3 Days Lyon Itinerary
Are you planning to spend 3 days in Lyon?
To help you prepare for your short stay, I have concocted the perfect itinerary for you to visit Lyon in 3 days.
I start with my best tips for saving money and I continue with the optimized visit program to be able to make the most of your stay in Lyon.
At the end of the article, I also give you my selection of the best hotels to stay in according to your budget as well as my advice for a visit to Lyon in 3 days with children.
So, where to go and what to do in Lyon in 3 days?
Our advice for visiting Lyon in 72 hours
Before starting this 3-day Lyon itinerary, I will give you some tips for visiting the city while saving money.
The Lyon City Card
To visit Lyon in 3 days, I advise you to buy the Lyon City Card (also called “Lyon City Pass”).
This type of pass is now a great classic in cities, both French like Strasbourg or Marseille, and European.
Very practical, this city pass allows you to save time by avoiding queues for certain attractions and to save money on the majority of the must-see sites to see in 3 days in Lyon.
Here is an overview of what is included with the Lyon City Card:
- Unlimited access to public transport: bus, metro, tram and funicular
- Free entry to all the city’s museums (23 in all!): the Musée des Confluences, the Musée Gadagne, the Musée des Beaux-Arts, the Musée des Automatons…
- A cruise on the Rhône
- A visit to the roofs of the Basilica of Fourvière
- A guided walking tour of Vieux-Lyon (to be booked in advance)
- A show at the Guignol theater
- Access to the Mini World Lyon miniature park.
You will also be entitled to many advantages or discounts on:
- The Lyon City Tram which allows you to travel through the Croix-Rousse
- The hop-on hop-off bus
- The shows that are played in the theaters of the city
- A dinner cruise.
When booking online, you must choose a validity period: 1, 2, 3 or 4 days.
You will then receive a confirmation email to exchange for the Lyon City Card at Lyon airport, at the reception of the Part-Dieu shopping center or at the Pavillon OnlyLyon Tourisme (tourist office), located on Place Bellecour.
Buy your Lyon City Card directly for your 3-day Lyon itinerary by clicking here.
Best 3 Days Lyon Itinerary
It’s time to discover my 72-hour Lyon itinerary and the visit route with things to do each day.
If you still have questions about organizing your vacation after reading everything, do not hesitate to ask me your questions in the section dedicated to comments, at the very end of the article.
So, what to visit in Lyon in 3 days?
Day 1 – The Main Districts of Lyon
The visits of day 1:
A. Place Bellecour
B. The Presqu’île
C. La Croix Rousse
D. Old Lyon
A. Place Bellecour
Let’s go for this first day in Lyon! I suggest you start this route by Place Bellecour.
It is the emblematic square of the city and the largest pedestrian square in Europe. You will find it very easily by taking the metro to the Bellecour stop.
It is surrounded by cafes and shops and houses a statue of Louis XIV in its center.
The superb view from the square on the hill of Fourvière and the Basilica is also worth a look.
Place Bellecour is also an essential place where sports and cultural gatherings are regularly organized . It is particularly lively in winter since it hosts the Ferris wheel and the Christmas ice rink.
And if you visit Lyon during the Festival of Lights, you certainly can’t miss this event to admire the beautifully illuminated square.
PS:Place Bellecour is the ideal starting point for your 3-day tour of Lyon since this is where you will find the tourist office.
You can therefore collect your Lyon City Pass there.
B. The Peninsula
From Place Bellecour, you can go directly to visit the Presqu’île district on foot.
It is one of the emblematic districts of the city, to see absolutely in 3 days in Lyon. It has the particularity of bringing together many historic buildings as well as the most famous places in Lyon. Take advantage of this walk to go around it.
To guide you, here is the route that I propose with the different places of interest to see in order:
- Place des Célestins where you can see the theater of Lyon
- Place des Jacobins where there is a beautiful white marble fountain
- Rue de la République, a major shopping avenue
- The Palais de la Bourse in Lyon (listed as a historical monument!)
- The Lyon Opera
- Place de la Comédie where the town hall is located
- Place des Terreaux where you can admire the famous and imposing Bartholdi fountain.
