Annecy / Destinations

Lake Annecy in spring

The cold, the snow and the bad weather are on their way out – it’s spring! It’s the time of year when life changes around Lake Annecy. Skiing and raclette are swapped for hiking and cycling and the white scenery is gradually replaced with colour as nature re-awakens.

As temperatures become milder, it’s time to enjoy nature in the mountains. The town known as the Venice of the Alps becomes a place of discovery and relaxation, far from the bustle of the high seasons. So what can you do in and around Annecy in the spring? Here are a few ideas…

Outdoor activities around Lake Annecy in the spring

Walking and hiking

The spring is the perfect time to get out and enjoy mountain activities such as walking, hiking, mountain biking and water sports.

There are many hiking routes suitable for all ages, abilities and interests. The Sentier des Roselières is a delight for those who love wildlife and mountain flora – it will take you to the heart of the region’s landscapes, which are waking up with the approach of spring.

A view from the top of a hiking trail, looking down on Lake Annecy
Many of the hiking trails offer magnificent views of Lake Annecy, such as this one on Mont Veyrier © Lac Annecy Tourisme

More determined hikers can walk all the way around the lake (42.8km) over a couple of days, and camp overnight! You could also choose to walk only part of the lakeside path and then return to your accommodation in Annecy, for an evening of relaxation.

Sports enthusiasts will appreciate the route to the top of Mont Veyrier, which starts at the lake and ends with a magnificent view.

To make your life easier, Annecy Tourist Office has developed the ViAnnecy app, which features numerous routes that you can download and a guidance system.

A paradise for cyclists

Lake Annecy is a dream destination for those who love cycling.

There is a great range of facilities for cyclists, including the Voie Verte, or Green Way. This 33km route around the lake is reserved for slow modes of transport such as cycling, but also for walkers and rollerblading.

Plus, great efforts have been made to make cycling as accessible as possible. For example, you can hire electric bikes in rental shops. And when you visit in the spring, there is less demand for these bikes, a lot less traffic and the temperature is milder, making it more comfortable for cycling.

A cyclist enjoys the safety of the Voie Verte around Lake Annecy
The Voie Verte or Green Way is reserved for slow modes of transport such as cycling and walking.  © Lac Annecy Tourisme

The Annecy area also has dedicated mountain bike trails, such as the Albanais site, which offers 20 marked and well-maintained routes totalling 430km, as far as the Lac du Bourget.

You can also check out the Annecy Mountain routes, some of which feature in the Tour de France.

Rental rates for an electric bike:

  • The first hour is free for any bike rented with the dedicated app;
  • 5€ for the second hour, increasing after that.

Find out where you can rent bikes in and around Annecy by clicking here. Prices are given as an indication.

Springtime activities on the water

Lake Annecy is one of the largest lakes in France, along with Lake Geneva and the Lac du Bourget and is easily accessible on foot, by bike or by car.

Home to a rich variety of wildlife, such as bee-eaters, larks and a huge variety of fish, its water is of a very high quality, recognised by the European Commission for its purity and health benefits.

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There has been a great deal of development around the shores of Lake Annecy over the years, and there is now one beach per commune. So you are sure to find one that suits you! Swimming is allowed, but the temperature may not always be to your liking – it can go down to 2°C and will not rise above 12°C in March.

If swimming in spring does not appeal, the lake is also a wonderful place for a cruise, which is a peaceful way to get a different view of the mountains and the medieval city of Annecy.

It’s difficult to give an average price, as there are so many different excursions on offer from different organisations, but as a rough guide, the prices at the Compagnie des Bateaux range from 15.80€ for a one-hour cruise to 20.60€ for two hours.

Prices given are just an indication. Please check the websites of the organisations to get a precise idea.

Four paddleboarders explore the shores of Lake Annecy
Stand-up paddleboarding is a fun activity for a family day out, and a great way to explore the lake © G. Blin

There is no shortage of water sports and other leisure activities around Lake Annecy in the spring. Try paragliding, sailing, canyoning, paddleboarding, canoeing, pedal-boating, water-skiing and via ferrata. For more information, have a look at our article on the 10 top water sports at Lake Annecy.

For a list of all the places where you can rent equipment around Annecy, click here.

