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 the 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 three 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
Top summer activities to experience in Annecy
Please note Peak Retreats do not book any activities and most activities are payable. For more information about pricing and availability, please contact the Annecy Tourist Office on 0033 450 45 00 33.
Walking/hiking in Lake Annecy
Walk 1 idea - Walk from St-Jorioz to St-Eustache following the river of Le Laudon. Discover former rural roads, former renewed farms and numerous orchards. Wonderful viewpoints on the lake, mountains and surroundings.
Walk 2 idea - Walk upon the town of Duingt to have the impression of being between two lakes. With the big lake on your left and the small one on your right, you will have a wonderful view of Le Roc de Chère and the mountain of La Tournette just in front of you.
Top family beaches in Annecy
La Brune beach - sandbank at the lakeside, gently sloping into the water…perfect for spending a lovely afternoon on this sunny grass beach. Blue Flag since 2009. In July/August (11 am - 7 pm), the beach is monitored by Lifeguards. Children's paddling pool. Showers and toilets. Snack bar and restaurant on-site (Veyrier-du-Lac).
Angon beach - looking for a beach with a gradual slope into the water? This lovely grassy, sandy beach is very family-friendly and fits the bill perfectly. Children will love splashing about at the edge of the creek that runs through it. From 24th June to 3rd of September (10am-7pm), admission charge for beach which is monitored by Lifeguards. Enjoy a game of beach volleyball or pétanque. Picnic tables. Showers and toilets. Lockers and deckchairs for hire. Snack bar and refreshment stall on-site. Restaurants close by (Talloires).
Municipal beach - lay your beach towel out on the grass at this recently revamped sandy beach and enjoy the peace and quiet as you gaze at Les Dents de Lanfon and Tournette Mountain. July and August, beach monitored by Lifeguards. Children's games. Showers and toilets. Snack bar and restaurant on-site. Just a stone's throw away is the sailing and canoe and kayak clubs. Direct access from the promenade cycle path (Sevrier).
Municipal beach - opposite the Dents de Lanfon and the Tournette mountain, a large grassy sandy beach. Ideal for families and children. "Blue Flag" label since 2010. In July/August (9.30 am - 5.30 pm), the admission charge for the beach is monitored by Lifeguards. Relax in the shade of the tall trees, enjoy a game of volleyball or pétanque, or the diving board, pontoons, and children's paddling pool and games. Showers and toilets. Snack bar and restaurant on-site. Just a stone's throw away is the Les Roselières path for exploring the lakeside (St Joriaz).
Talloires beach - relax on the grass at this beach opposite the Château de Duingt. A truly beautiful place where the deep blue waters of the lake contrast with the lush green of the park. From 24th June to 3rd September (10am-7pm), admission charge for the beach which is monitored by Lifeguards. Enjoy a game of beach volleyball, pétanque or table tennis, or the diving board and the children's paddling pool. Showers and toilets. Lockers and deckchairs for hire. Snack bar and refreshment stall on-site. Restaurants close by. Just a stone's throw away is the diving, sailing and rowing clubs, as well as the magnificent promenade in the Baie de Talloires (Talloires).
Watersports, Windsurf, Sailing, Catamaran, Stand up paddle
31 rue des Marquisats
Board a sailing catamaran for an unforgettable trip on Lake Annecy. The Boat offers a variety of options: 2h, day or sunset trip to learn about sailing or just relax.
Port de Létraz
In the hills of Lake Annecy, this is a multi-activity site accessible to everyone: 4 levels of High-Wire Adventure Courses, Bikepark, Treasure hunts, the Forest of Senses, Orienteering Course, Lasertag etc.
The Grand Adult Course (accessible for those over 1.4 m / 16 years)
The Junior Course (accessible for those over 1.3 m)
The Children's Course (accessible for those over 1 m)
The Bikepark (on your bike for 1 km of trail dotted with obstacles, banked bends, turns, bumps and aerial walkways. Ages 7 and up)
Lasertag (in a forest strewn with traps, you need to aim with precision at the beacons on your adversaries' weapons to win the laser battle. Ages 7 and up)
The Forest of Senses (discovering the environment through the theme of the 5 senses, moving through secured aerial walkways and a path dotted with interactive workshops. Accessible to everyone, including pushchairs and wheelchairs)
The Treasure Hunt (3 different themes according to age, clues to find and treasures at the end)
The Orienteering Course (armed with a map and compass, adventurers set out to find 20 hidden markers in 27 ha of forest)
The Pass activity (combine the High Wire Aventure Course with one other activity)
140 route de Ponnay
Since the Middle Ages, the 'old town of Annecy with its arcade streets has been a place for trade and commerce, in particular for foodstuffs from the surrounding countryside and mountains. Various days during the week.
