Visit Lyon: Top 21 Things To Do and Must-See Attractions


Things to do in Lyon: The 21 Best Places to Visit and Highlights

You’re planning to visit 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 written this guide of the 21 best things to do in Lyon, with all must-see attractions and points of interest.

In addition to the best places to visit, you will also find itineraries to visit Lyon in 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 days (or more!) as well as my selection of the best hotels depending on your budget.

So, what are the best things to do in Lyon? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

Visit Lyon: 21 Must-See Attractions

1. Vieux Lyon

We’ll start this list of the Top 20 places to visit in Lyon with the district of Vieux Lyon. 

Dating back to the Medieval and the Renaissance period, the Vieux Lyon (also called Saint-Jean district) is one of the city‘s historical districts.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this district is a refreshing experience with its small cobbled streets, large Cathedral and unique museums.

There, you will also find the the famous “bouchons” of Lyon (more about this below).

Places to visit in Vieux Lyon:

1) The musée Gadagne: this museum complex is located in a beautiful Renaissance building, listed as a historical monument.

There you will find a museum dedicated to the history of Lyon from Antiquity to the present day, as well as the puppet arts museum, which is also worth a visit. The famous Guignol is actually native to the city!

After your visit to the museums, you must go to the hanging gardens of Gadagne for a break. The information about the timings and prices can be found on the official website.

2) The Miniatures and Cinema Museum: if you are passionate about cinema, you will love this museum.

You will discover more than a hundred ultra realistic miniature scenes as well as all the rigging techniques used before computer image processing.

Information about the timings and access is available on the official website.

3) The Cathedral or Primatiale Saint-Jean: it has one of the largest collections of religious objects and relics dating back to the Byzantine era.

It is a must-see building in Lyon, particularly for its 14th century astronomical clock, one of the oldest in Europe.

For more information, click here.

4) The former palais de Justice and the 24 columns adorning its façade.

Voyage Tips - Advice

To visit Lyon and the Musée Gadagne in particular, you should buy the Lyon City Card here.

It entitles you to free public transport + free admission to 22 museums in Lyon! A boat cruise and a guided tour are also included.

Book by clicking the button below:

Cathedrale saint jean lyon
Saint-Jean Cathedral, Lyon old town

2. The traboules of Lyon

The traboules of Lyon alone deserve a small paragraph as they are a special feature of the city. In Vieux Lyon you will find the maximum number of traboules, but there are also some in the district of the Croix Rousse.

The traboules of Lyon are passageways reserved for pedestrians, passing under houses and buildings to cross from one street to another. There are hundreds of them and their architecture is really unique and surprising, it is a very good idea to see them when in Lyon.

You can explore the traboules by yourself, taking the risk that some of the passages will be closed or opt for a guided visit of Lyon to make sure you don’t miss the most famous ones.

You must book this tour with a local guide. The itinerary and duration are customisable, you can also visit many other places in the city:

As they are real tourist attractions in Lyon, the best known and most photographed traboules are the Cour des Voraces (located at Place Colbert) and the Rose Tower (16 rue du Boeuf), in Vieux Lyon.

And if you want to go through the longest traboule in Lyon, it’s at 54 rue Saint-Jean!

When you go through the traboules, don’t forget that there are people living above, so be calm and respectful.

Voyage Tips - Advice
A tip to not miss the entrance of the traboules when visiting Lyon: the wall of the house is marked with a lion’s head plaque sur fond jaune!

traboule la tour rose lyon
Rose tower Traboule – Best things to do in Lyon

3. Fourvière Hill and Notre Dame de Fourvière Basilica

From Saint-Jean, there are large staircases leading up to Fourvière Hill, one of the most touristy places to see in Lyon.

As the climb can be quite long and tiring, you can also choose to go there by cable car. La Ficelle (nickname of the cable car) departs from the Vieux-Lyon metro station.

At the top of the esplanade, you will enjoy a panorama of the whole city with the Alps and Mont Blanc in the background. This is the best place to go to Lyon to admire the view!

