Lyon has been chosen as one of the 10 European destinations to visit in 2019 and included in Lonely Planet’s famous annual “Best in Europe” ranking. Following a grand entrance as one of the New York Times 52 places to go in 2019, this new international recognition confirms that Lyon is now acknowledged as a European must-see tourist destination. Awarded the title of European Capital of Smart Tourism in 2019 by the European Union and the host city of the semi-finals and final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in July, Lyon is benefiting from unprecedented international media coverage in 2019. 

Publication date : 14/10/2019

“In less than 20 years, Greater Lyon has become a major tourist capital in Europe. It is home to a remarkable heritage, which has been preserved and promoted: its historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its culinary tradition also gives it the reputation of capital of gastronomy. The International City of Gastronomy (CIG) opening in Autumn 2019 in the former Grand Hôtel-Dieu is the emblem of this. Every year, our major events, including the Festival of Lights, the Nuits de Fourvière, the Biennales and the Lumière Festival, make Greater Lyon a leading destination for European city breaks. Greater Lyon is proud to be internationally recognised for its attractiveness and the wealth of its historic and cultural heritage” David Kimelfeld, President of Greater Lyon

“We are thrilled with this new prize, which enhances Lyon’s international exposure. After the New York Times at the beginning of the year, this is another recognition of our city, from Lonely Planet, a benchmark for global tourism. This award crowns 15 years of work to develop tourism within Lyon and confirms its status as a must-see destination in Europe” adds  Jean-Michel Daclin, President of ONLYLYON Tourism and Convention

The "Best in Europe 2019" ranking

This ranking highlights lesser-known European tourist destinations, to encourage people to visit them as summer approaches. Selected by a panel of Lonely Planet experts, these places are chosen for their uniqueness, traditions or events. After Provence (2018) and the Dordogne region (2016), Lyon is the only French city in the 2019 ranking. 

Why Lyon? 

According to Lonely Planet : According to Lonely Planet, “Lyon has an incredible culinary scene and is environmentally aware, as well as having large parks and a remarkable cinematic history. It is also the capital of a region packed with amazing nearby attractions, in particular the picturesque and famous Rhône Valley and Beaujolais vineyards. Lyon is playing a leading role in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, hosting 2 semi-finals and the final. This represents an incredible opportunity to highlight a global sporting event. Lyon (with Helsinki) has become the first European capital of sustainable tourism* (« smart tourism »), one more reason to visit Lyon and its surrounds in 2019.”

A global spotlight on Lyon 

This ranking is allowing Lyon to benefit from extraordinary media coverage: every year, the “Best in Europe” ranking generates some 1000 media items, which reach 61 million people around the world, and 250,000 visitors are expected to visit the “Best in Europe” page with 150,000 reactions on social media (estimates based on the “Best in Europe 2018” ranking). 
The European Union elected Metropolitan Lyon "European Capital of Smart Tourism 2019" with Helsinki. Supported jointly by Greater Lyon and ONLYLYON Tourism and Conventions, Lyon’s application included considerable strengths. Awarded for the first time by the EU, this award recognises Lyon’s sustainable development of tourism, as an attractive, dynamic and accessible city, which is a pioneer of digital innovation and respects the environment and the quality of life of its residents
Further information

Lonely Planet, a global benchmark for travel guides 

Lonely Planet is the leading travel guide publisher in the world and the second most popular in France. The brand has existed since 1972 and has a catalogue of 260 destinations (130 new editions in 2019, including 28 new destinations). Lyon is already covered by Lonely Planet with a ‘Lyon en quelques jours’ (Lyon in a few days) guide, which has just been updated. 
Lonely Planet in figures: 

  • 260 destinations covered,
  • 2 million fans on Facebook,
  • 6,3 million followers on Twitter,
  • 1,9 million followers on Instagram, 
  • 1 reference website: (world)
  • 1 magazine per country, 450,000 copies published in the United States, 40,000 in the United Kingdom and 55,000 in Germany. 

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