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


How to spend 3 Days in Lyon: The Best Itinerary + Where to Stay

You’re planning to spend 3 days in Lyon and you’re looking for the best itinerary?

You’re at the right place!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared for you the perfect itinerary to visit Lyon in 3 days.

I will start this guide with my best tips to avoid the long waiting lines and save money at Lyon’s best tourist attractions.

Then, I will give you my optimized 3-day itinerary to make the most of your stay in Lyon.

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 things to do in Lyon in 3 days? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

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

Before starting this 3-day itinerary in Lyon, I’m going to give you a few tips to save time and money during your visit.

1. The Lyon City Card

To visit Lyon in 3 days, you should purchase the Lyon City Card (also known as “Lyon City Pass”).

These kinds of city passes are super convenient: they exist for most French cities such as Strasbourg and Marseille, as well as for other European cities like Rome, Milan or Barcelona.

With your Lyon City Card, you will be able to save time by skipping the lines at certain attractions and save money compared to purchasing entrance tickets one by one.

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

  • Unlimited access to public transportation: bus, metro, tram, and funicular
  • Free entry to all the city’s museums (23 in total!): the Musée des Confluences, the Musée Gadagne, the Museum of Fine Arts…
  • A cruise on the Rhône
  • A rooftop tour of the Basilica of Fourvière
  • A guided walking tour of Old Lyon (you will need to book a timeslot in advance)
  • A Guignol puppet show (most famous puppet in France, originating from Lyon)
  • Access to the miniature park Mini World Lyon.

You will also enjoy numerous advantages or discounts on:

  • The Lyon City Tram for exploring Croix-Rousse
  • The hop-on hop-off bus
  • Shows performed in the city’s theatres
  • A dinner cruise.

When booking, you will need to choose the duration of validity: 1, 2, 3, or 4 days.

After booking, you will receive a confirmation voucher by email. It will allow you to pickup your Lyon City Card at Lyon Airport, at the reception of Part-Dieu shopping center, or at the OnlyLyon Tourism Pavilion (tourist office), located on Place Bellecour.

Simply choose the place that’s the most convenient for you!

For a perfect 3-day trip to Lyon, simply click the button below to purchase your Lyon City Card:

2. Guided Tours in Lyon

During your 3-day stay in Lyon, you can of course explore the city on your own.

But in order to learn interesting facts and anecdotes about the city, your best bet is to opt for a guided tour with a local guide.

In addition to the traditional guided walking tour of the city, you will also find food tours in Lyon or more fun oriented tours, by Segway or Electric bike for example.

If you want to join a guided tour during your 72 hours in Lyon, you can find all the information and prices by clicking on the following links:

3 Days in Lyon: All Must-See attractions

One Last Tip for a Perfect 3-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!

3 Days in Lyon: The Best Itinerary

It’s now time to plan your 3-day itinerary in Lyon!

I assume that you will be staying in Lyon for 3 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 72h 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

3 days in Lyon itinerary day 1
3 days in Lyon – Itinerary day 1

Day 1 Visits:

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

A. Place Bellecour

You should start your tour of the city at Place Bellecour.

Surrounded by cafés and shops, it’s the city’s iconic square and the largest pedestrian square in Europe. You can easily get there by taking the metro to Bellecour station.

At the center of Place Bellecour, you can find a statue of Louis XIV. The square also offers a great view over Fourvière hill and the Basilica.

During winter, you will find a ferris wheel on the square, as well as the Christmas ice rink.

And if you’re in Lyon for the Festival of Lights, you will definitely want to see the beautifully illuminated square!

Voyage Tips - Advice

Place Bellecour is the perfect starting point for your 3-day itinerary in Lyon, as this is where you’ll find the tourist office.

So here, you can pick up a map of the city as well as your Lyon City Card.

Place Bellecour Lyon
Place Bellecour in Lyon

B. La Presqu’île

From Place Bellecour, you can easily start exploring the Presqu’île district on foot.

As one of the city’s main districts, it’s a must-see when you have 3 days in Lyon. There, you will find numerous historic buildings and the city’s most famous squares. So simply stroll around and explore!

Here is an optimized route to see all points of interest, in chronological order:

  • Place des Célestins, where you can see Lyon’s theatre
  • Place des Jacobins with its beautiful white marble fountain
  • Rue de la République, the main shopping avenue
  • Lyon’s Palais de la Bourse (listed as a historic monument!)
  • Lyon’s Opera House
  • Place de la Comédie, where the city hall is located
  • Place des Terreaux, to admire the impressive Bartholdi fountain.
Voyage Tips - Advice

If you prefer, you can opt for a 1h30 guided Segway tour that will take you around Presqu’île neighborhood.

