A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Bern vs. Lyon for Attractions, Food, Old Town, and Nightlife

Should you visit Bern or Lyon?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Bern or Lyon? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Bern

Bern is a historic, charming, and beautiful city. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. And you can't forget about the nightlife, food, and shopping.

Lyon

Lyon is a cultural, quaint, and authentic city. It's a large city with plenty of activites for visitors as well. You'll find world class beauty here as well. It also has that perfectly quaint feel that is like no other place. It's also known for nightlife, food, and shopping.

Bern and Lyon: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere


Is there more to do in Bern or Lyon?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Lyon than Bern. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Lyon is more touristy than Bern and is known for its world-renowned cuisine, charming old town, and vibrant new town. It is also well known for The Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière. Bern is famous for its well-preserved old town and its reputation as the home of the Lindt chocolate factory.

How is Bern different from Lyon?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Lyon and Bern. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Bern or Lyon?

Bern
Lyon

Lyon is renowned for its sights and museums. Also, Bern is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its museums and history.

Visitors will find world class museums and historical sights in Lyon that are not to be missed. There are many world class museums and historic landmarks in the city including Musée des Beaux Arts, Musée de la Civilisation Gallo-Romaine, and Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière.

Many visitors head to Bern specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. The city is filled with architecture and charming character. While you're in town make sure you visit the Einstein Museum, the Clock Tower, and the Bern Cathedral.


Is the Food Better in Bern or Lyon? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Bern
Lyon

Lyon is renowned for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Bern is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its restaurants.

For foodies, Lyon is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. Known as "the Gastronomic Capital of the World" this city stands above the rest when it comes to Michelin star restaurants (there are 17!), fresh ingredients, and unique local flavors. Favorite local dishes include pâté en croûte, rosette de Lyon, and saucisson brioché.

Bern has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. The city has cozy cafes, high end fine dining, traditional eateries, and modern venues.

Is Bern or Lyon Better for Nightlife?

Bern
Lyon

Lyon is a well-known place for nightlife. Also, Bern is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for nightlife and partying.

Lyon offers plenty to do in the evening. The city has enough diverse neighborhoods that you'll find a scene that is great for everyone. There are dance clubs, cocktail bars, and wine bars that meet every personality and style.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Bern. There are bars, Irish pubs, and clubs around town.

Is Bern or Lyon Better for its Old Town?

Bern
Lyon

Lyon is renowned for its historic old town. Also, Bern is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its old town.

The old town of Lyon is one of the most recognized in the world. This impressive old town climbs from the river into Fourvière Hill. It's a Renaissance era district with beautiful buildings and plenty of character. You can spend days wandering the quaint streets and popping in the world class restaurants.

There is a nice variety of sights in the old town of Bern. The charming old town is filled with quaint alleys and sandstone buildings. It's a compact area that flows down a hill to the River Aare.


Is the Shopping Better in Bern or Lyon?

Bern
Lyon

Both Bern and Lyon are very good shopping destinations.

Bern is an extremely popular place for shoppers. The old town is filled with boutique shops and unique markets. The main shopping streets are Spitalgasse and Marktgasse and popular items to buy include jewelry, art, and watches.

Lyon is well-known for its shopping. The city has many trendy markets, pedestrian shopping areas, and character-filled boutiques. From the charming shops in old town to the chic shopping streets, there are plenty of places to splurge around town.

Is Bern or Lyon Better for Families?

Bern
Lyon

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Bern or Lyon.

Bern is a very family-friendly place to visit. This charming town has riverside parks and pools, a zoo, a waterpark, and kid-friendly museums that the whole family can enjoy. You can also visit nearby Gurten, a mountain with tobogganing, concerts, and a mini ski resort.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Lyon is very family-friendly. The city has many kid-friendly museums including Musée des Confluences and the Cinema and Miniature Museum. There are also playgrounds, patisseries, and river cruises that you can enjoy as a family. Puppet shows are also fun, but do note that they're usually in French. While the restaurants are amazing for adults, it can be tricky to find a kid-friendly option with early opening hours that are convenient for little ones.

Is Bern or Lyon Better for Couples?

Bern
Lyon

With fun activities for couples, both Bern and Lyon make for a very good place to visit.

