Visit Annecy for 2 Days
Have you decided to go for the weekend to Annecy, in Haute-Savoie?
It is a very good choice!
To help you organize your short stay, I have prepared a detailed itinerary for visiting Annecy in a weekend.
You will find the program of things to do from day to day as well as ideas for original activities.
You will see, with my advice, you will be able to make the most of your 2-3 days in Annecy!
At the end of the article, I also give you my recommendations of the best hotels to stay during your weekend. Whether you want a romantic, luxury or Spa weekend , or whether you prefer a cheap weekend in Annecy, you will find what you are looking for in this selection!
So, what to do and see in a weekend in Annecy?
Day 1：Walk in Annecy
A. Stroll along Lake Annecy
Start with the essential walk to do during this weekend in Annecy: that of the edge of the lake.
It is the very image of the representative postcard of the city: translucent water and a lake bordered by the surrounding mountains. Impossible not to be seduced by the beauty of the place!
I suggest you start the walk by the great esplanade of Pasquier (promenade Jacquet) and walk along the lake to the Pont des Amours, where you will find the traditional padlocks hung by lovers.
Crossing the bridge, you will arrive in the gardens of Europe, which also allow you to enjoy beautiful views of the lake and the mountains.
There is also another slightly longer version of the walk starting from Charles Bosson Park, where the Casino and the Imperial Hotel are located (which I recommend in my selection of hotels a little further down). .
From the park, walk along Avenue d’Albigny following the lake and you will reach Le Pasquier directly.
If you want to take advantage of your weekend in Annecy to test a super cool activity, I recommend that you book a Segway ride by the lake.
The tours offered range from 30 minutes to 2 hours and are super enjoyable as it stays entirely within the pedestrian area. And don’t worry, the handling of the Segway can be learned really quickly.
You must book your Segway tour in Annecy in advance using the link below:
Book my Segway tour in Annecy now!
B. The old town of Annecy
Cross the Jardins de l’Europe and you will arrive at the entrance to the old town of Annecy.
It is here that you will come across the other emblematic image of the city: the Palais de l’Île built on a small islet in the middle of the Thiou canal. This canal, which crosses old Annecy right through, has earned it the nickname “Venice of the Alps”.
With its small cobbled streets, its houses with flowered balconies and its arcades, this part of the city has retained all its character. Don’t hesitate to wander around a bit randomly to enjoy the picturesque and authentic atmosphere.
In old Annecy, you will also find several souvenir shops offering the famous placemats printed with the photo of the lake or other small objects to bring back from your stay in Annecy.
There are also grocery stores, delicatessens and cheese shops to stock up on good local products.
This is really the part of the city to see absolutely in a weekend in Annecy.
On Tuesdays, Fridays and Sunday mornings (from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.), you can also go to the market in the old town. If the merchant is in a good mood and negotiates a little, we leave with a free sausage!
C. Tasting of local specialties
After the ride it will certainly be lunch time. And that’s good because it is in Old Annecy that you will find many restaurants, most serving local and regional dishes.
On the program: tartiflette, croziflette, fondue, all excellent dishes based on good traditional cheeses such as Reblochon.
You can also taste diots de Savoie (local sausages) or a whole panoply of fish from the lake: perch, trout, arctic char.
And for dessert or a snack (or even both!), head to the best glacier in Annecy: the Glacier des Alpes.
You can’t miss it, there are always a lot of people queuing and you can better understand why when you know that it offers quality ice cream and more than 45 flavors. Hard to choose!
As the Old Annecy area is very popular with tourists, some restaurants are a bit of a “tourist trap”.
I advise you to check the reviews on Trip Advisor to avoid being scammed on the quality of the products.
D. Annecy Castle
Continue your weekend in Annecy with a small climb to the castle of Annecy.
This former 12th century castle, classified as a historical monument, now houses several museums:
- The Regional Art Museum exhibiting everyday objects and a model of the castle
- The Museum of Contemporary Art and its temporary exhibitions on various themes
- The Regional Observatory of Alpine Lakes dedicated to the main lakes of the Alps.
You will find prices and practical information on the official website.
The tour of the castle is rather quickly done but the visit is worth the detour for the beautiful view of the city and the lake.
