Annecy is a wonderful destination for a family holiday at any time of year. The city is located near a beautiful lake and offers plenty of activities for kids and teens. From outdoor pursuits such as cycling and kayaking to historical tours, you’re sure to discover many exciting and diverse activities for the whole family.
In this post, we have created two itineraries based on an Annecy family holiday in spring/summer and one in autumn/winter. But, they do share certain activities which can be enjoyed no matter what the season. To jump to your chosen itinerary, click on the links below:
As well as this, we share a few top tips for a successful trip, including where to stay and how to get around.
Read on to discover what to plan for your family holiday in Annecy…
Top tips for Lake Annecy family holidays
In summer, we suggest opting for a larger accommodation slightly outside the town centre, near the lake. This way, you can steer clear of the bustling crowds, take a refreshing dip in the lake, and relish the amenities and equipment at your rental property if you’re not up for heading out.
You may also want to consider renting bicycles to ride into the centre throughout peak months, to help avoid any heavy traffic en route. If you don’t have a car with you, there are also buses and taxis to help you get around.
Annecy boasts an abundance of activities for families with children and teenagers, ensuring a week-long holiday filled with fun and adventure. Take a look at the following itineraries for inspiration!
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One-week itinerary for spring/summer
Day one: A cultural voyage of the town
Annecy’s Old Town is steeped in a rich and fascinating history. Simply wandering around the cobbled streets and absorbing the stunning architecture is fascinating in itself, but there’s plenty more to see.
We’d highly recommend visiting Le Palais de I’Île and Musée-Chateau D’Annecy, the most iconic buildings in Annecy which 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.
Between visits, you could stop for lunch or a coffee in one of the many restaurants in Annecy 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 five 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, unearth the authentic collections of traditional furniture, admire the artwork of the surrounding areas and then 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.
If you’re still up for exploring more landmarks, you could also visit:
- 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
Don’t forget to pay a visit to one of the famed ice cream shops too – Le Palais des Glaces and Glacier des Alpes are our top picks!
Day two: Cycle around the lake
Cycling around Lake Annecy is a popular activity for both locals and tourists alike and is a must for anyone visiting the area. With stunning views of the surrounding mountains and crystal-clear water, what’s not to enjoy?
The 42-kilometre route is relatively flat and suitable for all levels of cyclists. Along the way, riders can stop at quaint villages and enjoy local cuisine or take a dip in the refreshing waters. Plus, the cycling path is well-maintained, making it a safe and enjoyable experience.
If you haven’t already rented bikes for your holiday, there are many shops you can get them from. Take a look at our guide to cycling around Lake Annecy for more information.
Day three: Try canyoning
Canyoning is an opportunity to test your inner thrill-seeker by jumping into pools and scrambling over slippery rocks to find hidden waterfalls and unrivalled views of the lake and mountains.
You can try this activity as a group of four with prices starting at 45€ per person. Some packages have a minimum age, usually between six and 14 years old.
Visit the Activ’ Annecy website to find out more information or book your slot.
Day four: Go for a walk
There are a great number of family-friendly walks in and around Annecy. If you’re not planning on driving while on holiday, then the walk from the town centre to La Turbine along the River Thiou walk is a good option. Depending on your pace, it takes about an hour, and there are a couple of places to stop for a picnic along the way.
If you’re able to venture out, why not head up the mountain? La Clusaz, Manigod and Le Grand Bornand are home to countless family-friendly trails which are beautiful throughout spring and summer. Why not stop off at Lo Garâjo in Manigod to enjoy a cold drink and a snack with a view before heading back down?
Another top recommendation for families is Les Gorges du Fier, which is an easy hike around 20 minutes drive from Annecy. You’ll walk along elevated boardwalks above a towering canyon, so it’s a bit more interactive and adventure-filled for kids.
Day five: A day by the beach
At this point in the week, you may feel like having a more laid-back day after an active few days! You could enjoy a lazy morning at your villa or apartment, followed by a chilled afternoon at the beach.
There are numerous beaches dotted around the shores of the lake, so you won’t have to travel too far to find a relaxing spot.