It’s a great way to learn more about the history of the city while doing a fun activity!

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

Place des Jacobins Lyon
Place des Jacobins – 3 days in Lyon

C. La Croix-Rousse

After visiting Presqu’île (on your own or with the Segway tour), let’s continue your 3-day stay in Lyon with a visit to La Croix-Rousse, another famous district of the city.

You can reach it on foot from Place des Terreaux in 25 minutes, or by taking metro line C at the Hôtel de Ville stop and getting off at Henon.

It’s free if you have the Lyon City Pass, since public transport is included!

La Croix Rousse used to be a working-class neighborhood, home to the main silk factories. The workers, known as the Canuts, have profoundly marked the history of Lyon with their social revolt in 1831.

To ensure you don’t miss any of the main sights in this district, I recommend the following itinerary:

Start by heading to Le mur des Canuts. This is a 1200 m² trompe-l’oeil mural that is considered the largest trompe-l’oeil in Europe. You will be able to see the old fresco depicting the life of the workers, as well as the more recent paintings.

Next, you should visit La Maison des Canuts to discover the impressive looms. The guided tour is free with the Lyon City Pass.

After the visit, climb up to the Gros Caillou to enjoy a panoramic view of the entire city.

Voyage Tips - Advice

Don’t feel like walking? In that case, you should explore La Croix Rousse with the City Tram!

It’s a little tourist train that takes you around the district for a guided tour with audio guides. The tour lasts approximately 1 hour.

You get a discount with the Lyon City Pass, and if you don’t have the pass, you need to book the City Tram here:

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

D. Le Vieux-Lyon

It’s now time to head to Lyon’s most touristic neighborhood: the Vieux Lyon, the historical district listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

From La Croix Rousse, you can reach it on foot (or by metro and bus if you prefer) by heading to Saint Vincent footbridge.

On your way, you can check out the Fresque des Lyonnais, on Rue de la Martinière.

This mural portrays several historic and contemporary figures that have left their mark on the city’s history, such as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Paul Bocuse, and l’Abbé Pierre.

After crossing the bridge, walk along the Quai de Bondy and then head towards Place du Change. You’re almost there: just a stone’s throw away, you will find Rue Saint-Jean, the main street of the Vieux Lyon district.

One of the unique features of Vieux Lyon is its traboules, with astonishing architecture.

These are underground pedestrian passageways that go beneath buildings and houses to cross a road. The largest traboule in Lyon can be found at 54 Rue Saint Jean, and you should also go see La Tour Rose, the most famous traboule, located 16 Rue du Bœuf.

As you wander down Rue Saint Jean, you’ll spot the Palais de Justice with its impressive facade and the Miniature and Cinema Museum (free entry with Lyon City Card).

To end your visit of Lyon old town, continue walking on Rue Saint Jean to arrive in front of the Saint Jean Cathedral. Dating back to the 12th century, it houses one of the oldest astronomical clocks in Europe.

Cathedrale saint jean lyon
Saint Jean Cathedral in Vieux Lyon district – A must-see for 3 days in Lyon

E. Fourvière

As the first day of your 3-day trip to Lyon is coming to an end, you should go watch the sunset from the top of Fourvière hill.

This hill offers a stunning panoramic view of the city!

If you want to walk, you can climb up on foot, and if you feel a bit tired after this day of visit, feel free to take the funicular for a quicker ascent.

And because here at VoyageTips we do things right, you won’t need to go far, as the start of the funicular is just next to Saint-Jean Cathedral (near the metro station).

When I told you I will give you an optimized itinerary for your 3 days in Lyon! 😎😄.

Voyage Tips - Advice

At the top of Fourvière hill, in addition to enjoying a superb view over the city, you can also visit the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière.

And if you have the Lyon City Pass, you will even get a guided tour that will grant you access to the Basilica’s rooftop!

Basilique de Fourvière
The Basilica of Fourvière, night view

Second Day in Lyon: What to Do and See?

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

Day 2 visits:

A. Parc de la Tête d’Or
B. Shopping at Part-Dieu
C. Lunch at Les Halles Paul Bocuse
D. Cruise on the Rhône
E. Cultural Visit to One of the Museums

A. Parc de la Tête d’Or

You should start your second day in Lyon than with a peaceful stroll in Parc de la Tête d’Or.

The largest public park of Lyon has several entrances, and I recommend entering through the Porte des Enfants du Rhône to arrive near the lake.

From there, you can also take the little train that tours the park. It’s a great choice if you’re on a 3-day visit to Lyon with your family, as kids will really like it!

In the park, you will also find beautiful rose gardens and a zoological park. Entrance is free for both.

