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:

  • 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

Benefits of having a private driver by car or minivan to Geneva:

  • 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!

Lake Geneva

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.

Prices for train trip from Lyon to Geneva + Guided Tour

Fully accompanied on the train option: Leave Lyon: 8.30am getting back into Lyon between 6.30pm-7pm. Your guide will join you on the train therefore taking any headaches out of logistical concerns (including help getting through passport control and customs as quickly as possible).

Semi-Independent Option: Timings can be adjusted as suits you. We organize your train tickets for you and give you all instructions – you take the journey alone and you are met by a guide in Geneva for the guided tour. One of the museums will be included as explained in the tour descriptions above.

If you are a group of 2, 3 or 4 people = € 245 per person (if Semi Accompanied) or € 395 pp (if Fully Accompanied)

If you are a group of 5 or more = € 165 per person (if Semi Accompanied) or € 275 pp (if Fully Accompanied)

The above rates are based on second class (still very comfortable). First class rates are normally about €40 extra for the return trip, sometimes we are also able to upgrade free of charge. This depends on the date & availability of course.

Prices for day tour to Geneva from Lyon by VAN or CAR with Guided Tour

Prices include one of the musuem entrances as outlined in the tour description above. Typically you'll be picked up from your hotel at 8am and returned by 7pm at the latest.

Optional extra: Adding Alpine Annecy:

Why not add a visit to Annecy with free time for dinner (getting back to Lyon for between 9pm and 10pm). This is a beautiful lakeside town with charming streets and restaurants which line the small canals, all at the foot of the Alps.

If you are a group of 2 or 3 people = € 665 per person

(+ € 240 pp for Annecy inclusion)

If you are a group of 4 or 5 people = € 345 per person

(+ € 75 pp for Annecy inclusion)

If you are a group of 6 or 7 people = € 235 per person

(+ € 55 pp for Annecy inclusion)

If you are a group of 8 or more = € 195 per person

(+ € 45 pp for Annecy inclusion)

All options include all tolls, parking and taxes. Meals are not included.

Possible concerns or questions

Border control: Some people get worried about the fact it’s another country and imagine long queues at passport control and customs etc. Please be reassured, there are thousands of French workers who commute daily into Geneva from France to work. The border is efficient and smooth most of the time, whether arriving by train or road. Many companies have their offices based there for certain fiscal advantages. Salaries are higher in Switzerland, therefore attracting large numbers of French to live in the towns and villages near to the border. The sheer volume of traffic and people coming in and out, and the fact that this is a Schengen border (one with unrestricted movement of people within the larger "Schengen zone") means that most of the time we are never even checked. But be sure to remember your passport!

Train strikes: This is France and you may have heard that striking is a national pastime with the train service being an occasional hostage to this activity. The good news though is that these strikes are informed well in advance. If in the unlikely case we learn of a strike planned when you have booked with us, we will get in touch to find an alternative solution for you. Often the strikes only impact certain train departures also. And if your train was cancelled or if you preferred dnot to take any risk , then of course you will be fully refunded. For delays on behalf of the train operator on the day, due to whatever reason, we will help reorganize the day for you with our guide at no further charge.


  1. Send us an email to with the date/s that you are thinking and how many of you there are.
  2. Please confirm whether it's a road trip with private driver that you're interested in or the day trip by train. If it's the train trip that you'd like, please confirm whether it's the fully accompanied option for the day or just the option for the tickets+ guided tour in Geneva that interests you (semi accompanied).
  3. We will get back to you quickly to reconfirm details and then if you're happy we'll send final booking information with payment instructions (can be done online or over phone).