Annecy is a picturesque town located in the southeastern region of France. Its stunning scenery, rich history, and vibrant culture make it an ideal destination for travellers seeking a unique and memorable experience.
Whether it’s exploring the charming old town, strolling along the dazzling blue lake, or indulging in the local cuisine, Annecy has something for everyone.
This blog post will provide two five-day itineraries – one for spring/summer and one for autumn/winter – to help visitors make the most of their time in this beautiful town.
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Five-day Annecy itinerary: spring/summer
Day one: cycle around the lake
Cycling around Lake Annecy is an incredible way to make the most of your time there, in any season.
There are various rental shops where you can hire a bike for the day, and if you want a more leisurely ride, many now offer e-bike rentals too. However, in summer they can get extremely busy, so it’s best to aim to get there early and head out on your ride before the queues kick in.
Why not pack a picnic and stop off at one of the beaches to enjoy your lunch with a view? If you’re leaving from the centre of Annecy, then Doussard Beach is a great pitstop along the way.
Keen cyclists can also head further afield into the Aravis mountains if they’re after some more challenging routes, such as the Col des Aravis and the Col de la Croix Fry, which regularly feature in the Tour de France.
Day two: take a hike
On day two, it’s time to explore the mountains! There are endless hiking trails near Annecy, but options may vary depending on your ability and whether or not you have a car. Here are our top picks:
- The Cascade d’Angon (The Angon Waterfall) – easy/moderate
- The Roc de Chère – easy/moderate
- Mont Veyrier loop – difficult
- La Tournette – difficult
- Annecy Crest Trail – difficult
Day three: try a new watersport
There’s a fantastic array of watersports on offer in Annecy. If you’re not keen on the cold, summer will be the best time to have a go, as the water temperature will be milder.
Some of the activities you can try include:
- Stand-up paddle boarding
- Wakeboarding/wake surfing/waterskiing
If you’d prefer a more laid-back day by the lake, head to one of the beaches, enjoy a meal or a drink in one of the many lakeside restaurants or play a game of mini golf near the shores.
Day four: Visit the medieval village of Conflans
There’s plenty of history to discover within Annecy itself (scroll down to our winter itinerary to find out more).
However, if you’d like to explore more medieval culture, plus get a change of scenery, the village of Conflans is a hidden gem which awaits less than one hour’s drive from Annecy.
We’ve recommended this activity for summer, as you’ll be outside for the majority of the visit, especially if you decide to follow the walking paths surrounding the central town.
It’s an ideal family day out, especially as pets are welcome too. There are also a few small restaurants and bars where you can enjoy a relaxed meal or drink whilst you’re there.
Day five: go paragliding
Many Alpine locations offer paragliding as an activity, and Annecy is no different! So why not give it a go and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the cleanest lake in Europe and its surrounding peaks as you soar through the skies on a tandem flight?
From March-November, you can enjoy this experience from 85€ per person (depending on the weather). It’s definitely one to tick off the bucket list!
Other aerial activities include hang-gliding, sky diving, hot air balloon and gyrocopter rides.
You can book a broad range of these activities with Activ’ Annecy.
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Five-day Annecy itinerary: autumn/winter
Day one: discover the culture
On day one, we’d recommend visiting Le Palais de I’Île and Musée-Chateau D’Annecy. These two historical monuments are the most iconic buildings in Annecy and are not to be missed.
With a joint fee of 7.20€ or 4€ for under-25s, you can purchase a combination ticket from either venue, granting access to both sites. Both are open every day throughout the year apart from Tuesdays.
If you’re still keen to discover more culture, head over to the Musée du Film d’animation, which is just a two-minute walk from the Chateau.
Between visits, you could stop for lunch or a coffee in one of the many restaurants in the old town.
Le Palais de I’Île
Le Palais de I’Île was listed as a historic monument in 1900, with its oldest parts dating back to the 12th century. Originally housing the prison and the minting workshop of the Counts of Geneva, this renowned medieval structure is located in the heart of Annecy and has since become an emblem of the town.
