Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Travel Inspiration

Best Day Trips from Lyon, France


Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
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Lyon is one of our favorite cities in France and will likely steal your heart too. Considered one of the most beautiful cities in France, Lyon is also a vibrant and cultural place to visit, and there’s great food too!

Filled with interesting museums, unique shops, restaurants, and nightlife, you will need two days in Lyon to enjoy everything this amazing city offers. With more time available, why not take a day trip from Lyon?

These are the best day trips from Lyon, France, to inspire your trip; these day trips from Lyon by train, car, or guided tour are all close enough to Lyon to get there and back on one memorable day.

Lyon Day Trips in a Nutshell

Best day trips from Lyon by train: Beaune, Annecy, Dijon.

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Best day trips from Lyon by car: Gorges de la Loire, Abbey of Hautecombe, Château de la Rôche.

Rent a car in Lyon with Check out our guide to driving in France, and click here for our best tips for renting a car in France.

Best day tours from Lyon: Pérouges, Beaujolais wine tour, Côtes du Rhône wine tour.

Best Lyon Day Trips

Where to go from Lyon? Here’s the list of the best places to visit near Lyon, France; fun Lyon day trips in Eastern France with something for every traveler:

  • Pérouges
  • Wine Regions Near Lyon
  • Annecy
  • La Clusaz
  • Château de la Roche
  • Dijon
  • Aix-les-Bains
  • Abbey of Hautecombe
  • Grenoble
  • Gorges de la Loire – Monts du Forez
  • Hospices of Beaune
  • Saint-Etienne

1. Pérouges

If medieval villages are your thing, you will love Pérouges, 40 minutes outside Lyon. Perched on top of a small hill overlooking the Ain River, the walled village of Pérouges is listed as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in France.”

One of the prettiest French medieval towns, Pérouges has well-preserved architecture and an authentic historic atmosphere. Its winding cobblestone streets and lovely squares will transport you back in time.

You can combine sightseeing with one of the many hiking routes in the stunning countryside around the village. These day hiking routes from Pérouges range from 40 minutes to 2.5 hours.

A Lyon day trip to Pérouges is very easy to plan, as direct trains connect Lyon with Pérouges in less than 40 minutes. If you are traveling with a group, this Pérouges private tour from Lyon with tastings always gets excellent reviews.

2. Wine Regions Around Lyon

Escape Lyon’s hustle and bustle and follow one of the wine routes near Lyon to sip some good wine in the countryside.

Wine tours from Lyon are very popular among visitors and usually include the visit of a couple of wineries and some tastings, plus the possibility to buy as many bottles of excellent wine as you want directly from the producers.

This Beaujolais wine tour is one of the most popular day tours from Lyon. It explores the Beaujolais wine region and comes with a couple of tastings. Famous for its Beaujolais Nouveau, which is a Burgundy wine, the area is also dotted with charming little golden stone villages.

Côtes du Rhône wine tours are also popular. This wine region produces some of the most renowned wines in France, most notably its full-bodied reds. This Northern Rhône Valley wine tour mostly explores wineries in the Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie appellations and comes with many tastings (compared to wine tours in other regions in France).

If you have a car, many wineries in the area offer tours with tastings in French and English. They are usually small businesses, so be sure to book in advance so they can make the necessary arrangements to welcome you.

TIP: If you plan to bring a few bottles home (who could resist?!), make sure you pack your wine properly so it arrives safely home!

3. Annecy

Located by the lake of the same name, Annecy, in the Haute-Savoie department, has many historical and natural highlights to keep you busy the whole day. Also, get ready for some serious food tasting; the Savoie cuisine is famous for specialties like fondue, raclette, rissoles, or polenta.

And there’s also the lake! Known to be the purest in Europe, the Lac d’Annecy offers visitors relaxing beaches and a wide range of nautical activities.

Whether you prioritize sightseeing and ticking landmarks off your bucket list or simply soaking in the atmosphere of this pretty city, this Annecy itinerary comes with many ideas for your day trip from Lyon to Annecy.

This Lyon to Annecy day trip is one of the most popular. Sure, it is a long train journey (2 hours, one way, with the direct trains), but it is entirely worth it – Click here to buy your train tickets to Annecy

4. La Clusaz (French Alps)

Wintertime is ski time in the Alps, and some of the best ski resorts in the French Alps are not far from Lyon.

The ski resort of La Clusaz is less than a 2-hour drive from Lyon. La Clusaz is great for beginner and intermediate skiers (half the runs are rated blue), but more experienced people will also have fun with the challenging, long runs in the area of La Balme.

La Clusaz has 120km of pistes with magnificent views, but it is also an ideal spot for backcountry skiing, and there are even freeriding schools here. For après-ski (or non-skiers), La Clusaz has 10 bars and restaurants and 200 shops and services.

Feasible to do in one day, it is also one of the best weekend trips from Lyon for ski lovers.

5. Château de la Roche

Chateau de la Roche - Rhône-Alpes
Photo courtesy: Stéphane Sélo Photographies ©

Château de la Roche is one of the most beautiful castles in France, with a very picturesque setting. Located in the Loire department, on an island in the lake formed by the Villerest dam, this is a 13th-century château that went through a deep restoration in the Gothic style in the 1900s.

Château de la Roche is just 1 hour by car from Lyon, and it is one of the best day trips from Lyon to enjoy the city’s natural surroundings on this list. The castle hosts many costume events, treasure hunts, and other exciting activities great for kids and adults.

