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5 ideas for a long weekend in Annecy in May

Are you looking for a destination for a long weekend getaway over the May bank holidays? Why not take a trip to beautiful Lake Annecy?

With several public holidays in May, a long weekend is a great opportunity to enjoy the gentle pace of life in this beautiful region between lake and mountains.

May offers warmer days that mark the transition from spring to summer, and the low season creates a dolce vita atmosphere, ideal for a stay with family or friends.

From hiking in the mountains to relaxing on the beach or discovering the local cuisine, there’s something to appeal to everyone in your group! In this article, we share with you five suggestions for long weekends around Lake Annecy in May.

Your weekend in Annecy: some practical information

Annecy is well served by public transport, by both train and bus.

From Paris, the train journey is direct and takes an average of just under four hours. Prices can vary, depending on the time of year, the day and the profile of the traveller, but you should expect to pay between 75€ and 90€ for a return trip.

Several bus companies run services to Annecy from Paris and elsewhere. For example, Flixbus makes the journey in about 9.5 hours, with a stopover in Lyon.

The most practical option is probably by car, which allows you to be mobile and totally autonomous once you arrive.

If you take the motorways, the journey to Annecy from Paris takes between five and six hours. Driving is also an economical option, and if you don’t drive yourself, think about car sharing!

Once you are here, stop in at the tourist office to pick up a pass: there are several types, depending on what you want to do.

For example, the Culture and Heritage Pass gives you access to seven cultural sites at a reduced price. Why choose between two castles when you can visit them all?

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1. A back-to-nature weekend

Annecy is the ideal destination for a long weekend of relaxation and wellness. The activities on offer in this Alpine town offer a mixture of calm, nature and well-being.

It’s just the kind of weekend you need to recharge your batteries and reconnect with yourself after a busy period at work, for example.

To fully enjoy a long-weekend break, you need to be in the right frame of mind. So why not start with a day of relaxation in one of the city’s spas?

Immerse yourself in a soothing environment and enjoy a moment to yourself. Annecy has several wellness facilities, both spas and massage centres, such as La Clé du Bien-être, Kanlaya (traditional Thai massage), or Mont Spa PureForm.

A woman enjoys a massage surrounded by candles
Massages are great for your health, both physical and mental © La Clé du Bien-être

Afterwards, take a leisurely stroll through the Jardins de l’Europe and enjoy the blossom and the view of the lake.

The centuries-old gardens are a timeless paradise for all nature lovers. Take time to sit and breathe in the fresh air while listening to the birds sing.

As you wander around the paths, you may come across an artist painting, some also do portraits so if you’d like to have one done, don’t be afraid to ask.

A shady path between the trees in the Jardins de L'Europe
The Jardins de L’Europe are a haven of peace close to the centre of the town © Lac Annecy Tourisme

Finally, you can explore the beaches around the lake and perhaps have a swim, or even take a boat trip. Many of Lake Annecy’s beaches are open all year round and are free to use, such as the Albigny beach and the Imperial beach. Please note that dogs are not allowed on the beaches.

2. A fine-dining weekend

Annecy offers an impressive variety of local cuisine and award-winning restaurants. It is a real paradise for food lovers.

You could start your culinary journey with a visit to the local market, where you can discover delicious local produce such as Savoy cheese, charcuterie, fresh fruit and vegetables and local wines. The market is held in the Place des Cordeliers on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday mornings.

When you only have a long weekend in Annecy you might not want to spend your time cooking. But don’t worry, Annecy is full of restaurants, and there is something for every taste and budget.

A wine cellar with 3 barrel tables and stools, with wine bottles attached to the walls
Food and wine lovers will love staying at Chalet Kalyssia with its private wine cellar!

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If you’re looking for a first-class dining experience, why not try one of the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants, such as Clos des Sens or L’Esquisse?

Each of these restaurants offers refined and creative menus, using local produce. Find out more in our article dedicated to starred restaurants in Haute-Savoie.

Sauce is added to as beautifully plated dish of duck and garlic
The presentation is as important as the ingredients and the cuisine at this superb restaurant © L’Esquisse

However, Annecy’s gastronomy is not limited to starred restaurants. Local specialities such as tartiflette, raclette and fondue Savoyard are also a must. You can enjoy them in one of the town’s many restaurants or while hiking in the surrounding mountains.