You can, if you prefer, opt for a guided Segway tour that will take you through the Presqu’île district while benefiting from explanations about the city.
This visit, which lasts 1h30, passes in particular by the town hall and the Opera and is really very nice to do! Once finished, you can resume my visit program.
Click on the following button to book your Segway tour of the Presqu’île.
Your 3-day stay in Lyon continues with another well-known district of the city: that of the Croix Rousse, located in the heights.
You can reach it on foot from the Place des Terreaux in 25 minutes, but also by metro via line C (at the level of the town hall) by getting off at the Henon stop (and moreover without paying anything if you have the Lyon City Pass since public transport is included in it).
The Croix Rousse district is a former working-class district where the main silk factories were located . The workers who worked there were called the Canuts. They deeply marked the history of Lyon through their social revolt in 1831.
To not miss any of the main things to see in this neighborhood, I recommend the following itinerary.
First head to the Mur des Canuts. It is a wall painted in trompe-l’oeil over 1200 m² considered to be the largest trompe-l’oeil in Europe. You will be able to distinguish the old fresco which represents the life of the workers, and the most recent paintings.
I then suggest you visit the house of the Canuts to discover the imposing looms. The guided tour is also free with the Lyon City Pass.
After the visit, go up to the Gros Caillou to contemplate the beautiful unobstructed view of the whole city.
Don’t feel like walking? Then visit the Croix Rousse via the City Tram!
It is a small tourist train with a panoramic roof that takes you to the 4 corners of the district for a guided tour with audio guides provided. The tour lasts approximately 1 hour.
D. Old Lyon
I now suggest that you continue with another of Lyon’s unmissable districts : Old Lyon, a historic district classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
From the Croix Rousse, you can reach it on foot (or by metro and bus if you prefer) by going down to the Saint Vincent footbridge.
You will be able to see the Fresque des Lyonnais, rue de la Martinière.
This mural represents several historical and contemporary figures who have marked the history of the city, such as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Paul Bocuse or Abbé Pierre.
After crossing the footbridge, walk along the quays of Bondy and then turn towards Place du Change. There you are: a stone’s throw away is rue Saint-Jean, which is the main street of the Vieux Lyon district.
One of the particularities of Old Lyon are its traboules with their surprising architecture.
These are underground pedestrian crossings that pass under buildings and houses to cross a road. The largest traboule in Lyon is at 54 rue Saint Jean and we can also mention the Tour Rose at 16 rue du Bœuf, which is one of the best known.
When you go down rue Saint Jean, you can see the Palais de Justice and its impressive façade, as well as the Musée de la Miniature et du Cinéma (free admission with the Lyon City Card ).
You will arrive at the end of the route in front of Saint Jean Cathedral. Dating from the 12th century, it houses one of the oldest astronomical clocks in Europe.
Your first day of this 3-day trip to Lyon is about to end.
Before closing the evening, I suggest you go and admire the sunset at the top of the hill of Fourvière. This hill offers a magnificent panorama of the city.
The more athletic can climb there on foot, but don’t worry there is also the funicular for a less tiring and faster ascent.
You won’t have to go far, because the departure of the funicular is right next to the Saint-Jean cathedral (at the metro station).
In Fourvière, you can therefore not only enjoy a superb view but you can also visit the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourvière which is really worth a look.
With the Lyon City Pass, you will even have access to the roofs of the Basilica during a guided tour.
Day 2: Things to Do
The visits of day 2:
A. Parc de la Tête d’Or
B. Shopping at Part-Dieu
C. Lunch at Halles Paul Bocuse
D. Cruise on the Rhône
E. Cultural visit to one of the museums
A. The Parc de la Tête d’Or
What better way to start this second day in Lyon than with a bucolic walk in the Parc de la Tête d’Or?
It is one of the main green spaces in the city and has several entrances. I advise you to go through the Porte des Enfants du Rhône to get to the side of the lake.
At this level, you can also take the little train that goes around the park, an activity that children like and will therefore make them happy if you share this 3-day visit to Lyon with them.
