Uncover the best things to do in Annecy, France’s most picturesque town
Annecy is one of the most beautiful places in France. This European gem is located within the French Alps and is known for its blend of history and natural beauty. Discover Old Town’s cobbled streets and medieval architecture, stroll along the shores of Lake Annecy, and explore the iconic Palais de l’Isle and Château d’Annecy.
This picturesque town offers something for all kinds of travelers. Annecy has everything from outdoor adventures to historic landmarks and delicious food. Prepare for an unforgettable destination in the heart of the French Alps.
Keep reading to discover the 12 best things to do in Annecy!
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12 Best Things to Do in Annecy, France
Explore Old Town (Vieille Ville)
One of the top things to do in Annecy is to explore the charming Old Town, known as Vieille Ville. This historic gem brings you on a journey through time, where you can admire and enjoy the old town’s medieval architecture and charm. As you wander its cobblestone streets, you’ll discover well-preserved churches, colorful houses, ornate bridges, and a unique blend of history and culture.
Old Town Annecy provides a genuine sense of the town’s rich heritage and offers one of the most picturesque backdrops for exploration and photography. It’s a quintessential Annecy experience, where history and beauty combine, making it a top choice for visitors to this charming Alpine town.
💡 INSIDER TIP: The Old Towns gets EXTREMELY busy from around 10 AM – 5 PM. Exploring before or after these hours when all the day trippers have gone home is best if you want to wander without all the people.
Bike or Walk Around Annecy Lake
Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Annecy by biking or walking around its stunning lake. This activity allows you to explore the scenic surroundings at your own pace.
Annecy Lake, often referred to as the “Pearl of the French Alps,” boasts crystal-clear waters, lush landscapes, and picturesque lakeside villages. As you cycle or stroll along its shores, you’ll be treated to breathtaking mountain vistas and charming vistas.
Exploring Annecy Lake allows you to connect with nature, enjoy the serene ambiance, and take in panoramic views. Whether you’re an outdoor lover or looking to do a walk along lakeside promenade, this activity offers an unforgettable connection with Annecy’s pristine environment.
Visit Palais de l’Isle
A visit to the Palais de l’Isle is an essential part of any Annecy itinerary. This iconic landmark offers a glimpse into the region’s rich history.
Situated on an island in the heart of the Thiou Canal, the Palais de l’Isle boasts a unique and picturesque location. Once a medieval fortress, it later served as a prison and now houses a historical museum. Explore its intriguing architecture, former prison cells, and exhibitions that showcase Annecy’s past.
The Palais de l’Isle is not only a visual delight but also a cultural and historical treasure. It allows you to step back in time and gain insights into the town’s evolution. Its scenic setting makes it a fantastic spot for photographs and a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts.
Explore the Annecy Castle
Visiting Annecy Castle is one of the top things to do in Annecy explore the city’s rich history and enjoy panoramic views of Annecy and Lake Annecy.
This iconic castle boasts medieval architecture with towers, ramparts, and a drawbridge. Inside, you’ll discover an engaging historical museum that unveils Annecy’s heritage, art, and culture. The castle’s elevated location provides breathtaking vistas of the town and the sparkling waters of Lake Annecy.
A visit to Annecy Castle is a journey back in time, where you can immerse yourself in the region’s history and architectural splendor. The panoramic views from the castle grounds offer a photographer’s paradise, making it a must-see attraction for both history enthusiasts and nature lovers.
Walk Across Pont des Amours (Lovers’ Bridge)
Take a romantic stroll across the Pont des Amours, also known as Lovers’ Bridge, which spans the Thiou Canal. This charming footbridge is not only an architectural gem but also a symbol of love. Adorned with flowers, it offers a picturesque setting for a leisurely walk. As you cross the bridge, enjoy views of the crystal-clear waters of the canal and the surrounding Old Town.
Walking across Pont des Amours is a delightful and romantic experience, perfect for couples and anyone looking to soak in Annecy’s enchanting ambiance. The bridge’s name and the love locks left by visitors add a touch of romance to your visit.
Go to Annecy’s Markets
Immerse yourself in Annecy’s vibrant culture by exploring its local markets, offering a taste of the town’s culinary and artisanal treasures.
Annecy hosts various markets throughout the week, including the lively Sunday market along the Thiou Canal. Here, you’ll find an array of fresh produce, regional specialties, crafts, clothing, and more. The market’s ambiance, colorful stalls, and bustling atmosphere make it a must-visit.
Visiting Annecy’s markets provides a unique opportunity to sample the town’s gastronomic delights, shop for souvenirs, and engage with the local community. It’s a sensory and cultural experience that allows you to savor the essence of Annecy.
Go on a Walking Tour
One of the top things to do in Annecy to embrace the city’s history and culture is join a guided walking tour. Walking tours in Annecy are led by knowledgeable guides who share captivating stories about the town’s past and its charming Old Town. You’ll explore historic landmarks, hear intriguing anecdotes, and gain a deeper appreciation for Annecy’s culture.