Guided tours are available, or opt for an unguided visit costing 3.90€ for an adult and 2€ for a child. There’s free entry for children under 12 and group rates for more than 5 people. You’ll need between 30 minutes and one hour to visit.
Above the charming old town stands the Musée-Chateau D’Annecy, which became the residence of the Counts of Geneva in the 13th and 14th centuries.
Upon your visit, marvel at the authentic collections of traditional furniture and artworks and even pay a visit to the nature room where you can discover the local species and wildlife of the lake!
Entrance is 5.60€ and there’s free entry for children under 12 years. You’ll need approximately one hour to visit the site.
Musée du Film d’animation
Annecy is renowned for its rich animation history and has been home to an international festival every June since 1960. The Musée du Film d’animation offers a free and immersive experience for film enthusiasts and tourists alike, providing insights into the art’s roots, techniques, processes, and equipment.
The exhibition is open year-round (apart from Tuesdays and Sundays), from 10 am to 5 pm (apart from June-September, when it opens at 10:30 am). Expect to spend up to one hour here.
If you have more time to spare, you could also take a stroll around the following landmarks:
- Cathédrale Saint-Pierre
- Église Saint-François
- Église Saint Maurice
- Église Notre-Dame-de-Liesse d’Annecy
- Visitation Basilica
- Les Jardins de l’Europe
- Le Pont des Amours
Day two: Annecy Market
The Annecy market runs year-round every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday between 7 am and 1 pm. So, depending on when you arrive, you may need to do this activity on a different day.
The market starts to get busy from 10.30 am, therefore we’d recommend arriving as early as possible so you can peruse the stalls with ease and avoid long queues.
It spans the Old Town, with its main strip of stalls located on Rue Saint Claire. You’ll also find vendors on Rue de la République, Quai de Semnoz, Quai de l’Île and Rue du Pont Morens.
The Tuesday market is full of local produce, with a broad range of food stalls selling local delicacies. On Fridays and Sundays, in addition to food, vendors also sell manufactured and textile goods.
If you want to enhance your market experience even further, you can book a guided tour followed by a private dinner party with an Annecy local, to learn more about modern French cuisine.
Day three: go skiing!
Annecy is just a stone’s throw from a number of fantastic ski resorts including La Clusaz, Manigod and Le Grand Bornand. Driving to these resorts from Annecy takes around 50 minutes or you can catch the bus from the station.
If you’d prefer to stay a little closer to Annecy, there’s also Le Semnoz and La Sambuy, which may be nearer to your accommodation, depending on where you’re staying.
You can buy a half-day or full-day pass in most resorts and there are ski rental shops in-resort and en-route where you can hire some kit.
Visit the tourist office websites for each resort to find out more:
- La Clusaz
- Le Grand Bornand
- Le Semnoz (website in French only)
- La Sambuy
Day four: go shopping
From quaint boutiques and artisanal shops to high-end fashion brands, Annecy has everything you need for some much-needed retail therapy.
Whether you’re looking for a unique souvenir, a stylish outfit, or some gourmet treats, you’re sure to find it in this charming city!
Day five: visit the Christmas Market
With its charming setting alongside picturesque canals and rustic architecture, the Christmas market offers a unique and festive experience. If you’re staying in the town centre in late November-December, it’s likely you’ll pass through the market on a daily basis, but if not, make sure you plan to pay it a visit.
Browse through stalls selling handcrafted gifts, sample delicious regional food and drink and immerse yourself in the joyful atmosphere of the holiday season. Kids especially will love the magical build-up to Christmas!
From the twinkling lights to the festive music, the Annecy Christmas market is an unforgettable experience that everyone should add to their winter holiday itinerary.
Whether you’re looking for a cultural visit, an active holiday, a gourmet exploration or quality time with your loved ones, Annecy has it all!
And don’t forget to browse OVO Network’s range of partner properties in the area. From chic city-centre apartments in the heart of the action to luxury villas on the lake’s edge, you’ll find the perfect base for your next trip.
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