In the park you will also see pretty rose gardens and a zoo. Access is free.
You can also rent bicycles, rosalies, pedal boats or small boats to ride around.
The Tête d’Or park is really an excellent idea of activity to do in 3 days in Lyon with children!
B. Shopping at Part-Dieu
Visiting Lyon in 3 days gives you plenty of time to give yourself a little shopping break and that’s what I suggest you do now.
Head to La Part-Dieu, 1.5 km from the Tête d’Or park, following rue Garibaldi.
With 190 shops and its many alleys where you can stroll while window-shopping, it is one of the largest shopping centers in France.
C. Lunch at Halles Bocuse
The morning should be coming to an end and I suggest you go to Les Halles Paul Bocuse for lunch, right next to the shopping center.
It is a large covered market with several local gastronomy shops. The specialties of Lyon, such as the famous quenelles lyonnaises or the praline tart, are yours .
PS: Les Halles Paul Bocuse are closed on Mondays.
D. Cruise on the Rhône
After lunch, a little digestive walk is a must and what better way to do that than a mini-cruise on the Rhône and the Saône?
You can have a good time relaxing while discovering the city from the river.
If you have the Lyon City Card, the boat trip is included so it would be a shame to deprive yourself of it.
Without the Lyon city pass, I recommend booking your 1 hour guided cruise here.
E. Cultural visit to one of the museums
Lyon has several interesting museums and I think this is the ideal visit to end this second day quietly.
You can choose the museum(s) that interest you among the following:
- The Gadagne museum: to know everything about the history of Lyon. There is also a small museum on the arts of puppetry, in honor of Guignol who is from the city
- The Miniature and Cinema Museum: it reproduces legendary cinema scenes in miniature. A must for lovers of the seventh art.
- The Museum of Fine Arts for lovers of painting and sculpture
- The Musée des Confluences for those who love archaeology, anthropology and ethnology
- The Olympique Lyonnais museum which will delight football fans
- The museum of automatons and its pretty exhibitions represent scenes from daily life, scenes from the history of Lyon or certain tales.
And don’t forget that all these museums are also free with the Lyon City Pass.
Day 3: Places to Visit
Day 3 visits (your choice):
A. Miribel Jonage Grand Parc
B. Walibi Park
D. Pérouges and Anse
Spending 3 days in Lyon will allow you to have time to visit the surroundings of the city.
In two days, you were able to have an excellent overview of Lyon and I suggest you for this third and last day to go and explore the surroundings.
There are a lot of interesting things to see, that’s why I give you several options. Depending on whether you are spending this stay with children or between adults, and according to your personal tastes, your choices will not be the same.
Option 1: The Grand Parc of Miribel Jonage
It is an ideal option if you have decided to go to Lyon for 3 days with your family and if the sun is shining.
The Grand Parc de Miribel Jonage covers 2,200 hectares and extends over fifteen municipalities around Lyon. You can do many activities there, whether you are alone, as a couple, with friends or with children.
In summer, for example, you can take advantage of the lake and its beaches for swimming. And there is no shortage of water activities : pedalo, paddle, canoe…
If your children prefer solid ground, they can have fun cycling, rollerblading or even scooters. What a way to spend a busy day!
On the official site of the park, you will find the list of all the activities offered.
Option 2: Walibi Park
The famous Parc Walibi is an essential water amusement park in the region.
If you are a thrill seeker, then this will be a destination of choice for this last day of your 3-day Lyon itinerary.
You can test all or part of the thirty attractions there and experience a day full of action.
To reach Parc Walibi (which is about an hour’s drive from the center of Lyon), you can take the car or one of the shuttles that leaves from Place Bellecour every Saturday morning in summer.
For other seasons, OUIBUS shuttles travel to Parc Walibi from Lyon Saint-Exupéry airport.
The park is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Option 3: Beaujolais
Spending 72 hours in Lyon is also an opportunity to visit the famous Beaujolais region, for a journey on the wine route.
It’s a great experience that I highly recommend, whether you are a lover of good wines or simply curious.
