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

Should you visit Zurich or Lyon?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Zurich and Lyon. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Zurich

Zurich is a beautiful, historic, and liberal city. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. And you can't forget about the museums, nightlife, and live music.

Lyon

Lyon is a beautiful, cultural, and quaint city. Travelers will also find plenty of sights and attractions here, as it's a big city that attracts lots of visitors. You'll find world class beauty here as well. It also has a unique and quaint vibe that attracts lots of visitors. And you can't forget about the nightlife, food, and shopping.

How is Zurich different from Lyon?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Is Zurich or Lyon better for Museums and Historical Sights?

Plenty of people visit the sights and museums in both Zurich and Lyon.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around Zurich. Make sure you check out the Museum of Fine Arts, the Fraumünster, as well as the Swiss National Museum.

The museums, monuments, and landmarks in Lyon are among the most recognizable in the world. 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.


Is Zurich or Lyon better for Food?

Both Zurich and Lyon offer a number of unique restaurants to choose from.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Zurich. Many restaurants have a strong German influence, but you'll also find traditional Swiss dishes such as cheese and chocolate fondue. There are also several Michelin star restaurants in town.

Known for it's food scene, Lyon is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. 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.

Is Zurich or Lyon better for Nightlife?

Both Zurich and Lyon are comparable when it comes to partying.

Zurich offers plenty to do in the evening. The city has some of the best nightlife in Switzerland. There are a high concentration of bars and clubs around town, or you could check out one of the badis, which are pools that also act as bars during the summer months. They're usually located by the lake.

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.

Is Zurich or Lyon better for its Old Town?

Visitors enjoy the old town areas in both Zurich and Lyon.

The rich history of Zurich can be explored in its historical center. The city has an old town that is split into two parts on each side of the Limmat River. The historic districts are filled with churches, squares, and charming areas that are fun to explore. Walking tours are the best way to explore the old town.

Lyon offers visitors a world-class historical old town to explore. 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.

Is Zurich or Lyon better for Shopping?

Both Zurich and Lyon are good shopping destinations.

The abundance of shops in Zurich make it a world-class shopping destination. Visitors often buy chocolate, watches, and jewelry in this city. You'll find brand names and luxury items that are of high quality. Each neighborhood has its own character with stores ranging from traditional to international.

Lyon is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. 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 Zurich or Lyon better for Families?

Both Zurich and Lyon are family-friendly destinations.

Zurich is a very kid-friendly city. It's a surprisingly mellow city with a relaxing vibe that makes it easy to explore with kids. Popular family-friendly activities include swimming in the Limmat River, sailing on Lake Zurich, and visiting Josefwiese park, which has a large playground.

Lyon is a very kid-friendly city. 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 Zurich or Lyon better for Couples?

Zurich and Lyon both fun destinations for a couple.

Zurich is a very popular place to visit for couples. One of the most romantic experiences you can have in town is visiting the Zurich Thermal Baths and Spa. There's an outdoor rooftop thermal pool as well as many ways that you can pamper yourselves.

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

Is Zurich or Lyon better for Students?

Zurich and Lyon are both good destinations for students and younger travelers.

Zurich is a very popular place to visit for students. The city offers a number of unique experiences for international students. The academics are good and the university campuses are nice.

Lyon is a great destination for students. 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.

Is Zurich or Lyon better for Public Transit?

Both Zurich and Lyon offer public transit options.

Zurich has some very good public transit options. The system is made up of streetcars and buses.

Public transit in Lyon is top-notch. The city has a metro, trams, and buses, that make it easy to get around.


Is Zurich or Lyon a more walkable city?

Zurich and Lyon both are comparable when exploring on foot.

Zurich is a very walkable city. There are paths that lead along the rivers and the lake connecting the old town areas to other parts of the city.

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.

Zurich and Lyon: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere


Should I spend more time in Lyon or Zurich?

How long in Zurich or Lyon?

In either Zurich or Lyon, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. You can fill a similar amount of time in either place.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Zurich is 2-5 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Lyon is 2-5 days.