Overlooking the hill, you will find the Fourvière Basilica, the most visited monument in Lyon and the emblem of the religious history of the city. With a rather austere appearance on the outside, its interior is richly decorated.

Next to the Basilica is a communication tower called the “little Eiffel Tower” because of its surprising resemblance to its cousin in Paris.

In the same area, you can also visit the ruins of the ancient Lugdunum Ancient Theatre and visit the Gallo-Roman Museum. 

All information is available on the official website of the museum.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you want to discover the city from even higher, there’s a great activity to do in Lyon: a helicopter flight.

You can fly over all the sights of Lyon, the Rhone and the Saone for 30 minutes:

basilique de fourvière
Fourvière basilica, by night – Visit Lyon

4. Place Bellecour

In the list of places to see in Lyon, head to Place Bellecour.

Place Bellecour is a privileged meeting place for Lyon residents.

Whether you want to visit Lyon, go shopping, go to the cinema or just go round the bars, all the way from Bellecour. It constitutes Lyon’s point 0, which means that distances are calculated from there.

Recognised as the largest pedestrian square in Europe, this vast red earth esplanade offers a breathtaking view of Fourvière and provides access to many streets ideal for shopping.

In the centre of the square you can also see the statue of Louis XIV on his horse (built in 1713 in honour of the Sun King) and further on, the statue of the Little Prince and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

If you have decided to visit Lyon in winter, you can take a ride on the Bellecour Ferris wheel to discover the whole city. At Christmas, there is also a skating rink .

Voyage Tips - Advice
Make the most of your visit to Bellecour square and go to the tourist office afin de prendre une carte de la ville.

Voyage Tips - Advice

You’re going to Lyon?

You probably know it: the hardest part of planning your trip is to find an hotel offering a good value for money!

The closer you get to your travel dates, the harder it will be to get a good deal. Lots of people will be visiting Lyon on the same dates as you, so you can be sure that the best deals are booked extremely quickly!

Hopefully, there is a pretty simple solution to this problem: do like me and book your hotel as early as possible!

So, my best advice is to take 5 minutes (now) to have a look at the list of travelers’ favorite hotels in Lyon.

And if you see a good offer, book it!

Most hotels offer free cancellation, so it’s quick, easy, and you will avoid the the inconvenience of finding nothing but mediocre rooms at exorbitant prices.

To check the current best deals for your hotel in Lyon, simply click on the green button below 😎:

Once you’ve booked your hotel, it will be time to continue reading this guide and find out more about the best things to do in Lyon!

Place Bellecour
Place Bellecour – Lyon

5. The Presqu’île de Lyon

Another unmissable area during your stay in Lyon: the Presqu’île.

This area is the city’s central point, so you’ll have to go there on your way around Lyon.

You will find many historical monuments as well as the most famous squares (including place Bellecour, which I mentioned just above).

The places to see on the Presqu’île de Lyon:

  • Rue de la République: the city’s main shopping street. Here you will find cheap brands as well as designer and luxury boutiques.
  • Place des Terreaux, with its 360 ton Bartholdi fountain
  • Place des Jacobins, one of the most beautiful in Lyon
  • Victor Hugo pedestrian street and its numerous shops
  • Place des Célestins where the theatre of the same name is located
  • The palais de la Bourse, listed as a historical monument
  • Lyon Opera
  • The Lyon Town Hall. 
Voyage Tips - Advice

From the presqu’île district, you can also choose an unique activity: a Segway ride.

For this private tour lasting around 90 mins , you will be accompanied by a local guide, and you can explore the city centre and Vieux Lyon.

Click here to book:

place des jacobins lyon
Place des Jacobins, in Lyon

6. The Croix Rousse

Let’s continue to explore Lyon’s districts on foot, and go to Croix Rousse.

Easily accessible by metro or via multiple staircases for the more athletic among you, the district occupies a plateau on a hill in the city. It is often referred to as a “village” in the city because it is rather unusual and has a strong working-class identity due to its past.

