Are you looking for the best day trips from Lyon, France? We’ve got you covered – keep reading!
This guide will introduce you to some of the top Lyon day trips – from local wine regions to adventure spots… and beyond!
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Best Day Trips From Lyon
1. Beaujolais Wine Trail
Distance from Lyon: 49.1 km (52 minutes)
The Beaujolais landscape is full of valleys and hills and leads to the 10 signature crus of the variety of areas it encompasses.
These areas include Saint-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Côte de Brouilly, and Brouilly.
Along the trails, you’ll encounter numerous highlights, like the Argigny Castle in Charentay, and the chapel on Mont Brouilly.
Finish the Wine Route by crossing over to the Pierres Dorées country.
The 39 villages of the region are built in an ochre-colored stone that sparkles when hit with sunlight.
The area has old churches, washhouses, and castles scattered throughout its hilly and vine-covered terrain, earning it the nickname “Little Tuscany.”
Among the best villages to see are Marcy, Charnay, Pommiers, Oingt, Jarnioux, Bagnols, and Ternand and its fortifications.
Distance from Lyon: 197 km (2 hours, 9 minutes)
Dijon is perhaps most famously known for its traditional mustard, but its local delicacies go beyond that! In fact, it is one of the major gastronomic cities in France.
You can explore everything the city has to offer in regard to food at Les Halles.
There are numerous Michelin stars with affordable tasting menus, such as Parapluie, L’Essentiel, L’Asperule, and Loiseau des Ducs.
Explore the local cuisine even further at the Mulot et Petitjean, a factory and museum that churns a variety of spice-based breads, particularly gingerbread, and elaborates on its 220 years of history.
In the heart of the old city is the iconic 13th-century Gothic Église Notre-Dame, in a square of the same name, lined with the town’s trendiest cafes, bars, restaurants, and shops.
Nearby is the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, which houses the Musee des Beaux-Arts and City Hall. The Commercial Rue Musette is just opposite the square.
Distance from Lyon: 145.6 km (1 hour, 43 minutes)
Swim in the cleanest lake in Europe and walk through the narrow streets and alleyways of the fairy tale village at Annecy.
Some of the best attractions of the Vieille Ville are at the lakefront, including the Jardins de l’Europe and a variety of creperies and glaciers.
The Palais de l’Isle is perhaps the most notable building in town– a medieval stone structure with numerous towers looking like it was taken out of a storybook.
It also functions as a museum for local architecture.
Walk around the lake in its enclosing green gardens, take some treats from the carts or pack a picnic and enjoy the views of the amazingly blue waters and the stunning mountains in the backdrop.
Rent a boat and explore just how clear the water is firsthand. The Musée-Château d’Annecy showcases medieval sculpture, landscape paintings, contemporary art, and regional history.
Go shopping and dining on the picturesque Rue Sainte-Claire!
4. Domaine de Lacroix-Laval
Distance from Lyon: 14.1 km (23 minutes)
To Lyon’s northwest is the Domaine de Lacroix-Laval, an expansive landscaped park of 115 hectares and the largest of its kind in the department.
The park encompasses woods, high forests, valleys, meadows, streams, ponds, rivers, and numerous paths and walking trails.
Numerous entangling paths lead you to the 16th-century Renaissance Château de Lacroix-Laval, which has a variety of stunning gardens including roses, vegetables, fruits, and flowers with Lyonnais origins.
The family-friendly park has playgrounds to keep the kids busy with, and the paths are excellent for cycling together.
Near Marcy-l’Étoile is a 5.1-km loop trail lasting an average duration of 1 hour and 15 minutes which takes you around the entire park, and begins at the Route de Sain-Bel’s parking lot.
For trails crisscrossing through the park, the Allée des Terres Rouges and the Allée du Grand Central trails are ideal, and you can find paths redirecting there along the trail in Marcy.
Address: 1171 Av. de Lacroix-Laval, 69280 Marcy-l’Étoile
5. Geneva (Switzerland)
Distance from Lyon: 149.6 km (1 hour, 58 minutes)
Geneva is an international city as it is a center of diplomacy due to housing the Headquarters of Europe’s United Nations and the Red Cross, and as a city in Switzerland, also a prominent banking destination.
The city is on the southern tip of Lake Geneva and is famously known for its landmark water jet on the lake. Take a walk through the city and admire the classic and clean architecture and streets.
Pass by the Flower Clock and head over to the City Center shopping district, which is within the parallel streets of Rue du Marche and Rue du Rhone.
The city boasts numerous museums: the Patek Philippe Museum, which showcases a famous watchmaker’s creations and story; the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire; and the Musée Ariana, which displays about 20,000 objects of ceramic and glass artwork.
Other stunning attractions to see are the Place du Bourg-de-Four and Basilica Notre-Dame.
