Lyon is a great city to visit because it is possible to take many fantastic day trips from Lyon which are within easy reach. Lyon is also the gastronomic capital of France and there are many things to see and do in the city. If you want detailed information about what to see and do in Lyon itself, make sure you read our post about why you should visit Lyon. We definitely recommend you take a few days to explore this wonderful city using our walking tour!
However, if you have more time, Lyon is also an excellent location to explore the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France. The city is centrally located and has excellent transport links which are easy to use. You have plenty of options nearby including mountains, lakes, beautiful cities or wine tours in Beaujolais. No matter whether you are looking for sporting, cultural or relaxing activities, you will find exactly what you are looking for in this area of France.
Closest Day Trips From Lyon – Less Than One Hour Drive
If you have limited time to spend in and around Lyon, these are the best destinations for day trips from Lyon.
1 – Day Trips From Lyon to Pérouges
Just 40 minutes outside of Lyon, I highly recommend a visit to the small medieval walled village of Pérouges. This well-preserved medieval village is perched on top of small hill that overlooks the Ain River. Unsurprisingly, Pérouges features on the official list of the ‘Most Beautiful Villages in France’ and its authentic historical feel has made it a popular choice for the setting of period films including The Three Musketeers. Without doubt, its quaint, winding cobblestone streets, beautiful flower boxes and charming old buildings will transport you back in time. In Pérouges, you will find many places to stay, relax and eat. Make sure you try out La Galette which is a speciality of the village. The Place de la Halle is the village’s main square which is also known as La Place du Tilleul thanks to an impressive Linden tree which was planted over 200 years ago during the French Revolution known as the Liberty tree. Here you will also find one of the oldest inns in France (Hostellerie du Vieux Pérouges) and an elaborate sun dial on the side of one of the picturesque buildings. After you’ve finished exploring the village, there are also many hiking routes in the stunning countryside around Pérouges which range from 40 minutes to 2.5 hours.
2 – Day Trips From Lyon to Domaine de Lacroix-Laval
Le Domaine de Lacroix-Laval is a park situated just 30 minutes outside of Lyon in Marcy-l’Etoile. If you are looking for somewhere to relax and enjoy some sporting activities, this is just the spot. The park itself spreads over 115 hectares and is an abundant natural space with paths criss-crossing valleys, meadows, ponds, rivers and woods. Le Domaine de Lacroix-Laval is ideal for children and adults alike as there are playgrounds, pony rides, fitness trails, a small train and places to picnic under ancient trees. The park is situated next to a château which dates to the 12th century. This is a great open space which is ideal for relaxing, enjoying the outdoors and spending time together as a family or couple. In the summer months, the park is open early (0600) until late (2200) and, in Winter, from 0700 to 2000.
3 – Day Trips From Lyon to Maison d’Ampère Museum
If you are looking for an interesting and educational museum to visit, the Maison D’Ampère Museum (Musée de l’électricité) is also located 30 minutes outside of Lyon. This museum is situated in the mansion home of French scientist, André-Marie Ampère. Within the museum are 11 different rooms which house historical documents and working models of Ampère’s experiments in electromagnetism. Visiting the museum will give you an insight into the significance of Ampère’s work which led to his name being given to the basic unit of electrical current (the ampere). In addition, there are exhibits which explain the electrical discoveries of other renowned scientists, along with displays of electrostatic machines, generators, motors, telecommunications systems, electrical lighting and photovoltaic technology. The museum is open on Saturdays from 1400 until 1800 and on Sundays from 1000-1200 and 1400-1800.
4 – Day Trips From Lyon to Château de Rochetaillée-sur-Saône – Musée Henri Malartre
Also situated 30 minutes outside of Lyon is the Château de Rochetaillée-sur-Saône, a 12th Century castle which is now home to the Automobile Museum Henri Malartre. If you are a car enthusiast, this museum is home to more than 150 cars, motorbikes and bicycles which date from 1892 to today, including some one-off models. Whilst the museum is off the beaten track, the collection of vintage cars and motorcycles within the unique setting of the grounds and rooms of a historic château will interest anyone who is interested in cars and history. The collection includes the first front wheel drive vehicle and an armoured Mercedes parade car used by Hitler. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 1030 until 1800.