The Croix Rousse is in fact the former district of the canuts, the workers specialised in silk work and whose revolt had irrevocably marked the history of Lyon.

The buildings were built specifically to house the huge weaving machines with very high ceilings and huge windows. Today there are only a few of them left in the national museums.

If you are interested in this period in the history of Lyon, you must visit the Maison des Canuts, a former silk-weaver’s workshop and also the Fresque des Canuts, on the Boulevard des Canuts. This 1200 square metre optical illusion reflects the life and atmosphere of the neighbourhood.

In the same vein, you can also go and admire the Mur peint des Lyonnais Célèbres, at the bottom of Croix Rousse.

Finish your tour of Croix Rousse at the Gros Caillou to enjoy the view of the whole city. The Montée de la Grand Côte also offers superb panoramas.

The neighbourhood’s history is so interesting that you must opt for an audio guided tour. Just download it on your phone and you can walk around with the explanations of a guide for all the main places.

The concept is really great and the quality of the tour is really good.

Click here to book!

Voyage Tips - Advice

To visit Lyon and more specifically the Croix Rousse, you can also take a 1 hour ride in the City Tram. 

Guests can enjoy audio commentary, including the Gros Caillou, the mur peint and the fresque.

Click here to book:

fresque des canuts lyon
The Canuts fresco, in Croix Rousse district – Lyon

7. The parc de la tête d’Or (Park of the Golden Head)

You should continue your trip to Lyon with another tourist site, highly appreciated by visitors as well as by the locals to enjoy the greenery: the Park of the Golden Head.

Located in the sixth arrondissement of Lyon, the Park of the Golden Head is the largest park in the city.

It is the ideal place to go for a walk in Lyon and to do outdoor activities. 

You can choose to visit the free zoological park, the rose garden, the botanical garden or take a train ride or go paddle boating on the lake.

Sports lovers can also go jogging in peace or go for a bike ride.

You will easily find food throughout the park.

If you have chosen to go to Lyon with your family, your children will certainly appreciate this place. The place is quiet and relaxing.

Find out about other activities on the official website.

Voyage Tips - Advice

To explore the Park of the Golden Head and other places of interest in Lyon, you can also choose an electric bike tour. If you can’t walk much, it’s a great choice!

The itinerary is very relaxed and really well done to not tire you out. On the agenda: exploring the old town, Park of the Golden Head, and also the Place Bellecour for example.

You can book it by clicking the green button below:

parc de la tete d or lyon
Parc de la tête d’or, Lyon

8. The Confluence district and its museum

Completely renovated, the Confluence district is the contemporary neighborhood of Lyon, located at the confluence of the Rhône and the Saone.

A former industrial district with many factories, it has been rehabilitated to become an eco-district with numerous shops, offices and houses.

In Confluence, you must absolutely visit the museum. Though recent, it has quickly become a must-see in Lyon.

The musée des Confluences, with its futuristic architecture and located on the banks of the Rhone, offers permanent exhibitions on the origins of life, including an archaeological part, another on the representations of death and a last part on the societies and civilisations made by man.

The staging is original and very interesting thanks to clear explanations.

To organise your visit to the musée des Confluences, you can visit the official website.

And to avoid queuing at the entrance, you must book your priority access ticket by clicking on the button below:

musee des confluences lyon
Confluences museum, Lyon

9. The best activities to do in Lyon with friends

If you have decided to visit Lyon with friends or family, here is my selection of excellent activities to try. 

You can click directly on the orange links to view prices and make your reservation:

  • An escape game: a great classic for a trip with friends. In Lyon, the Harry Potter escapge game is particularly awesome. It’s a fun way to discover the city while solving puzzles!
  • A virtual reality experience: fight in a gladiator arena, decimate zombies or protect your castle from a dragon attack.
  • Quiz Room: this is a new activity in Lyon! In a TV set and in teams of 2 or 3, answer questions based on sports, music, society. But nothing will go as planned, because between traps and rule changes, no holds are barred…
  • A quad bike trip for a unique tour of Lyon
  • A rather special food tour since you will only have the opportunity to taste dishes that are not very healthy (burgers, cold cuts, cheese, chocolate dessert…) for 3 hours!
  • A Ninja Warrior course directly inspired by the famous TV show
  • Archery tag: an activity combining archery and paintball – Minimum group of 4 people
  • Bubble football: a classic game of football but you will be wearing a giant bubble.