Bern is a very popular place to visit for couples. With charming restaurants, a beautiful rose garden, and nice hotels and spas, this town makes a beautiful romantic getaway.

Lyon makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Couples can enjoy wandering the beautiful Old Town, taking a river cruise, and dining on some of the best food in France.


Is Bern or Lyon Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Bern
Lyon

Both Bern and Lyon are very good destinations for backpackers.

Backpackers come from all over to visit Bern. Like most of Switzerland, prices are a bit high, but there are some hostels and free activities that backpackers and budget travelers can enjoy.

Many backpackers visit Lyon. The city has several hostels and a number of activities that are fun for budget travelers and backpackers.

Is Bern or Lyon Better for Students?

Bern
Lyon

Lyon is renowned for students. However, Bern is not popular with students.

Many students frequent Lyon. It is a very livable city with many fun cultural activities for students. There are many different entertainment options during the day, and during the evening there are plenty of places to hang out.

Bern is not popular with students.

Is Bern or Lyon Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Bern
Lyon

Lyon is renowned for its public transit. Also, Bern is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for times when you don't have a car.

Lyon has a great public transit system. The city has a metro, trams, and buses, that make it easy to get around.

The public transit in Bern can get you around easily. There are trams and buses that run around town.


Is Bern or Lyon a more walkable city?

Bern
Lyon

Bern and Lyon both are very good when exploring on foot.

Bern is very walkable. It's fun to explore the old town on foot. It is compact enough to that you can see all of the highlights in a few hours.

Lyon is a very walkable city. The old town is particularly walkable, but the hills can make things a bit challenging. There are also a number of pedestrian streets around town.

For even more information, also check out Is Bern Worth Visiting? and Is Lyon Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Lyon or Bern?

How long in Bern or Lyon?

In either Bern or Lyon, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Lyon than Bern because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Bern, and 2-5 days is enough time in Lyon.

Families should spend more time in Lyon than Bern. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Lyon, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Lyon than Bern. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Lyon that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Lyon than Bern if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Lyon.


  • How many days in Bern or Lyon? Ideal Length of Stay
    Bern 1-3 
    Lyon 2-5

One day in Bern or Lyon?

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the destination of Bern. Visiting the old town is also a must. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually enough time to experience most activities.

Lyon is a big city destination where you can fill many days. Visiting the old town is also a must. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

A weekend in Bern or Lyon?

Bern is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Lyon is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.


Five days in Bern or Lyon?

You'll find museums and nightlife around the historic destination of Bern. This city offers something for everyone. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Lyon is a quaint big city where you can fill many days. This city offers something for everyone. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Plenty of people spend five days in the area when traveling. Five days is often enough time to do most activities.

A week in Bern or Lyon?

The beautiful city of Bern offers nightlife and food. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

The historic city of Lyon offers nightlife and food. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.


Which place is cheaper, Lyon or Bern?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Bern is $258, while the average daily cost in Lyon is $136. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Bern and Lyon in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Bern $167
    Lyon $57
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Bern $334
    Lyon $114
Compare Hotels in Bern and Lyon

Looking for a hotel in Bern or Lyon? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Bern


Hotels in Lyon


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Bern Hotel Prices and Lyon Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Bern $34
    Lyon $18

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Bern

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Bern:

  • Private Direct Transfer From Bern to Basel: $171
  • Private Transfer From Bern To Basel With a 2 Hour Stop in Olten: $215
  • Private Transfer From Bern to Zurich, English Speaking Driver: $230

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Lyon

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Lyon:


  • Funiculaire
    $5.63
  • Hop-on Hop-off Tourist Bus
    $21

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lyon

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Lyon:

  • Private transfer from or to Lyon train stations - Lyon city by car or luxury van: $46
  • Lyon Saint Exupery Airport(LYS) to Aix-les-Bains-Arrival Transfer: $47
  • Lyon City Card with Airport Transfer: $53
  • Private Transfer: Saint Exupéry Airport(LYS) to Lyon City Center: $54
  • Private Transfer: Lyon City Center to Saint Exupéry Airport(LYS): $54
  • Private Transfer from Port of LYON to Lyon Railway Stations: $72
  • Lyon St Exupery Airport to Les Deux/La Clusaz - Arrival Transfer: $72
  • Lyon Airport (LYS) to Val d'Isere/Espace Killy: Arrival Transfer: $77
  • Departure Private Transfer Lyon City to Lyon Airport LYS by Business Car: $78
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Lyon Airport LYS to Lyon City by Business Car: $78
  • 1-Way Private Transfer from Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport: $81
  • 1-Way Private Transfer center to Saint Exupery Airport: $81

Is it cheaper to fly into Bern or Lyon?