There are several paths to climb to the castle. They are all quite steep, but the least steep is the “castle ramp” passage.
E. Nautical activities on Lake Annecy
And I suggest you spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying the joys of the lake. Because visiting Annecy in a weekend without at least doing a small nautical activity is impossible!
For a quiet and relaxing activity, you can for example rent a pedal boat, a motor boat without a license or even a paddle.
If you want more action, then I recommend a session of water skiing or wakeboarding.
You can also simply relax on one of the beaches and try swimming if it’s the right season.
From Quai Napoléon III, you can also opt for a mini cruise on Lake Annecy. These commented cruises last between 1h and 2h and allow you to discover very beautiful landscapes.
It really is an excellent idea of activities for a weekend in Annecy!
More information here!
The “Libellule” restaurant boat also offers 2-hour boat trips with lunch or dinner.
There are two departures per day (at 12 p.m. and 8 p.m.). If you choose the midday one, no problem to continue the program from the visit of the old town.
Information and reservations on the official website of the Annecy boat company.
Day 2：Hike in Annecy
A. Hike around Annecy
For this second day of your weekend in Annecy, I suggest you take a little height.
There are several hiking routes of different levels to do around Annecy. Most allow you to overlook the lake and discover very beautiful landscapes.
Here are the most famous hikes in and around Annecy:
1) Le Semnoz, a short , very easy family outing.
You can take your car to climb to the top. There are quite a few parking spaces at the Crêt de Châtillon. From there, you can walk on the Semnoz plateau and admire a 360° panorama of the lake and Mont-Blanc.
For thrill seekers, it is also possible to do a mountain bike descent of the Semnoz
2) Mount Veyrier.
To enjoy another superb view of the lake, the paths that crisscross Mont Veyrier and Mont Baron, its neighbor, are really perfect.
Bring good hiking shoes because it’s quite steep and some passages on the ridge are a little tricky, but you’ll be well protected from the heat, because it’s rather shady.
3) The Parmelan is another essential hike to do during a weekend in Annecy.
The summit also offers a very beautiful view here and you can also discover the famous lapiaz, a geological feature of the plateau.
4) La Tournette, the highest peak in Annecy.
A route to be reserved for seasoned hikers because there are many technical passages, not to mention that the path is really steep. Count at least 6 hours to make the round trip to the summit.
But you will see that the magnificent view of the lake, the Mont-Blanc massif and the Bauges massif will reward you for your efforts!
If you have not found your happiness in its proposals, I recommend that you discover the Gorges du Fier. It’s a very pleasant short walk on the edge of a 25-meter-high canyon.
The natural site is laid out with long footbridges along the torrent and leading to the sea of rocks.
Timetables and prices on the official Gorges du Fier website.
B. Relaxing at the beach
Nothing better after a good walk than being able to relax and cool off at the edge of the water.
Join one of the lakeside beaches to end your weekend in Annecy with a swim in the crystal clear waters:
- Imperial Beach, on Avenue d’Albigny. Paid beach.
- Marquisats beach, on the western shore of the lake. Free.
- Albigny beach, the largest beach on Lake Annecy. Free access, in Annecy-le-Vieux
- The 2 beaches of Sevrier
- Saint-Jorioz beach, fitted out with a diving board, pontoons and toilets/showers + lifeguard station. Paid beach in summer.
- Angon beach, a well-shaded beach crossed by a stream. Paid.
- The beach of Talloires where there is a paddling pool, ideal with young children. Paid.
- Menthon Saint-Bernard beach with playground, volleyball court, petanque. Paid.
If you want to discover Lake Annecy by boat far from other tourists, I have a great plan:
Opt for a private boat trip!
You rent a boat with a skipper, and he will take care of showing you around the lake.
It’s up to you to choose the boat that suits you to spend a dream day!
In any case, I recommend that you rent your boat with skipper as far in advance as possible, because as you can imagine, this type of VIP day on Lake Annecy is extremely popular, and it would be a shame not to have room!
Extended weekend in Annecy
If you have the chance to visit Annecy for a long weekend of 3 days, you can take the opportunity to discover the other villages of the lake.
