An idyllic setting, close to Switzerland and Italy, the city is located in a deep gorge on the Thiou river at the northern end of Lake Annecy.
Lake Annecy is internationally renowned for its beautiful landscape and for the fantastic quality of the water in the lake which, thanks to the efforts made to protect it for over 50 years, is now the purest in Europe.
The lake is located at an altitude of 447m, but it is overlooked at the highest point by the Tournette Mountain, a stunning summit shaped like an armchair at an altitude of 2351m.
Facts about Lake Annecy:
Surface area: 27km²
Width: 0,8 to 3,2km
Average depth: 41m - Maximum depth: 80m
The sports industry positions Annecy as European capital of outdoor sports. Its stunning natural setting allows visitors to enjoy a wide choice of sporting and cultural activities from watersports (such as swimming, sailing, water-skiing or diving) and cycling (thanks to a safe cycle route running alongside the lake for over 40km) to mountain activities (hiking, mountain biking, via-ferrata, canyoning or paragliding) - everything is possible at Lake Annecy!
As for cultural activities, there are plenty of museum tours, castles, guided walking tours and exhibitions. In fact, Annecy and the surrounding area have received the much-coveted "Art and History" label. Its beautiful medieval 'old town' (Annecy's historic centre) is intersected by small canals and flower-decked quays, so much so that Annecy is often called the French Venice ('Venice of the Alps').
The 12th century Palais de l’Isle is an island fortress in the River Thiou which was once a prison has splendid views of the old town. The bustling streets, delightful street cafés, where you can watch the world go by, and interesting shops make it a superb place to relax. Annecy's local market is held on Tuesday in Rue Ste-Claire.
Organised boat excursions in Annecy are a very relaxing way to discover the lake and see the alpine mountains from a different angle, and take you all around the lake. For a more active way to explore the lake, pleasure boats, dinghies, windsurfs and pedalos can be hired. The water temperature of the lake in the summer reaches up to 24C. The main beaches of the lake are supervised during the summer.
The nearby Semnoz mountains (which have skiing in the winter) have a vast mountain nature reserve providing excellent opportunities for ramblers and hikers. A little further is the Bauges Natural Regional Parc and the Aravis mountain range where many more mountain itineraries are available for walkers and bikers.
Golf enthusiasts can enjoy 3 courses to suit all standards and enjoy fabulous views.
Our top things to do in Annecy this summer
- Visit the lovely lakeside village of Menthon with its fairytale castle
- Explore the Benedictine Monastry at Talloires on the east shore of the lake
- Discover the impressive Alpine Garden at Semnoz
- Take one of the many boat trips and excursions run from the esplanade and marinas to experience the best view of the lakes, surrounding mountains, and lakeside villages. Not to be missed!
Interested in buying an apartment in Annecy? See our Buying in the Alps section