On the program: visit of the villages and vineyards of Beaujolais, visit of the cellars, discovery of the manufacturing secrets of the great wines of Beaujolais and wine tastings.
To get to Beaujolais from Lyon, take the A6 motorway towards Paris and exit at exit 30 (Belleville sur Saône).
If you don’t have a vehicle, I advise you to take an organized day trip from Lyon including transport and a guide.
Option 4: Perouges and Anse
If you like strolling through pretty villages, take advantage of being in Lyon to go for a walk in Pérouges and Anse, two of the most beautiful villages in France.
They are located only 40 minutes drive from each other, so if you are driving you can easily visit both in the same day.
Pérouge is a 40-minute drive from Lyon. It is a pretty medieval village with its cobbled streets and charming alleys. It’s like being in a movie set, it’s really very exotic!
Every summer in June, the medieval festival of Pérouges takes place there for an even deeper immersion in medieval life.
Anse is also very pretty and is located 30 km north of Lyon.
It is a typical Gallo-Roman village with also several houses dating from the 15th century, mosaic floors and old buildings.
Where to stay in Lyon?
And here you have the itinerary to follow to find out how to visit Lyon in 3 days.
We move on to the last step to finalize the preparation of your stay: book your accommodation.
To make it easier for you, I have prepared a selection of the best hotels in the city:
- HO36 Opéra: Located just 100 meters from Place des Terreaux, in the Presqu’île. Youth hostel with dormitory bed from €30 per night, breakfast at €8. Most: the geographical location, the pleasant interior patio.
- Kyriad Lyon Centre: Located in the Presqu’île district, 20 minutes from Place Bellecour. Double room but with single beds from €50 per night, breakfast at €11. Most: the space and the comfort of the rooms, the friendliness of the staff. Excellent value for money if you don’t mind staying apart from your other half!
- Campanile Lyon Center Part-Dieu: Located in the Part-Dieu district. Comfortable and modern double room from €90 per night, breakfast at €12. Most: the very good price / performance ratio, the competent staff, the good breakfast.
- Villa Maia: Located on the hill of Fourvières. This 5-star hotel in Lyon has luxurious and super comfortable rooms with panoramic views of the city from €450 per night, breakfast included. The pluses: the sumptuous setting, the exceptional view, the heated indoor swimming pool. This is our recommendation for a luxury stay in Lyon!
Visit Lyon in 3 days with the family
Are you planning to spend this 3-day stay in Lyon with your family?
Well that’s a good thing since Lyon is a perfect destination for holidays with children. If they find it difficult to walk for a long time, you can easily use public transport to go from one site to another.
There are many activities that are sure to please your dear little darlings:
- The city tram tour of the Croix Rousse
- The climb by funicular to the hill of Fourvière
- Mini-cruise on the Rhône
- The walk in the Tête d’Or park (and in particular the little train)
- The Confluences museum very well adapted to children
- The Grand Parc de Miribel Jonage and all its activities
- Walibi Park
- And why not a Guignol show! (included in the Lyon tourist pass ).
PS:And during this 3-day trip to Lyon with your children, you can also find a time slot to visit Mini World Lyon.
It is the largest French park of animated miniatures. It extends over 3000 m² and reproduces different worlds in miniature, from the city to the mountains via the countryside.
Mini World Lyon is accessible by metro, tram or bus from the city center and admission is free with the City Pass Lyon.
More information on the official website.
More things to do and see in Lyon in 3 days
If you have followed this 3-day tour of Lyon, you have time left or you want to adapt this circuit, I advise you to read my article dedicated to the city.
You will find not only all the places to visit in Lyon but also ideas for visits to do in the surrounding area. You will be able to concoct a course totally adapted to your tastes!
You will find it by clicking on the following link: What to do in Lyon?
Map of your 3-day Lyon itinerary
To help you visualize your routes during these 3 days in Lyon, I made you a map listing the places to visit day by day. You can display the map legend by clicking on the top left button with a small arrow. You will then be able to view the routes for each day.
Do you need help organizing your 3-day Lyon itinerary? Do not hesitate to ask me your questions in the comments.