  • How many days in Zurich or Lyon? Ideal Length of Stay
    Zurich 2-5 
    Lyon 2-5

One day in Zurich or Lyon?

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and live music when visiting the destination of Zurich. Visiting the old town is also a must. Take your pick from the many activities offered around the area. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

Lyon is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Zurich or Lyon?

Zurich is a fun place to experience. Most people visit for the shopping. 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 spend here. The entire area has lots to do.

Lyon is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Five days in Zurich or Lyon?

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the liberal destination of Zurich. This city offers something for everyone. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Plenty of people spend five days here when traveling. Five days is often enough time to spend here.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Lyon. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


A week in Zurich or Lyon?

The beautiful city of Zurich offers shopping and museums. 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.

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the cultural big city of Lyon. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Which city is cheaper, Lyon or Zurich?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Zurich is $201, while the average daily cost in Lyon is $103. 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 city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Zurich and Lyon in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Zurich $127
    Lyon $43
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Zurich $254
    Lyon $86

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Zurich $27
    Lyon $14
Typical Local Transportation prices in Zurich

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


  • City Pass (2)
    $27

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Zurich

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Zurich:

  • Ultra - Zurich Private Airport Transfer from Train Station to Zurich Airport ZRH: $9.41
  • Ultra - Zurich Private Transfer from Train Station to Zurich City Centre: $9.41
  • Ultra - Zurich Private Transfer from Zurich City Centre to Train Station: $9.41
  • Ultra - Davos Private Airport Transfer from Zurich Airport ZRH to Davos: $9.41
  • Ultra - Zurich Private Airport Transfer from Zurich Airport ZRH to City Centre: $9.41
  • Ultra - Zurich Private Airport Transfer from City Centre to Zurich Airport ZRH: $9.41
  • Ultra - Zurich Private Airport Transfer from Zurich Airport ZRH to Train Station: $9.41
  • Shared Arrival Transfer: Zurich Airport to Hotel: $31
  • Shared Departure Transfer: Hotel to Zurich Airport: $31
  • Private Arrival or Departure Transfer: Zurich Airport: $39
  • Private Departure Transfer from Zurich City to ZRH Zurich Airport: $39
  • Private Arrival Transfer from ZRH Zurich Airport to Zurich City: $39

Typical Local Transportation prices in Lyon

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


  • Funiculaire
    $5.31
  • Hop-on Hop-off Tourist Bus
    $19

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lyon

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Lyon:

  • Private Airport Transfer: Lyon to Lyon Saint-Exupery International Airport (LYS): $47
  • Lyon City Card with Airport Transfer: $49
  • Low Cost Private Transfer From Lyon-Bron Airport to Lyon City - One Way: $65
  • Lyon Private Transfer : Port of LYON to Lyon Railway Stations in Business Car: $65
  • Departure Private Transfer Lyon City to Lyon Airport LYS by Business Car: $66
  • Private arrival OR departure transfer in Lyon (hotel OR airport pick-up): $75
  • Departure Private Transfer Lyon City to Lyon Airport LYS by Luxury Van: $87
  • Private Transfer to/from Lyon Airport (LYS): $91
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Gare de Lyon Saint-Exupery: $91
  • Private Arrival Transfer: Gare de Lyon Saint-Exupery to Lyon Hotel: $91
  • Private Departure Transfer: Lyon Hotel to Lyon-Saint Exupery Airport: $91
  • Departure Private Transfers from Lyon City to Lyon Airport LYS in Business Car: $95

Is it cheaper to fly into Zurich or Lyon?