3. A sporting weekend around Lake Annecy

Lake Annecy is an essential stopover during a sporting weekend. You could try paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking or water skiing. Prices range from 15€ to 25€ for an hour’s hire, depending on the activity and location. Enjoy the spectacular views and watch for fish such as trout, char and pike in the crystal clear waters of the lake.

Hikers of all ages and abilities will be spoiled for choice, with trails that offer stunning views of the lake and mountains.

If you venture deeper into the wilderness, you may be lucky enough to encounter animals such as chamois, marmots and eagles. Don’t forget your water bottle!

Two walkers enjoy the views across Lake Annecy from the mountains
Take time to enjoy the views on a walk around Lake Annecy © Lac Annecy Tourisme

Paragliding is an activity not to be missed by anyone who likes to push their limits. From the mountains around the town, you can enjoy an unforgettable flight over Lake Annecy.

Prices vary between 70€ and 120€ for a 20-40 minute flight, depending on the location and the provider. While you’re in the air, keep your eyes open for curious birds.

If you’re looking for a more leisurely activity, cycling is the ideal way to discover the city and its surroundings. The cycle paths around the lake make exploring safe and unique.

Finally, for those looking for a more original activity, yoga paddling is a popular activity on the lake. Combining paddling and yoga, this activity allows you to recharge your batteries while enjoying the natural surroundings.

A young woman enjoys a bicycle ride on the Voie Verte
The Voie Verte is a safe path around Lake Annecy © Lac Annecy Tourisme

4. Step back in time

Annecy is a city rich in history and heritage, with a multitude of cultural sites to visit. Whether you are a history buff or simply curious, they are well worth a visit.

Amongst the sites not to be missed are the Palais de l’Isle and the Musée-Château d’Annecy.

The inner courtyard of the castle at Annecy
The inner courtyard of the Château d’Annecy will give you a real sense of the past © G. Blin

The Palais de l’Isle, a former medieval prison, is now a museum. When you visit, you’ll travel back in time through the different uses of this fascinating building. The Palace is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm (except Tuesdays), and admission is 5€ per person.

The Musée-Château d’Annecy is located in an old fortress which dates from the 12th century and offers a breathtaking view of the old town of Annecy. The museum houses a large collection of arts and crafts, ranging from medieval sculpture to contemporary ceramics. It is open every day except Tuesday, from 10 am to 6 pm, with an entrance fee of 5€.

The gold and marble altar at the Basilica of the Visitation
The Basilique de la Visitation is just as impressive on the inside as it is on the outside © Lac Annecy Tourisme

It is impossible to list all the cultural sites in Annecy. However, to the ones we have already mentioned, you can add the Cathedral of Saint-Pierre, the church of Saint-François and the Basilica of the Visitation. There are also several museums in the town, including the Museum of Animated Film.

5. A city break in the ‘Venice of the Alps’

Annecy is an ideal destination for shopping and lovers of unusual architecture. The old town of Annecy, with its cobbled streets and colourful buildings, is a real architectural gem. You can stroll through the streets, admire the half-timbered houses and discover local fashion and craft shops.

A view of the old town and one of the canals of Annecy
Annecy’s beautiful canals have earned it a reputation as the Venice of the Alps © G. Bourmault

At some point, you will reach the heart of the old town: Place Sainte Claire. Here you will find the church of Saint-Maurice, a jewel of Gothic architecture.

Continuing your walk, you will arrive at the lake, where you can enjoy the view from the famous Pont des Amours. Legend has it that if two lovers kiss on the bridge, their love will last forever – the ultimate romantic experience! Don’t forget to get a photograph to capture the moment.

In addition to the old town, Annecy also offers many shopping opportunities. The town’s pedestrianised streets are full of fashion, souvenirs and local craft shops. You can also discover the local market, where you can buy fresh products such as cheeses, charcuterie, local fruit and vegetables.

Finally, the month of May is synonymous with cultural and artistic events. For example, the craft market and the Annecy paysages (artistic and plant installations). These events offer a unique taste of local culture, as well as the opportunity to discover new artists and creators.

Please contact the Tourist Office for more information

We hope you found this guide to Annecy in May helpful! To start your planning, browse our excellent range of partner properties in the area.

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