The BEst Travel Guide: What To Do When you Visit Annecy


Nestled in the heart of the French Alps, Annecy is a captivating destination renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, vibrant culture, and rich history. With its charming cobblestone streets, picturesque canals, and stunning mountain views, Annecy offers visitors a unique blend of old-world charm and modern sophistication. Whether you’re planning to visit Annecy for outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply to soak in its scenic beauty, this enchanting city promises an unforgettable journey.

As you explore Annecy, you’ll be captivated by its medieval architecture, including the iconic Palais de l’Isle, a 12th-century castle that sits on a small island in the Thiou River. Wander through the city’s quaint Old Town, where you’ll find colourful houses adorned with flower boxes, charming cafes, and artisan boutiques.

In addition to its architectural wonders, Annecy is also known for its outdoor recreational opportunities. From hiking and cycling in the surrounding mountains to swimming and boating on Lake Annecy, there’s no shortage of activities to enjoy amidst the stunning alpine scenery. Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, Annecy offers a perfect escape for travellers of all ages and interests.

Annecy Dam
What to Do When You Visit Annecy


What to Do When You Visit Annecy


This area is quite popular among bikers, but don’t assume they all come to tackle massive mountain climbs. The lakeshore has a great cycling route that will allow you to visit the communities around the lake. And, as an added benefit, when you visit Annecy, you will find that it’s perfectly flat. Depending on your energy and legs, you may ride the entire Tour du Lac (doable in a day at a moderate pace) or just tour portions of it.

The main trail, or Voie Vert, is a repurposed railway line that extends from Annecy’s centre to Doussard at the lake’s southern end and beyond. It’s a more uneven route back into Annecy from Doussard along the east side of the lake (parts are still under renovation as of August 2017). But, it brings you through more picturesque villages and some wonderful bathing places.


Explore the Roc du Chere between Menthon-Saint-Bernard and Talloires for an afternoon stroll. This granite outcrop, a designated nature reserve, is cool and shaded in the summer. There’s a secret route that goes to a lookout overlooking Talloires Bay. Also, there is a climb down to the lakeshore that’s more difficult than it appears Explore the Cascade d’Angon.

A wonderful round walk from Talloires, you’ll ascend out of the hamlet on the old road to St. Germain’s church, which is paved in sections and has loose stone underfoot in others. It winds past a few tiny hamlets and then through woods until it appears outside the church, where there are panoramic views of the lake’s southern end.

Return to the lakeside through Verel and a forested route that leads to the Pont du Fer and cascade, a magnificent gulley of flowing water hewn into the granite hillside that abruptly gives way to a thundering waterfall.

Visit the Pistes

Les Portes des Aravis ski area is less than 30 minutes away, but don’t believe it’s only for winter guests. At any time of year, the towns of La Clusaz and Grand Bornand are worth a visit. Aside from the more contemporary snow sports infrastructure, there are lovely town squares, historic alpine churches, and mountains with more cheese than you can poke a stick at. Spend the day walking through the wooded slopes above either town, indulging all of your senses at the Monday morning market in La Clusaz

Top Places to Visit in Annecy City

Annecy City boasts a wealth of attractions and landmarks that captivate visitors from around the world. Here are some must-visit destinations to include in your itinerary:

Palais de l’Isle

Situated on a small island in the Thiou River, the Palais de l’Isle is a historic gem dating back to the 12th century. This iconic building, with its distinctive triangular shape, has served as a castle, prison, and administrative centre throughout its storied history.

Lake Annecy

Known as the “Pearl of the French Alps,” Lake Annecy is a stunning natural wonder that offers breathtaking views and endless recreational opportunities. Visitors can enjoy swimming, boating, paddleboarding, and picnicking along the lake’s picturesque shores.

Vieille Ville (Old Town)

Step back in time as you wander through the charming streets of Annecy’s Old Town. Admire the medieval architecture, colourful buildings adorned with flower boxes, and bustling markets selling local delicacies and artisanal crafts.

Château d’Annecy

Perched atop a hill overlooking the city, the Château d’Annecy is a magnificent fortress that dates back to the 12th century. Explore its well-preserved interiors, including the museum, which showcases exhibits on local history and art.

Pont des Amours (Lovers’ Bridge)

Cross the iconic Pont des Amours, or Lovers’ Bridge, which spans the picturesque Canal du Vasse. According to local legend, couples who share a kiss on the bridge are said to be blessed with eternal love and happiness.

Jardins de l’Europe (Gardens of Europe)

Take a stroll through the Jardins de l’Europe, a tranquil park located along the shores of Lake Annecy. Admire the colourful flower beds, lush greenery, and stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

Best Hotels to Stay in Annecy City

When you plan your visit to Annecy City, it’s crucial to choose the right place to stay. Here are some of the top hotels in Annecy City with great amenities and convenient locations:

Hôtel Les Trésoms Lake and Spa Resort

Enjoy luxury and relaxation at this upscale hotel on Lake Annecy’s shores. You’ll have stunning views of the lake and mountains, spacious rooms, and access to a gourmet restaurant and full-service spa.

Hôtel du Palais de l’Isle

Step into history at this boutique hotel located in a historic 12th-century building. With elegant rooms featuring modern comforts like free Wi-Fi and air conditioning, plus its central location in the Old Town, it’s perfect for exploring Annecy’s attractions.

