2 Days in Lyon: The Perfect Itinerary (First Time Visit)


How to spend 2 Days in Lyon: The Best Itinerary + Where to Stay

You’re planning to spend 2 days in Lyon and you’re looking for the best things to do?

You’re at the right place!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared for you the perfect 2-day itinerary in Lyon.

I will start with my best tips to save time and avoid waiting in line in front of Lyon’s must-see attractions. Then, I will give you the day by day program, perfectly optimized to make the most of your stay.

In addition to the best places to visit and activities for each stage of your itinerary, I will also give you all my best tips and accommodation suggestions depending on your budget.

So, what are the best places to visit in Lyon in 2 days? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

My Best Tips to Save Time and Money at Lyon’s Must-See Attractions

Before detailing this 2-day itinerary in Lyon, let’s talk about some money and time saving tips for your visit to the city.

1. The Lyon City Card

To visit Lyon in 2 days, you should really purchase the Lyon City Card (also known as the “Lyon City Pass”).

Many major French cities like Strasbourg or Marseille, now offer this type of card.

The concept is simple: By purchasing it, you will be able to make big savings and save time at all the must-see attractions during your 2-day visit to Lyon.

Here’s what’s included with the Lyon City Pass:

  • Unlimited use of public transport: buses, metro, tram, and funicular
  • Free admission to all city museums (23 total!): Gadagne Museum, Musée des Confluences, Museum of Fine Arts etc.
  • A cruise on the Rhône River
  • A rooftop tour of the Basilica of Fourvière
  • A guided walking tour of Old Lyon (time slot must be booked in advance)
  • A Guignol puppet show (very famous in France)
  • Access to Mini World Lyon, the miniature park
  • Discounts and shopping benefits at Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, or the Confluence Leisure Centre.

The card is valid for 1 to 4 consecutive days, depending on the duration you opt for when booking.

You need to book it online in advance and pick it up from the Lyon tourist office, located on Place Bellecour or at the airport.

Purchase your Lyon City Card for your 2-day trip to Lyon by clicking the following button:

2. Guided Tours in Lyon

In addition to the “classic” walking route I propose just after, you can also take advantage of your 48 hours in Lyon to learn more more about the city with a guided tour.

There are quite a few different ones and they’re really great for discovering the different neighborhoods of the city with a local guide. You can even choose between different transportation methods!

Feel free to click on the orange links below to book them and access practical information:

2 Days in Lyon: All Must-See attractions

One Last Tip for a Perfect 2-Day Stay in Lyon

If you already know your travel dates (or as soon as you will have them!), you should really book your accommodation.

As Lyon is one the most touristic city in France, the hotels offering the best value for money are often fully booked months in advance.

As a seasoned traveler, I can assure you that it’s always by planning as far in advance as possible that I’ve found the best hotels or apartments deals.

You agree that it would be a shame to somewhat ruin your stay in Lyon by ending up in a not-so-great hotel that costed you a fortune, right? 😅

So your best bet is to take 5 minutes now to have a look at traveler’s favorite hotels in Lyon.

And if you like one of the hotels you find, book it!

It’s fast, it’s easy and most accommodation offer free cancellation. That’s the best way to protect yourself from the inconvenience of finding nothing but mediocre rooms at exorbitant prices.

To check the best hotels deals in Lyon, simply click on the green button below:

After securing your dream stay, it’s time to continue reading this guide!

2 Days in Lyon: The Best Itinerary

It’s now time to plan your 2-day itinerary in Lyon!

I assume that you will be staying in Lyon for 2 full days and have purchased the Lyon City Pass or skip the line tickets in advance. It’s the best way to save time and money!

For each day of your stay, I will give you all the details you need to organize your visits, as well as a map showing the attractions of the day.

If you have any questions about organizing your 48h trip to Lyon after reading everything, feel free to ask me in the comments section at the very end of the article. I will be glad to help you out!

Day 1 – The Main Districts of Lyon

2 jours à Lyon itineraire jour 1
2 Days in Lyon: Day 1 Itinerary

Visits for Day 1:

A. Place Bellecour
B. The Presqu’île
C. Croix Rousse
D. Old Lyon (Vieux-Lyon)
E. Fourvière

A. Place Bellecour

You should start your 2 days in Lyon with the city’s iconic square: Place Bellecour.

