Is Annecy worth visiting? From the first time I saw the pictures on Instagram of this adorable village, I wondered if it would actually live up to the hype in person or if it was another destination where you just snap a picture and then move on.
While trying not to be dramatic (I can’t help exaggeration and hyperbole, I’m American!) I have to tell you that my trip to Annecy was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on.
I’m partly writing this blog post just so that I can remember that trip and look at those pictures again (and for you, of course, because I loved it so much so you need to go, too!)
This post is for me to reminisce and romanticize and for you to add Annecy to your bucket list IMMEDIATELY!
There is a lot about Annecy that makes it the perfect destination in France. So let’s get into exactly why Annecy is absolutely worth visiting. Also, if you would like to book a tour of Annecy then check out this post!
Annecy is Perfect to Visit Year-Round
Whether you’re looking to swim in the lake during the summer, hike to amazing viewpoints in the spring, see the changing of the leaves in fall, or the snow-covered buildings in winter, you really can’t go wrong with a trip to Annecy.
But Visiting During Autumn is the Best
However…I specifically planned a trip to Annecy during Autumn for a reason. The colors of the leaves, plus the cooler weather made for a very romantic fall trip.
Here’s just one shot of what I call a “fall house” that I found while biking around the Lac d’Annecy.
It’s the Perfect Mix of Adventure and City
Annecy has a gorgeous old town, the amenities of a bigger city, plus the adventure of a nature destination. You can spend half of your vacation taking pictures of architecture and visiting museums and castles, and the other half breaking a sweat hiking or biking around the lake!
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The Lake is an UNREAL Color of Blue and Green
You may think that you need to head to the Cote d’Azur to catch a glimpse of blue and green waters, but the waters at Lake Annecy will blow you away as well!
The Swans, The Park by the Lake & Le Pont des Amours
Basically a scene out of a Rom-Com, this part of Annecy hardly seems real. The Bride of Love (or Le Pont des Amours) has one of the best views of the lake framed by the trees in the park. With swans gliding through the water and boats docked along the edges, you’ll feel like you’re inside a painting.
It’s Close to Lyon & Geneva & Chamonix
Annecy is definitely worth a visit, but a full day or two is plenty to get to see everything. This is why it’s perfect that Annecy is just a short trip from Lyon, Geneva, and Chamonix. If you are looking for a place to stay in Chamonix then check out this post about the best chalets.
In fact, if you’re running short on time and just want to take a day-trip, you can book a tour from Geneva! The boat tour around the Lake is one of the best parts about Annecy, so don’t miss out on that.
A Romantic Boat Ride Around the Lake
Ever wanted to go castle-spotting from a boat? Well, Annecy is the perfect destination for that! Look at this insanely beautiful castle on a peninsula in the lake:
There are a couple different tours that you can choose from, including a cheaper one that doesn’t completely reach this castle. I highly recommend getting the tour that gets you as close to this as possible! The views were unforgettable, even on a cloudy day.
It’s So Walkable
There is no need to get to know the public transportation system in Annecy, as the city is quite walkable! One thing I wish I had done was take a walking tour of the historical center of Annecy. Walking tours are one of the best ways to visit Europe while learning about the place you’re at!
There’s More than Just the Main Street
When heading to Annecy, I was worried that it would be an Instagram destination. Meaning that you see the main shot that you’ve seen a million times on Instagram and then there’s not much else to do there. Annecy couldn’t be farther from this!
You will probably recognize the view below (although I walked a street back to get this picture) but basically it’s a super beautiful castle that divides the river in two.
It’s just as beautiful in person, but there are so many other absolutely picturesque areas of the town that you don’t see often on Instagram.
There’s the gorgeous blue-green lake, the historic castles, and arches and walking streets that look straight out of a fairytale.
By the way, if you plan to move to France, definitely read this book or this book first! Trust me, it will make your transition and understanding of French culture so much better.
The Local Market
Fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats with the backdrop of one of the most beautiful Old Towns in France is definitely something you won’t want to miss.
The market is open Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays from 7 am to 1 pm year-round and it is completely free to visit. In case this ever changes, this is the official website for the market. The best day to visit is on Sunday as there are more vendors.
Before moving to Europe, I don’t think I had any idea just how many castles there are to find and Annecy definitely surprised me on this front! If you love spotting random castles in the distance and then trying to get as close as possible to them, Annecy is definitely worth a visit!
Even on a moody, fall day, the castles were an impressive sight, with fall-colored mountains towering behind them. If you’d like to make the trek to every castle in the area, you might want to add a day or two to your Annecy itinerary!
In fact, the castle pictured below (Château de Menthon-Saint-Bernard) is known as the castle that inspired the Sleeping Beauty castle!
A Bike-Ride Adventure Around the Lake
A trip to Annecy really isn’t complete without trekking the 26-mile loop around the lake (although if you want to avoid this, the boat trip will do!) Most people choose to do this on foot as there are a few spots that are a bit difficult by bike and a bit too steep to pedal.
However, if you don’t mind hopping off the bike or being careful around traffic for just a couple of areas along the way, biking is a great way to visit the area.
Getting around the lake will take most of the day and you’ll want to start as early as possible so that you can return the bike without having to pay for an extra day.
If you plan to rent, make sure to bring a form of ID that you can leave with them as insurance that you’ll bring the bike back. We had a great experience with Annecy Bike Rental. They’ll probably recommend that you use a bike with speed controls, however, I was set on renting a cruiser!
So, did I convince you? Is Annecy worth visiting for you?
Monday 20th of March 2023
You mentioned going in fall. Do you mind me asking when you went and what the temperature was like roughly. We are thinking to go but with a 4 year old. Eek!! Haha Thanks so much :)
Sunday 8th of January 2023
Visiting Switzerland this summer and looking for someplace else to visit. As an American who speaks no French (am going to try to learn some over the next 7 months) can we get around Annecy-basically will language be a barrier?
Monday 9th of January 2023
Hey Judi! Annecy is definitely a town used to having tourists, although I always recommend saying "bonjour" before speaking to anyone. My husband doesn't speak French, but he has memorized just a few phrases like "Je voudrais un pain au chocolat" and when paying by card, "par carte." Outside of small phrases like that, he doesn't need to know any French, although he's still working on it! I hope that helps and Annecy is definitely worth a quick visit from Switzerland!
Wednesday 29th of September 2021
Great article! I have been researching places to visit (and possibly live) in France and had not come across Annecy! I will definitely put this little gem on my list! Happy traveling!
Thursday 30th of September 2021
Oh, I'm so glad! You are going to love Annecy, especially if you go in the shoulder season. I hope you move to France, it's a beautiful place to live!