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Annecy is easily one of the most beautiful towns in France. With flower-lined canals, a breathtaking lake surrounded by craggy mountain peaks, and charming Medieval buildings, spending one day in Annecy is a dream.
Annecy is my favorite place in France and it isn’t difficult to see why. Not only is Annecy worth visiting, spending a day in Annecy or longer is a fantastic way to enjoy the cuisine, culture, and sights of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region!
One Day in Annecy Itinerary: Top Things to do in Annecy, France in a Day
If you are short on time and have 1 day in Annecy, let’s talk about the best things to do in a day!
Now, to get the most out of your day, I highly recommend spending the night there so you can get up bright and early and see the town as it is waking up as well as beat the crowds! But if this is an Annecy day trip, then definitely get in early.
1. Explore the Old Town of Annecy
Old Town Annecy is a Medieval charmer. There are several beautiful churches, shops, and residences in the old town of Annecy that are drop-dead gorgeous to behold.
Then, of course, you have the canals. If there is one must-do during your 1 day in Annecy, it is to walk along the canals. And the main reason why I say to stay the night is so that you can enjoy these flower-lined waterways without the crowds.
Explore the Thiou canal and spot the famous Palais de L’ile monument in the middle of the water. Admire the ducks and swans as they glide gracefully on the crystal clear channel. And, of course, get a few photos or a cup of coffee next to the canals while the world is still waking up.
It is so worth it to see this first thing, because trust me, by afternoon the place is swarmed. Annecy may not be well known to people from other countries, but it is a very popular place to visit in France.
2. Palais de L’ile
While you’re wandering around the Old Town, stop into the Palais de L’ile! This palace island was once a prison, a minting workshop, administrative center, a royal residence, and is now a museum.
It’s really interesting to visit this little palace and learn more about its past and the history of Annecy. It only takes about an hour to visit, and it costs €3.80 for admission.
Palais de L’ile Hours: Wednesday-Monday 10 am-12 pm, 2-5 pm. Closed on Tuesdays.
3. Old Town Market in Annecy
While you’re in Old Town Annecy, why not stop by the most amazing farmers market? Open year-round on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays from 7 am-1 pm, there are stalls selling the most amazing and fresh foods!
On Tuesdays, you’ll find tons of local produce, and on Fridays and Sundays, you’ll also see many textile goods as well. It is also larger on the weekends. No matter when you visit, though, you’ll enjoy pursuing the stands and purchasing anything from fresh veggies to local cheeses and everything in between.
Stalls are located throughout the old town with many near the canals. The freshest strawberries I’ve ever tasted came from this market! Plus, there is a phenomenal nougat stand worth checking out too!
4. Picnic Along Lake Annecy During Your 1 Day in Annecy
You know about the Old Town Market above, so why not gather up the best sausages, bread, cheeses, fruits, and veggies and stop by a shop for a bottle of wine to take to Lake Annecy for a picnic?
The best place for this picnic has to be the Jardins de l’Europe. This scenic park has many shade trees that make for a perfect place to set up a picnic, and you get sprawling views of Lake Annecy.
It couldn’t be a more perfect place to enjoy a lovely afternoon of people watching and tasty local food.
5. Get Out on Lake Annecy
Okay, while you could certainly bike around Lake Annecy, walk along the shores or just lounge on the beaches, why not get out on the crystal clear water to really enjoy it?
There are a few boat tours you could take, or if you want to keep it simple, just rent a paddleboat for an hour or two and get out on the water!
This is such a fun thing to do on a warm, sunny day! Take in the mountain views as you lazily paddle along, perhaps with that bottle of wine from earlier!
I did this last time with a friend and it was honestly one of my favorite memories from Annecy, so I highly recommend renting a little boat and enjoying the water!
Prices to rent a paddleboat is €18 per hour for a 2 person boat or €23 per hour for a 4 person boat.
6. Visit Pont des Amours for a Romantic Thing to do in Annecy for a Day
After exploring the lake, pop over to Pont des Amours for a lovely view of the canal that meets the lake. It is a romantic spot to enjoy together!
Legend says that if you kiss your love here then you’ll be together forever!
7. Catch a Sunset in Annecy
After a beautiful day in Annecy on both the lake and in the old city, it is time to enjoy a lovely sunset.
Obviously, the lake is a great option, but the old city sets a great backdrop for stunning sunsets as well!
8. Have Some Wine at La Cave
Once the sun has set it is time to enjoy a little bit of wine and an appetizer or two. La Cave Wine Bar is the perfect hidden gem to go to for splitting a bottle of amazing French wine and sharing some small plates.
Being near some incredible wineries of the Savoie wine region, you can’t miss the chance to try local wine! Grapes grown in the Savoie include Jacquère, Altesse, Gamay, and even some Pinot Noir.