Some offer more facilities than others, such as the popular Albigny Beach, which is supervised by lifeguards in summer and provides showers, toilets and a nearby car park and restaurants. You can also hire paddleboards from rental stands next to the beach or try your hand at the mini-golf course if you’re still feeling energetic!
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Day six: Try some watersports on the lake
Annecy offers an incredible selection of watersports for those looking for an exciting adventure. With so many options available, you’re sure to find something that will get your adrenaline pumping and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Some of the activities you can try include:
- Stand-up paddle boarding
- Wakeboarding/wake surfing/waterskiing
Visit Activ’ Annecy, Skiwake74 and Takamaka to book a session or rent equipment.
Day seven: Go on a boat trip
A boat trip is the perfect way to end your family summer holiday in Annecy!
You can opt for a sightseeing cruise or take a water taxi, but the most fun option is to hire your own private boat for a few hours! This way, you’ll have greater flexibility to explore different parts of the lake and the kids can enjoy jumping in the water and swimming in the lake.
There are several rental stands around the lake including Nautilac and V-Boat where you can hire a boat without a boat license. Just be aware that they do get very busy in peak summer months, so get there before the crowds to secure a slot!
You can also hire a pedalo if you’d prefer. There are a number of different rental operators dotted on the lake’s shores, with prices starting at around 27€ per hour for a four-seater boat.
One-week itinerary for autumn/winter
Day one: A cultural voyage of the town
You can explore Annecy’s history at any time of the year, however, autumn/winter is arguably the best time to soak up the culture, as there are fewer crowds to navigate.
Click here to refer back to information on the museums and landmarks mentioned earlier in the article.
Day two: Go for a walk
The sight of the changing leaves in autumn and the snow-covered trees during winter makes walking in the Alps during colder months an absolutely beautiful experience.
If you want to stay in Annecy itself, why not pick up a takeaway hot chocolate and take a stroll alongside the lake? The views in autumn and winter are equally as breathtaking as those in summer and there are plenty of places to sit and take a break on the way.
Families who have their car with them, or are happy to take the bus, may prefer to venture a little further into the mountains.
The Aravis boasts hundreds of walking routes for all abilities to try in autumn and winter. Do bear in mind, for some trails you might need to hire snowshoes to make the hike a little easier.
We’d recommend heading to the Plateau des Glières for an easy family walk. It takes around 2h30 and there are plenty of stunning views and places for kids to play in the snow.
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: Play an escape game
There are plenty of outdoor pursuits to try in Annecy, but, if the weather turns bad, you might find yourself looking for indoor activities.
One exciting option is to try an escape game, which involves solving puzzles and riddles to escape from a locked room within a certain amount of time.
In Annecy, there are several escape game companies that offer a range of themes and difficulty levels. Take a look at the top recommendations here.
Day five: Sample some local cuisine
Annecy is a fantastic destination for foodies and families alike. With a plethora of restaurants and cafés to choose from, visitors are sure to find something to satisfy their taste buds. From traditional French cuisine to international fare, Annecy has it all.
Plus, families can enjoy a variety of dining options, from casual eateries to fine dining establishments. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick bite or a leisurely meal, there’s something to suit everyone.
Here are some Annecy food guides to help you decide where to go:
- The Annecy Market
- The top 5 Annecy specialities to try
- The Annecy food and drink guide
- Michelin-starred restaurants in Haute Savoie (this may be better suited to older families, but some offer kid’s menus!)
So pack your appetite and head to this charming city for a culinary adventure the whole family will love!
Day six: Go ice skating
The Jean Regis ice skating rink is a short bus ride from the centre of Annecy and offers public skating sessions for all abilities. Children under five can skate for free, plus there’s a snack bar on the top floor where you can pick up something to eat afterwards.
The Annecy ice hockey team, “Les Chevalliers” also play home games here throughout the season. If you happen to be in town whilst there’s a fixture, make sure to stick around and watch!
Day seven: Visit the Christmas Market
With its charming setting alongside picturesque canals and rustic architecture, the market offers a unique and festive experience. If you’re staying in the town centre, 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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