While there are plenty of beautiful French cities to include in a France itinerary, Lyon is one you don’t want to miss. Found in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of eastern France, Lyon is the gateway to a corner of the country that travelers often miss. So once you’ve spent a couple days in Lyon seeing the sights, you’ll want to start thinking about all the great places within reach. To help you get a better idea of which places will best suit you, we’ve assembled this guide of the best day trips from Lyon.
Annecy. There’s no doubt that one of the first Lyon day trips you’ll want to look at is to the town of Annecy. This alpine town is adored for its picturesque combination of gorgeous canals and old town character. Start in the city’s old town of Vieille Ville, where you’ll be treated to a picture-perfect scene of old world France. Wander the cobblestone streets, admire the colorful houses with their vibrant window boxes and take photos to your heart’s content. Right on the main canal you’ll find the Palais de l’Isle, a medieval castle-turned-prison which is now a local history museum. Next, take a walk up to Château d’Annecy, another medieval castle that now hosts an art museum. Following the canal you’ll soon come to the lovely Jardins de l’Europe which is on the scenic waterfront of Lake Annecy and boasts perfect mountain views.
Vienne. Sitting on the Rhône river, Vienne was once a major regional capital under the Romans and there are still several Roman ruins that visitors can see there today. Begin your visit with the well-preserved Temple of Augustus and Livia which dates back to the 1st-century B.C. A short walk away you’ll find an equally impressive ancient site – the city’s Roman Theatre which sat 13,000 spectators. Back in the heart of the city you’ll want to see the extravagant Gothic facade of the Vienne Cathedral, one of Vienne’s major medieval landmarks alongside the Abbaye de Saint-André-le-Bas. If you head across the river you’ll come to the Musée Gallo-Romain de Saint-Romain-en-Gal which will tell you more about Vienne’s ancient history.
Beaujolais Region. For a day out among the wineries of Burgundy, the Beaujolais region is one of the most popular day tours from Lyon. Set amongst countryside reminiscent of Tuscany, there’s more to the Beaujolais region than just its famous wine. Of course, you will want to have the opportunity to taste different wines from the region, which is known for its light-bodied reds. But it’s also possible to visit family wineries where they’ll take you through local processes and tell you more about the region’s history of wine-making. The area around Beaujolais is home to plenty of quaint stone villages like Oingt which allow visitors get a better understanding of the region’s history and what local life is like. Plus, there’s that gorgeous landscape scenery. There’s no shortage of things to enjoy about the Beaujolais region.