Distance from Lyon: 229.3 km (2 hours, 32 minutes)
On the banks of the Rhône River is the medieval Avignon, known for its majestic Palais de Papes, a large, Gothic-style palace and fortress, and the official papal residency for a century.
The Romanesque Avignon Cathedral has statues and tombs of the 14th-century popes, in addition to a collection of religious objects and relics at the chapel.
Crossing the Rhône River is the Pont d’Avignon, an important medieval bridge with only four arches and a gatehouse surviving today.
Visit the Musée du Petit Palais, which is both a museum and art gallery collection of Renaissance paintings, and the Musée Lapidaire, which showcases classical sculptures and objects from ancient Greek, Etruscan, Roman, and Gallo-Roman cultures.
Surrounding the city are the impressive defensive stone walls, fortifications, and towers of the Remparts d’Avignon.
The medieval cobblestone streets of Rue des Teinturiers run along the canal, which finds sanctuary under the shade of the sycamores.
There, you can find many picturesque cafés and restaurants.
7. Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne
Distance from Lyon: 189.9 km (2 hours, 15 minutes)
Central France has the largest volcanic complex in all of Europe. The Parc naturel régional des Volcans d’Auvergne has a total of 80 volcanoes spread out over nearly 400,000 hectares.
The park is the largest regional natural park in metropolitan France and constitutes the Monts Dore, the Artense, the Cézallier, and the ancestral Cantal massif.
It extends over 120 km from north to south, and its volcanic stone was used to build numerous structures in Clermont-Ferrance, the most notable being the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption.
There is an abundance of hiking trails from the Puy Mary to the Puy de Dôme. Near Mont-Dore on the Puy de Dôme is a popular 8-kilometer trail of a little over 3 hours and ranks at moderate difficulty.
Another moderate trail would be near Orcines in the same department, lasting an average of 2 hours.
The young Chaîne des Puy has craters, lava domes, and cinder cones and is a lush area to discover.
Distance from Lyon: 33.6 km (44 minutes)
Only 35 kilometers south of France is Vienne, and is settled between the confluence of the Gère and the Rhône rivers.
During the Roman Empire, the city was a major center under the Latin equivalent of Vienna. Being able to explore its ancient Roman past is perhaps the most attractive part of Vienna.
The Corinthian Temple of Augustus and Livia dates back to the beginning of the 1st century when it was built at the city center of ancient Vienne.
The Archeological Gardens of Cybele is an open-air museum of ruins from a complex of ancient buildings.
The Vienne Ancient Roman Theatre are salvaged ruins of a theater used today for events and concerts.
The Musée archéologique Saint-Pierre de Vienne and Museum of Fine Arts and Archeology of Vienne are excellent stops to discover the cultural heritage of the city.
You can’t miss the massive Saint Maurice Cathedral and the Abbaye de Saint-André-le-Bas de Vienne whilst walking around the French town!
9. Bourg Saint Maurice
Distance from Lyon: 209.7 km (2 hours, 36 minutes)
Closer to the Italian border is the town of Bourg Saint Maurice, which is ideal for the outdoor enthusiast. The Les Arcs Ski Resort has numerous difficulty levels for its skiers over its 425 kilometers of slopes.
Its landscapes enter the la Plagne area, look over the Haute-Tarentaise, and lead to Mont-Blanc, the highest peak in Europe.
The ski resort is encircled by dense forests with multiple villages scattered around and throughout.
There’s the Spa Deep Nature – Les Sources de Marie where you can decompress in a hot tub and sauna after your outdoor activities in the snow.
The Nama Springs are another good option, with mineral spring backs, massages, hamas, spas, and saunas to choose from.
Go rafting on the stunning river at the Arc Adventures Rafting Bourg Saint Maurice; the professional staff will guide beginners and advanced individuals alike for an exhilarating experience downhill on the slopes that the river runs along.
Distance from Lyon: 73 km (1 hour, 8 minutes)
At the south end of Burgundy, lying on the River Saône is Macon, a charming city lined with pastel-colored houses at both ends of the riverfront.
The city is home to numerous churches, but the most impressive include the Église Saint Pierre, a church built in the 19th century, with three ports and twin steeples.
For something more ancient, the remains of the Old Cathedral of Saint Vincent date back sometime between the 11th century and 14th century.
In the center of the city is its oldest house, the Maison de Bois – which gives you a perspective on the old architectural past of the city.
Below is a cafe and brasserie of the same name! The River Saône is an attraction of its own, and its banks are connected by the Pont Saint-Laurent.
The Musée des Ursulines is a former 17th-century convent that now showcases local history, in addition to archaeological excavations and art.
11. Grottes du Cerdon
Distance from Lyon: 88.4 km (1 hour, 3 minutes)
To the northeast of Lyon is a unique attraction in the heart of the surrounding wilderness and is the perfect weekend escape.