You can discover the best activities to do in and around Lyon by clicking on the button below:

10. Lunch at a “bouchon” in Lyon

You can’t even think of visiting Lyon without having at least one meal in a Lyon bouchon!

A true institution, there is even a label “Bouchons Lyonnais” to certify the authenticity of the typical bistro.

Eating in a bouchon in Lyon is the best way to discover and experience the gastronomy and regional specialities.

On the menu, kidneys, a brioche sausage, quenelles or even the cervelle de canut and the sapper’s apron! 

Among the impressive list of Lyon bouchons, here are my recommendations:

All of them are very well known, so you must book in advance!

bouchon des cordeliers lyon
Lunch at bouchon des Cordeliers, Lyon

11. Lyon’s Festival of Lights

What to do in Lyon in winter?

If you are visiting Lyon around December 8th, you should definitely not miss the Festival of Lights.

This festival has been held every year since 1852, an unmissable event attracting millions of visitors every year.  Originally, the festival was created to celebrate the Virgin Mary who is said to have saved Lyon from the plague epidemic.

Today, whether you are a believer or not, the Festival of Lights is definitely worth a visit to admire all the illuminations and works of light projected on the façades of the monuments. 

Free access!

To prepare your next Festival of Lights during your stay in Lyon, visit the official website.

fete des lumieres lyon
Lyon festival of lights

12. A stroll along the banks of the Rhône and Saone

As you know, Lyon is at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. This means beautiful walks along the docks!

The riverbanks have been well designed for pedestrians, making it a special place to walk in the city. The views are beautiful and you can watch the numerous barges of the Rhône pass by.

From the banks of the Saone you will find the most beautiful views of Fourvière hill.

You can stroll around on foot or by bicycle.

13. Cruise in Lyon

The presence of these 2 rivers means you can do another super activity: a boat cruise to explore Lyon from another angle.

Several types are offered depending on the length and choice of the boat: barge, tourist boat or even boat rental without a licence.

To spend a pleasant time on the Saône, I particularly recommend this 1h cruise with a guide.

For only €14 per person, the boat will take you past Vieux Lyon and the Confluence district.

To book your trip, just click on the button below:

And if you are looking for romantic activities in Lyon, you must opt for a cruise with meals included. I recommend it because unlike others, the meal offered is excellent.

You will have the choice of 2 options (click on the orange links for information):

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you have taken the Lyon City Pass , a cruise is already included.

croisière sur le rhone
Cruise on the Rhône

14. The Fine Arts Museum

During your weekend in Lyon, you must include the Musée des Beaux-Arts in your itinerary.

Located on the Place des Terreaux, in the Presqu’île, the museum is located in the former abbey of the Dames de Saint-Pierre. Classified as a historical monument, in its 70 rooms, the museum displays an important collection of European paintings and sculptures from the 14th century to the mid-20th century.

There is also a large part dedicated to Antiquity and more specifically to the theme of Egypt.

It is the most important museum behind the Louvre in Paris and is considered one of the most beautiful museums in France. 

All practical information is available on the official website.

Entrance to the museum is free with the Lyon City Card.

musee des beaux arts lyon
Lyon fine arts museum

15. Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse

Les Halles is the gastronomic landmark in Lyon, with shops selling local products, chocolatiers, cheese makers and caterers. In all there are about sixty merchants.

It is located in the third district of Lyon, next to the Part-Dieu train station and is open from 7:00am to 10:30pm during the week (closed on Mondays) and from 7:00am to 1:00pm on Sundays and public holidays.

A huge covered market, it is the ideal place to indulge yourself with good cold cuts, taste the quenelles lyonnaise or delicious praline pie, the typical dessert of the city.

