It was time to write an article about where I am from, wasn’t it? Technically, I do not come from Annecy in Haute-Savoie, but Chambéry in Savoie, and both are only 30 minutes drive. As Annecy is more touristy, I thought it would interest you to have more information about this place. Annecy is a beautiful city that can be visited all year round. Between the medieval city center, the lake and the mountains in the background, I do not see what you could miss to be happy. So, let’s discover together the 6 reasons to visit Annecy.
Top 6 Reasons to visit Annecy
Stunning lake Annecy
For me, the lake Annecy is the big charm of the city. Considered as the purest lake in Europe, it is 14.6 km long of clear water. By the way, all the time I arrive in Annecy, I go directly to the lake to enjoy the beauty of the place. From the Paquier, a huge lawn facing the lake, you can admire the lake with the mountains in the background. In winter, you can walk along the lake and enjoy the view of the snow-capped mountains. In the summer, you can hang out by the lake or rent a pedalo to enjoy the crystal clear water.
Strolling in the old town
Annecy is also famous for its old town and its canal. We all know the postcard decor that represents the flowery canals of the island with the palace of Isle in the background. The whole city is exactly like this. There are many pedestrian streets with many small shops selling local produce. For even more charm, I recommend a visit of the old town market. On Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, you can wander the streets of the city while enjoying local products, such as cheese or dry sausages.
The must-sees of the city of Annecy
- The Isle Palace : this tiny island located in the heart of the city was a prison, then a courthouse and then is an administrative center. Today, this building built in the 12th century is a museum.
- Bridge of Love : this bridge is a must-see in Annecy. It is located next to the lake and connects the Parquier to Gardens of Europe. Legend has it that a couple kissing on this bridge would get married in the year.
- The Château d’Annecy : listed as a historic monument since 1959, the castle of Annecy was the residence of the counts of Geneva. It was built in the 12th century and overlooks the old town. Today, it is a museum open all year, from 10 to 17h.
- Lake Festival : Every first Saturday of August, the Annecy Lake Festival is celebrated. This is the biggest pyrotechnic show in Europe over Lake Annecy. This show attracts more than 100,000 spectators a year.
- Venetian Carnival : Annecy is not only the Venice of the Alps, since it also offers a Venetian Carnival every year. This event takes place in early March and hundreds of people parade through the streets in beautiful costumes.
Eat the local food
You must already know my great passion for cheese and now you will probably understand better why. The cheese of my region is the best, that’s all! Fondue, raclette, tartiflette, Tomme de Savoie, Abondance, Beaufort … If you visit Annecy, you will have to taste all its mountain specialties.
Top 5 specialties to taste in Annecy
- Fondue, tartiflette, raclette : these three cheese specialties can be found in Annecy’s restaurants. Whether with bread, potatoes or meat, the common denominator is a good melted cheese for a lot of pleasure.
- Charcuterie : every person from the region will agree with that : the best aperitif is with cheese, dry sausage and a glass of wine! Charcuterie such as dry sausage or raw ham are also a specialty of the region. In Annecy, you can choose a cold meat plate in a restaurant. You can also try the Diot, a special sausage from the region.
- Polenta : another typical dish from the region is Polenta. It’s a dish of boiled cornmeal with cheese and butter.
- Mountain Honey : a great souvenir idea to bring back home! You should definitely try mountain honey spread on your bread or add to a cake, it’s delicious!
- Bugnes : these delicious pastries are donuts with a lemony taste that you can enjoy with icing sugar.
With the lake and the mountains, Annecy is a city oriented towards sports and open air activities. Locals and tourists alike enjoy the nature for various sports such as hiking, water skiing, Paragliding or cycling. In winter, we enjoy the snow and in the summer we enjoy the sun and the lake. And it’s always more enjoyable to do sports outside than in a gym, isn’t it ?
The best outdoor activities in Annecy
- Wake board or water skiing: There are many nautical clubs on the shores of the lake. For around €40, you can try water skiing or wake boarding and try to get out of the water.
- Paragliding: try to fly and enjoy an incredible view of Lake Annecy and the city, do you feel like it? Annecy is the most popular Paragliding site in Europe. For that, you will have to drive to the Forclaz pass or Talloires pass and that costs about €90 the flight.
- Cycling : rent a bike and go for a ride on the bike paths around Lake Annecy. The blue lake offers beautiful banks accessible only on foot or by bike.
- Pedalo : this is the trendy activity of the summer at Lake Annecy. You can rent one of the many paddle boats for half an hour, an hour or two hours. This allows you to enjoy the lake and swim in the clear water without being bothered by the hustle and bustle of the beach.
A romantic city
I really consider that Annecy is the perfect romantic city. Stroll hand-in-hand in the old town, cross the Pont des Amours, share a romantic meal on the many terraces or take a walk around the lake. This also comes from the fact that there is something for everyone. You can enjoy the lake, the mountains, go shopping and eat typical Savoyard dishes. Isn’t it the perfect program for a romantic weekend?
In the heart of the Alps
How to speak about Annecy without mentioning the mountains surrounding the city? Annecy is surrounded by the impressive peaks of the Alps. I strongly recommend you to go enjoy the mountains when you visit Annecy and here are five of my favorite places.
My top 5 most beautiful mountain getaways from Annecy :
- The Semnoz : in winter, the Semnoz is a family ski resort and in summer, it’s a great hike. You can also ride a car and enjoy magnificent views of the lake and the Alps mountains.
- La Tournette : this hike is reserved for the most experienced, because the summit of the mountain is 2351 meters high. It is called the summit of Annecy, because its highest point is just above the lake and the city.
- Mont Veyrier : there are many hikes from Veyrier. It’s easy to get lost, because there are many different trails. At the top you can enjoy a magnificent view of the lake and the mountain.
- Gorges du Fier : this natural site is located a few kilometers from Annecy and it is open from March to September. You can then move along overhead bridges along the river below. You can find sometimes find yourself 25 meters high!
- Le Grand Bornand : If you visit Annecy in winter, you will certainly want to enjoy the huge ski resorts. The Grand Bornand is one of the closest to the city, only thirty kilometers away. More than 90 kilometers of tracks await you and incredible landscapes on the snowy mountains.
What I do not like in Annecy
- It’s very expensive: Annecy is a very expensive city, especially because of its proximity to Switzerland. The restaurants are really expensive and even a simple beer on the terrace costs more than 5€.
- It’s small: if you want to enjoy Annecy for a weekend, it’s perfect. But the city is quite small, so you’ll easily get around. That said, if you want to enjoy the ski resorts in winter or the lake in summer, the days pass (too) fast.
And you, have you been to Annecy? What is your favorite place in the city or your favorite restaurant? Tell me in the comments below, so I could test next time!