Prices for flights to both Lyon and Bern change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Bern $62
    Lyon $44

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Bern

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Bern.

  • Bern Food Market: Brunch & Local Food Tour: $65

Typical Food Prices in Lyon

Some typical examples of dining costs in Lyon are as follows:


  • Pastry
    $1.84

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Lyon

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Lyon.

  • No Diet Club - Our best food tour in Lyon: $64
  • Street Food Tour: $65
  • Croix-Rousse District Vegan Food Tour with Tastings: $65
  • 3h Lyon Vegan Food Tour: $66
  • Lyon Street Food Tour : $66
  • Afternoon Old Town Food tour: $77
  • Lyon 2.5-Hour Dinner Cruise: $81
  • Cultural Walking Food Tour in the Vieux Lyon District: $87
  • Walking Food Tour in Vieux Lyon: $87
  • Bakeries, Chocolate & Patisseries Food Tour: $93
  • Lyon Old Town Half-Day Walking Food Tour with Local Specialties Tasting & Lunch: $94
  • Secret Food Tour: $97

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Bern $35
    Lyon $22

Tours and Activities in Bern

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Bern are as follows:

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.25
  • Bern Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $4.42
  • Bern Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and Walking Tour: $7.05
  • Escape Game and Tour: $8.67
  • Self-Guided Tour of Bern's Fountains, Clocktowers, and Legends: $9.99
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • City Sightseeing Self-Guided Walking Tour Game: $16
  • Bern Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16
  • Thun Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16
  • Fribourg Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16
  • Zytglogge - Tour through the Clock Tower: $23
  • Private Custom Tour with a Local Guide in Bern: $57

Typical Entertainment Prices in Lyon

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Lyon are as follows:


  • Lunch for 2
    $49

Tours and Activities in Lyon

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Lyon are as follows:

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.25
  • Lyon City Historic Neighborhoods Guided Walking Tour (English): $3.38
  • Vieux Lyon Cultural & Historical Walking Guided Tour (English): $3.38
  • City Exploration Game and Tour: $4.34
  • Lyon Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and Walking Tour: $5.20
  • Hop-On Hop-Off City Cruise: $5.42
  • City Exploration Game and Tour on your Phone: $6.45
  • Lyon Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $6.61
  • Street Art Audio-Guided Walking Tour: $8.66
  • Food Smartphone Audio Walking Tour: $8.66
  • Croix-Rousse Smartphone Audio Walking Tour: $8.66
  • Lyon : Fourvière District Smartphone Audio Walking Tour: $8.66

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Bern $27
    Lyon $26

Typical Alcohol Prices in Lyon

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Lyon from other travelers:


  • Drinks for 2
    $7.36
  • Bottle of Wine
    $16

Sample the Local Flavors in Lyon

Also in Lyon, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Beaujolais Segway Tour with Wine Tasting: $65
  • Guided tour of Beaujolais by electric bike and wine tasting: $99
  • From Beaujolais Region Wine Tour with Tastings: $107
  • Golden Stones Beaujolais Wine Tasting Trip from Lyon: $107
  • Half-Day Côte-Rotie Wine Tasting Tour: $107
  • Beaujolais: Half-Day Wine Tour: $107
  • Lyon : Music & Wine tasting tour: $108
  • Beaujolais Half Day Wine Tasting Tour: $109
  • The Original Syrah Wine Tour (2:00 pm - 6:30 pm) - Small Group Tour from Lyon: $109
  • The Original Syrah Wine Tour (9:00 am - 1:30 pm) - Small Group Tours from Lyon: $109
  • 100 % wine tour Small-Group Tour with Tasting from Lyon: $109
  • Golden stones Beaujolais Wine Tour with Tastings from Lyon: $109


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Bern and Lyon, we can see that Bern is more expensive. And not only is Lyon much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Lyon would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Lyon and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Bern would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Bern than you might in Lyon.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Bern Expensive? and Is Lyon Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Bern or Lyon?