Prices for flights to both Lyon and Zurich 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
    Zurich $46
    Lyon $34
Typical Food prices in Zurich

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


  • Breakfast for 2
    $13

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Zurich

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

  • Culinary Tour from Zurich with Traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue Dinner: $154
  • Overnight Mount Titlis including 4-course dinner: $545

Typical Food prices in Lyon

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


  • Pastry
    $1.74

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Lyon

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

  • Lyon Old Town Walking Guided Food Tour: $68
  • Lyon 2.5-Hour Dinner Cruise: $72
  • Lyon Old Town Half-Day Walking Food Tour with Local Specialties Tasting & Lunch: $93
  • Lyon Old Town Five Tasting Stops Walking Food Tour with Lunch: $108
  • Lyon Quais Saint Antoine Private Gastronomic Food Tour: $111
  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours Lyon: $137
  • Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse Food Tour: $217
  • Food tour in Lyon: $258
  • Secret Food Tours Lyon w/ Private Tour Option: $296
  • Lyon Food Tour: $880
  • Lyon Food Tour: $880

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Zurich $27
    Lyon $17

Tours and Activities in Zurich

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

  • Zurich Private Tour: Albert Einstein Old Town Exploration Game: $7.45
  • Historical Zürich: An audio tour through the city of a thousand fountains: $9.99
  • Lindt Home of Chocolate Museum Entry Ticket: $16
  • Museum Rietberg Zurich Entrance Ticket: $21
  • Zurich Old Town Walking Tour: 2-Hours: $27
  • Shopping and History Tour of Zurich: $30
  • Zurich Old Town Walking Tour: $30
  • Zürich Historic District Tour: $30
  • Swiss Chocolate Walking Tour of Zurich: $36
  • Zurich Highlights Tour: $40
  • Zurich City Tour Experience: $40
  • Zurich Like a Local: Customized Private Tour: $45

Typical Entertainment prices in Lyon

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


  • Lunch for 2
    $46

Tours and Activities in Lyon

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

  • Vieux Lyon Cultural & Historical Walking Guided Tour (English): $3.82
  • Lyon City Historic Neighborhoods Guided Walking Tour (English): $3.82
  • Haunted Lyon City Exploration Game & Tour: $5.66
  • Private Lyon Ghost Tour: Haunted City Center Exploration Game: $8.70
  • Lyon Croix-Rousse City Tram Tour with Audio Guide: $11
  • Lyon Museum of Cinema Miniature Admission Ticket: $12
  • 1 or 2-Hour Pedicab tour of Lyon: $31
  • 2-Hour Highlights E-Bike Tour: $34
  • Lyon Small-Group Guided Electric Bike Tour with a Local Guide: $37
  • Lyon Like a Local Customized Private Guided Tour: $38
  • Lyon Highlights & Secrets Walking Guided Tour (small group) including Funicular: $41
  • 2-Hour Day or Night Pedicab Tour: $41

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Zurich $22
    Lyon $19

Sample the Local Flavors in Zurich

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

  • Pub Crawl Zurich: $29

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
    $6.95
  • Bottle of Wine
    $15

Sample the Local Flavors in Lyon

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

  • Northern Rhône Valley Cheese & Wine Tasting Half Day Tour from Lyon: $111
  • Lyon Old Town Food & Wine Tasting Tour including a Bouchon Lyonnais: $112
  • The Original Syrah Wine Tour - Afternoon - Small Group Tour from Lyon: $114
  • The Original Syrah Wine Tour - Morning - Small Group Tours from Lyon: $114
  • Beaujolais Gourmet Wine Tour with Tastings from Lyon: $123
  • Macon & Beaujolais Wine Tour - Full Day - Small Group Tour from Lyon: $147
  • Cotes du Rhone Wine Tour - Full Day - Small Group Tour from Lyon: $153
  • Northern Rhône Valley Day Tour with Wine Tasting from Lyon: $160
  • Burgundy South of Region Small Group Day Tour with Local Wine Tasting from Lyon: $160
  • Beaujolais Region Vineyard Day Tour with Wine Tasting from Lyon: $160
  • Côte-Rôtie & Vienne Region Roman History with Wine Tasting from Lyon: $243
  • Rhône Valley Terroir Private Tour with Local Cheese & Wine Tasting from Lyon: $280


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Zurich and Lyon, we can see that Zurich 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 Zurich would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Zurich than you might in Lyon.

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Zurich vs. Lyon Travel Comparison

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