Lyon on a budget: 9 travel hacks to save on your trip
If visiting Lyon has been on your bucket list, or you are going to be in the region but aren't sure you have the money to make a detour, don't worry. Visiting Lyon without a ton of cash on hand is totally possible. There are many ways that you can make the most of your time in Lyon without breaking the bank. Don't talk yourself out of any amazing vacation just because you are worried about how much money you have in savings.
One of the best things that you can do to help take some pressure off your travel experience is to get your bags into secure storage. We can help you with this at one of our many luggage storage locations in Lyon. That way, you can get the most out of your Lyon trip without having to drag heavy bags behind you. Lots of places that you will want to visit, like the Lyon Cathedral, are not ideal places to take bulky luggage, and you will spend all day worrying about your things if they are not stored. Working with us will ensure that you can have a peaceful trip without any stress.
Cheap places to stay in Lyon
The hotel that you choose to stay in can greatly impact your budget when traveling to Lyon. You will want to look at our guide to the best neighborhoods in Lyon before picking a hotel. If your intention is to explore Lyon, you should have no trouble getting into and out of the city centre from these lovely and affordable hotel options.
Hôtel du Helder
Located right across the river from Vieux Lyon, this affordable hotel offers rooms for just $50 a night. Believe it or not, this is not a hostel, and you will get access to your own private room that is just steps away from the city centre. This is an ideal location to get access to public transport of various kinds, and you will be within walking distance of the Rhône River and Place Bellecour Square.
There is free Wi-Fi, and you can eat at the restaurant here for an added cost. There is also air conditioning in the rooms, which can be really helpful during the summer months.
ho36 hostel Lyon
This cute hostel offers access to a bar, lounge, and restaurant, and rooms are just $63 a night. Once again, you are close to Vieux Lyon and to various other attractions like the Lyon Cathedral and the UNESCO world heritage site locations in the city. The Wi-Fi is free, the beds are comfortable, and the food is very affordable at this hostel.
Lagrange Apart'Hôtel - Lyon Lumière
This apartment-style hotel offers rooms for just $70 a night. You will get your own apartment-style room, and some of the spaces have kitchens and dining rooms as well. This location also has a lovely rooftop terrace with a hot tub. The Wi-Fi is free, there is air conditioning in the rooms, and you are within walking distance from public transport. You will also be able to walk to places in the city center, like the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière.
Cheap things to do in Lyon
Visit the Zoo at the Parc de la Tete d’Or
The area around the city centre offers a lot of really great things to do that are affordable. You can head to the Parc de la Tete d’Or to see the lovely green spaces, hang out in the shade, and eat a snack that you might have picked up from a street food vendor. You can also head to the reasonably large zoo that is free of charge. This is a free-access experience that is ideal for those traveling with kids.
Notre Dame de Fourvière
The Notre Dame de Fourvière church is free unless you want to take the audio tour. The audio tour is really worth it, and the cost is just $16. You will learn all about the religious history of the city as well as the Vieux Lyon part of town where you are located as you take the tour. Since the church is located atop the Fourvière Hill, while you are enjoying this UNESCO world heritage site, be sure to take in the impressive views all around you. Notre Dame de Fourvière is a really special experience and one that you should not miss out on.
Head to Vieux Lyon to enjoy access to the oldest part of the city. The old town area is home to the medieval Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste as well as various museums and other kinds of tourist attractions. There are also convenient funiculars linking Vieux Lyon to Fourvière Hill and St-Just. You can easily enjoy all of these attractions in one day due to this convenient option for a very small fee. It costs about €2 to take the funicular ride, and the views are incredible.
Cheap places to eat in Lyon
If you love dining al fresco, Lyon's street food scene is a great choice that's also very affordable. Always remember that you can usually get food to go and eat at your hotel room a few nights during your stay to save money. You might also be able to cook if you have chosen a hostel or a hotel room that offers kitchens in the rooms or communal cooking space. Here are some top choices for restaurants to visit when you're on a budget:
This lovely French gastronomy location is much more affordable than you might expect. You will be treated to lovely local wine, delicious French cuisine, and also fusion favorites that are Asian-inspired. This is a great place for a fancy dinner that won't break the bank. Expect to spend about €20 a person here or €30 if you get drinks. The service is prompt and friendly, and the food is to die for. Traditional cuisine might not be your favorite type of food, but the dishes are prepared expertly, and the menu is varied, so there's something for every taste here.
