Annecy Day trip from Morzine

Lake Annecy – plan a beautiful day trip from Morzine

December 15th, 2023 Holiday Tips

Annecy is around 1 hour and 15 minutes drive from Morzine, and makes a memorable day trip at any time of the year. Hailed as ‘the Venice of the Alps’, this beautiful lake-side city is steeped in history, with charming cobblestone streets, colourful buildings, flower-lined canals, and a host of excellent restaurants and shops.

Things to do on a day trip to Annecy

Annecy city and old town

It’s easy – and highly recommended – to spend a few hours exploring the cobblestone streets and canals of Annecy’s medieval old town. A focal point is the Palais de l’Île, a 12th-century building that was once a courthouse and prison. A stroll through the streets will take you up to the Château d’Annecy, the former home of the counts of Geneva. Today it’s an art museum, which is worth visiting, even just for the views of the rooftops, streets and lake.

The narrow streets of the old city are packed with cheese and charcuterie shops, ice cream stands, bakeries, chocolate shops and cafes. You’ll find excellent French food here in the restaurants along the streets and canal side, many of which have sunny terraces. On Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday mornings, the streets are a bustling swarm of locals and tourists who come to buy fresh produce at the old city market between 7am and 1pm. On Fridays and Sundays, you’ll find crafts, arts and textiles as well as fresh foods.

Shopping

Ask any resident, and they are likely to say Annecy is the place to shop in the Haute Savoie. There are several main shopping streets lined with fashion boutiques, as well as interesting and specialised independent shops selling everything from kitchenware to books and handmade jewellery. On Rue Royale and in the main shopping mall, you’ll also find fashion brands such as H&M, Mango, Max Mara, Adidas and Zara.

The iconic French brand Salomon was founded in 1947 in Annecy, and you’ll find a large store with ski and snow gear, trail and hiking goods. But it’s not the only outdoor brand here, there are plenty to choose from – North Face, Oakley, ODLO – to mention a few.

 

Christmas in Annecy

It is lovely to visit Annecy at Christmas time to see the city’s beautiful decorations, light shows and festive market. Marché de Noël d’Annecy is when Annecy goes all out for the Christmas holiday, putting on special events and illuminating the Old Town with fairy lights throughout the festive period. Around 80 wooden huts spill out on the streets, selling local produce, handcrafted wood carvings, and home-made decorations.

Annecy lake front

The Pont des Amours (Lover’s bridge) is another icon of Annecy and makes a pretty photo. It connects to the Jardins de l’Europe, the European Gardens. You’ll find a big grassy space here, where city workers and tourists merge to picnic at lunch time. This is also a community space where several art, sport and cultural events take place throughout the year. There is a vintage merry go round, children’s play park and pedalos for hire in summer.

Le Lac d’Annecy is the cleanest of any lake in Europe, and the third largest lake in France. It’s clear blue waters are home to a wide array of water sports – swimming, stand up paddle boarding, sailing, water skiing and diving. Whilst around the lake, a cycle path runs for 50km, providing a wonderful opportunity for cyclists to take in the views. There are several bike hire shops around the waterfront.

Paragliding is also popular here, with professionals from around the world and tourists, who can take a tandem ride to enjoy the spectacular lake, city and mountain view.

Another great way to experience this beautiful area, is to take a boat from the city shoreside to the opposite end of the lake, known as Petit Lac d’Annecy (Little Annecy Lake). Exploring by water, you’ll pass the luxury mansions of Annecy-le-Vieux, as well as the Château de Menthon-Saint-Bernard. This medieval castle on the lake is said to be the inspiration for the castle of Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.

Annecy’s beaches in summer

If you are looking to swim, relax, build a sand castle and soak up the sun, Annecy’s beaches have a totally different feel to our mountains resorts, and can feel like a spot on the French Riviera. Close to the city is Imperial beach, which is great for an afternoon swim after a tour of the city.

With a car or bike you can reach more beaches around the lake, as well as see the stunning scenery. Talloires has a large grassy area for sunbathing, a diving board, paddling pool and a slide. Near-by you’ll find a nautical centre offering paddle boarding, kayaking and sailing. Further along on the same side of the lake, the beach of Menthon-Saint-Bernard offers shade, a sandy beach front, a paddling pool, showers, toilets and a cafe bar.

On the opposite side of the lake, Sevrier has showers, a snack bar and a restaurant on-site, as well as lovely views of the Dents de Lanfon and Tournette mountain. It can be directly accessed from the promenade cycle path, and makes a great spot for a refreshing dip. Just a stone’s throw away are sailing, canoe and kayak clubs.

Also on this side of the lake, you’ll find the sandy beach front of Saint Jorioz has similar facilities, as well as shade offered by tall trees and a volleyball court.

Eating in Annecy

Annecy has an exciting foodie scene and is a great place to discover fresh fish from the lake, alpine cheeses, and delicious dishes that offer a fresh take on the culinary heritage of the area. You also don’t have to pay a fortune to dine in the restaurants here, and many serve delicious plat du jours.

A couple of standout places: L’Appart du Dix-Sept is effortlessly stylish, yet also welcoming. As the name suggests, the restaurant is nestled inside an apartment, pleasantly elevated above the streets of the town. The food is inventive and beautifully presented. If you are looking for seasonal specialities, L’Esquisse serves dishes made from produce sourced from a local market.

 

Getting to Annecy from Morzine

If you have a car, you can drive to Annecy in around 1 hour 15 minutes. The quickest route is to join the A40 at Bonneville, you’ll then take the A410 exit toward Lyon/Annecy/Grenoble. Remember to have a credit card or change ready to pay the tolls. You can also avoid the tolls by sticking to the D roads, which will take an extra 15 minutes or so.

If you don’t have a car, Mountain Days Away runs pre-scheduled transport to Annecy for day trips from Morzine during the summer, and on request in the winter.

Morzine is situated in the heart of the Portes du Soleil mountains in a fantastic location for exploring the Haute Savoie, read our page on day trips from Morzine for more inspiration. Our luxury chalets are available year-round and are the perfect place to call home for your holiday in the French Alps.

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