To get there, it’s quite simple: just take the metro to Bellecour stop.

Place Bellecour is known as the largest pedestrian square in Europe and a popular gathering place for locals during sports and cultural events.

In winter, Lyon’s Ferris wheel and an ice rink are set up here. It’s also an essential stop if you’re in Lyon for the Festival of Lights.

Lined with cafes and shops, the square features a statue of King Louis XIV at its center and offers a nice view of the Fourvière hill and the Basilica.

Voyage Tips - Advice

Another good reason to start your 2-day Lyon itinerary at Place Bellecour: that’s where you’ll find the tourist office!

You can swing by to pick up your Lyon City Pass.

Place Bellecour
Place Bellecour in Lyon

B. The Presqu’île

Place Bellecour is the perfect starting point for exploring the Presqu’île district of Lyon on foot.

This area includes several beautiful historical buildings as well as the most famous squares of the city.

During your walk, you should visit (in this order):

  • Place des Célestins, home to the Theatre of Lyon
  • Place des Jacobins with its white marble fountain
  • Rue de la République, the city’s main shopping street
  • Palais de la Bourse of Lyon, listed as a historical monument
  • The Lyon Opera House
  • The City Hall, located on Place de la Comédie
  • Place des Terreaux with its famous 360-ton Bartholdi fountain.
Voyage Tips - Advice

To discover the Presqu’île district in a fun way, including the City Hall, Opera House, and Place Bellecour, you can opt for a guided Segway tour.

You will have a good time and learn interesting facts and anecdotes about the city. As the tours lasts about 1h30, you will have plenty of time to continue your day’s itinerary.

Simply click on the button below to book your Segway tour of the Presqu’île:

place des jacobins lyon
Place des Jacobins, a highlight of your 2 days in Lyon

C. Croix-Rousse

Continue the first morning of your 2-day Lyon trip by heading to another well-known district of the city: Croix-Rousse.

From Place des Terreaux, it’s about a 25-minute walk to get there.

If you don’t feel like walking, no worries, you can take metro line C at the City Hall and get off at Henon station. It won’t cost you anything if you have the Lyon City Pass since public transport is included!

Situated on the city’s heights, Croix-Rousse is a former working-class neighborhood where the silk workers, known as canuts, used to work. Their revolt, which broke out in 1831 in response to appalling working conditions, profoundly affected Lyon’s history.

Here’s the route I recommend you follow to catch all the must-see highlights of the district:

  • Check out the Canuts Wall, a huge 1,200 m² trompe l’oeil, the largest in Europe. The oldest part depicts the life of the Canuts, while the more recent murals focus on today’s neighborhood.
  • Visit the Maison des Canuts, where you can discover the huge looms that are still operational. Free visit with the Lyon City Pass.
  • Climb up to the Gros Caillou, which offers a clear view over the entire city.
Voyage Tips - Advice

Here too, if you don’t want to or can’t walk much, you should explore Croix Rousse by taking the City Tram.

This small panoramic roof train takes you on a one-hour tour of the district, where you can learn more about its history thanks to the audio guides provided.

You need to book your City tram ticket here:

fresque des canuts lyon
The Canuts Mural, Croix Rousse district of Lyon

D. Old Lyon

The Old Lyon is another must-visit district of your 2-day itinerary in Lyon.

To get there from Croix Rousse, you should walk downhill (you can also take the metro + bus) until you reach Saint-Vincent footbridge. This will allow you to stop and see The Fresque des Lyonnais, located on rue de la Martinière.

This mural depicts over twenty historical figures from Lyon such as the Lumière Brothers or Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, as well as six contemporary personalities including Paul Bocuse and Abbé Pierre.

Then cross the footbridge, follow the Bondy quays for 5 minutes before turning towards Place du Change. You will then find yourself a stone’s throw from Saint-Jean Street, the main street of Old Lyon.

