Annecy is a picturesque village in south-eastern France featuring Europe’s cleanest lake and stunning views of the alps. With so much natural beauty and small-town charm, it can be hard to decide what to see and do. Here is our guide to Annecy for all you outdoorsy types!
Outdoorsy Adventures in Annecy
Visit the shore of Lake Annecy
Lake Annecy is the third largest lake in France and the “cleanest” lake in Europe, thanks to its strict environmental regulations. To give you an idea of how beautiful it is, the famous Paul Cézanne painted it in his Le lac bleu. In the spring and summer, you are sure to find many visitors and locals tanning or picnicking on its grassy shore. To avoid huge crowds or to experience a different view, try walking or biking the perimeter of the lake until you find your perfect spot.
Bike around Lake Annecy
Biking around Lake Annecy is one of the best ways to see the mountains, small surrounding towns and lake from all angles. We recommend following the Voie Verte bike path on Annecy’s tourism website. Depending on your biking level and comfort with biking on roads, you can choose to bike on the east side, west side, or both sides of the lake. The east side is more advanced, but provides some of the most striking views of the loop. Be sure to go in a clockwise direction if you choose to do the full loop (unless you love biking uphill). Expect to spend about 15 dollars per person for a half-day bike rental.
Get out on the water
Whether you want to go paddle boarding, paragliding, canyoning, or motor boating, there is a water activity in Annecy for you. The relatively quiet and calm waters make nautical activities accessible to all visitors and locals, so don’t be intimidated. Get out on the lake and experience all the beauty around you!
Ski or snowboard
While you can’t exactly go swimming during the colder months, you can definitely go skiing or snowboarding. The fact that Annecy gracefully switches between an incredible winter and summer town means that there is never a bad time to visit! We recommend checking out the ski resorts in Semnoz and la Clusaz.
You should also consider paragliding, especially if you don’t plan on hiking or biking in the area. You will not only get a birds-eye view of the lake, but you will also get to see all the surrounding towns and mountains. If you’re looking for a fast way to soak in all of Annecy’s natural beauty, this might be the option for you!
Hike in the Alps
Regardless of your hiking level, there is a hike in Annecy that you can enjoy. I love this article about the various hiking options. You can also consider guided hikes, if you are nervous about navigating the mountains on your own! Montagne Sensation offers full and half-day hikes in meadows and forests, opportunities to enjoy local cheese and farm products, thematic hikes, and other outdoor activities. Don’t forget to bring a backpack with plenty of water and snacks!
After you’re done with all of your sporty activities, I recommend going to Glacier Des Alps. While there is always a line outside of this incredible ice-cream shop, there is a good reason! Plus, you get an additional free mini scoop with your order!
We hope that this guide to Annecy for all you outdoorsy types has been helpful and inspires you to take a one or two day trip to the charming town. What I loved most about Annecy was the feeling that every local truly loved being active and outside. For help booking your trip to Annecy or for more tips, contact us here at ParisByM. We would love to give you the insider scoop.