However, it is not a small market with local producers, the prices are quite high but you will surely get quality products from them.

To access and find out about the shops at Les Halles, visit the official website.

Voyage Tips - Advice

For those who are interested in the culinary specialities of Lyon, you must take a a gastronomic tour.

With a local guide, this outing includes 6 tasting stops at the traditional establishments and allows you to taste more than fifteen different specialities. The gourmets among you will be delighted!

halles de lyon
Taste a praline pie in the halles of Lyon

16. Part-Dieu district

The Part Dieu district is mainly a business district, known to tourists for its large shopping centre.

Before becoming a business hub, the grand Hôtel-Dieu de Lyon was a hospital with innovative medical practices recognised throughout France.

Famous for its architecture, dome and gardens, the grand Hôtel-Dieu de Lyon is today both a shopping centre, one of the hotspots of French gastronomy and a 5-star hotel.

It is also where you will find the biggest buildings in Lyon such as the InCity tower, the Oxygène tower, and the Crayon.

In the Crayon, the restaurant on the 32nd floor of the building offers 360° views across the city.

part dieu le crayon lyon
Part dieu district and its famous “le Crayon” tower

17. Shopping in Lyon

Want to know where to go to Lyon for some shopping?

Here are the best places to shop:

  • Part-Dieu: this shopping centre is one of the largest in Europe. Part-Dieu has nearly 250 shops and 40 restaurants. There is also a large cinema hall and many services. The shopping centre is open Monday to Saturday from 10:00am to 8:00pm.
  • Confluence: newer than Part-Dieu, the Confluence shopping centre is very spacious and pleasant for visitors. Around 100 shops, 27 restaurants and a cinema hall await you from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 8pm.
  • The Rue de la République de la Presqu’île and its countless shops selling well-known brands like H&M, Zara etc…
  • The Carré d’Or Lyonnais still in the Presqu’île but a luxury version with Hermès, Vuitton etc…
  • Croix Rousse for its vintage boutiques and second-hand stores.
Shopping Lyon
Shopping à Lyon

What are the things to do around Lyon?

Now that you know what to see in Lyon, you must visit the surroundings. Here are some of the places to see close to Lyon.

18. The medieval village of Perouges

Perouges is a 40-minute drive from Lyon.

Often ranked among the most beautiful villages in France, the village of Perouges is a typical example of a medieval town. The cobbled streets and small alleys ensure a complete change of scenery for visitors. It feels like a movie set.

If you visit Perouges in summer, you can enjoy the medieval festival organised in June. On the agenda: medieval costumes, parades, shows and a market to spend an unforgettable day.

This is the nicest village to see around Lyon! 

Pérouges, a village you should visit around Lyon

19. The grand Parc de Miribel-Jonage

The grand Parc de Miribel-Jonage, with its 1,200 acres, stretches over fifteen municipalities in the metropolis of Lyon and offers a wide choice of activities to do alone or with the family.

In summer, the lake shores welcome many swimmers and tourists. Several water activities are available for half a day, such as biking, paddle boating, and canoe rides.

The park is also ideal for teaching children to ride a bike, roller skating or a scooter.

You will find the complete list of activities to do in the park, on the official website.

This is the ideal place for a family outing near Lyon!

20. Walibi Rhône Alpes amusement park

If you spend a week in Lyon and you need to take a break from your travelling, the ideal solution is to spend a day in Walibi.

Walibi is both, an amusement and a water park, offering an unforgettable and thrilling experience . About thirty attractions available for families, couples and friends every day from 10 am to 6 pm.

The park is located about an hour’s drive from the centre of Lyon. However, if you do not have a car, there are shuttles that take you to Walibi from place Bellecour every Saturday of the summer season.

For other periods, OUIBUS shuttles leave from Lyon Saint-Exupéry Airport and Bourgoin-Jallieu and arrive directly at the amusement park.

One of the most popular tourist attractions around Lyon!

walibi rhones alpes
Familly trip at Walibi Rhônes Alpes

21. Anse

Anse is a small, typical Gallo-Roman town located 30 km North of Lyon.