You can also rent bikes, pedal boats or even mini electric boats for your children.

The Parc de la Tête d’Or is definitely one of the best places to visit in Lyon during your stay if you have kids!

Parc de la Tête d'Or Lyon
Parc de la Tête d’Or, a must-see during your 3-day itinerary in Lyon

B. Shopping at Part-Dieu

A 3-day visit to Lyon gives you plenty of time for a little shopping break, and that’s what I’m proposing right now.

Head to Part-Dieu, located 1.5 km from Parc de la Tête d’Or, by following Rue Garibaldi.

With over 190 stores, it’s one of the largest shopping centers in France.

Part Dieu Le Crayon Lyon
The Part-Dieu district

C. Lunch at Les Halles Bocuse

By now, it should be around lunch time.

You should thus head to Les Halles Paul Bocuse, right next to the shopping center.

This large indoor market features several gourmet food stalls. Treat yourself to local specialties such as the famous quenelles or the praline tart!

Voyage Tips - Advice

Les Halles Paul Bocuse are closed on Mondays.

Halles de Lyon
Treat yourself to a praline tart at Les Halles de Lyon

D. Rhône River Cruise

After lunch, you should relax a bit, and the best way to do is to go on a cruise along the Rhône and Saône rivers.

It’s a great way to discover the city from another angle!

If you have the Lyon City Card, the boat trip is included, so it would be a shame not to take advantage of it.

Without the Lyon city pass, you need to book your one-hour boat tour by clicking on the button below:

cruise on the rhone
Enjoy a cruise on the Saône and Rhône River

E. Cultural Visit to One of the Museums

Lyon is home to several interesting museums, and I think it’s the perfect visit to end your second day.

You can choose among the following museums:

  • Gadagne Museum, to learn more about the history of Lyon. There’s also a small museum dedicated to the art of puppetry, in honor of Guignol, the famous puppet born in Lyon
  • Miniature and Cinema Museum recreates iconic scenes from the world of film in miniature. A must-visit for film buffs.
  • The Fine Arts Museum and its collection of paintings and sculptures
  • Confluences Museum for those interested in archaeology, anthropology, and ethnology
  • The Olympique Lyonnais Museum, which will delight football fans.

Voyage Tips - Advice

And don’t forget that all these museums are free with the Lyon City Pass!

confluences museum lyon
The Confluences Museum in Lyon

3rd Day in Lyon: Places to Visit

Day 3 visit  (4 options to choose from):

A. Beaujolais Region
B. The Grand Parc of Miribel Jonage
C. Walibi Park
D. The most beautiful villages to visit near Lyon

Spending 3 days in Lyon allows you to take the time to visit the surroundings of the city.

In two days, you’ve had an excellent overview of Lyon, and for this third and final day, you should really explore the surrounding areas.

There is a lot to see around Lyon, which is why I offer several options.

Simply choose the one that suits you best, depending on whether you are traveling with children or adults and your personal interests!

Option 1: The Beaujolais

Spending 72 hours in Lyon also gives you the chance to discover the famous Beaujolais wine region.

It’s the perfect choice if you’re a wine lover!

There, you can visit the traditional villages and vineyards of Beaujolais, do cellar tours (with wine tastings of course!), and discover the secrets behind the Beaujolais grand crus.

To get to Beaujolais from Lyon, take the A6 motorway towards Paris and exit at junction 30 (Belleville sur Saône).

You can find a list of vineyards to visit around Lyon by clicking on the green button below:

And what’s great is that some of the visits are free!

Here’s my selection of the best vineyards (simply click on the orange links for more info and to book):

If you don’t have a vehicle, you should rather opt for an organized day trip from Lyon that includes transport and a guide.

You can find more info about the best Beaujoloais day trip by clicking on the button below:

beaujolais vineyard
Touring the vineyards of Beaujolais, near Lyon

Option 2: The Grand Parc of Miribel Jonage

This is a great option if you decided to spend 3 days in Lyon with family and if the weather is nice.

The Grand Parc of Miribel Jonage covers 2200 hectares and extends over 15 municipalities around Lyon. You can indulge in numerous activities, whether alone, as a couple, with friends, or with children.

In summer, you can, for example, enjoy the lake and its beaches for a swim as well as the numerous water activities: pedalo, stand up paddle, kayak…

And if your kids prefer solid ground, you can rent bikes/electric bikes, play tennis, badminton or even try archery. Overall, it’s a day filled with activities!

You should check the official park website for a list of all the available activities.

Option 3: Walibi Park

Walibi Park is the best amusement park in the region.

If you’re a thrill-seeker, then this will be a top choice for the last day of your 3-day Lyon itinerary!

You can try more than 30 attractions and enjoy a fun-packed day.