Discover nature in the mountains in springtime

Soft green, white, purple, red and yellow… spring is the season of rebirth around Lake Annecy. The trees are dressed in green and the first flowers are blooming – you might see a pink magnolia or a purple lilac tree.

There are many places where you can discover the beauty of nature in the region, such as the Plateau des Glières or the Jardin Alpin in Semnoz. And then there’s the wildlife of the lakes and mountains – if you are lucky you may encounter marmots, ibex and several species of bird which are native to the Alps.

An ibex rests on some rocks in front of a mountain backdrop
Be careful not to disturb the ibex which live in the mountains around the lake © mdlm-elegendre

Annecy – a well-known destination for foodies

Annecy is a unique culinary destination – there are traditional family restaurants as well as fine dining restaurants with Michelin-starred chefs.

There’s something for every taste and budget! It’s a cuisine that combines the richness of the land (fondues, tartiflettes, cheese, charcuterie) and innovations such as produce from permaculture, which makes the most of local farming. Add to this the passion and creativity of the chefs and you’ll come across some wonderful dishes.

Here are some of our favourite restaurants:

Discover the town of Annecy in the springtime

Annecy in the spring is very different to winter and it’s the perfect time to discover the town as the temperatures become milder. What’s more – you can also take advantage of low season rates. Why not come and work remotely, and avoid the busy tourist season?

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Stroll through the old town, past its historic monuments and across the Pâquier, visit the Jardins de l’Europe via the Pont des Amours, Annecy castle or the Basilique de la Visitation – just some of the wonderful things that await for a superb family holiday!

The Pont des Amours spans the canal in Annecy
The Pont des Amours is to Annecy what the Bridge of Sighs is to Venice © G. Bourmault

Where to stay

Maison Keryaute and LoftYaute

OVO Network works with several fantastic properties for your spring holiday in Annecy and around the lake. Whether you are coming with friends, family or just the two of you, here are some of them.

The luxurious Maison Keryaute, in Sévrier, is on the edge of the lake, less than 5km from Annecy. This 5* apartment has some wonderful facilities: four bikes, one of which is electric, are available for guests; there’s free high-speed wifi and a Netflix account.

There are six beds in three bedrooms, and two bathrooms, across a total surface area of 100 m².

LoftYaute, also in Sevrier, has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, making it perfect for a stay with children. The accommodation is spread over three levels and is furnished in a loft style. Each bedroom has its own bathroom and is on its own level, so two couples could stay without lacking privacy. LoftYaute is right above Maison Keryaute and can be booked with it for groups of up to 10 people.

Le SwansDoors: an apartment in the heart of the town

Le SwansDoors is in the heart of the old town of Annecy. It’s just four hours from Paris by train and a 30-minute drive from Geneva airport.

Located in a building which used to form part of the city walls and the Perrière Gate – the main entrance to the town in the Middle Ages, the property is steeped in history. And the cherry on the cake is that it’s perfectly insulated, keeping it warm and peaceful.

The mountains out of season – between winter and summer

Annecy and its lake are not the only places to visit in the area. Many destinations are easily accessible by car, such as Chamonix, La Clusaz and Le Grand Bornand.

It’s not unusual to be able to ski even in the spring – a whole new way to enjoy the slopes. There are also some wonderful walks in the mountains. Try the route from the Col de la Frasse – it will take you 50 minutes to walk to the pass, where you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view.

Two people enjoy a picnic at the top of a mountain as the sun sets in Semnoz
Watch the sun set at the top of a mountain after a wonderful walk – the perfect way to end the day © Chloé Gaona

Another place to discover: the mountain at Semnoz, a protected area 16km long and between 450-1699m in altitude.

It’s accessible all year round, and activities vary from skiing and snowshoeing in the winter to walking and biking in the spring. You might come across mountain animals on your walks, such as cows and sheep. There are also several climbing sites for the more energetic, and a summer sledge run!

Annecy is full of activities to enjoy with friends and family in the spring. A walk in the mountains, a stroll around the town or a cruise on the lake – it’s a great time for a holiday.

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Alternatively, click here to discover our full Annecy archives.

If you’re travelling to Annecy with kids, don’t forget to check out our selection of child-friendly partner properties around the lake. Or, if you plan on bringing your four-legged friend with you, you’ll find a great range of pet-friendly accommodation too.

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