There are many ways to discover the city of Annecy, depending on your preferences: a self-guided tour of Annecy at your own pace, a guided tour of the museums or a gourmet tour to discover Savoyard specialities, the choice is yours!
Classified in January 2020 and March 2021 as the first French city where it is good to live by the Association of French Cities and Villages, the little Venice of the Alps can be explored first on foot. Its extensive pedestrian zone and its public transport network will allow you to avoid looking for a parking space for too long.
In addition, most of the city of Annecy is flat apart from the Castle and the Basilica of the Visitation, which makes for easy walking. Specific signs on the pavements indicate the time between the main sites of the city that you take by moving in this way.
Discover the city of Annecy, the Old Town, the Pâquier, the pedestrian zone and the city’s unmissable historical monuments. Contemplate the Palais de l’Île, the Château d’Annecy or the Basilique de la Visitation.
The Old Town of Annecy
The Old Town of Annecy is a must-see, and we suggest a few places not to be missed. Depending on the season and the weather, we advise you to discover the Old Town of Annecy during the warm hours because the streets are largely shaded, and the Pâquier at the beginning or end of the day.
Book a visit to the historic centre
More about : Old town of Annecy
The Gardens of Europe
This is Annecy’s favourite natural park with trees. Facing the lake and the Ile des Cygnes, this walk is particularly pleasant in summer. Its magnificent fountain refreshes the natural area.
Further information: Les Jardins de l’Europe
The Bridge of Lovers
This pedestrian bridge linking the Pâquier esplanade to the Jardins de l’Europe offers a magnificent view of the lake and the surrounding mountains. It’s a must for a romantic photo.
More about: The Bridge of Lovers
This small island, the only one in Lake Annecy, has an undeniable charm. You can admire it while strolling through the Jardins de l’Europe and also from the Esplanade du Pâquier. We also tell you its history.
More about : The Swan Island
To contemplate Lake Annecy and the surrounding mountains from a green lawn, head for the Pâquier, picnic and pedal boat recommended!
There are several ways to discover the little Venice of the Alps, depending on your interests: guided tours or self-guided tours of the Palais de l’île, the Château d’Annecy Museum, the Museum of Animated Film or the Basilica of the Visitation. Gourmet visits are recommended to discover the culinary specialities.
This pretty river runs through the old town of Annecy, surrounding the Old Prisons. If you follow it, you will discover a pleasant stroll that will take you as far as Cran-Gevrier.
For more information: Le Thiou
A free visit of Annecy takes everyone with the wind and the mood of the day. The historic quarters of the town will enchant you with their special atmosphere, and a tour of the lake will give you breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
It is convenient in Annecy because most of the monuments to visit are located in a small area. All of the historical monuments below are accessible free of charge with the exception of the Château d’Annecy and Vieilles Prisons (single ticket for both sites).
The Palais de l’Île
This is the most photographed monument in Annecy. Also called the Old Prisons. This visit will please all the family to discover on an island the old dungeons of the Middle Ages.
Overlooking the city, the Château d’Annecy can be visited as a fascinating museum, it also offers an observatory of the Alpine lakes and temporary exhibitions on the history of the region.
The Basilica of the Visitation
Located at the foot of the Semnoz mountain, the Basilica of the Visitation dominates the whole Annecy region and houses the tombs of Saint François de Sales and Saint Jeanne de Chantal.
The church of Saint Maurice
Opposite the Annecy Town Hall, you can discover the church of Saint Maurice which is the oldest church in Annecy. It was completely renovated in 2016 to present the building as it was when it was built.
The church of Notre-Dame de Liesse
You can admire the magnificent dome and the golden virgin that overlooks the church of Notre-Dame de Liesse, which has had a rich history since its construction. The stained glass windows tell this story.
The church of Saint François de Sales
Near the Old Prisons, the church of Saint François de Salles, also known as the Church of the Italians, marks the entrance to the Old Town. It was built by the religious order of the Visitation.
Saint Peter’s Cathedral
Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau is home to the cathedral of Saint François de Sales. You can admire a gothic architectural style that was influenced by the Italian Renaissance.
Annecy Town Hall
During your holiday to discover the city, you need a landmark to organize your visits. Annecy’s town hall is a perfect choice because of its central location and parking. Its history is also fascinating.
