ANNECY, THE VENICE OF THE ALPS • A COMPLETE TRAVEL GUIDE (2020)
Updated: Sep 9, 2020
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
Annecy is a place full of charm. Located in the middle of the Alps, the capital of Haute -Savoie (France) is a colorful place, full of surprises.
Lake, mountains, authentic architectures, channels… Annecy is a little piece of heaven.
It’s the idyllic destination for those who are into art, the amateurs of good food, sports lovers, nature lovers or just lovers.
This is the perfect place for a romantic getaway. Its cultural richness will also charm families and its festive atmosphere is great for a weekend among friends.
Let’s get you a tour ?
↠ Currency - Euros
↠ Best time to go - Sincerely ? All year long, there is always something going on in Annecy.
↠ Prices - Expensive
↠ Airport - Geneva International Airport
↠ Best way to travel - By foot or by bike. Traffic and parking are such a struggle. Plus, it’s a great way of exercising and good for our beautiful planet.
Top 10 things to do
1 - Visiting the Old Town
Between historical monuments and authentic bridges, discover the hidden gems of Annecy’s Old Town.
Have a charming walk around its streets and along its famous channel named “Le Thiou”. The architecture is an explosion of colors. A real pleasure for the eyes.
2 - Visiting the Castle and its Old Jails
While you are wandering into the Old Town, there are two must go visits. The Old Jails, in the very heart of it. On the other hand, the Castle, perched on Annecy’s heights. It has been turned into a museum and offers an incredible view of the city and its lake. It’s possible to purchase a combined ticket on-site if you want to discover both of those jewels.
3 - Walking along the lake
Walking, biking or even roller-skating… All ways are good for a tour around the lake. No matter the season, it’s simply gorgeous. Come & enjoy its clear water, surrounded by these majestic mountains.
4 - Water activities
Straight from the mountains, Annecy’s lake water is one of the cleanest and purest in Europe. During summer, we highly recommend a swim, there is a large option of beaches. You can also enjoy the lake through a lot of different activities.
From wake-boarding to stand-up paddle, the possibilities are countless.
5 - Shopping in Rue Carnot
For those in quest of a shopping afternoon, well you are in luck, we have the Rue Carnot, one of the main shopping streets of Annecy. Clothes, shoes, food, jewels, art crafts… The large choice of shops will fulfill all your needs.
6 - Paragliding in the Col de la Forclaz
If a paragliding flight is on your bucket list, Annecy might be the perfect place for you. Never heard of the Col de la Forclaz ? Its summit rises at 1147 meters and was recently classified in the top 10 of the most beautiful Europe’s paragliding spots. This is as well the departure of several hikes and trails.
7 - Give a try hiking up Mont Veyrier
Speaking of hiking, Mont Veyrier is accessible for every hikes lover. The way up takes about 1h30 and you will be rewarded at the end with one of the greatest views of Annecy’s lake and its surroundings. A beautiful reminder that nature provides the best show !
8 - Visiting the Art & History Conservatoire
This one is for all the Art and History lovers. Open all year long, this 17th century's building got inside its walls the largest collection of Savoy’s Patrimony.
9 - Chilling at the Pâquier
An open green space perfectly located between the lake and the city center.
This is a great place to relax and sunbathe.
A perfect stop to get some food or beverages after a long walk along the lake or through the city.
10 - Enjoying the sunset at La Basilique de la Visitation
A sacred witness of the city, the Basilic is one of the most magnificent religious buildings of Annecy’s region.
On the top of the city, this is also a nice place to admire the sunset.
Where to stay ?
Fancy - If you want to enjoy Annecy's scenery and luxury, we recommend you Le Palace De Menthon, a 5-star hotel on the shores of the lake.
Mid-range - Mini Loft - Coeur de ville. An Airbnb with who we are particularly glad to share our first partnership. Contact the host and give her the code "Wanderers" and she will give you a 10% discount. Her place is extremely charming, beautifully decorated and has the perfect location in Annecy’s heart. Why resisting ? It’s a rare gem. 💎
Don't break the bank - If you are a little short on budget, Aparthotel Adagio could be a good solution. Located next to the train station, this place is comfortable, well equipped and close to the city centre.
Unusual experience - This option is a little pricy, but its uniqueness and authenticity are worth it. Did you ever dream about sleeping in an igloo ? Well if that's the case, go check this out : Alpes bivouac. Only available during winter time, the package includes also a welcome drink, a traditional dinner, a snowshoe walk through the snowy forest and breakfast. If you are looking for a different experience, out of the comfort zone, this place is waiting for you.
Where to eat ?
