9 must see parks in Lyon

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Lyon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is mostly popular thanks to its landmarks, both historical and architectural. It was first founded by the Romans and many of its top attractions date back to those times. Throughout its life, Lyon was known for its production of silk, although today it's one of France's best cities for foodies. It's situated between Northern and Southern Europe and welcomes visitors from all around the world.

If you're visiting Lyon and want to take a break from all of the sightseeing why not go off and explore some of the city's best parks? These public green spaces are a great place for locals to enjoy as well, and even if you've lived in the city for your whole life, chances are that you don't know about a few of these parks.

They're often used for activities like jogging or cycling and have plenty of sports facilities, so you'll need somewhere safe to store your equipment near the park when you're done. And after a day at the park, you'll no doubt want to grab a bite to eat. Stow your stuff with bounce and sate your appetite for more park hopping tomorrow. Luggage storage in Lyon is as easy as downloading the app or booking a convenient spot via the website.

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Parc de la Tête d'Or

If you're spending time in central Lyon, you've probably already passed by the Parc de la Tête d'Or, which translates to the Park of the Golden Head. It's one of the most impressive and popular parks in the entire city center. People who are looking for somewhere to go for a stroll, have a nice picnic or just enjoy some fresh air will find everything that they need here.

Inside the park you'll find a lush green space right on the east bank of River Rhone and in total it covers nearly 300 acres of land. The wide paths make it a very nice spot to go for a run or walk, and you'll spot many different species of trees, shrubs, flowers and other plant life as you make your way through the grounds. It's an important place for wildlife as well, and the artificial lakes are home to lots of birds including geese and ducks. If you visit during the summer you can take full advantage of the boating lake to get out on the water.

The springtime brings colorful blooming flowers and fragrant rose gardens, and in the fall the park comes to life with vibrant foliage. One of the best spots to go with the kids is the real zoo which is home to elephants, giraffes, monkeys and more. There's even a puppet theater, mini golf course, pony rides and a miniature train that can bring you around the park. Did you know? This park was first opened to the public back in 1857, which was the same year as the famous Central Park in New York.

Lyon Botanical Gardens

If you still have energy after exploring the Parc de la Tête d'Or you'll definitely want to stop by the botanical garden which is located by the southern part of the entrance. It's home to one of the biggest collections of plants in all of Europe, over 15,000 varieties to be exact, and is a place that should not be missed by anyone in the city. Here, you'll find lots of outdoor spaces to explore plus indoor greenhouses.

The gardens cover about 20 acres of space which include the rose gardens with over 360 varieties and colors, an Orangery, a couple of greenhouses with different themes, an arboretum, and an Alpine garden with about 1,700 species of plants coming from the mountains of the Alps. If you stop by between April and October you can also see the Mexican garden.

Both adults and children alike will love the Lambert Farm which offers an enjoyable and educational experience for all. It has a herbarium with countless different species, a lab that is home to rare plants, a fascinating botanical library, plus a seed store in case you wanted to bring any of the flora home with you.

Parc des Berges du Rhone

Located on the banks of the Rhone River, this green space is one of the best parks for enjoying the city's waterway. It has a lovely promenade by the water lined with lush poplar trees and also features a big, grassy terrace with unbeatable views of the Rhone. If you want to get out of the sun you can find a comfortable place to sit under the shade of the fig trees.

With such close proximity to the Musee des Confluences, it wouldn't be right to not visit it at the same time, and afterward, you can make your way across the Pont Pasteur bridge to reach the park. As you make your way down the riverside promenade you can stop at any time to relax on one of the benches, which are also the perfect place to have a picnic.

You can make your walk longer by continuing along the River Rhone until you reach the city center, or head in the other direction to visit another public park called the Parc de Gerland. If you don't feel like walking, go for a bike ride instead.

Parc de la Cerisaie

Parc de la Cerisaie has it all including a fitness area, walking paths, and lots of public artwork created by talented locals for you to admire. The park received its name in honor of the beautiful grove of cherry trees that used to grow in the area, although today you'll find mostly oak trees. That being said, it's still a lovely park that both tourists and people who live in the city can enjoy.

Although the cherry trees are no longer found here, what you'll find standing in the heart of the green space is a grand Tuscan-styled manor house. It was constructed by Joseph Follea, a French architect, back in the 19th century and used to be owned by a wealthy family before the grounds were bought by the city of Lyon in the 1970s.

This beautiful park is situated in a nice neighborhood called La Croix Rousse which actually used to be where many workshops for silk textiles were found. Today it's one of the most creative and artistic parts of the city. Take some time to explore it after you're done strolling through the gardens and orchards of the manor.