6. Dijon

Dijon - Bourgogne

In only two hours by car or train, you can reach the beautiful city of Dijon, a favorite Lyon day trip amongst visitors and locals in Lyon. Dijon is the capital of the historical region of Burgundy and a large, thriving city with much to offer visitors.

Dijon was home to the Dukes of Burgundy, and as such, it has a fascinating cultural and architectural heritage. The list of fun things to see and do in Dijon includes a visit to the Musée des Beaux-Arts (former Palace of the Dukes), the Old Town, and the Central Market.

Dijon is also a great foodie destination in Burgundy, and you will also want to do some wine tastings. It is also the getaway to the Route des Grands Crus and other memorable French road trips in the Burgundy wine region – Click here to buy your train tickets to Dijon

7. Aix-les-Bains

Nicknamed the Riviera of the French Alps, Aix-les-Bains is a beautiful small city and lakeside resort nestled between the mountains and the Lac du Bourget. Thanks to the city’s hot springs and thermal baths, Aix-les-Bains attracted international tourism looking for the benefits of the sulfur springs. Without the thermal baths, Aix-les-Bains would never have had a casino, a racecourse, or such beautiful private mansions!

The city of Aix-les-Bains has some pretty sights and beautiful architecture. You can also enjoy a spa treatment at Chevalley Thermal Baths or one of the endless activities around Lac du Bourget, the biggest natural lake in France.

Aix-les-Bains is located 105 km east of Lyon. The ride from Lyon to Aix-les-Bains takes 1 hr 30 min drive. It is also possible to visit by train from Lyon Part Dieu train station (1 hr 10 min one way) – Click here to buy your train tickets to Aix-les-Bains

8. Abbey of Hautecombe

For a more cultural day trip from Lyon, visit the Abbey of Hautecombe on Lake de Bourget’s western shore. This beautiful 12th-century Cistercian Abbey is the location of the Maison de Savoie’s medieval tombs. Today, the House of Savoy is more well-known as the ex-Royal Family in Italy.

The Abbey of Hautecombe is a tourist site that receives 15,000 visitors yearly. The ensemble (church, cloister, terrace, the King’s apartments, chapel and court Saint-André, lighthouse, and boat barn) is protected as a Historic Monument.

The drive from Lyon to the Abbey takes 1 hr 23 min. If you decide to combine Aix-les-Bains and the Abbey of Hautecombe, take this boat cruise at Aix, which includes a visit to the Abbey.

9. Grenoble

If you want to see other cities near Lyon, then head over to Grenoble, as this is just 1 hr 20 min by direct train and 1 hr by car.

Nestled at the foot of the Alps and surrounded by snow-capped peaks and lush forests, Grenoble is a vibrant city with many world-class art galleries perfect for a cultural day trip from Lyon.

Another popular tourist attraction in the city is La Bastille, Grenoble’s clifftop fortress. This historic construction dates back to the Middle Ages and, in the 1800s, was used to defend France against invasions from the Duchy of Savoy.

La Bastille is reached by a steep hour-long climb or with a cable car. At the summit, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. On days of good visibility, you can even see the tip of Mont Blanc! – Click here to buy your train tickets to Grenoble

10. Gorges de la Loire – Monts du Forez

The meanders of the Gorges de la Loire, between Saint-Paul-en-Cornillon and Chambles, are among the most beautiful places to visit near Lyon. If you follow the river’s zig-zags, you will find beautiful spots like the Ile de Grangent, occupied by the remains of a medieval castle.

At the time of its construction, around 800, the Château de Grangent was standing on a rocky promontory 60 meters above the Loire River. The Château dominated the gorges and offered an ideal surveillance point over the surroundings.

With the construction of a dam in 1957, the former rocky promontory became a small island in a lake, the Lac de Grangent. Now offering a picturesque panorama to visitors, the ensemble is reminiscent of when the gorges were a strategic route between Forez and Velay.

The drive from Lyon to Ile de Grangent takes 1 hour. Château de Grangent is overlooked by a larger castle, the Château d’Essalois. You can visit both castles and the medieval village of Saint-Victor-sur-Loire on a busy (but memorable) Lyon day trip.

11. Visit the Hospices of Beaune

Hotel Dieu, Beaune - Burgundy

Beaune is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the historical region of Burgundy. This small city is mainly known for its wine and the Hospices de Beaune.

The Hospices de Beaune was built in the 15th century as a medieval hospital for the poor, and it boasts splendid traditional Burgundian architecture. The place remained in use until the 20th century and today is a museum of the history of medicine.

While you are there, you can learn more about the wines of Burgundy at La Maison des Climats (Porte Marie de Bourgogne, access is available through the Tourism Office), the must-place for anyone wanting to understand the climats vine-growing lands of Burgundy. If you want to buy a couple of bottles as a souvenir from your Burgundy day trip, there are many wineries in town that offer wine tours with tastings (book online in advance).

Located 155 km north of Lyon, Beaune is one of the best day trips from Lyon by train (1 hr 40 minutes, one way) – Click here to buy your tickets to Beaune

12. Get Artsy in Saint-Etienne

Saint-Etienne - France

Saint-Etienne is one of the main cities in the Auvergne-Rhône Alpes region. Located only 50 km from Lyon, Saint-Etienne makes a perfect day trip from the City of Lights.

Saint-Etienne has a rich industrial history. Today, the city is a European design capital thanks to an urban renewal program, and it’s known for its surrounding scenery, vibrant cultural scene, and football home club, AS Saint-Etienne.

From visiting museums to simply walking around the city, you will see art installations everywhere. Saint-Etienne has a special atmosphere that will make you fall in love instantly! – Click here to buy your tickets to Saint-Etienne

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