To get to Walibi Park (about 1 hour’s drive from the center of Lyon), you can rent a car or use one of the shuttles that leave from Place Bellecour every Saturday morning in the summer.

In other seasons, OUIBUS shuttles make the journey to Walibi Park from Lyon Saint-Exupéry Airport.

The park is open from 10am to 6pm.

walibi rhones alpes
Family Outing to Walibi Rhônes Alpes

Option 4: The most beautiful villages to visit near Lyon

If you love strolling through charming villages, while you’re in Lyon, make sure to visit Pérouges, one of the most beautiful villages in France.

Pérouges is a 40-minute drive from Lyon. It’s a beautiful medieval village with its cobbled streets and charming narrow alleys. It’s like being on a movie set – truly a different world!

Every summer in June, the medieval festival of Pérouges takes place, offering an even deeper immersion into medieval life.

You can even make a loop and visit 3 villages.

  • After Pérouges, go to Beaujeu, the historical capital of Beaujolais (1h drive from Pérouges).
  • When you’re done visiting Beaujeu, go back to Lyon, taking the road that passes by Val d’Oingt (formerly known as just “Oingt”), another really beautiful village.

And if you prefer to discover one of the most beautiful french cities, the gorgeous city of Annecy, located about 1h40 by car from Lyon is also a great option.

You can visit it in a day or spend 2-3 days there, especially if you wanna do nautical activities on the lake or hiking in the mountains nearby.

If you plan to visit Annecy, you should read my dedicated article: The 17 Best Things to Do in Annecy.

Where to Stay in Lyon?

Now you know how to visit Lyon in 3 days!

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

To make it easier for you, I’ve prepared a selection of the city’s best hotels:

  • HO36 Opéra: Located just 100 meters from Place des Terreaux, in the Presqu’île area. Youth hostel with dormitory beds starting at 30€ per night, breakfast for 8€. Strong points: the great location, the pleasant interior patio.
  • Kyriad Lyon Centre: Located 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: the room space and comfort, the friendliness of the staff. Excellent value for money if you don’t mind sleeping separately from your partner!
  • 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: the very good value for money, the competent staff, the good breakfast.
  • Villa Maia: Situated on the Fourvière hill. This 5-star hotel in Lyon offers luxurious and super comfortable rooms with panoramic views of the city from 450€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the sumptuous setting, the exceptional view, the 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 3-day stay in Lyon

Visiting Lyon in 3 Days with Family

Are you planning a 3-day family trip to Lyon?

Well, you’re in luck because Lyon is an excellent destination for a holiday with children. If they have trouble walking for a long time, you can easily use public transport to get from one site to another.

Here are the best activities in Lyon for a stay with kids:

  • The city tram tour, in Croix Rousse
  • The funicular ride to the top of the Fourvière hill
  • The cruise on the Rhône
  • Visiting Parc de la Tête d’Or and its zoo (with maybe a mini train ride!)
  • The Musée des Confluences
  • The Grand Parc of Miribel Jonage and all its activities
  • Walibi Park
  • And why not a Guignol puppet show! (included with the Lyon’s tourist card).
Voyage Tips - Advice

If you’re going on a 3-day trip to Lyon with your children, you can also find some time to visit Mini World Lyon.

It’s France’s largest animated miniature park. Spreading over 3000 m², it features miniature worlds ranging from the city to the mountains and countryside.

Mini World Lyon is accessible by metro, tram, or bus from the city center and entrance is free with the Lyon City Pass.

For more information, visit the official website.

More things to do during your 3 days in Lyon

If you want to customize this 3-day Lyon itinerary, you should read my dedicated article about the city.

There, you will find all the best places to visit in Lyon as well as ideas for day trips in the surroundings. It will allow you to create an itinerary that’s perfectly suited to your tastes!

You can find my guide of Lyon here: The 21 Best Things to Do in Lyon.

Map of Your 3-Day Itinerary in Lyon

To help you visualize your routes during these 3 days in Lyon, I’ve created a map listing the places to visit day by day. You can display the map legend by clicking on the button in the top left corner with a small arrow. This will allow you to view the routes for each day.

Spending 3 Days in Lyon

With a flight

Since flight prices to Lyon can vary a lot, it’s a good idea to check them as early as possible. For that, you can use our flight comparison tool, in partnership with Skyscanner. It’s the best way to get a great deal!

By Train

You should check the train schedules and fares for your 3-day visit to Lyon and book your tickets right here:

Do you need help organizing your 3-day itinerary in Lyon? Feel free to ask me your questions in the comments section below!

Book your trip now and save money!

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Best places to visit in Lyon in 3 days
Best places to visit in Lyon in 3 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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