An entire part of the city is made up of houses dating back to the 15th century with mosaic floors and buildings with old architecture.

The best option is to plan a morning in Anse and have lunch in one of the typical restaurants of the city.

22. Beaujolais Vineyard

Whether you are a wine lover or just curious, it is a great experience to go on the wine trail around Lyon for a day.

Lyon is located between the Beaujolais vineyards in the North and the Rhone Valley in the South.

You will find the list of estates to visit around Lyon by clicking on the green button below:

And the great part is that some tours are free!

You will discover all the secrets of making the fine Beaujolais vintages and will have the opportunity to participate in a wine tasting on site.

Here is my selection of the best estates (click on the orange links to book):

  • The Frédéric Berne estate produces organic wines in Beaujolais. Free tasting or visit + tasting from just €8!
  • The Emmanuel Fellot estate offers 8 wine tastings accompanied by regional cheeses and cold meats. You can also book a tour of the vineyards on an electric bicycle.
  • Château de Montmelas to discover the Montmelas Marquis wines.
  • The Vins de Viennes, an estate producing white and red wines.

Day trips are also organised from Lyon.

Onboard a minibus with a guide, you will discover the villages and vineyards of Beaujolais. A visit to the cellars and tasting are also on the agenda.

You can book your day-trip to the Beaujolais vineyards by clicking here!

Voyage Tips - Advice

I’ve already told you about flying over Lyon by helicopter, and you can also for a a helicopter ride over the Beaujolais region: 

beaujolais vignoble
Day trip in Beaujolais vineyards, around Lyon

What are the things to do in Lyon when it rains?

It’s not easy to know what to do in Lyon when it starts raining and your plans for walking around are turned upside down.

To remedy this, I have prepared a list of activities to do when it rains in Lyon. 

And don’t forget that most of the activities to do with friends or family that I have already recommended in point 9 of this article are also doable in bad weather!

  • Visit the city‘s museums. There are more than 20 in Lyon, so needless to say, this can keep you busy! And the great part is that if you’ve bought the Lyon City Card, they are all free!
  • Shopping in the Part-Dieu and Confluence shopping centres
  • An introduction to wine tasting where you can taste 5 very well-known wines of the region
  • An airliner, fighter plane or helicopter flight simulator with a commercial pilot instructor
  • An art workshop (click here): In Lyon you can choose between workshops for mosaics, painting, modelling, candle making, perfume or make-up.
  • Go to the cinema: there is one in the city’s 2 main shopping centres, so you can mix shopping with a movie
  • Visit the 6 greenhouses of the Park of the Golden Head
  • A sensory deprivation experience, for an exceptional moment of relaxation
  • Go bowling: the Bowling Lyon 8   is located on Marius Berliet street.
  • Go-karting: Kart’In, K1 Speed  and Only Kart all offer indoor circuits so you don’t get wet
  • Indoor skiing: the Only Kart complex recently opened an indoor ski slope, the only one in France!
  • Climbing in the largest room in France at the Climb Up Lyon, rue Lortet.
escalade lyon
When it rains in Lyon, you can try indoor rock climbing!

Visit Lyon on foot

If you want to explore the city on foot, here is a one-day itinerary that will allow you to see the maximum number of unmissable tourist spots in Lyon.

This itinerary will take you through the 4 main districts of Lyon.

You can start the day by exploring the Presqu’île district starting with the famous Place Bellecour, where you can get a map of the city from the Lyon Tourist Office.

Visit the Place des Célestins, the Place des Jacobins, the rue de la République and then reach the Place des Terreaux where you will find the town hall and not far away, the Opera.

Continue your walking tour of Lyon by visiting the Croix Rousse district, a 25-minute walk from the town hall.

First see the fresque des Canuts, take a tour through the Maison des Canuts and go up to the Gros Caillou to enjoy the panorama.

Now its time to have breakfast in one of the famous Lyonnais bouchons.