5 – Day Trips From Lyon to Ambronay
50 minutes’ drive from Lyon is the village of Ambronay which is situated at the foot of the Jura mountains. Here you will find Abronay Abbey which was a Benedictine abbey founded in the early 9th Century.
6 – Day Trips From Lyon to Couvent de la Tourette
40 minutes’ drive from Lyon in Eveux is another significant religious building, the priory Holy Mary of La Tourette, which houses a Dominican community of twelve friars. If you book in advance, you can stay in the convent. Although the park and grounds are accessible, you can only visit the interior of the convent by booking a guided tour. The modernist building was designed by Le Corbusier and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Lyon Day Trips Less Than 2 Hours
The following locations are a little bit further away from Lyon but are well worth visiting and are still within a reasonable driving time.
1 – Day Trips From Lyon to Annecy
By car, Annecy is 1hour 50 minutes’ drive from Lyon. Annecy is one of the prettiest towns in France. There is some kind of magical atmosphere in this city, probably because you are surrounded by magical mountains which are reflected in the pristine lake. Annecy’s lake is one of the largest lakes in France.
Of course, you can enjoy a lot of water activities here, but Annecy isn’t just about the lake. It is a lovely town with water canals. In fact, Annecy is called the ‘Venice of the Alps’. I love to roam the old streets of Annecy and stop for a drink on the terrace of a café.
There are plenty of things to do and visit in Annecy, but the food is also great. You should try a raclette which is melted cheese with charcuterie and potatoes.
2 – Day Trips From Lyon to Aix-les-Bains
Aix-les-Bains is a 1 hour 30-minute drive from Lyon by car, but it is also easy to visit by train. Aix-les-Bains is well known for its thermal baths and has a lot of historical and architectural heritage. The 9-meter-high Arch of Campanus is the oldest structure in Aix-les-Bains and it is thought that it was a used as a funerary arch in Roman times.
Aix-les-Bains is situated on the shore of the Lac du Bourget which is a natural lake with glacial origins. Here you will find beaches and an aquapark. There is also a foot path around the lake, where you can enjoy walking or cycling.
3 – Day Trips From Lyon to Lac d’Aiguebelette
Lac d’Aiguebelette is situated 1 hour 20 minutes from Lyon. It is a good destination to relax or to have a picnic next to the water. There are plenty of beaches around the Lac d’Aiguebelette. This lake is less busy than the Lac d’Annecy or the Lac du Bourget. The surrounding area is beautiful and it is easy to explore it.
4 – Day Trips From Lyon to Chazelles-sur-Lyon
Chazelles-sur-Lyon is a 1 hour drive from Lyon. The main attraction in Chazelles-sur-Lyon is the hat museum. Here you will learn everything about hats. The museum is inside the old factory and it is fascinating as there is a lot to discover about hats!
After your visit, you can enjoy some very nice French food and take your time to enjoy your day.
5 – Day Trips From Lyon to Vienne
The Roman city of Vienne is located less than 1 hour from Lyon. There are plenty of old buildings ready to be discovered in Vienne. Perhaps the most famous one is the Temple of Augustus and Livia which was built in 1BC. Alternatively, you can opt to visit the largest theatres in Roman Gaul or even the Garden of Cybèle.
Vienne is squeezed between the Rhône river and a hill. It is very interesting to take time roaming the streets of Vienne to discover the medieval heritage of this city.
There are also plenty of festivals during the year in Vienne and the city has the second biggest market in France. The market takes place every Saturday morning and you will find plenty of local products on sale. To give you an idea, the market is comprised of 5km of stands!
6 – Day Trips From Lyon to Sainte-Croix-en-Jarez
The village of Sainte-Croix-en-Jarez is also found about an hours’ drive from Lyon. It is listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France and is situated in the middle of the Pilat Regional Nature Park. It’s the only village in France to have a Carthusian monastery. Today, most of the houses in the village were once part of the monastery. The village is very attractive and is surrounded by a fortified wall. Don’t miss out on sampling the famous Chartreuse liqueur distilled by the monks!