While not a specific place to dine, a food tour can offer you the chance to try many local eateries and lots of delightful local wine. These tours are quite affordable, and they range in price. You can eat at a variety of different dining locations throughout the city for about €40 per person on most of the tours. The travel is handled by the tour company as well, and some of the drinks and other tasting options will be on the house when you drop into these locations. Why not visit Lyon with the intention of learning all about French gastronomy and local French wines?
La Tête de Lard
For homemade fare at a great price, there is no better place to head for a meal. You will be treated just like family here, and the Lyonnaise treats that are on the menu cannot be found in many other places around the city. The portions are huge, and you can easily eat here for less than €20 without going hungry. These traditional restaurants are a great option for those who are interested in saving money but who still want to enjoy every meal.
Cheap bars in Lyon
Saving money on a night out can be a big help if you have a few expensive things that you'd like to experience. These bar locations are ideal to save a few euros, and you won't feel like you are missing out on the fun times that you were hoping to have on your trip to France.
This cute little tavern offers really affordable beer and delicious snacks like sausage. You can easily find a pint here for about €3, and the food is inexpensive as well. The location is small, so you might have to cozy up with your friends and family, but that's okay. This is the kind of place that you think of heading to when you visit Lyon, and you will have a great time here.
Hostel bars are always a great place to save money while you are enjoying a night out. If the prices in the old town are too much for you, head to Groom for cocktails, beer, and a really fun atmosphere. There will be lots of younger people here due to the location being a haven for those traveling on a budget, and you will have a great time with this fun and easygoing crowd.
This little bar is also an eatery, making it a possible option for dinner and drinks. You can get cocktails and beer for less than €5 here, and there is a full food menu. The location is casual, and you will not feel pressured to eat and run as you might be in some other small venues.
Bonus budget tips for Lyon
Lyon City Card
You will want to be sure that you get the Lyon City Card when you are getting ready to head out and adventure around the city centre and other areas near Lyon's downtown. You can also order ahead of time and book online, which will give you 10% off. This helpful card offers free access to 23 museums around the city and access to a free walking tour with a guide. You will also get a free river cruise which is a value that you can't argue with. The Lyon City Card will make all of your travel planning easier in Lyon, and it's a must-do when organizing your trip.
Dive into history
If you love Roman occupation history, there are various parts of the ancient city where you can learn about Lugdunum. These are UNESCO world heritage sites, and they are very affordable to see. History buffs will find history around every corner in this lovely city, especially in old town.
Guided tours don't always cost an arm and a leg in this city, either. If you check your options for this kind of experience you will often find that locals offer free walking tours and just ask for a tip when they are done taking your around to see the sights. The locals who live in this largest city in this part of France will be more likely to offer you a really informative tour than some of the touring companies that are suggested to you when you visit Lyon.
Travel in the off-season
February through May are the months when hotels are the cheapest in Lyon. This can be your biggest expense when traveling, so consider visiting Lyon during a month when the costs are under control. Saving money on your hotel will offer you the chance to spend more at various cool attractions that you can see all around the city.
Visit La Croix-Rousse
The bohemian La Croix-Rousse neighborhood is a great place to spend an afternoon wandering and seeing the sights. There are lots of trees that overhang the streets here as well, making this a great place to spend a warm day. Like many of the older parts of the city, there is history around every corner here, and it's not uncommon to see street performers and other kinds of cool things going on as you wander around.
If these affordable tips are not enough to fill up your days during your time in Lyon, you will want to read our guide to the best free things to do in Lyon. There are lots of things to do around the city center that don't cost anything, and you can easily just walk around seeing the sights and taking pictures if you wish. Being able to make the most of your time in Lyon does not require a massive budget.
Don't let yourself be discouraged from traveling just because you don't have a ton of money saved up. You can head to Lyon on a budget easily and have a great time during your stay. Make sure to use these tips and tricks to plan a fun and exciting trip that you will never forget.