Is it worth going to Geneva for a day from Lyon?
First things first, how should you think about whether or not this trip is worth it compared to other options?
Geneva is just that bit further away than most other day trips and so it’s logical to ask yourself whether it’s a good idea.
It’s true that the journey takes 2 hours each way but you pass through some beautiful scenery and the destination is worth it.
So… if Lyon is your base for a few days, this day trip is a definite "must do". Here are some points to think about:
- Have you only 2 days or less in Lyon? If so, then you're better off staying in Lyon itself and possibly do a half day wine tour
, or spend an afternoon in Vienne, for example.
- Have you ever been to Switzerland? If not, then this is a great opportunity to not only
check out an amazing city but also another culture. Although still French speaking, Geneva is very Swiss!
- Are you on a tight budget? If so a day trip to Geneva is possibly too expensive (See prices). Also, the prices in the shops and cafés are much higher than in France.
- Do you like lakes & mountains? Great, so do we. What are you waiting for?
- Have you a special interest in the UN, the roots of the reformation movement or handmade watches/clockwork? Then yes, a Geneva day trip is definitely worth it!
Should I book my trip by train or by road (minivan/car)?
There are advantages in both. We'll summarize the main points.
Benefits of taking train from Lyon to Geneva:
Benefits of having a private driver by car or minivan to Geneva:
- It can make a nice change, especially if you’ve not had other rail travel involved in your trip. However, bear in mind that these are normal local trains and not the TGV (super high speed) trains.
- If there are only a couple of you, then this option will be far cheaper
- You avoid a risk of any large traffic jams getting into or out of Lyon and Geneva
- You can get up and walk around on train
- Door to door, so no need to think about getting to and from train stations (or cost if take taxi from hotel). Also once in Geneva, dropping off and picking up can be organized to see the most in short time.
This is especially an important point if anyone in the group cannot walk long distances, as the train option inevitably has more walking involved.
- More flexibility for the day and extra stops can be made on the way
- If there are more than 5 of you then this option will work out cheaper
Walking Tour of Geneva + Calvin & the Roots of Reformation
We begin with a guided tour of the old town along with a special emphasis on the role of the reformation movement here in Geneva.
You will learn about John Calvin and his impact here in Geneva amongst other well known reformers and how their efforts paved the way for Protestantism.
You will visit the reformers wall and St Peter's Cathedral where he preached (which incidentally gives one of the best views of Geneva from the towers).
This tour will illuminate your understanding of the events of the 16th century, or as the reformers would say, “Post Tenebras Lux” (After Darkness, Light).
The Geneva Bible was the first English version with numbered verses and the exposure and access to God's word was a central theme of the reformation.
included museum entrance, choose between:
After our guided walk, we'll take you to either of the following museums depending on which one interests you more. Tickets are included in our tour rates for one of these museums so
please inform us at the time of booking of your preference. Of course, you can still visit the other in your free time in the afternoon if you like! We've picked these 2 because of the quality, the locations and the size (they are not too large and so will not take up too much of your time).
International Museum of the Reformation (included in tour booking)
Visit the famous reformation museum. This is located at the site of the old cathedral cloisters and is where the people of Geneva gathered together in may 1536
to adopt the Reformation. The momentum that followed from these early roots in Geneva gave birth to the towns other name, “the Protestant Rome”.
Or... The Patek Phillipe Watchmaking Museum
Explore the 3 floors of this gem of a museum. See all manner of timepieces from the very first to the very modern. If you've any interest in horology,
expert craftmanship or simply a fan of stylish watches then this museum is a unique and worthwhile visit!
In the afternoon you can enjoy some free time to wander the streets and the shoreline of the huge lake Geneva. There are some lovely spots to relax and take in the alpine views (including Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe).
You can also enjoy a short cruise on the lake if you like.
Another way of linking your travels together
If you are reading this page before actually booking your travels to France, remember that Geneva is an international gateway with many transatlantic flights.
Many people never consider entering “Switzerland” into the search engine when booking flights to France, but as Geneva is right on the border, it’s worth considering.
You could for example easily spend a night in Geneva before heading onto Lyon or elsewhere in France (or at the end of your trip).
We can help with any trains or car/van transfers you might be interested in. We can also turn a journey from Geneva to Lyon into a day trip in itself with a guided tour
in beautiful lakeside Annecy along the way too, as one suggestion.