This historical district, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is known for its traboules, pedestrian passageways that allow you to cross from one street to another but also go directly under the buildings and houses.

Lyon’s traboules are truly unique with their astonishing architecture!

Among the most famous are La Tour Rose (16 rue du Boeuf) and the longest traboule in Lyon located at 54 Saint-Jean Street.

As you walk down the street, you will also pass by the Palais de Justice with its imposing façade, and the Miniature and Cinema Museum (recreating famous film scenes in miniature), before reaching the Saint-Jean Cathedral.

Construction of the Cathedral started in the 12th century, and it’s famous for housing one of the oldest astronomical clocks in Europe.

Cathedrale saint jean lyon
Saint-Jean Cathedral, Old Lyon district

E. Fourvière

To end the first day of your weekend in Lyon in style, you should go watch the sunset from the top of Fourvière Hill.

The place is famous for offering a stunning panorama over the entire city!

To get there, you can climb up by foot, but by the end of the day, I think you’ll prefer a less tiring solution: the funicular ride.

And as this itinerary for visiting Lyon in 2 days is very well-designed, it turns out that the funicular departure is right next to the Saint-Jean Cathedral, at Vieux-Lyon metro station😎.

Once you reach the top of Fourvière, in addition to enjoying the view, you should visit the Notre Dame de Fourvière Basilica, with its beautiful interior.

Thanks to your Lyon City Pass, you will also have the chance to enjoy a rooftop tour of the Basilica!

basilique de fourvière
Fourvière Basilica, viewed at night

Day 2 of Your Weekend in Lyon: What to See and Do?

2 days in Lyon itinerary day 2
2 days in Lyon – Itinerary day 2

Visits for day 2:

A. The Parc de la Tête d’Or
B. Shopping at La Part-Dieu
C. Lunch at Les Halles Paul Bocuse
D. Cruise on the Rhône
E. Cultural visit to one of the museums

A. The Parc de la Tête d’Or

After a good night’sleep, you’re ready to start your second day in Lyon with a relaxing stroll through the Parc de la Tête d’Or.

I recommend you to enter through the Porte des Enfants du Rhône, to start at the area where the lake is located.

It’s also where the little tourist train departs, to take you on a full tour of the park. It’s a great option if you’re spending these 2 days in Lyon with your children, as they will love it!

At Parc de la Tête d’Or, you can also visit the rose gardens, the botanical garden, and the zoo for free.

There are also boat, paddle boat and bicycle rentals available.

Parc de la Tête d'Or in Lyon
Parc de la Tête d’Or, a must-see during your 2-day itinerary in Lyon

B. Shopping at La Part-Dieu

Why not enjoy a bit of shopping during your 2-day stay in Lyon?

After a breath of fresh air in Tête d’Or Park, go to La Part-Dieu, one of the largest shopping centers in France, with 190 stores.

It’s located just 1.5 km away from Parc de la Tête d’Or, you can simply follow Rue Garibaldi all the way there.

Part Dieu district in Lyon
The Part-Dieu district

C. Lunch at Les Halles Bocuse

After a morning of walking and flexing your credit card, it’s likely time for a lunch break.

Conveniently located right next to La Part-Dieu, Les Halles Bocuse is a large indoor market is known for its gourmet delicacies, housing several stalls selling local specialties.

Here, you can sample Lyonnaise quenelles and the famous praline tart, the most famous dessert of the city!

Voyage Tips - Advice

Les Halles Paul Bocuse are closed on Mondays.

Les Halles de Lyon
Enjoy a praline tart at Les Halles de Lyon

D. Cruise on the Rhône

To digest your lunch, you can hop on a cruise on the Rhône and Saône rivers.

These excursions are the perfect opportunity to unwind and see the city from a different perspective.

If you’ve purchased your Lyon City Card, you definitely shouldn’t miss out as the boat tour is included!

Cruise on the Rhône
Take a cruise on the Rhône river

E. Cultural Visit to One of the Museums

To wrap up your 2-day trip to Lyon, you should visit one of the city’s museums.