Among the best known, I recommend a visit to Talloires and Menthon Saint-Bernard where you can visit its 12th century castle. Information available on the official website.
On the other side of the lake, you also have the castle of Duingt, located on the peninsula of the same name.
If you are more sporty, you can also rent a bike and go around the lake (42 km of cycle paths anyway!). Stop whenever you want to enjoy the view and why not find some isolated places to swim.
Other activity ideas to do during a weekend in Annecy
Do you want to add other activities and ideas for your weekend in Annecy and change my itinerary a bit?
Carefree! I give you other examples of things to do during a short stay in Annecy :
You may not know it, but Annecy is the busiest site in Europe for this activity and often hosts the world championship. Flying over the lake in a paraglider offers a simply splendid view!
It is imperative to book in advance to be sure to have a place thanks to the button below:
- Hang- gliding, to have even more the impression of flying like a bird! From €95 for a discovery flight.
- A glider flight , from €180. Departure is from Albertville, 45 minutes from Annecy. Flying over the mountains in total silence is truly an unforgettable experience!
- Canyoning. Several formulas and different canyons to choose from on the O’Speed Canyoning website. They are open all year round and also offer Ice Canyoning sessions in winter!
- From the Via Ferrata to explore the rock faces.
- An introduction to cliff climbing
- The descent of the Semnoz by mountain bike (1300 meters of negative altitude difference!) to fill up with sensations!
- A hot air balloon flight over Lake Annecy to enjoy a magnificent view
- A two-seater helicopter flight for a unique experience
- An electric skateboard ride on the shores of Lake Annecy
- Rafting. From 53€.
- Tree climbing for great ideas for family activities during your weekend in Annecy!
- You paintball
What to do in a weekend in Annecy when it rains?
We don’t really like to consider this possibility when we are preparing to leave for the weekend, but unfortunately it can happen. If you have to retreat indoors due to bad weather, I recommend:
- An escape game to put your brain to the test in order to escape! Hurry up the clock is running.
- You laser game
- Test virtual reality
- To go to the Annecy ice rink.
Accommodation in Annecy
You now know what to do in Annecy in a weekend!
But you still have one important step to finish preparing for your weekend in Annecy: find and book your accommodation.
I have therefore selected the best hotels around Lake Annecy according to your desires.
Here are some very nice weekend ideas for a short romantic getaway.
Luxury weekend at Lake Annecy
If you want to treat yourself with a luxury weekend in Annecy, I suggest you sleep in the most famous hotel in town: the Imperial Palace.
Several greats of this world such as Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin or Edith Piaf stayed there during their stay in Haute-Savoie.
This exceptional hotel is located on the shores of Lake Annecy, in a very beautiful setting, in the middle of a large wooded park.
You will have direct access to the Imperial beach and can reach the Gardens of Europe in just 15 minutes on foot by following the lakeside promenade.
The hotel occupies a very beautiful Belle-Époque style building. Most of the very spacious and comfortable rooms have a balcony with a magnificent view of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
During this romantic getaway in Annecy, you can also take advantage of the top-of-the-range services of this prestigious establishment to relax: a splendid 600 m² Spa with swimming pool, sauna, hammam.
For dinner, I strongly recommend that you try one of the 3 restaurants at the Imperial. With a preference all the same for the gastronomic restaurant “La Voile” which offers delicious cuisine to be enjoyed on the terrace overlooking the lake.
And you can end this ideal day by taking a short tour of the hotel’s Casino.
It really is the best choice for a luxury weekend in Annecy!
If you just want to book a night click here!
Relaxation & Spa weekend in Annecy
Another idea for a Spa weekend in Annecy, this time with a stay at Les Tresoms Lake and Spa Resort.
Also located 5 minutes walk from the beach and 15 minutes from the old town, it is located on the other side of Annecy from the Imperial hotel.
The establishment offers you free access to its Spa including an indoor pool, a sauna, a hammam and 8 beauty treatment rooms to pamper you and make the most of your relaxing weekend in Annecy.
You can also swim in the outdoor swimming pool overlooking the lake.
The rooms are elegant and each decorated in an original and personalized way while remaining in very good taste.
For the evening, you can have a romantic dinner at the gastronomic restaurant “La Rotonde” or at the brasserie “La Coupole” for quite original cuisine.
