Lake Annecy (Lac d'Annecy)
During spring and summer, Lake Annecy draws swimmers and boaters to its pristine beaches— its considered the cleanest lake in Europe. Adventure seekers can opt for speedboating or waterskiing, or go biking on a 25-mile (40-kilometer) lakeside trail. Plus, parasailing above the lake offers unrivaled alpine views.
Day trips from nearby Geneva in Switzerland typically include a stop at Lake Annecy, and tend to include free time to soak up the scenery and wander Annecy’s colorful cobblestoned streets. Full-day tours often visit both Geneva and Annecy, and include a narrated sightseeing cruise on the lake.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Swimming is restricted in some areas, but the small beach at Sévrier is a favorite from which to take a dip.
Travelers with some boating skills can hire a boat by the hour or for a full day.
Public transit around the lake itself is limited, so it's easiest to get different perspectives by walking, driving, or biking.
While it’s possible to get to Lake Annecy from a dozen different villages, the best viewpoint is from Annecy.
How to Get There
Lake Annecy is located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in eastern France, just a few minutes from the Swiss border; it extends from the eponymous city all the way to Verthier. From Lyon, drive along A43 and A41; from Geneva, opt for the A41. A large underground car park is located near Annecy’s waterfront on Quai Eustache Chappuis. Regular train services run to Annecy from Lyon, Chambéry, and Geneva.
When to Get There
Hang-gliding and parasailing tours are generally available April through October, while the lake’s temperature is ideal for swimming in July and August.
Exploring the Venice of the Alps
A medieval time capsule of half-timbered pastel houses, cobblestone lanes, and Venetian-style canals, Annecy is among the most photogenic cities in southeastern France. Don’t miss the Old Town (Vieille Ville) where you can wander among flower-filled squares and savor regional cuisine served in traditional French boulangeries. Major sights include the 12th-century Palais de l’Île and art-filled churches, but the prime pleasure here is the charming ambience.
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