From stunning mountain landscapes to award-winning wine and cheese, Jura is one of the most tantalising departments in France. In the low-altitude parts of the region, you’ll find vineyard-covered hills, lush valleys and cobalt-blue lakes. There are cosmopolitan cities to explore, and a constellation of chateaus and citadels dotted across the countryside. Venture into the mountains to hike in rugged national parks and ski at winter resorts.
Things to do in Jura
Even the largest cities in Jura have small-town charm. Lons-le-Saunier is the lively capital and a great base to explore the department. Stroll around the historic centre, sip café au lait in the square and soak your muscles in the thermal baths.
Discover wild and rugged alpine landscapes in Parc Naturel Régional du Haut-Jura. Hiking trails wind through the park and take you through forested mountains and flower-filled alpine meadows. If you’re lucky, you might spot lynx and Alpine goats roaming the grasslands.
The white-sand beaches and turquoise waters of Lac de Chalain will transport you to the Mediterranean. Bask in the sunshine, soak in the mountain views and enjoy a picnic on the grassy foreshore. Kayak, paddleboard and pedalo boat rentals are a fun way to explore the lake.
Fertile soil and lashings of sunshine make Jura a world-class wine-growing region. Tour local vineyards and sip vin jaune, a regional wine with a rich golden hue and a bright finish. Jura is also dotted with “fruitiere” mountain dairy farms. Stop to meet the cows and buy delicious Comté cheese.
Jura is dotted with fascinating cultural sights, including a pair of ancient citadels. Citadelle de Besançon is one of the most impressive and looms over the city. From the top of the 17th-century fortress, you’ll get sweeping views over the city, mountains and surrounding countryside.
Reliable winter snowfall makes resorts like Les Rousses popular with downhill and cross-country skiers. Métabief is another popular resort, with slopes for every level. In summer, the resorts morph into outdoor playgrounds where you can hike, mountain bike and play golf.
Getting around Jura
All cities, towns and villages in Jura are pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot. Find train stations in major cities like Lons-le-Saunier, Champagnole and Dole. Rental cars offer the freedom to explore Jura at your own pace.