7 – Day Trips From Lyon to Bourg-en-Bresse
Bourg-en-Bresse is a medieval city located about an hour from Lyon. In the historic centre, you will find quaint streets with half-timbered houses. Bourg-en-Bresse is also home to the architecturally striking Royal Monastery.
8 – Day Trips From Lyon to Grottes du Cerdon
One hour from Lyon in the Jura mountains, you can enjoy exploring the Grottes du Cerdon. These caves allow you to follow the entire course of an ancient subterranean river. The caves can get cold, so don’t forget some warm clothing! Once you’ve finished exploring the caves, there is a park with many activities.
9 -Day Trips From Lyon to Château-Grillet
If you are a wine lover, the Château-Grillet vineyards are situated an hours’ drive from Lyon. Since 1936, Château-Grillet has been one of the smallest and most prestigious vineyards producing a unique white wine from its amphitheatre style stone terraces of vines.
10 – Day Trips From Lyon to Grenoble
Drive one and half hour south east of Lyon and you will discover the city of Grenoble which is situated at the foot of the Alps. Things to visit here include many art galleries such as the Musée de Grenoble which is perfect for lovers of European Art. Another popular tourist attraction is La Bastille which is Grenoble’s cliff top fortress reached by a steep hour-long climb or cable car ride. At the summit, you will enjoy spectacular views across the surrounding landscape.
11 – Day Trips From Lyon to Geneva
About an hour and fifty minutes’ drive north east of Lyon, you will find the lakeside Swiss city of Geneva. Lyon is the ideal base from which to explore and tick another country off your bucket list in a day! The peaceful city of Geneva is found at the southern end of Lac Leman and is surrounded by the Alps and Jura Mountain with views of Mont Blanc. Don’t miss out on seeing the world’s tallest fountain (Jet d’Eau), St Peter’s Cathedral in the Old Town and the United Nations building and Place des Nations with Berset’s Broken Chair monument to land mine victims. If you want to window shop for a Swiss watch, head to Geneva’s famous Market Street. Alternatively, for a more bohemian experience, cross the L’Arve River and relax in the cafés and artisan boutiques of Carouge.
12 – Day Trips From Lyon to Avignon
If you are feeling more adventurous, you could visit the historic city of Avignon which is located 3 hours’ south of Lyon. The city itself is situated on the left bank of the Rhône river and, in the 14th century, was home to seven successive Popes and seat of the Catholic church. The city is full of Gothic and Renaissance buildings including the impressive Popes’ Palace (Palais des Papes) and the Saint Benezet Bridge (also known as the Pont d’Avignon) which are both UNESCO World Heritage sites. Originally, the bridge was 900m long featuring 22 arches but only 4 remain today.
13 – Day Trips From Lyon to Dijon
If you don’t mind driving, Dijon is another good choice of destination for a day trip from Lyon. About 2 hours north of Lyon, you will find the beautiful capital of the wine-making region of Bourgogne (Burgundy). The city is known for being one of France’s wine and gourmet capitals and for its famous mustard, La Moutarde de Dijon. Amongst the most popular tourist attractions is the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy (Palais des Ducs et des Etats de Bourgogne) which has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2015. Dating back to the 18th century, the building now houses the City Hall, Tourist Office and the city’s Fine Arts Museum (Musée des Beaux Arts). Climbing up the Tour Philippe Le Bon will afford you a panoramic view of Dijon and is a great spot for taking photographs. Take time to walk around Dijon and you will discover that its medieval streets are well-preserved, particularly Rue de la Verrerie where half-timbered houses overhang the street. In addition, La Place de la Liberation is considered one of the loveliest squares in France and is the perfect place to stop for a coffee and watch the world go by. If you want to shop, head to Dijon’s main shopping street, the Rue de la Liberté. To experience French food, don’t miss out on Dijon’s food market in Les Halles which is open every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings and all-day Saturday. Lastly, make sure you find time to visit the 13th century gothic Notre Dame church.