Imperial Palace Annecy

Treat yourself to a luxurious stay with panoramic views of Lake Annecy. This 4-star hotel offers spacious rooms, a casino, multiple dining options, indoor and outdoor pools, spa facilities, and a fitness centre.

Best Western Hotel International

Annecy: Stay conveniently close to the train station and Old Town at this affordable hotel. Modern rooms, a cosy bar and lounge, and complimentary breakfast await you, along with helpful staff to assist with tour bookings.

Hotel Mercure Annecy Centre

Located in the heart of Annecy, this hotel offers stylish accommodations within walking distance of the city’s main attractions. Relax in spacious rooms with modern amenities like flat-screen TVs and minibars, and enjoy the fitness centre and on-site dining options.

Fun Facts about Annecy City

“Venice of the Alps”

Annecy is often referred to as the “Venice of the Alps” due to its picturesque canals and charming old town architecture reminiscent of Venice, Italy.

Lake Annecy

Lake Annecy is one of the cleanest and purest lakes in Europe, known for its stunning turquoise waters and breathtaking mountain backdrop.

Palais de l’Isle

Dating back to the 12th century, the Palais de l’Isle is a historic castle located on a small island in the Thiou River. It has served as a prison, courthouse, and now houses a museum showcasing the city’s history.

International Animated Film Festival

Annecy hosts the renowned International Animated Film Festival, one of the world’s leading animation festivals, attracting filmmakers and enthusiasts from around the globe.

Outdoor Recreation

Annecy is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide range of activities such as hiking, cycling, paragliding, and water sports on Lake Annecy.

What You Will Find on this Website

On this website about Annecy City, you’ll discover a treasure trove of information to help you plan your visit to this charming destination nestled in the French Alps. Here’s what you can expect to find:

1. Destination Guide: Explore detailed insights into the attractions, landmarks, and hidden gems that make Annecy City a must-visit destination. From its picturesque canals and historic Old Town to its stunning natural landscapes and outdoor activities, our destination guide covers everything you need to know to make the most of your trip.

2. Accommodation Recommendations: Discover the best places to stay in Annecy City with our curated selection of hotels, guesthouses, and vacation rentals. Whether you’re seeking luxury accommodations with panoramic views of Lake Annecy or cosy boutique hotels in the heart of the Old Town, we’ve got you covered.

3. Dining and Culinary Experiences: Delve into Annecy’s vibrant culinary scene with our recommendations for the city’s top restaurants, cafes, and eateries. From traditional Savoyard cuisine to international flavours, you’ll find a diverse array of dining options to tantalize your taste buds.

4. Activities and Things to Do: Plan your itinerary with our guide to the best activities and attractions in Annecy City. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s cultural heritage, embarking on outdoor adventures, or simply soaking in its scenic beauty, we’ll help you create unforgettable experiences.

5. Practical Travel Tips: Get insider tips and practical advice to make your visit to Annecy City smooth and stress-free. From transportation options and weather forecasts to currency exchange and local customs, we’ve got all the information you need to navigate the city like a pro.

FAQs about Annecy City

What is the best time to visit Annecy City?

Annecy City is charming year-round, but the best time to visit depends on your preferences. Summer (June to August) offers warm weather and vibrant outdoor activities, while winter (December to February) transforms the city into a winter wonderland, ideal for skiing and snowboarding.

How do I get to Annecy City?

Annecy is easily accessible by various modes of transportation. The closest international airport is Geneva Airport (GVA), located approximately 45 minutes away by car. Additionally, Annecy has a train station with regular services from major cities like Paris, Lyon, and Geneva.

What are the must-visit attractions in Annecy City?

Some top attractions in Annecy City include the Palais de l’Isle, Lake Annecy, Vieille Ville (Old Town), Château d’Annecy, Pont des Amours (Lovers’ Bridge), and Jardins de l’Europe (Gardens of Europe).

Are there outdoor activities to enjoy in Annecy City?

Absolutely! Annecy City offers a plethora of outdoor activities, including hiking, cycling, swimming, boating, paddleboarding, and paragliding. The stunning alpine scenery provides the perfect backdrop for outdoor adventures.

What is the local cuisine like in Annecy City?

Annecy is known for its delicious Savoyard cuisine, which features hearty dishes like fondue, raclette, tartiflette, and diots (local sausages). Be sure to also try local specialities like Reblochon cheese and tarte aux myrtilles (blueberry tart).

Are there accommodations available in Annecy City?

Yes, Annecy offers a range of accommodations to suit every budget and preference. This includes hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals. It’s advisable to book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.

Is it safe to visit Annecy City?

Annecy City is generally considered safe for tourists. However, it’s always wise to take standard precautions and be mindful of your surroundings, especially in crowded tourist areas. As with any destination, it’s essential to safeguard your belongings and stay aware of any potential risks.

Are there guided tours available in Annecy City?

Yes, there are various guided tours available in Annecy City, including walking tours of the Old Town, boat tours on Lake Annecy, and excursions to nearby attractions like the Semnoz mountain. These tours offer insightful commentary and allow you to explore the city with ease.