5 reasons why Lyon should be your next European break

5 Reasons why Lyon should be your next European break

Europe is filled with gorgeous cities that are on every holidaymaker’s list. The ancient ruins of Rome will whisk you away to a bygone era. The romance in the Parisian air can transform even the most cynical soul. Barcelona’s quirky buildings are an architecture enthusiast’s delight. And Amsterdam’s historic canals and famed museums will mesmerise even the most seasoned traveller. But if you want the distinctive European vibe and all the trimmings of a French city break without the overwhelming crowds, Lyon is the place to go. The second largest city of France is bursting with historic monuments, world-class museums, and the most divine cuisine in the world. Take a look at our top things to do in Lyon that will help answer the question, ‘why visit Lyon’. 

Lyonnaise fare

With more restaurants per capita than anywhere else in France, Lyon is the undisputed gastronomical capital of the country. And if your question is ‘why visit Lyon’, then the top answer most certainly is ‘for the food’. The city is home to 20 Michelin-starred restaurants and to dine at one of them is certainly one of the top things to do in Lyon. But you don’t have to visit a fine-dining restaurant to savour delicious Lyonnaise fare. Step into one of the many traditional ‘bouchons’ to enjoy a serving of the classic Coq au vin, Lyonnaise potatoes, deep-fried bugnes Lyonnaises, and praline. Visiting one of the many outdoor food markets is another great way to enjoy local cuisine in a charming al fresco setting. 
Sample Lyonnaise fare


When in Lyon, you must include exploring the mysterious traboules in your things to do in Lyon. Traboules are a secret network of passages that run throughout the city and were used by silk merchants once upon a time to transport goods. There are over four hundred traboules in Lyon, however only 40 of them are open to the public. Explore them on your own or join a guided tour to learn about these ancient passages thought to have been built in the 4th century. The sombre, dimly lit passages that open up to secret courtyards are a far cry from the bustling city outside and are sure to transport you to medieval times. Some of them even cut through private home and visitors are advised to pass through those as quietly as possible. 

Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière

Intricate, breathtaking, and majestic are just some of the words used to describe the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière. Built in the late 19th century, the beautiful structure offers the best views of the city. If you’re wondering why visit Lyon, the spectacular views from the basilica will be enough to convince you of the city’s beauty. Admire its fine Romanesque and Byzantine architecture, its four soaring towers, and the graceful gilded statue of Mother Mary on top of the belltower. Step inside to take in the beautiful mosaics, the glorious stained glass windows and the crypt of Saint Joseph. 
Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière, Lyon


Some of the world’s most cherished wine regions are only a stone’s throw away from Lyon. Sipping on fine French wines fresh out of the barrels in a sun-drenched vineyard should certainly help put to rest the question ‘why visit Lyon’. The wonderful wine region of Beaujolais is only a half hour drive from Lyon and is known for its delicious red wine made from the gamay grape variety. Also close to Lyon is Beaune, the centre of Burgundy wine production. Stop to visit the Hospices de Beaune, one of the best-preserved examples of 15th-century French architecture and home to one of the most popular wine auctions in the country, certainly something to add to your list of things to do in Lyon. 
Hospices de Beaune

Musée Lumière

Lyon gave birth to the fathers of cinematography, Auguste and Louis Lumière. The Lumière brothers made the first ever motion picture, so if you’re an avid moviegoer, you would certainly be interested in witnessing the place where it all started. Musée Lumière is the former home of the brothers converted into an intriguing museum. Explore the various fascinating artefacts on display, including the early model of a video camera, a film sewing machine, a kinetoscope, film props, and other curious exhibits. 
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