Le Touk Touk d'Annecy
Provides transport and tours for 2 around town. Hop on board to go back to the station when you've got too many bags or hit the town at night!
Canoë-kayak Club d’Annecy
Base nautique des Marquisats
Tel: 0033 4 0 45 03 98
The cycle path links between Annecy, the left bank and the south of the lake. It offers beautiful landscapes, with views of the lake and mountains. The cycle path of lake Annecy, one of the most popular in France, is situated on the former railroad connecting Annecy to Albertville. Nowadays, the 36km are accessible to everyone. It can also be the opportunity to discover side streets and passes in the surroundings.
Annecy Swimming pool
Piscine des Marquisats
29 rue des marquisats -Annecy
Lived in since the 11th century by the same family, built from the 11th to 19th, it has kept its rich historic furniture and decoration. See the costume displays on weekends and Public Holidays.
Butterfly and insect museum
With more than 4500 butterflies and insects from the 5 continents, this is the only museum of its type in Savoie and Haute-Savoie.
Le Château - 293 chemin de la Vie Plaine
Other activity contact details
Restaurants and bars in Lake Annecy
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to eateries in Lake Annecy. Quaint pavement cafes, savoyard and gastronomic restaurants, ice cream parlours with a plethora of flavours...and it goes on!
Marked by its history, the local gastronomy has taken advantage of both the mountain traditions and the developments of tourism since 150 years - here the traditional mountain dishes go hand in hand with great gastronomic cuisine, illustrated by 5 chefs having received stars from the famous Guide Michelin.
The most famous local products are cheeses, where the closest to Annecy are the famous Reblochon and Tome des Bauges. And the lake itself offers fine fishes such as Féra or Omble Chevalier.
And to top it off, there is another important speciality! The chocolate factories are famous, in particular with the "Roseau" filled with mountain liqueur! And just like almost everywhere in France, it has an old winemaking tradition, in particular, renowned white wines like Apremont and Roussette. Parfait (perfect!)
A fabulous variety of restaurants and bars spread out across Annecy. Try the cobbled streets in the old town for some traditional charm overlooking the small canals that flow through the medieval old town.
Restaurants at Michelin standard include 'Aux Jardins des Delices & La Table de Cezanne' (Talloires) within Abbaye de Talloires, 'Les Terrasses du Cottage' (Talloires), 'Restaurant Bernard Collon' (Sevrier), 'La Voile' within Imperial Palace, 'Auberge du Lac' (Veyrier du Lac) and finally 'Les Clos des Sens' with 2 stars (Annecy le Vieux).
Accessing Lake Annecy
By Road (self drive options pre-bookable with Peak Retreats):
Driving distance from Calais to Annecy 817km (approx 7hrs30)
From Calais follow the A26/E15 in the direction of Lens/Arras and then Reims. Take the exit marked Reims-Tinqueux, Châlons-en-Champagne, Metz, Nancy, Strasbourg & Lyon. Follow the A4/E50, then the E17 towards Châlons-en-Champagne. Take the exit marked Saint-Gibrien, Châlons-en-Champagne, Troyes & Lyon. Continue on the E17 then the A26/E17 towards Troyes. Next take the A40 towards Bourg-en-Bresse/Annecy and take exit 11 to Annecy.
Access to Annecy by motorway.
- From Marseille, Lyon or Chambéry: A41 exit Annecy Sud.
- From Paris, Geneva, Bourg-en-Bresse, Chamonix or Italy via Mont Blanc tunnel: A41 exit Annecy Nord.
Access to Annecy by National Road.
- From Geneva or Chambéry: D1201.
- From Chamonix or Italy: D1203.
By Rail (pre-bookable with Peak Retreats):
TGV to Annecy from Paris.
By Plane (not pre-bookable):
Lyon Saint-Exupery 125 km
Lake Annecy Airport Transfer or Car Hire (pre-bookable with Peak Retreats):
Call our reservations team for details on 0844 576 0170 or email email@example.com for a quote and availability.
Fête du Lac on the 6th of August enjoy one of the biggest pyrotechnic shows in Europe. The lakeside town of Annecy sparkles at the Fireworks Festival.