Lyon is a great destination for a short vacation in France. The city is gorgeous, the food is amazing and it is not that expensive. Additionally, this city is very easy to reach from many major cities in Europe thanks to budget flight connections or cheap bus lines like flixbus. I was there last weekend of April and I loved it so much that I decided to share with you my itinerary of two days in this beautiful French city.
All the places of the itinerary are indicated on the map (in red the places to see during the day 1 and in green the places to see during the day 2).
The morning of the day one is dedicated to the exploration of Old Lyon, a Unesco world heritage site, which conquered me the very first moment I stepped out of the bus. The first stop of the day is the Basilique of Notre-Dame de Fouvière, which dominates the city from its highest point.
When you are there, take some time to admire the view, but not forget to go inside the Basilica, which I’m sure will enchant you with its colours and decorations.
Few meters away from the Basilique there is the Ancient Theatre of Fourvière, which is magnificently preserved and will bring you back to the times of the Roman Empire. The entrance to the theatre is free, which was a nice surprise for me.
At this point, you can go down the hill until you reach the Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste. After a short visit to the Cathédrale, take some time strolling around the old town and soak up the charming atmosphere of this part of the city. If I’m not wrong you should be there at around lunchtime, so this is the perfect moment to seat outside of one of the many cafè and enjoy a delicious meal in the French capital of gastronomy (here you can find 10 reasons why Lyon is the capital of gastronomy).
After lunch, it’s time to walk a bit to the Jardin des Chartreux, from where you can enjoy a different but equally beautiful view over the city. From there, walk to the Amphitheater of the Three Gauls, which is a small Roman amphitheatre, not as in good conditions as the Ancient Theatre of Fourvière, but still worth a quick stop.
From the Amphitheater of the Three Gauls, go up on the Monte de la Grande Côte to the Grande Côte Garden, where you can relax and enjoy the amazing view over the town.
You are now in the famous quarter of la Croix-Rousse, which features many Traboules, the famous secret passages which can be found through the old quarters of Lyon. They were used by silk worker to transport their products in a safe and efficient way. Here you can find the most important Traboules of the Croix-Rousse.
This area is also perfect to find the perfect restaurant to have dinner.
The day 2 starts with a walk along the river headed to the Parc de la Tête d’Or, France’s largest urban park.
Here you can walk by the lake, rent a boat, or explore the free zoo and the rose gardens, which you can find following the smell of the flowers.
In this park, there is also a botanic garden with greenhouses which I absolutely loved and are well worth a visit. Additionally, the admission to this garden is free. After this relaxing morning at the park, cross the Rhône and walk to the Hôtel de Ville de Lyon. In the same square, there is the relatively new Opera House, completed in 1993.
After this, walk towards South to the Place des Jacobins and then to the Place Bellecour. This is the largest pedestrian square in Europe, and here you can also find the tourism office of the city. I really loved the view of the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière from this square.
In the evening it’s time to explore Guillotière, the multicultural and dynamic, where you can find many hipster places for an alternative final meal in this amazing city.