After our lovely getaway in Champagne region, we really wanted to discover the beautiful city of Annecy, also nicknamed the Venice of the Alp.
We advise you to stay at least 2-3 days, if you go during spring or summer season, to enjoy your trip and the many activities that can be done on the lake and in the surroundings! In the winter season, it’s not possible to do activities on the lake and many activities in the surroundings are also not available.
The climate in Annecy is continental and alpine. The winter is quite cold and harsh. Summer is hot and dry with strong thunderstorms. The intermediate seasons of spring and autumn provide the transition. These are in my opinion the best period to go as there are far fewer people in the spring season than in the summer.
Annecy is also well adapted to a trip with friends, family or lovers.
What are the things to do in Annecy and its surroundings?
1 | Stroll in the city center and get lost in the alleys
- The Old Prisons
While walking in the old town of Annecy, you will come across the Vieilles Prisons. It is an obligatory passage, because it’s the symbol of Annecy. Also called Palais de l’île, and it’s the most famous and most photographed building of the city. It looks like a miniature fairy tale castle, but it has in fact been used as a mint, courthouse and prison over the years.over the years.
- Stroll along the Thiou River
The historic center of the city is pedestrian and full of charm. The walk along the Thiou river is a must, especially to contemplate the reflections of the city on the water. As you can see, the Venice of the Alps offers very nice landscapes along its canals.
- Stroll on the Paquier
If there is a place that the inhabitants of Annecy and the tourists appreciate particularly, it’s the Paquier. This vast esplanade of 7 hectares is located on the edge of the lake near the old town.
- Kissing on the Pont des Amours
Don’t miss to cross the famous Pont des Amours, which is another must-see in Annecy. It’s name comes from the simple fact that it’s a place where lovers like to meet. It is a very romantic place, because it allows to have a 360 degrees view on the lake giving directly on the swan island. For information, it connects the gardens of Europe to the Paquier avoiding you to make a detour.
2 | Have a brunch in the old town
For all my good addresses, read my article – Where to eat in Annecy. (Available soon)
3 | Admire the spectacular views from Lake Annecy
One of the other things to do in Annecy is to admire the spectacular view from the lake. A postcard image probably comes to mind when you think of Annecy: the crystal waters of the lake reflecting off the surrounding mountains. It is truly the city’s most captivating attraction. Many Annecians like to have lunch by the lake.
It is also the third-largest lake in France, as well as the cleanest lake in Europe. Hiking trails, bicycle paths and beaches line the lake shore.
4 | Cycling around the lake
Those who like to be sporty even on vacation will enjoy a bike ride around the lake. With its 42 km of bicycle path, it is a great way to discover the surroundings. It is also another way to discover certain places while avoiding the crowds, especially in summer. For an idea of the rates : Bike rental and rollerblade rental, in Annecy can be done by clicking here.
5 | Rent a pedal boat, a paddle or a boat
Another great way to discover Lake Annecy is to take a ride on a pedal boat, a boat or a paddle. The rates are pretty much the same all over the lake. Some boat rental companies offer options such as wakeboarding. In addition, paddles are generally available for rent.
6 | Admire the view from the Col de la Forclaz
The Col de la Forclaz rises to an altitude of 1,496 meters in the Haute-Savoie region. This place is known for the view that it offers on the lake of Annecy. Geographically, it stretches from the eastern shore of the lake from the village of Talloires to that of Montmin. The word “forclaz” in Savoyard means passage in the mountain. If you go there in the evening, you will be able to contemplate the sunset of the sun. This very touristic site allows you to eat and taste excellent specialties.
A nice address to suggest is: The Chalet de la Pricaz with a view on the lake of Annecy. The tartiflette and the Savoyard fondue are a must at this gourmet address.
7 | Take a first flight in a paraglider over the lake
For daring visitors, a paragliding session over the lake will be a breathtaking. The view is phenomenal, no wonder that the city is the most popular paragliding site on the continent and one of the most welcoming in the world. Many tour operators offer this service from 95 Euros for about 20 minutes. Visitors can also choose a thrilling aerobatic flight or something more relaxed.
Paragliding sessions are starting from the Col de la Forclaz or from the small town of Talloires. Don’t forget, reservations are required.
8 | Dinner in Annecy
Walking through the streets of the old town is great, but doing it while eating the best ice cream in the area is the best ice cream in the area is even better. The Glacier des Alpes is the most famous ice cream shop of Annecy. Some people have even ranked it as the best in the country. The city is also a great place to enjoy a place to enjoy a delicious tartiflette, diots de Savoie (sausages), croziflette, cheese fondue or fish from the lake perch.
9 | Annecy and its surroundings
If you have time, I recommend going for a day or spending the night in Chamonix and enjoy the QC Chamonix thermal baths. QC Terme offers bio-saunas, steam baths, solariums, whirlpools, chromotherapy, hydrotherapy, footbaths, steam baths, Japanese baths, hydromassage baths, salt and scent rooms and relaxation rooms, as well as massage salons, a restaurant and a bar.
For about €60 per person, you can enjoy the day there, and you will receive a basket aperitif at the end of the day.
Annecy is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway in France. With more time on your hands, it is also a great place for outdoor activities in and around the lake.
I hope this article about the things to do in Annecy will help you! If you have any questions about this stay, don’t hesitate!
Discover more of my city guides by clicking here.