Lake Annecy boat trips

A boat trip around Lake Annecy, Europe’s cleanest and perhaps most picturesque lake, is not only a pleasure in itself – whilst on the water you can decide which beach to visit, or which activities to try out later on in your stay. Read on to find out all you need to know about this wonderful way to explore Lake Annecy.

We tried out the two-hour hop-on, hop-off round trip, offered by the Compagnie des Bateaux du Lac D’Annecy. The boats collect and drop passengers at Veyrier du Lac, Menthon St Bernard, Talloires, Angon, Doussard, Duingt, St Jorioz and Sevrier, before circling back to Annecy. There are also one hour non-stop trips, or cruises including lunch or dinner and dancing available.

For Annecy departures, tickets can be purchased from the blue cabins on the Quai de Bayreuth or the Quai Napoleon lll. If joining the boats at other ports, purchase tickets onboard.

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Open (nearly) all year

Trips are possible between February and December. Any time out on the water is a great way to get a feel for the Lake and the surrounding area – you will not be disappointed! You can find the summer 2019 timetable and price list at the bottom of this post.

Speedboat on Lake Annecy slowly leaving Annecy old town

If the sun is shining, it is going to get seriously hot on the water, remember to take sun cream, a hat, sunglasses etc.

Chilled drinks and snacks are sold on board, the toilets are clean, the crews friendly and helpful. There is a French spoken commentary about the history and geology of the lake, printed notes in other languages are also provided.

A view from Lake Annecy up to the mountains above Talloires

Lake Annecy is surrounded by mountains, the scenery is beautiful and ever-changing.

Mirror flat water…

First thing in the morning the calm of the lake is disturbed only by fishermen. The pleasure boats pass by rowing boats, Stand Up Paddleboarders and pedalos launched from the Jardin de l’Europe and the quay alongside the Paquier. On the opposite shore, there are often dinghies, canoes and kayaks from the sailing club, located just beyond the open-air swimming pool complex at the Marquisats.  

Two speed boats on Lake Annecy and hazy mountains in the backdrop
The lake is also crisscrossed by water skiers, while water taxis offer direct trips or bespoke cruises from all around the lake. Parents of very young children might prefer this faster, more direct alternative; trying to keep younger, mobile children entertained for two hours on a boat is not always easy or relaxing for parents!

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A view from Lake Annecy towards the jetty and surrounding buildings near the port of Menthon St Bernard

Lakeside views

Having a lakeside view of the stunning private residences is a treat, there are also some imposing Chateaux dotted around the lake, such as the Chateau at Menthon-Saint Bernard just beyond the port. The Chateau is open to the public from the beginning of April to the end of October, however, it’s quite a hike from the port. The public beach or the terrace of the Palace de Menthon are both within easy reach on foot. A cold drink or meal on the terrace of the Palace is well worth the walk – the views back down towards Annecy are stunning, no matter what the weather. The pretty village of Menthon Saint Bernard is also just a short walk away and offers a few great cafes and restaurants. The Chalet du Port restaurant at the port itself is one of our favourites. 

Colourful summer flowers on the jetty at Talloires looking over the coast and waters

Grab a bite to eat with a view of Lake Annecy

We disembarked at Talloires and this time round headed to a reserved table on the balcony overlooking the beach at the Hotel Savoyard for lunch. For a fine dining treat try the Abbaye de Talloires or the Auberge du Pere Bise. The beach, port and open spaces in Talloires often host concerts, free open air cinema screenings, arts and sporting events.

A number of paragliders on a clear blue sky

Look out for novices experiencing their first tandem paraglide with an instructor. The acrobatics of some of the more experienced flyers are breathtaking, if not slightly unnerving!

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

It is impossible to head out to this end of the Lake without seeing the sky dotted with the brightly coloured wings of paragliders. The main landing zone for those flying from the Col de la Forclaz, is between Menthon and Talloires, behind the 44km dedicated cycle path that virtually encircles the lake. 

A dinghy boat on Lake Annecy woth a small cruise boat in the background

Other activities

The sheer cliffs on the lakeside of the nature reserve of the Roc des Chère, slice into the lake. The combination of the cliffs and the dense vegetation right down to the water create a dramatic backdrop. The reserve encircles the Lake Annecy Golf Club at Talloires, with stunning views of the lake, the mountains and the nature reserve too.

A view of Chateau de Duingt from the waters of Lake Annecy
There are great views of the historic Chateau Ruphy at Duingt from the boat, which is a private home, not open to visitors.

What better place for a refresher course of lessons in sailing, paddle boarding or rowing, or to try out a completely new sport. If the conditions are right there are windsurfers…

A windsurfer planing on glittering blue waters of Lake Annecy
kite surfers…

A kite surfer on Lake Annecy
…and boats of all shapes and sizes.  

A dinghy on Lake Annecy
All around the lake there are tennis clubs, volleyball courts, swimming pools, fishing boats, road biking and mountain biking opportunities. Bike hire is possible from many locations around the lake, and the cycle path is always a busy mix of walkers, joggers and cyclists. You’ll find cyclists here on every type of bike imaginable – traditional bikes, tandems, electric bikes, recumbent bikes, and bikes where parents push or pull their children along in bike seats or trailers.

World famous road cycling

Keen and super fit cyclists were out in force on July 8th 2018, taking part in the 169 Km Etape for the 2018 Tour de France. The Tour de France itself passed by on the 17th July, as it headed out along the west shore of Lake Annecy before heading up into the Aravis mountains.

Stage 10 of LE Tour de France

Chill by the beach

Sandy St Jorioz beach with a view south down Lake Annecy
If instead, you would rather head straight to the beach, take a look at our guide to the Annecy Beaches. Some of the beaches are geared up to families with young children and have play areas, paddling pools, or dedicated sections of the lake reserved for little ones with gentle gradients into the water, and lifeguards. Other beaches are aimed at an older crowd and have boules courts, volleyball courts, table tennis tables, diving boards and floating pontoons offshore. Other beaches provide a quieter more natural beach experience. Some have restaurants, others have snack bars, all welcome picnickers.  

So, whether you prefer to be in, on, under, over, or beside the water, Lake Annecy has something for everyone. Taking time to decide which activity to choose doesn’t have to be made in front of a tablet or computer screen. Get out on the water and see for yourself!

If you would like to book any of the activities listed above, we recommend that you get in touch with Sarah at ActivAnnecy. And to find out what trip will suit your group best check out the 2019 timetable and price list.

If you truly want to make the most of Annecy and all it has to offer why not stay in one of OVO Networks fabulous apartments in Annecy itself. 

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Written by... Karen


Hi I'm Karen, I'm part of the OVO Network sales team . I've lived in Manigod for the past 18 years with my family, and love sharing this amazing part of the world with visiting friends and family -