Nicknamed “the Venice of the Alps,” Annecy is a much-loved destination with something to offer for just about everyone.
With its historic old town, lofty mountain panoramas, exceptional natural landscapes and famous lake, it’s certainly worth a visit – or two! In this post, we’ll be discussing where to stay in Annecy France to enjoy everything this fabulous location has to offer, all year round.
If you’re asking yourself: “is Annecy worth visiting?” the simple answer is a resounding yes! Let’s take a look at all the things to do and explore in this ever-popular Alpine location…
The Old Town
Love to immerse yourself in the culture of a city? The old town is right up your street! You can spend days wandering around the medieval centre with its rich heritage, colourful buildings and pretty cobbled streets.
The largely pedestrianised city is home to all number of eclectic independent shops and boutiques in which to browse and shop. There is a myriad of cafés and restaurants offering local and international cuisines, many located along the picturesque riverside quays.
Romantic canals meander throughout the city among attractions like the Palais de l’Isle monument and the Pont des Amours bridge. A plethora of historic churches, cathedrals and châteaux can be explored, including the Château d-Annecy.
The variety of stunning scenery to discover is what pulls many to take a trip to Annecy. A dramatic backdrop of soaring mountain peaks surrounds the crystal-clear lake, which provides countless activities to enjoy.
There are unspoiled sandy and grassy beaches for sunbathing and nature reserves for hiking, including Roc de Chère and Bout-du-Lac. Ascend the Semnoz mountain, walk or cycle the Plateau des Glières and marvel at the Gorges du Fier and the waterfall of Angon.
Swimmers and water sports enthusiasts benefit from so many activities to choose from including windsurfing, paddle boarding, wakeboarding, water-skiing, snorkelling and more. You can dive, scuba dive or rent a catamaran, yacht, boat or even a pedalo. If you fancy a guided boat tour of the lake, then regular trips depart from the centre, find out more here.
There are shops and eateries, a bustling live events scene and a stylish boulevard running along the tranquil shores.
Annecy is a thriving destination at all times of the year. Explore our guide on what to do in Annecy during Christmas to uncover the array of seasonal festivities on offer!
How many days in Annecy is recommended?
So you’ve made your decision as to where to stay in Annecy France, but you’re unsure of how long to stay for. The duration of your trip really depends on the type of break you’re looking for.
Families often enjoy week or fortnight-long stays further from town with numerous activities to keep everyone occupied during the summer season, whereas couples and city explorers may prefer a short break in the city.
The old town is also perfect for festive long weekends exploring the markets and shops.
For those wanting to get a full taste of all that Annecy has to discover, including the charming town and the panoramic landscapes, it’s easy to choose a base in the city or just outside for three to five days, with plenty of accessible transport options available for getting around.
How to get to Annecy
Travelling by air
The nearest airports to Annecy are Geneva, Chambéry and Lyon Saint Exupéry. There are regular flights via London airports and a train or car ride on the other side to reach Annecy.
Travelling by train
The direct TGV or high-speed train from Paris at the Gare de Lyon reaches Annecy in around 3 hours and 40 minutes. London St Pancras offers regular services to Paris Nord.
Alternatively, the Part-Dieu station in Lyon or the airport Saint-Exupery station takes around 2 and a half hours. Once there, you can access direct regional express (TER) trains back to Lyon or to Grenoble, Valence, Chambéry and Chamonix.
Travelling by car
Annecy is situated alongside the A41 Geneva to Grenoble motorway. From Marseille, Lyon or Chambéry, take the A41 exit to Annecy Centre n°16 and from Paris, Genève or Bourg-en-Bresse head onto the A41 Liane, exiting at Annecy Nord n°17.
From the UK, the A26 motorway route is convenient, via Dijon and Bourg-en-Bresse, taking around 8-9 hours.
If you’re departing from the southeast of France or Lyon, expect to arrive in around 2 hours.
From Marseille or Montpellier, it’s around 4 hours and around 5 and a half hours from Nice or Paris. There are plenty of breathtaking sights to stop off at along the way!
Choose from an array of luxury Annecy accommodation
We hope this post has given you plenty of ideas for where to stay in Annecy, as well as what to see! Whether it’s a luxury villa nestled within the mountains or a chic city centre apartment, there’s something to suit you and your family and friends.