While the wines here are predominantly white wine, you’ll find some great reds too! Seriously, I had the best Pinot Noir of my life here.
La Cave also has seriously tasty appetizers that are seasonally made.
La Cave Hours: Daily 6 pm-12 am.
9. End the Evening With Alpine Fare
To wrap up your one day in Annecy, you’ll definitely want to feast on alpine classics! Tartiflette, raclette, and fondue all come to mind when thinking about hearty and delicious alpine food!
Luckily, L’Etage is a great place to enjoy all of those options as well as other French classics like escargot, beef tartare, and steak frites.
If you’re going to be visiting this region of France, you can’t miss the chance to try the local cuisine!
After dinner, it is time to either head back to wherever you visited or spend the night.
L’Etage Hours: Monday-Saturday 12-2:15 pm and 7-10:30 pm. Sunday 12-2 pm and 7-10 pm.
If You Have More Than One Day in Annecy
If you have more than one day in Annecy, the options are endless! First of all, you could spend more time exploring Lake Annecy including biking the circumference of the lake!
There are also several hiking trails nearby to explore, as well as the chance to take day trips to nearby cities like Aix les Bains for their thermal baths, Geneva in Switzerland, and maybe even take a tour of the wineries of the Savoie wine region.
I really enjoyed the Alpes Flaveurs hiking and wine tour with Bernard! You can book this by emailing [email protected]!
Other Things to Know About Visiting Annecy, France in One Day
Before you enjoy your Annecy one day itinerary, here are some tips to know:
How to Get to Annecy:
The best way to get to Annecy is via train. If you’re coming from elsewhere in France or Switzerland, then a train is best! The Annecy train station is in the middle of the city center.
If you’re further away, then you’ll need to fly into a nearby airport and take the train to Annecy. Airports to check out include Paris, Lyon, and Geneva. Paris is about a 4-hour train ride away, while Lyon is 2 hours away, and Geneva is 1 hour away.
Check Skyscanner for the best prices on flights to France!
Getting Around Annecy:
Luckily, if you’re just sticking to Annecy, then walking is just fine. It is a pretty walkable city, so whether you want to enjoy the Old Town or visit the lake, walking is a great way to get around.
However, if you wish to visit nearby towns, you can either take the train if it is a larger town or rent a car for more flexibility. I love checking Sixt for rental car prices!
Where to Stay in Annecy
There are several options for where to stay in Annecy including rentals like Airbnb and VRBO.
But if you’re looking for great hotel options, here are a few based on your budget:
Budget: IBIS Styles Annecy Gare Center
Located near the train station and Old Town, it is a perfect place to explore on a budget. Aside from free breakfast, they also have rooms with mountain and city views! Prices start at $70 per night.
Mid-Range: Atipik Hotel Alexandra
This is where I stayed last time, and it is also located near the train station and Old Town. It had great views of the city from our room, and the staff was incredibly friendly and helpful. Prices start at $100 per night.
Luxury: Les Loges Annecy Vieille Ville
This luxury hotel is right in the old town and offers lovely apartments complete with cozy fireplaces, two bottles of wine for guests, and a delightful breakfast each morning.
Prices start at $275 per night.
Best Time To Visit For an Annecy Itinerary
Annecy, France is a fantastic place to visit year-round. While winter can definitely be chilly with temperatures ranging from 28-30ºF (-2 to -1ºC) at night and 38-42ºF (3-6ºC) during the day, there is ample opportunity to go skiing nearby!
Plus, the Christmas markets in Annecy are so lovely! These typically occur between late November and most of December.
Carnaval in Annecy also occurs in the winter months in either February or March where you can get dressed up in masks and wander the city!
Spring sees temperatures reaching 49-64ºF (9-18ºC) during the day and 33-45ºF (.5-7ºC) at night. It is also not terribly busy this time of year so it is a great opportunity to visit without a lot of crowds.
Summer is the warmest time of year to visit with temperatures averaging 71-76ºF (22-24ºC) during the day and 51-53ºF (11-12ºC) at night. There is also the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in June as well as the Lake Festival in August with a giant fireworks display!
Autumn cools down a bit with temperatures ranging from 46-69ºF (8-21ºC) during the day and 35-48ºF (2-9ºC) at night. The Return of the Alpine Pastures Festival occurs on the second Saturday in October when the flocks are heading back toward the town for the winter. There is a parade of animals (including cows in flower crowns!) as well as traditional music and dancing!
No matter when you visit, I know you’ll fall head over heels for this French alpine city! It is still my favorite place in France and I love each and every time I’ve visited no matter the time of year!
Spending one day in Annecy, France is a great way to get a taste of what this incredible city has to offer! From charming architecture and the stunning lake to tasty, hearty cuisine, a visit to Annecy will leave you wanting more!
Would you like to spend a day in Annecy, France?
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