A walking tour provides invaluable insights into Annecy’s heritage and allows you to explore the town from a local perspective. It’s an engaging and informative way to uncover the town’s secrets, making your visit more enriching.
Sample Local Cuisine
Indulge in Annecy’s special culinary delights by dining at its restaurants, renowned for serving specialties such as fondue and raclette.
Annecy’s dining scene offers a delectable journey into Savoyard cuisine, featuring rich and cheesy dishes. Taste the creamy perfection of fondue or savor raclette in the cozy ambiance of local eateries.
Savoring these Savoyard specialties is an essential part of experiencing Annecy’s culture. Dining at Annecy’s restaurants allows you to relish the flavors of the Alps while enjoying a cozy and authentic dining atmosphere.
One of the top things to do in Annecy for outdoor adventurers is join some activities like paragliding, stand-up paddleboarding, and more.
Annecy’s breathtaking surroundings, including its picturesque lake and Alpine landscapes, provide the perfect backdrop for outdoor adventures. Try paragliding to soar above the town and take in bird’s-eye views. Alternatively, enjoy the serenity of Lake Annecy while stand-up paddleboarding or engage in hiking and biking in the nearby mountains.
Exploring the great outdoors in Annecy offers a unique and invigorating experience. Whether you seek thrills in the sky or tranquility on the water, these activities allow you to connect with nature and appreciate the region’s stunning scenery.
Have a Drink by the River
Enjoy a relaxing moment by the tranquil riverside in Annecy, sipping on your favorite beverage. Annecy boasts charming spots along the Thiou Canal and riverside, where you can find cozy cafes and bars. Whether it’s a coffee, a glass of wine, or a local specialty, having a drink by the river offers a serene and picturesque setting to unwind and soak in the ambiance.
Taking a break by the river is a delightful way to experience the town’s leisurely pace and appreciate its natural beauty. This is one of the best things to do in Annecy for relaxation and reflection amid Annecy’s enchanting surroundings.
Go on a Day Trip
Annecy serves as an ideal base for exploring the surrounding region. Consider day trips to places like Chamonix-Mont-Blanc for breathtaking mountain scenery, Geneva for its cosmopolitan atmosphere, or the charming Alpine villages of Haute-Savoie. Each day trip offers unique experiences, from outdoor adventures to cultural discoveries.
Day trips expand your horizons and allow you to discover the diversity of the French Alps and its neighboring areas. They offer a chance to explore beyond Annecy’s borders and make the most of your visit to this picturesque region.
Join an Outdoor Game
This is one of the most unusual things to do in Annecy! Join an outdoor game or adventure like those outlined below and do something different with your stay.
Is Annecy worth visiting?
Absolutely, Annecy is definitely worth visiting! Annecy offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture.
Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural exploration, Annecy caters to a wide range of interests. Its scenic beauty, combined with its historic and culinary attractions, makes it a delightful destination in the heart of the French Alps.
What is Annecy best known for?
Annecy is best known for its “Venice of the Alps” moniker due to picturesque canals, Lake Annecy’s Alpine beauty, the charming Old Town (Vieille Ville), iconic landmarks like Palais de l’Isle and Château d’Annecy, outdoor adventures, savory Savoyard cuisine, and a delightful blend of natural splendor and cultural richness.
Is Annecy a day trip?
Annecy can be visited as a day trip, but it also offers enough attractions and activities to warrant a longer stay. Whether you have just a day to explore its Old Town and Lake Annecy or more time to enjoy outdoor adventures and cultural experiences, Annecy’s versatility makes it suitable for various trip durations.
Where to eat in Annecy
Here are some highly-rated restaurants in Annecy that offer diverse culinary experiences:
🫕 Le Clos des Sens: This Michelin-starred restaurant, run by Chef Laurent Petit, offers gourmet dining with a focus on locally sourced ingredients.
🫕 L’Auberge du Père Bise – Jean Sulpice: Another Michelin-starred establishment, known for its fine French cuisine and lakeside setting.
🫕 Le Belvédère: Offers a stunning panoramic view of Lake Annecy and serves creative dishes featuring fresh regional ingredients.
🫕 Le Chalet: A cozy restaurant serving Savoyard specialties like fondue and raclette, perfect for an authentic Alpine dining experience.
🫕 Le Freti: Known for its friendly atmosphere and classic French cuisine, it’s a great place to enjoy local dishes.
🫕 Le Paquier: Offers lakefront dining with a menu featuring fresh fish and seafood.
🫕 L’Étage: A charming bistro serving traditional French dishes and a good selection of wines.
🫕 L’Ouverture: A contemporary restaurant offering a variety of French and European dishes.
These restaurants cater to different tastes and budgets, ensuring you can savor the culinary delights of Annecy no matter your preferences. It’s a good idea to make reservations, especially at the Michelin-starred establishments, as they can be quite popular.
Choose a charming lakeside hotel in Annecy for breathtaking views and easy access to the historic Old Town. Alternatively, opt for a cozy bed and breakfast to experience local hospitality.
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