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Nestled in the Northern Alps of France, Annecy may be one of the most stunning lakeside destinations in Europe. As you drive into Annecy, you are met with a clear, blue lake that is surrounded by towering green mountains. The landscape of this place looks completely unreal. Located about 40-minutes from Geneva, Switzerland, this alpine French town is definitely worth a stop on your European summer itinerary.
Not only is Annecy incredibly romantic, but it’s also a great escape for families and outdoorsy types alike. The historical center boasts of medieval charm. From the waterways lined with colorful flower boxes, cobblestone streets, to pastel buildings, it’s nothing short of a fairytale town. In addition, there are so many activities to partake in around and on the lake. From hiking, boating, sailing, swimming, golfing, biking, and even paraponting, this lakeside town has a little bit for everyone.
A part from the picturesque scenery, this Savoie capitol is home to some amazing cuisine. If there is one piece of advice I can give to anyone traveling to Lake Annecy, it’s to eat cheese, and lots of it. Especially considering that most of the good stuff you cannot find back in the States. I’m talking Tomme de Savoie and Reblochon. If you’re new to these mouthwatering cheeses, well, you’re in for a treat. In addition to all of the cheese, there are a few other dishes that are a must try.
As far as locations to stay, if you are looking to be in the midst of all the action, Annecy’s historical center may be the best fit. Though, if you are looking to relax on the lake’s waterfront, and maybe even do some boating and windsurfing, Talloires may be a better option. Personally, Talloires seems more relaxed and local, which I prefer. Though, you are still easily accessible to the historical center via ferry. Whichever side of the lake is best though is amazing, it just depending on the type of holiday that you’re looking for.
Lake Annecy Travel Tips –
Rent or Hire a Car –
Nothing Too Fancy –
Where to Stay –
Les Grillons, 1199 Route d’Angon, Talloires –
This family-run property does an incredible job at making you feel completely at home during your stay. Though not on a level of 5-star luxury, the warm service, clean and cozy rooms, amazing pool area, and the food may cause you to think otherwise. Les Grillons provides both breakfast and dinner for their guests, and honestly, I could probably eat lunch here too. I cannot say enough great things about this hotel, as it’s really the perfect accommodation for a stay in Lake Annecy.
Château des Avenières, 74350 Cruseilles –
For a luxury, chateau experience that is a bit outside of Lake Annecy, this is the perfect escape. If you have a week in the area, I definitely recommend a few days at the chateau and a few on the lake. Though, you may not want to leave their incredibly charming garden and pool overlooking the Alps.
What to Do –
Private Boat Hire – If you love being on the water, hiring a boat and cruising around the lake for a day is definitely not a bad idea.
Of course while in the French Alps, hiking is on the to-do list. Get the chance to witness some incredible mountain views, and on a clear day, you can even spot Mont Blanc. It’s also not a bad way to work off some of that wine and cheese.
Water Sports –
If sailing a Hobie Cat, kayaking, or windsurfing sound like your kind of paradise, there is a boat rental center just near Talloires beach.
I myself could not muster up the courage to jump off a cliff and glide over Lake Annecy’s breathtaking views. Though, if you are more of a thrill seeker than I am, and are a sucker for aerial views, Lake Annecy is definitely the place to do it.
Explore Annecy’s historical center –
If you are not staying in the historical center, be sure to take the ferry over and stroll through one of Europe’s most romantic towns. Watch as the swans float their way through the flower lined canals, it’s no wonder Annecy has been nicknamed the “Venice of the Alps.”
Wine Tasting –
Although the region is not particularly known for their wine, Savoie rose and whites are actually quite enjoyable. Head into the mountains to a few local wineries for a fun wine tasting outing.
Ponte de la Caille –
This historical monument is probably one of the most epic suspension bridges. Not only is this castel-like bridge breathtaking, but the views are also pretty spectacular.
Where to Eat –
Les Grillons –
Whether you’re a guest or not, I highly recommend this hotel-restaurant for some traditional Savoie cuisine. Come for lunch and enjoy a fabulous meal in their outside quarters. Or stop by for dinner to be treated to a multi-course experience.
Restaurant L’Abri-Côtier –
Also located in Talloires, it comes to no surprise this restaurant is also a popular wedding venue. I recommend coming on a sunny day to sit outside and enjoy both the food and incredible lakeside views.
La Coopérative du Reblochon Fermier –
If you are still salivating over the region’s cheeses, head over to this cooperative to pick up any meats, cheeses, and other regionally traditional treats to snack on.
Le Plan-Rebord, La Giettaz –
Make your way to this mountain top restaurant for amazing panoramic views and even more amazing food. Afterwards trek up the pathway for a hike to lighten the load from a potato and cheese heavy meal.