Finish your tour of the Croix Rousse by going to see the Fresque des Lyonnais, at the bottom of the district, about 15 minutes walk from the Gros Caillou.

Reach the opposite bank of the Saone by crossing the Saint Vincent bridge.

You will then arrive at the North of Vieux Lyon, follow the banks of Bondy and turn on the Place de Change to arrive on the main street of Vieux Lyon, the rue Saint-Jean.

You must take a walk in the famous traboules and then go to the Cathédrale Saint-Jean.

In the late afternoon, go up to admire the sunset on Fourvière Hill.

If you’re tired, you can cheat a bit and take a cable car ride from the Vieux Lyon metro station. But Fourvière is also accessible on foot via the Montée Saint Barthélémy.

And to end the day in style, you must go on a dinner cruise.

Visiter Lyon à pied
Visiting Lyon on foot

How many days to visit Lyon?

The ideal duration to visit Lyon is three days.

This allows you to spend two days to visit the various spots and to take a break between the two days to enjoy, for example the park of the Golden Head or to go for a tour near Lyon for a day.

If you want to visit Lyon and save money, the best way is to get the Lyon City Card. Valid for 1, 2, 3 or 4 days, it allows you to enjoy free access to all the museums of the city and public transport. 

A boat cruise, a visit to the roofs of the Fourvière Basilica or a guided visit to the Maison des Canuts are also on the agenda.

You can also take advantage of discounted rates for Segway tours or tourist bus rides. A show at the Guignol theatre is also included.

The Lyon City card can be purchased on this website (click the button):

Visit Lyon in 1 day

If you only have one day to visit Lyon, you must follow the walking route that I have explained in the section “ Visit Lyon on foot”.

It allows you to discover the 4 main districts (Presqu’île, Croix-Rousse, Vieux Lyon and Fourvière) in one day.

If you don’t necessarily want to walk all day, you can also skip certain neighbourhoods and visit one or 2 museums.

Or why not take the opportunity to do some shopping?

Last option to visit Lyon without walking: opt for a hop-on hop-off bustour to discover the city’s main sights and monuments in 14 stops.

You can book your tickets for the bus directly by clicking here. 

vue sur lyon
View over Lyon

Visit Lyon in 2 days

In 2 days in Lyon, you have time to explore the city in greater depth.

Continue the walking tour itinerary from the first day and add:

  • A nature and greenery visit in the park of the Golden Head 
  • A shopping break in one of the largest shopping centres in France: the Part Dieu
  • Lunch at the Halles Paul Bocuse
  • A boat tour on the banks of the Rhone or the Saone
  • Visit of one or more museums according to your interests: Musées Gadagne for history, the Musée Cinéma et Miniature for cinema, Musée des Beaux-Arts for paintings or Musée des Confluences for natural history.

For a perfect 2-day stay in Lyon, you should read my detailed itinerary: How to visit Lyon in 2 days?

Visit Lyon in 3 days

Things to do in addition to the previous 2 days.

If you want to stay in the city, you can visit the museums in Lyon that you did not have time to do the previous days and do a little more shopping.

If you prefer to visit the surroundings of Lyon for a day, there are several options:

  • For a family outing and if the weather is nice, I highly recommend the Grand Parc de Miribel Jonage or a day at Walibi Park. A great time with children around Lyon!
  • For wine lovers, the undisputed winner is the trip to the Beaujolais! If you have a vehicle, you can also book a visit to a wine estate here! 
  • And if you are more interested in the beautiful villages of France, you must visit Perouges or Anse, or even both in a single day if you have a car. They are only 40 minutes away. To reach Perouges or to return to Lyon, you must visit the Grand Parc de Miribel.

And one last option: Why not spend the day in Annecy, the pearl of the Alps, located about a 90 minute drive away?

In this case you can read my complete guide: The 17 best things to do in Annecy.

If you want to spend 3 days in Lyon, you should read my dedicated article: The best itinerary for 3 days in Lyon.