The city is home to many great ones, but the final choice will largely depend on your interests. Here are the city’s best museums:

  • Gadagne Museum, which actually houses 2 museums: one dedicated to the history of Lyon and a puppet arts museum, honoring Guignol, the city’s iconic character.
  • Miniature and Cinema Museum for film enthusiasts
  • The Fine Arts Museum, with its impressive collection of paintings and sculptures
  • Museum of Confluences, a highly interactive and excellently designed museum focusing on the origins of life, archaeology, ethnology, and different civilizations.
  • OL Museum, for soccer fans
Voyage Tips - Advice

All these museums are free with the Lyon City Pass.

Where to Stay in Lyon?

You now know how to visit Lyon in 2 days and the best itinerary to make the most of your stay.

However, there’s still one important step left to get ready for your weekend in Lyon: finding a good hotel!

To help you out, I have prepared a selection of the best hotels in the city, depending on your budget:

  • HO36 Opéra: Located just 100 meters from Place des Terreaux, on the Presqu’île. Hostel with dormitory beds starting at 30€ per night, breakfast for 8€. Strong points: central location, pleasant interior patio.
  • Kyriad Lyon Centre: Situated in the Presqu’île district, 20 minutes from Place Bellecour. Double room but with twin beds starting at 50€ per night, breakfast for 11€. Strong points: room size and comfort, friendly staff. Great value for the price if you don’t mind sleeping in separate beds!
  • Campanile Lyon Centre Part-Dieu: Located in the Part-Dieu district. Comfortable and modern double rooms starting at 90€ per night, breakfast for 12€. Strong points: excellent value for the price, knowledgeable staff, good breakfast.
  • Villa Maia: Situated on Fourvière Hill. This 5-star hotel in Lyon offers luxurious and extremely comfortable rooms with panoramic views of the city starting at 450€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: exquisite setting, exceptional views, heated indoor pool. This is my recommendation for a luxury stay in Lyon!
villa maia hotel de luxe lyon
Villa Maia, a luxury hotel for a weekend in Lyon

2 Days in Lyon with Family

You can definitely follow this 2-day itinerary in Lyon with your family. If the kids start to get tired, you can always use public transportation to move from one place to another.

There are plenty of activities that will surely delight them:

  • The city tram tour around the Croix Rousse district
  • The funicular ride up to Fourvière
  • A walk in the Parc de la Tête d’Or, especially if you visit the zoological park with all the animals
  • A cruise on the Rhône river
  • The visit to the Musée des Confluences, which is both fun and interactive.

You can also take them to watch a Guignol puppet show. It’s included in the Lyon tourist pass.

Voyage Tips - Advice

During your two-day trip to Lyon, you can also change your program a bit to visit Mini World Lyon.

This 3000m² animated miniature park is the largest of its kind in France. It features miniature worlds themed around the city, mountains, or countryside. There’s even a space dedicated to a mini Lyon.

The park is easily accessible by metro, tram, or bus from the center of Lyon and admission is included in the Lyon City Pass.

It’s one of the best things to do around Lyon with your kids!

More information on the official website.

More Things to Do and See in Lyon in 2 Days

In case you want to craft your own itinerary for a 2-day visit to Lyon or if you have time left after following my route, feel free to read my dedicated article about the city.

It lists the 20 best things to do in Lyon and its surroundings, perfect for planning a weekend in Lyon that exactly matches your preferences!

You can read it here: The 21 Best Things to Do in Lyon.

Map of Your 2-Day Itinerary in Lyon

To help you visualize your 2-day itinerary in Lyon, I’ve created a map listing the places to visit day by day. You can display the legend of the map by clicking on the button at the top left with a small arrow.

This will allow you to view the routes for each day.

How to Get to Lyon?

By Plane

As flight prices to Lyon vary greatly, it’s a good idea to check them as early as possible. To do this, you can use our flight comparison tool, in partnership with Skyscanner. It’s the best way to ensure you get a great deal!

By Train

You should check the train schedules and fares for your 2-day visit to Lyon and book your tickets right here:

Need help organizing your 2-day itinerary in Lyon? Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments.

Book your trip now and save money!

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Best places to visit in Lyon in 2 days
Best places to visit in Lyon in 2 days

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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