Parc des Hauteurs

The Parc des Hauteurs, which translates to Heights Park, is a wonderful place to enjoy the great outdoors in Lyon. It's a beautiful park made of a large open space situated on Fourvière Hill, right behind the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourvière. Making your way through the urban park you'll come across winding paths and trails to explore which will take you on an adventure past old convents.

It's also the best location for incredible views of the ancient city of Old Lyon below, which is one of its top highlights. Some say the trek to the top can be a bit challenging, but it's well worth the journey for the picturesque sights that you'll get from above. Inside the park, you'll also find mature trees, shrubs and flowers, plus a rose garden that offers the perfect romantic setting for a date. If you follow the Quatre-Vents trail you'll be brought past the banks of a river.

The Loyasse cemetery and aged fort that call Parc des Hauteurs home are well worth stopping by too, and the archeological garden is a must-see for history enthusiasts. There, you'll find some fascinating artifacts dating back to the times of the Gallo-Roman period.

Parc du Vallon

Parc du Vallon is a large green oasis situated on the top of the hill of La Duchere. You'll spot both locals and visitors of the city taking advantage of the space which has nice views overlooking Lyon. Families, couples, and individuals come here to enjoy nature and everything else that the park features.

At over 11 hectares in size, the Parc du Vallon is actually Lyon's fourth biggest and there's quite a lot of space to explore. You'll find wide open areas great for playing sports or having a picnic, plus some big trees providing space for those who want a nice shaded area to relax with a book, hang out with friends or just have somewhere quiet to rest and think.

Make your way around the park using its winding walking paths and you'll eventually come across the quiet stream that runs through the grounds. Keep an eye out for the various information points that'll give you little bits of information about the plants and animals found inside the urban park.

Parc Sergent Blandan

With construction only finishing around 2019, it's one of the newest additions to the parks in Lyon. The urban area is separated into three spaces; the multi-purpose northern section, the southernmost area which acts as a nature zone, and finally the central part of the green space which is a lovely park area.

On site, there is a large playground with a climbing wall plus a skate park making it a good place for big and small children to hang out, make friends and have fun. The park is located between several different neighborhoods so you'll see people from all over walking through its main entrance. Aside from a big grassy space, you'll also see clusters of trees and lots of different plants as you walk down the mile-long loop around the park.

Parc Sergent Blandan actually has a pretty interesting history and was built on a former military fort. It still pays tribute to its roots with old architecture but has incorporated a contemporary design and attractions so that everyone can enjoy it.

Parc de Gerland

The Parc de Gerland is sometimes called the Parc du Confluent and can be found along the banks of the River Rhone. It's the perfect place for anyone to spend a few hours, whether you want to be active or just sit down and relax.

Inside the park, you'll find areas to play sports, plus a skate park. Look for paths that you can go jogging or cycling on as well and you definitely won't want to miss out on seeing the botanical garden, Megaphorbiaie, home to beautiful plants.

Bring the entire family for a picnic on the lawn or to use any of the other family oriented facilities. One of the coolest parts about Parc de Gerland is that it has one of the biggest fog systems in all of Europe! It's often quieter than some of the other parks in the city, which can be nice since you'll have plenty of room to yourself for all sorts of outdoor activities.

Parc de Parilly

At over 178 hectares of space, Parc de Parilly should be one of your first choices when it comes to spending time outside. It's been used by the locals of Lyon since it was opened to the public in 1937 and you'll often see people playing sports or just hanging out together on the spacious lawns.

Inside the park, you'll find a hippodrome and running tracks, plus a rollerblading path. Because of these facilities, it's often used by joggers, cyclists and other athletes for training.

Parc de Parilly also has several different sports facilities including football and rugby pitches, a volleyball court, as well as cricket and handball fields. One thing is for sure, this is definitely considered to be one of the best parks in Lyon for sports lovers.

Take advantage of the outdoor facilities in Lyon

Arriving in Lyon via a scenic train ride to Lyon Perrache Station? We recommend you continue the sightseeing. Whether you want to go boating on a vast lake, play sports on a big field or picnic in a beautiful garden, Lyon has an outdoor space perfect for what you need. Lyon is an amazing city with parks that are just as impressive, so pick one of the ones listed above and get out into nature.

All of you adventure seekers may want to try out some of the best hikes in Lyon the next time that you're looking for somewhere to trek. Would you rather spend the day enjoying the sunshine at the shore? These beaches near Lyon are the place to go when you want to make the most of open spaces under the blue sky.

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