Where to stay in Lyon

  • HO36 Opéra: Located just 100 metres from the Place des Terreaux, in the Presqu’île disctrict. Hostel with dormitory bed from €30 per night, breakfast at €8. Strong points: location, the pleasant interior patio. The best inexpensive place to stay in Lyon!
  • Greet Hotel Lyon Confluence: Located in the Presqu’île district, 20 minutes from Bellecour square. Double room from €90 per night, breakfast at €10. Strong points: spacious and comfortable rooms, friendly staff. Excellent price/service ratio in Lyon!
  • Bayard BellecourLocated just opposite place Bellecour. Warm and comfortable double room from €120, breakfast at €19. Strong points: excellent homemade breakfast, charming rooms, the perfect location to visit Lyon on foot.
  • Hotel Le Roosevelt: Located between the park of the Golden Head and Part-Dieu. Modern double room, spacious and comfortable bedding from €150, breakfast included. Strong points: calm atmosphere, geographical location, friendly staff.
  • InterContinental Lyon – Hotel Dieu, an IHG Hotel: Located in the Presqu’île district, this splendid luxury hotel offers elegant rooms starting at €350, including breakfast. Strong points: river view, the setting, excellent location.
  • Villa Maia: Located on Fourvières Hill. This 5-star hotel in Lyon offers luxurious and super comfortable rooms with panoramic views of the city from €450 per night, including breakfast. Strong points: sumptuous setting, exceptional view, heated indoor swimming pool. This is our recommendation for a luxury stay in Lyon!
villa maia hotel de luxe lyon
Villa Maia, luxury hotel in Lyon

Where to eat in Lyon

In addition to the aforementioned Lyon bouchons and the Halles Paul Bocuse, here are some good restaurants to eat in Lyon.

  • The restaurant Paul Bocuse: Located in Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or, the restaurant serves the most famous dishes of the famous chef who died in 2018. This restaurant is rated 3 stars in the Michelin Guide and serves dishes which are famous among the general public, such as the VGE Truffle Soup, which was prepared for former President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. You must book at least one week in advance to have a table in this restaurant.
  • La Mère Brazier: In the first arrondissement of Lyon, la mère Brazier restaurant is is rated two stars in the Michelin guide. The chef, elected the Best Chef of France, offers modern and creative cuisine with dishes you won’t find anywhere else.
  • Le Musée: Located on rue des Forces. This Lyon bouchon naturally offers the culinary specialities of Lyon such as quenelles and cervelle des Canuts. The quantity and quality are excellent, with a great price/service ratio. Very warm welcome and great service.

Rent a boat in Lyon

If you want to rent a boat for a nice day on the Saône during your stay in Lyon, you should book it with Samboat.

Motorboats, sailboats, yachts, small boats without a license, with or without a skipper: they simply have the most complete offer for boat rental!

So, what are you waiting for to book your boat trip in Lyon? 😊

Tourist map of Lyon

To help you visualise the city a bit better, I have created this tourist map of Lyon, with all the best places to visit and things to do in Lyon and its surroundings.

You can display the map legend by clicking on the top left button, the one with a small arrow on it.

FAQ – I’ll answer your questions about Lyon

What to do in Lyon with your family?

If you have chosen to visit Lyon with children, here are my recommendations:

Where to park in Lyon?

The cheapest and most convenient way to park in Lyon is to opt for a parking garage (P+R).

Located outside the city, they are just next to a subway station, so you can easily reach the city centre using public transport.

These car parks in Lyon are free, provided you present your valid transport ticket for every day (if you have lost or thrown it, you will have to pay €10 to leave the car park).

Here are the most practical car parks to park in Lyon:

  • Arriving from the North or the West: Gorge de Loup car park- 10 minutes by subway to Place Bellecour
  • Arriving to the South or East: Laurent Bonnevay car park – 15 minutes by metro to reach Presqu’île de Lyon.

Where to buy the Lyon City Card?

You need to buy the Lyon card online by clicking here.

If you need help planning your stay in Lyon, don’t hesitate to ask me your questions in the comments section below.

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Best places to visit in Lyon
Best places to visit in Lyon

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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