O Savoyard - 1 rue Perrière ♥︎
L'Alpin - 5 rue Sainte - Claire
Le Ramoneur Savoyard - 7 rue Grenette
La Ciboulette (Gastronomique Restaurant) - 10 rue Vaugelas
Chez Ingalls - 29 rue Vaugelas
Le Café Saint Antoine - 14 Place Notre Dame ♥︎
Haven - 5 rue Filaterie
Granny Smith - 4 rue Louis Revon
Kia Ora - 13 rue de la Gare ♥︎
Semper Fi (Italian tapas) -13 rue Royale ♥︎
Sushi Express - 2 Place Sainte - Claire
La Sapaudia (Best pizzas) - 2 Faubourg Sainte - Claire
Where to get a drink ?
Le Bar Roux d’heure - 8 rue Filaterie ♥︎ Brumes - 2 passage des Bains
Wine at home - 4 Rue Centrale
La Cave - 8 Rue du Pâquier ♥︎
Fin Kellys - 10 Fbg des Annonciades ♥︎
Beer O'clock - 18 Fbg Sainte-Claire
A drink with a view
Moon (for summer season) - 30 Avenue d'Albigny
Chez Cocotte - 17 Avenue de Chavoires ♥︎
January & February :
What about a day ski trip ? Enjoy the ski resorts around Annecy like La Clusaz or Le Grand Bornand. They both are just one hour away from the city.
For the beginners or those who want a quick drive, we can propose you the familial resort of Le Semnoz, 20 minutes away from Annecy.
Venetian Carnaval - During a weekend, hundreds of people parade into the city, wearing gorgeous Venetian masks.
Marathon, Half-Marathon and the race of 10 km du lac d’Annecy - Perfect way to get in shape before the summer season.
Maxi Race - More than a simple trail, this competition is an adventure through a unique scenery. A perfect challenge for those ready to overcome their limits.
June is an extremely busy month, there are events for all tastes :
Musical and cultural with the International Animation Film Festival and La Fête de la Musique.
But also sporty with Annecy’s Triathlon.
Annecy’s sky is on fire during this month. It gets all colorful with the National Day's fireworks. Want a local tip ? Walk along the lake, after the Impérial Palace, until you find wooden pontoons. Take a seat there and enjoy the fireworks reflecting in the lake.
First Saturday of the month, the city hosts one of the most beautiful pyrotechnic show of Europe : La Fête du lac. For the occasion, Albigny's Bay becomes a magical setting with 70 fireworks, music and fountains.
If you want to party, August is also the best month for that. You can enjoy the Impérial Live Festival or/and the Paradisio Festival.
Finally, for our sports lovers, do not worry we got you covered as well. End of August, Annecy is organising a swimming competition : Annecy's lake crossing.
Italian Cinema Festival - Each year, it shows the best of contemporary Italian movies.
L’Ancilevienne - Team riding, the race combines biking & running.
For winter's arrival, you can assist to La Descente des Alpages, a traditional and popular celebration. All day long you will be able to enjoy a parade of Alpine pastures animals, folk music and local food testing.
Furthermore, there is the High Five festival. The ultimate launch of the ski and snowboard season, don't miss it.
Last weekend of November is highly expected with the opening of the Alps's Village and its ice rink. The place to be to enjoy local food and beverages, in a warm and festive atmosphere.
All along December, come and join us in the discovery of Annecy's Christmas Markets.
The cutes wooden chalets and the city lighting will submerge you with Christmas vibes.
Top Tips from the Locals
- Have a yummy fresh juice, milkshake or coffee in the little bar juice "Pedro".
- Or if you feel more like an ice cream, try one in the traditional "Glacier des Alpes", it's a delight.
- Fancy a brunch ? You should definitely give a try to "La Bicyclette Rose". A cozy café, only working with locals suppliers. The food is homemade and truly delicious.
- Fill your feed with beauty and romance and go get yourself a shot at the "Pont des Amours". Careful though, this place is most of the time crowded. To make the most of it, go there early in the morning.
- Every first Sunday of the month, from October to May, do not miss the opportunity of visiting Annecy's Castle and Old Jails for free.
- Discover the local products and handcrafts in every Sunday morning market, in Annecy's Old Town.
- Last but not least, every last Saturday of the month, the Old Town is hosting the Arts and Creators Markets. The occasion to meet more than 30 local painters, amateurs or professionals. But also clothes and jewel's creators.
- Our special Eco Tip : Carry your own straw
Nowadays, reducing our plastic consumption is one of the main ecologic challenges. A recent study in the U.S. shows that 8.3 billion plastic straws pollute the world's beaches. Insane right ? It's in simple acts that we can make a change, a baby step at a time.
That's why Annecy started a big eco-campaign, in order to participate in this waste reduction. If you want to find out more about it, feel free to have a look at "Zéro Gaspillage - Pays de Savoie" and discover how we can all contribute, simply and daily.
We've been traveling since our trip in Iceland with our organic bamboo straws from Naturora and we are bringing them all around the world with us. We absolutely love them.
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Thanks a lot for getting through this article, we sincerely hope that you liked it.
Hoping it can also help you out if you decide to visit this beautiful city of ours.
If you guys want to know more about it or need any recommendation/information, we are 100% available and we will gladly help you.