Nothing quite says summer holidays in the French Alps like cycling in the Annecy region. With world-class routes and spectacular views, Annecy makes the perfect holiday destination for road cyclists and mountain bikers.
In this post, we will be going over some key facts about cycling in Annecy. This will include bike rental and accommodation options, as well as some of our favourite cycling routes of varying difficulties around the city.
Read on to find out more about cycling in Annecy…
Cycling in Annecy: Key Facts
Annecy is the perfect central location to access a wealth of road cycling routes for all levels. The cycle path around Lake Annecy makes for a wonderful day out with the whole family, and is open all year round.
More serious road cyclists are also well catered for in the region, with many famous climbs nearby. Annecy is also a regular feature of the Tour de France; follow in the pedal strokes of the greats on a number of routes around the area.
Alternatively, you can opt to get your bikes delivered directly to your chalet. Bcyclet is a great option for this, as they offer a range of different high-quality bikes to be delivered straight to your doorstep!
Best time to go
Annecy is known for its lake and wide variety of summer activities; however, cyclists might want to avoid the crowded cycle paths that inevitably come with the summer season. If you prefer to cycle during the warmer months, we would recommend visiting Annecy in May, June and September, where you will be sure to find quieter roads as well as great value accommodation. Just be sure to come prepared with sunscreen, water, and other relevant gear with you on your ride.
Alternatively, you might want to consider cycling around the lower-altitude cycle paths during the winter season. A winter loop around Lake Annecy is simply stunning; beautiful snow-capped mountains and considerably quieter roads make cycling in Annecy in winter pretty magical! Visit the lakeside village of Talloires, or Saint Jorioz – just make sure to wrap up warm as temperatures can drop below zero.
Cycling accommodation in Annecy
With cycling holidays becoming increasingly popular, you will be sure to find plenty of accommodation options around Annecy with adapted facilities for bicycles.
If you’re heading to Annecy and planning on doing a lot of cycling, we would recommend you look out for bike-friendly accommodation. Things you should look out for include garage storage, ample washing facilities to wash your clothes and cycling equipment, as well as a repair area and great access to cycling routes.
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Annecy Cycling Routes
Annecy, at the foot of the French Alps, provides a glorious backdrop for any cycling adventure. Families love the protected lakeside promenade on the west side of Lake Annecy, which is perfect for short outings with small children. Serious cyclists have a huge number of mountain passes to choose from; alternatively, you might like to challenge yourself to see how quickly you can complete a circuit around the lake. Mountain bikers aren’t left out either!
Lake Annecy circuit
Distance: 42 km
Duration: 3 hours
This 40-kilometre cycling track is a great choice for sightseers and families with older kids. Stop along the way to cool off for a dip in the lake, and head for a celebratory ice cream in the old town when you complete the circuit!
Please note that some sections of this route share the tarmac with cars.
Annecy to Ugine
Distance: 38 km
Duration: 2 – 3 hours
Families with small kids will love the west side of the lake, with its bike path protected by a barrier from the road.
From north to south, you can also continue along the old, flat, unused railway lines, which has been converted into a stand-alone and quiet bike track extending to Ugine.
Advanced Cycling Routes
Distance: 18 km
Duration: 2 hours
Test your legs by heading up the road to Semnoz — the mountain right by the centre of Annecy.
From the top at Semnoz ski station, enjoy the stunning views of Mont Blanc before choosing to return on the same road, a descent into neighbouring Savoie (it’s a long way back!), or the backroad down to the lake, arriving in Saint Jorioz.
Col de la Forclaz
Distance: 30 km
Duration: 1 – 2 hours
The Col de la Forclaz is very popular with those cycling from Annecy, providing a long, steep ascent and spectacular views of the lake and the mountains during the climb.
Paragliders flock to this area, taking off from the col and landing at one of the fields around the lake, and there are restaurants and shops nearby — plus plenty of nature to enjoy such as the Angon waterfall, just a short detour away.
Col des Aravis
Distance: 40 km
Duration: 2 – 3 hours
Not far from Annecy is the Col des Aravis, which is a popular route for the Tour de France, being steeper and longer than the Col de la Forclaz regardless of your approach.
For those of us who are less fit, park the car in La Clusaz and take the short route up from there, remembering to take a selfie at the top!
Plateau des Glières
Distance: 30 km
Duration: 3 hours
If you’re up for a real challenge, the Plateau des Glières, which is one of the few modern dirt/gravel étapes of the Tour de France, is even closer to Annecy than the Col des Aravis.
Tour de France racers first experienced this 1.8-kilometre stretch of dirt road in 2018, and was back on the map for the 2020 Tour de France.
Cycling is just one of the fantastic activities on offer in Annecy. If you’re looking for more ideas of activities to fill your holiday itinerary, check out our various blog posts on things to do in the area.
Find the perfect base for your cycling holiday
Whether you are an amateur cyclist or simply want to take in some of the beautiful scenery in the French Alps, nothing beats coming home to a private, relaxing villa around Lake Annecy.