12 Best Things to Do and See in Annecy France

A paradise in France with beautiful panoramas of the huge ring of mountains surrounding it, Annecy France in southeastern France is sure to mesmerize you. Annecy’s medieval culture portrays the seamless blend between historic canals, baroque palaces, and modern streets overlooking the snowcapped mountains. 

Lake Annecy, Annecy France
Calm Lake Annecy France

Whether you want to take a dip in the crystalline waters of picturesque Lake Annecy, shop at the bustling streets, marvel at the gorgeous architecture of the arches, statues and the windows, stop by the dreamy Pont des Amours, walk through the narrow cobbled streets of the old cities restored to its pristine glory, you will be amazed at the grandiose of everything Annecy, France has to offer.  The town itself is a charming affair of middle ages with the modern times, watched over by the illuminating museum and cathedrals while accommodating ski resorts, trendy gelaterias and authentic beer gardens. Here are the top things to explore in the beautiful Annecy France:

Lake Annecy

The spotless and serene Lac d’Annecy, one of the biggest lakes in France and the cleanest lake in Europe, offers a mesmerizing view of the surrounding snow-topped mountains. Whether you visit in the hot summer or in winter, Lake Annecy remains tranquil throughout the year. Spend lazy hours at the shores at the beautiful beaches around the lake, such as Plage la Brune at Veyrier-du-Lac and Plage Municipal in Saint-Jorioz and gape in awe of the Alpine panoramas.

Vieille Ville

There are twenty-one historical monuments in Annecy’s old town. With earning the eminent French label “Ville d’Art,” the medieval town on the Thiou River is a major highlight, scenic with whimsical canals, pedestrian streets, and thrilling little passageways. With the winding cobbled pavements, old pastel buildings, and historic town center constructed in unique architecture, Vielle Ville or the ‘Venice of the Alps’ has managed to retain its medieval old city charm. A casual stroll by the colorful and vibrant food market in the old streets of the center every Tuesday will make you fall in love with this little town in France. 

Annecy (Haute-Savoie). (9762509473)
Vieille Ville, Annecy France

Jardins de l’Europe

The Jardins de l’Europe or the Gardens of Europe plotted in the 19th century, is a perfect location for locals to hang out for a leisurely picnic. Right in front of the Annecy City Hall, this municipal park is blessed with the most amazing panoramic views with more than 600 trees surrounding the statue of the chemist, Claude-Louis Bertholle. If you are famished by now, take a walk to the river, munch on some delicious baguettes and French pastries, or stop for a delicious croissant.

Jardin de l'Europe - Annecy
Jardins de l’Europe, Annecy France

Pont Des Amours

The Pont des Amours or the Lovers’ Bridge is a beautiful iron bridge on the Vassé canal, by the Lake Annecy, which overlooks the sumptuous views of the lake and mountains, and connects the two gardens, Jardins de l’Europe and Pâquier Esplanade. Skirted by trees and colorful boats on the jetties, Pont des Amours is a very romantic spot. The story has it that if two lovers kiss on the bridge, they will stay together forever.

Pont des Amours, Annecy
Pont Des Amours, Annecy France

Palais de l’Île

The Palais de l’Île in Annecy is the 12th-century island palace that splits the water of the Canal du Thiou into two canals. Now a local history museum, this grey stone landmark was built in 1132 and served as a military barrack, prison, lord’s residence, mint, and a courthouse. 

Palais de l'Isle - Annecy 6-9-2017 10-19-19
Palais de l’Île, Annecy, France

Cathedral and Basilica

Annecy has an astounding collection of attractions across the city, including various Catholic churches. The Saint-Pierre Cathedral with its ornated interior and beautiful stained-glass windows, that was built in the 1500s, and the Basilique de la Visitation, south of Annecy, France have the best vistas of the city. 

The Saint-Pierre Cathedral, Annecy France
The Saint-Pierre Cathedral, Annecy, France

Château d’Annecy

The building of Château d’Annecy dating between the 12th and 16th centuries, has been a seat of the Counts of Geneva. If you are a history lover, you can spend some time in the museum to get a glimpse of the lifestyle of the rulers of Savoy. The museum displays a captivating collection of medieval furniture such as beds, tables, and chest chairs and exhibits precious manuscripts. 

Château d'Annecy
Château d’Annecy

Gorges du Fier

If you have ever dreamt of soaking in a natural pool, this is the place to lose yourself. This marvelous river canyon in the French Alps, cut by the Fier River, is a must-visit. You can take the walkway suspended 25 meters above the river and marvel at the natural wonder created by years of erosion. This narrow gorge in Annecy is a loved place for people who come to sunbathe and swim in the summer.

Gorges du Fier (Haute Savoie)
Gorges du Fier

Château de Montrottier

Visit the 13th-century Château de Montrottier castle on your trip to Gorges du Fier. Explore the impressive architecture and the circular tower that stands out in the landscape. Take a guided tour to learn more about the collection of Léon Mares, who was a 19th-century creative collector. From historic tapestries, antique weapons, armor, period furniture to ceramics, and glassware, his notable collection beholds many such things he acquired on his trips to Asia and Africa.

Château de Montrottier
Château de Montrottier

Winter Sport

Blessed with the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes climate, Annecy, France, is Europe’s outdoor capital. Annecy is thronged with tourists year-round who come for skiing at luxurious resorts like Manigod, La Clusaz, Le Grand Bornand, and Saint Jean de Sixt. You can ski down the mesmerizing slopes at Manigod, or the gondolas at Le Semnoz to see the panoramic views of the snowcapped mountains. These low altitude and family-friendly ski areas are the famous Annecy locations that offer splendid slopes for skiing.

Superb Watersports

Annecy is a popular tourist destination located in the Haute-Savoie region of the French Alps, and one of its main attractions is Lake Annecy. Albigny Beach is the largest beach and is very popular for bathing and paddling. The glistening water of Lake Annecy that is surrounded by mountains is not only extremely picturesque, but it is also very clean, making it ideal for many water sports such as swimming and diving. For water lovers, Lake Annecy has water sports like paddle boarding, scuba diving, dinghies, catamaran, and yacht rentals for high-speed exhilaration. In addition to these, Lake Annecy is a perfect spot for sailing, snorkeling, water skiing, wakeboarding, and wake surfing.

Plage d'Albigny @ Annecy-le-Vieux @ Lake Annecy
Albigny Beach

Local Food – try raclette

WikiCheese - Tomme de Savoie - 20150619 - 002
Tomme de Savoie

A heaven for cheese, Annecy, France is famous for areas like Tomme de Savoie, Gruyère, Emmental de Savoie, and Emmental français est-central. You can take a trip to the local shops such as Ferme de l’Angelie and Fromagerie du Cruet, famous for selling authentic cheese, homemade jams, and sausage. Raclette is a delicious Swiss export, which consists of a round, semi-hard cow’s milk melted in front of an open fire and is traditionally enjoyed with potatoes, gherkins, and pickled onions. If you want to try raclette, enjoy it in front of a fireplace in a restaurant in Annecy while you bask in the glorious views of the canals and savoring every bite of it.