Lyon has a larger population, and is about 4 times larger than the population of Bern. When comparing the sizes of Bern and Lyon, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Bern or Lyon?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Bern or Lyon in the Summer?

Both Lyon and Bern are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Bern for the family-friendly experiences. Also, many visitors come to Lyon in the summer for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Bern is around the same temperature as Lyon. Typically, the summer temperatures in Bern in July average around 21°C (70°F), and Lyon averages at about 22°C (71°F).

It's quite sunny in Lyon. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Bern. Bern usually receives less sunshine than Lyon during summer. Bern gets 250 hours of sunny skies, while Lyon receives 285 hours of full sun in the summer.

In July, Bern usually receives around the same amount of rain as Lyon. Bern gets 63 mm (2.5 in) of rain, while Lyon receives 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Bern 21°C (70°F) 
    Lyon 22°C (71°F)

Should I visit Bern or Lyon in the Autumn?

Both Lyon and Bern during the autumn are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Bern in the autumn for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area. Also, most visitors come to Lyon for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months.

In October, Bern is generally around the same temperature as Lyon. Daily temperatures in Bern average around 13°C (55°F), and Lyon fluctuates around 14°C (56°F).

In the autumn, Bern often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Lyon. Bern gets 126 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Lyon receives 127 hours of full sun.

Bern usually gets less rain in October than Lyon. Bern gets 49 mm (1.9 in) of rain, while Lyon receives 78 mm (3.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Bern 13°C (55°F) 
    Lyon 14°C (56°F)

Should I visit Bern or Lyon in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Bern and Lyon. Most visitors come to Bern for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Also, the winter months attract visitors to Lyon because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

The weather in Lyon can be very cold. Bern can be very cold during winter. Bern is cooler than Lyon in the winter. The daily temperature in Bern averages around 3°C (37°F) in January, and Lyon fluctuates around 4°C (39°F).

Bern usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Lyon during winter. Bern gets 65 hours of sunny skies, while Lyon receives 62 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Bern usually receives around the same amount of rain as Lyon. Bern gets 54 mm (2.1 in) of rain, while Lyon receives 55 mm (2.1 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Bern 3°C (37°F) 
    Lyon 4°C (39°F)

Should I visit Bern or Lyon in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Bern as well as Lyon. The spring months attract visitors to Bern because of the natural beauty. Also, the activities around the city and the natural beauty are the main draw to Lyon this time of year.

In the spring, Bern is around the same temperature as Lyon. Typically, the spring temperatures in Bern in April average around 11°C (52°F), and Lyon averages at about 11°C (53°F).

In the spring, Bern often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Lyon. Bern gets 164 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Lyon receives 174 hours of full sun.

Bern usually gets less rain in April than Lyon. Bern gets 59 mm (2.3 in) of rain, while Lyon receives 65 mm (2.6 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Bern 11°C (52°F) 
    Lyon 11°C (53°F)

Typical Weather for Lyon and Bern

Bern Lyon
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 3°C (37°F) 54 mm (2.1 in) 4°C (39°F) 55 mm (2.1 in)
Feb 4°C (40°F) 51 mm (2 in) 6°C (42°F) 54 mm (2.1 in)
Mar 8°C (46°F) 50 mm (2 in) 8°C (47°F) 62 mm (2.4 in)
Apr 11°C (52°F) 59 mm (2.3 in) 11°C (53°F) 65 mm (2.6 in)
May 15°C (60°F) 76 mm (3 in) 15°C (60°F) 85 mm (3.4 in)
Jun 19°C (65°F) 74 mm (2.9 in) 19°C (66°F) 75 mm (3 in)
Jul 21°C (70°F) 63 mm (2.5 in) 22°C (71°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Aug 20°C (69°F) 80 mm (3.1 in) 21°C (70°F) 75 mm (3 in)
Sep 18°C (64°F) 55 mm (2.2 in) 18°C (65°F) 75 mm (3 in)
Oct 13°C (55°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) 14°C (56°F) 78 mm (3.1 in)
Nov 7°C (45°F) 58 mm (2.3 in) 8°C (46°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Dec 4°C (38°F) 55 mm (2.2 in) 4°C (40°F) 57 mm (2.3 in)