If you do not want breakfast included, you can also book the night with Spa access here!
Weekend on the shores of Lake Annecy
If you want to spend your weekend on the shores of Lake Annecy, here is another excellent establishment: Le Bel-Abri.
This small family hotel is located at the exit of Annecy.
Its location is ideal if you want to enjoy the beach or water sports. You will just have to cross the road to access the beach and the promenade that allows you to reach the city center.
The rooms are modern, very pleasant and carefully decorated. Some have a balcony with an unobstructed view of the lake.
To book this weekend at Lake Annecy here.
Romantic weekend in Annecy
For another romantic weekend idea in Annecy, I have selected the Hôtel du Palais de l’Isle.
The hotel occupies a beautiful 18th century building, right in the heart of the old town of Annecy, not far from the castle. It is quite simply the ideal location for visiting Annecy on foot during your weekend.
For this short romantic stay, you will stay in pleasant and cozy rooms equipped with every comfort, overlooking the canal and the historic center.
Book your weekend for two in Annecy.
Charming weekend in Annecy
Still for a weekend in the center of Annecy, I have found a charming little address for you: Le Boutik Hotel.
The property is a 5-minute walk from the Chateau d’Annecy and 300 meters from the Palais de l’Isle.
If you are not too fond of hotels with standard decoration, but are looking for an atypical address, this is the perfect choice! Here all the rooms are decorated and furnished in an original and worked way, very skilfully mixing contemporary elements with vintage and the oldest.
You can also quietly enjoy your excellent breakfast consisting of cakes, pancakes and other fresh products on the terrace in the garden.
Book your charming weekend in Annecy.
Cheap weekend in Annecy
I end with my selection of hotels for a cheap weekend in Annecy:
- Ace Hotel Annecy: located 5 km from the center of Annecy. Spacious double room with good bedding from €69, breakfast at €7.10. Most: the large private car park, the cleanliness, the calm, the very friendly staff. A good choice for a cheap weekend in Annecy!
- Best Hotel Annecy : located 5 minutes by car from the center of Annecy. Double room from €71, breakfast at €11.90. The pluses: sensory relaxation area with spa-jacuzzi, sauna, top notch hospitality. An excellent choice for a budget hotel in Annecy!
- Hôtel du Nord: located in the center of Annecy. Comfortable and pleasant double room from €90, breakfast at €9. Most: the warm welcome, the location.
- ibis Annecy Center Vieille Ville: located in the old town. Double room from €110, breakfast at €10.90. Most: the good breakfast, the location by the canal, the parking nearby.
Map of your 2-day itinerary in Annecy
To help you visualize your routes during this weekend in Annecy, I made you a map listing the places to visit day by day. You can display the map legend by clicking on the top left button with a small arrow.
You will then be able to view the routes for each day.
When to go for a weekend in Annecy?
The best time to visit Annecy in a weekend is from May to October.
You can do all the visits, enjoy all the activities and the temperatures are pleasant.
In June, the city hosts the international animation film festival and offers an open-air film every evening on a giant screen in the Pâquier gardens. A great idea for a family outing!
If you choose to go for a weekend in Annecy in August (beginning of the month), you may also be able to attend the lake festival. For the occasion, the city is organizing a magnificent pyrotechnic show with music and fireworks for more than 2 hours!
In winter, the city is much less lively and of course you will not be able to enjoy all the pleasures of the lake and the nautical activities. Some hikes are not possible either because it often snows on the heights of Annecy.
On the other hand, if you leave between December and March, you can take the opportunity to go snowshoeing.
The only time when there is a lot of entertainment in winter in Annecy is during the Venetian carnival, which is generally held at the end of February-beginning of March.
I told you a little earlier, Annecy is nicknamed the Venice of the Alps, not only for its canals but also for its carnival which is very famous. Several hundred people parade there with sumptuous costumes, worthy of those of the famous Italian city.
How to go to Annecy?
There is no airport in Annecy.
The closest is that of Geneva (in Switzerland) or that of Lyon, in France.
Flight prices vary wildly, so it’s a good idea to compare them as soon as possible.
You can also reach Annecy by bus or train.
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