Annecy is one of those magical European towns that make you feel like you’re in a fairytale book. With its winding cobblestone streets, the ancient architecture, and waterways, I could walk around this town for days and still be in awe of everything around me.
However, I assume if you’re visiting, you’ll want to do more than just walk around, so here are 10 things to do in Annecy, France:
Take a paddleboat out on Lake Annecy
I was so skeptical about doing this because I thought it was going to be a big thing, but it really wasn’t and it’s my number 1 recommendation if you have some time in Annecy! If you walk toward Lake Annecy, you can’t miss the paddle boats. You walk right up to the counter, tell them you’d like to take a boat out, and then hop on in! No forms to fill out and you pay at the end depending on how long you were gone for.
To make this extra special, my friend, Laurel, and I picked up food and wine at a shop in town beforehand and had a picnic on the boat!
This lake is surrounded by the most beautiful landscape and this is the perfect activity for a peaceful, fun afternoon.
Tour the Annecy Castle
The Annecy Castle is one of a few tours to take within the town. You don’t have to schedule this beforehand. You just walk up, pay for a ticket to get in, and then walk around to see what the castle looks like.
Frankly, the inside of the building was somewhat underwhelming. However, the view from the windows and the area outside the castle is stunning. You walk up a big hill to get here, so the view lets you see all of Annecy from above.
Book a wine tour in the mountains
The Savoie region around Annecy is known for their vineyards, so booking a wine tour is one of the best things to do in Annecy while you’re there. Unfortunately, the vineyards in this area aren’t akin to Napa Valley in the USA. You can’t just drive up to one and ask for a tasting.
For this reason, I recommend booking a tour with a company like Experience Mont-Blanc. They have a wine and cheese tour that takes you to a few different places just outside of Annecy to experience local wines and cheeses from this region.
–> Heading to Paris on your trip, too? Check out my 10-day Paris itinerary <–
Walk around the Annecy Farmers’ Market
The local Annecy Farmers’ Market runs year-round every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday. This market spans several streets and you can buy anything from food to clothing to desserts. Its a great way to buy food while you’re in town while also supporting the locals!
There was a coffee truck set up in one of the squares where we bought a couple of lattes and sat down to people watch during the market. This makes for a fun morning if you happen to be in town on any of the days I listed above.
Visit Le Palais de I’Île
Le Palais De I’Ile is another building worth touring in Annecy. As you cross the many bridges in town, you’ll likely see this building. It sits on an island in the middle of the river, splitting it into two canals. It’s actually one of the most photographed sites in Annecy.
This building has been everything from a Prison to a coin-minting site. Now, it’s a museum that you can tour when you’re in town!
Take a stroll through Jardins de l’Europe
I would pair this with the paddle boat idea above because Jardins de L’Europe are right by Lake Annecy. This is a pretty busy park when the weather is nice. If you’re nervous about taking a picnic onto the boat, this is another fantastic spot to have lunch on a warm day.
Have an aperitif at a wine bar
Annecy is known for some pretty great things: wine and cheese. We stumbled across the cutest wine bar that ended up being the perfect spot for a drink and appetizers before our dinner.
They have a huge wine list and great food. I’d recommend trying the ham starter with a cheese selection. Both were incredible! The ham in this region is some of the best I’ve ever had.
Walk Gorges du Fier
If you’re visiting this area between March 15 and October 15, take a day trip over to Lovagny for some outdoor adventure. This hike is through a narrow canyon. You’re walking on a footbridge that is several feet above the river that runs through the canyon.
Gorges du Fier is about 25 minutes away from Annecy by car. However, if you don’t mind walking quite a bit, you can also catch a bus to take you there.
Take a day trip to Geneva, Switzerland
I only usually suggest taking day trips if you’re going to be visiting the area for a while. If you’re only in Annecy for a few days, skip this one! However, if you’re stay longer, Geneva, Switzerland isn’t too far away!
The train ride is about an hour and a half, so if you leave in the early morning and come back in the evening, you’ll have plenty of time to explore Geneva for a day.
Relax at the beach
There are several “beaches” around lake Annecy, but three of them are closest to Annecy town. I use “beaches” in quotation marks because some of them are grass instead of sand, but you can still lay out a towel and soak up the sun for the afternoon.
The three that are closest to Annecy are Albigny Beach, Imperial Beach, and Marquisats Beach. Yet another great spot for a picnic!
What are your favorite things to do in Annecy?
If you’ve been to Annecy, France, let me know in the comments what your favorite activity was! Honestly, my favorite was just walking around and staring at the beautiful architecture (I mean come on, those bridges!).