Pass, and free use of toilets of P.Stop network.
Worth it? Yes, but barely. Cost-wise, you save a few dollars (more if you go to a lot of the attractions where you’ll save 10-15% on the admission). However, the “skip the line” tickets will save a lot of time.

Our Thoughts on City Passes

City Passes can save you some money and some City Passes can save you some time. How much you save will be dependent on what type of pass it is, and/or how much the pass offers that you take advantage of. Your best bet is to review the City Pass in question and compare it to the sights you want/plan to see.

Remember that the prices we quoted were basic, with no discounts – always check Groupon, etc., to see if you can get the pass for less than the rack rate. Every little bit helps!

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


mhenner February 25, 2020 - 7:14 pm

in the past some city passes have included free admission or free transit for children under the age of 12 or16. Then the savings are bigger

Arthur February 26, 2020 - 6:24 am

Yes for Paris, no for London.


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