The Royal Street
For those with a passion for shopping as well as history, the Rue Royale, a large straight street, is worth a visit to discover the evolution of the city’s architecture over the centuries.
The Hôtel de Sales
The princes of the House of Savoy slept in the Hôtel de Sales when they travelled through the city. This building later produced money during the Sardinian period in the 19th century.
The Annecy Stud Farm
From the First Empire to the beginning of the 21st century, the Haras d’Annecy was used for breeding horses and then for equestrian sports. Nowadays, it is a historical and natural area where you can have a picnic in the city centre.
The old Annecy Town Hall
Over the years, Annecy’s old town hall has played an important role in the history of the town. You can admire its splendid 17th century wrought iron staircase.
The Gallo House
In the historic district, at the end of rue Sainte-Claire, you can admire the beautiful Maison Gallo which is a testimony to the influence of the Renaissance in Annecy’s architecture.
Tip: Visits to the Old Prisons and the Château d’Annecy are free every first Sunday from October to May. This is also the case, all year round, for children under twelve years old.
Castles around Annecy
The Annecy region has some remarkable castles that you can visit on your holiday. They are not far away. Only the castle of Duingt cannot be visited.
This monastery was founded in 1132 and is still occupied by Trappist monks. You can discover the history and life in theAbbey of Tamié and taste the excellent cheese of the same name produced on the spot by the monks.
Discover Boutae: Annecy in Gallo-Roman times
Today’s town was first a very active Gallo-Roman settlement, with forums and a theatre. During your holiday, you can walk in the footsteps of this rich ancient past.
Find out more: Boutae: the Gallo-Roman past of Annecy
While strolling through the narrow streets of Annecy’s colourful old town, there are a number of monuments and museums that can be discovered on guided tours.
Discover them below:
- Visit the Palais de l’île (also known as the Old Prisons).
- Visit to the Château d’Annecy Museum.
- Visit to the Museum of Animated Film.
- Visit to the Basilica of the Visitation.
More about: Guided tour of Annecy
Gourmet visits are highly recommended to discover culinary specialities from here and elsewhere. Our region is rich in many specialities, not all of which are recommended during the diet period, but which are very tasty. We suggest :
- The essential Savoyard recipes by discovering: the culinary specialities of Annecy.
- Our choice of restaurants and ice cream parlours approved by the guide: the best restaurants, the 3 best pizzerias and the best ice cream parlours in Annecy.
Visit Annecy differently : The Greeters of the lake
The Greeters du Lac are Annecy residents who are passionate about their region and offer to discover Annecy from a different perspective by customising your visit according to your tastes and preferences. The service is free and allows you to visit Annecy differently.
A city between lake and mountains
Have you finished your visit to Annecy? Discover the tour of the lake by car or by bike and enjoy the landscape. Or go hiking in the open air in the mountains overlooking the lake! Also discover the two magnificent nature reserves!
- The beaches of Lake Annecy
- Cycling around the lake
- The nature reserve at the end of Lake Annecy
- The Roc de Chère nature reserve
The Secret Gardens of Vaulx
It is a unique experience to visit these Secret Gardens which combine numerous fountains, a soft architecture and conducive to reverie with lush vegetation.
The Bell Museum in Sévrier
Just 10 minutes from Annecy on the banks of the lake, you can visit this fascinating bell museum which explains how, since 1796, the Paccard foundry has been making bells and chimes for the whole world.
The Eagles of Lake Geneva
This zoological park presents more than 80 species of birds of prey in the world’s largest aviary. Exciting falconry and eagle shows are offered at Les Aigles du Léman in Sciez.
Map of Annecy
To prepare your visit to Annecy, a map of the town showing the main tourist attractions is available: Annecy map.
Which means of transport to visit Annecy?
Depending on your preferences, choose your preferred means of transport to visit Annecy: bus, bike, Segway, Annecy City tour, little train, scooter or boat, many possibilities are available to you.
Annecy is a city whose historic centre and lakefront can be visited easily on foot, as apart from the Château d’Annecy, there is no coastline. Walking is the best way to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the sights and soak up the local atmosphere.
Find out more: Getting around Annecy