You’ll descend into the underground world of the Cerdon Valley, where stalactites and stalagmites line the cave walls of a prehistoric shelter dating back nearly 10,000 years.
The trail lasts on average for an hour and thirty minutes, which you can explore with the assistance of a tour guide or by your own observations.
There are prehistoric workshops available, where you can make fire by using tools to make friction, spear throwing to see how hunting was accomplished, create your own natural ocher paint, create jewelry with stones and shells, and sculpt pottery.
The entire path underground is landscaped, marked, and lit, and it is important to arrive with warm clothing and comfortable shoes as the temperature drops as you descend, and there is a lot of walking involved, as well.
Distance from Lyon: 113.8 km (1 hour, 21 minutes)
Aix-les-Bains is a classic thermal spa town located in the Savoie region of France, right on Lake Bourget.
Most commonly known for its Casino Grand Cercle Aix-les-Bains, a historical building ornated with stunning art decor and frescoes on the ceilings.
The smart casino, in addition to regular gaming tables, has a piano bar, nightclub, and restaurant.
Spa Parenthesis Aix Les Bains is one of the most attractive places to be in town, with a complete aqua-relaxation area that includes a jacuzzi, a heated swimming pool, a sauna, and a hammam, in addition to relaxing treatments, such as massages.
Their Sunday Brunch is also a popular dining attraction in town! Some of the landmarks in town include the Temple of Diana, ruins that date back to Roman rule.
Definitely don’t miss the emblematic Château de la Roche du Roi – a picturesque castle situated on a hillside in the southern part of the city.
Distance from Lyon: 111.6 km (1 hour, 18 minutes)
Grenoble is a city nestled between the Isère and Drac rivers and is primarily known for its nuclear physics and microelectronics research centers.
Its landscapes grant excellent terrain for winter sports, and you can view its panorama on a cable car with the Téléphérique, which links the city center to the 18th-century Fort de la Bastille at the southern end of the Chartreuse mountains.
There are an abundance of museums in Grenoble to check out: Musée de Grenoble, a municipal museum of Fine Arts and antiquities; Musée dauphinois, dedicated to the ethnography, archaeology, history, and society of the former province of the Dauphiné; the Museum of the Resistance and Deportation of Isère; Musée de l’Ancien Évêché, dedicated to the Isère heritage through the history of its Bishop’s palace; Musée des troupes de montagne; and the Musée archéologique Saint-Laurent.
The Eglise Saint Louis and Cathédrale Notre-Dame are two historic buildings to see as well.
Distance from Lyon: 40.2 km (36 minutes)
Perouges is an authentic medieval town situated on a small hill overlooking the Ain River, and is unspoiled by touristy structures and traps, and is only inhabited by the locals.
All the more so why it’s a famous tourist town! It mains its signature half-timbered stone houses winded by cobblestone roads.
Roaming around the medieval city is an attraction in its own right.
The old Church of Saint Mary Magdalene and its fortress offer an excellent lesson into the history of the city, and the Hostellerie Du Vieux Perouges is a picturesque restaurant serving all the local delicacies you’re looking for, such as the Galette de Perouges, which is a flattened brioche dough baked with a caramelized sugar, and the Pérougeoise, gratinated potatoes in mustard cream.
Musée du Vieux Pérouges has beautiful gardens and a panoramic view of the town from its watchtower, and inside is a collection of art, artifacts, and armor.
15. Gorges de la Loire
Distance from Lyon: 79.2 km (1 hour, 9 minutes)
Gorges de la Loire is a 4000-hectare reserve at the ends of the city, a haven of biodiversity blooming around the Loire River, the last wild river in Europe and the longest in France.
There is much to explore with hiking trails, including numerous towns and attractions, like castles.
The Aurec-sur-Loire is a small medieval town situated along the loop of the Loire and Chambles is a steep village with beautiful views.
Visiting this town includes seeing the old castle of Essalois, which looks over the Grangent dam lake and its island.
You can boat along the river without a license, which may be the best bet if you’re trying to see all the princely estates, such as the Château de Lavoûte.
The Gorges de la Loire is more renowned for its 3-star campsite with 143 pitches amongst hills, wild meadows, and the river. Engage in a variety of outdoor activities!
Where to Stay in Lyon
If you’re looking for the best places to stay in Lyon, here are some of our top picks!
Did we miss any of the best day trips from Lyon?
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More Lyon Travel Guides
- Best things to do in Lyon
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- Things to do in Lyon in winter
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Aram is a travel blogger and writer from Armenia who spends his time between Spain and his home country. He is passionate about music and football (the European kind) and covers a lot of Western European destinations on the blog. Aram is a laidback traveler who enjoys meeting new people and finding the best food in each city that he visits (hence his frequent trips to France, Italy, and Greece!). He has been featured in (or written for) Forbes, BBC, The Guardian, Fodor’s Travel, and more.