top of page

Annecy: Discovering the Venice of the Alps, France

Updated: Jul 2

Canals of Annecy, Venice of the Alps

Discover Annecy, the Venice of the Alps

Annecy is a charming city located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes in southeastern France. The French Venice boasts beautiful canals, crystal clear waters, and medieval architecture.

This cozy little town is 1 hour from Geneva. It offers many options for outdoor activities, such as cycling, canoeing, and hiking. It is an unmissable destination for beautiful landscapes and a charming environment.

Explore with our travel blog! Let's Stroll by cobblestone streets and admire the ancient city walls!

Unveiling Annecy: Your "Venice of the Alps" FAQs Answered!

Annecy in France is often called the "Venice of the Alps." It is a picturesque destination known for its stunning scenery, charming canals, and lively atmosphere. But before you set off on your Alpine adventure, let's clear up some common questions:

  1. Is Annecy Really Like Venice?

While both cities boast canals and colorful buildings, Annecy offers a distinctly Alpine experience. Imagine Venice amidst snow-capped peaks and a sparkling lake – that's the magic!

How Do I Get to Annecy?

What's the Best Time to Visit Annecy?

What are Must-Do Activities in Annecy?

The Lake Annecy

  • Formed around 18,000 years ago, Lake Annecy is a product of the receding glaciers that sculpted the Alpine landscape.

  • The melting ice filled the basin, creating the crystal-clear waters we admire today.

  • Unlike many alpine lakes, Lake Annecy benefits from a unique source – a powerful underwater spring called Boubioz that contributes to its exceptional clarity.

  • Becomes electric blue when it is cloudy or blue-green when it rains.

Distance From Geneva

30 km


446,5 m

Surface Area

27 km2

Shoreline Length


Maximum Depth


Earning its Nickname: Why Venice of the Alps?

Unlike Venice, Annecy doesn't boast grand canals lined with gondolas. The magic lies in a network of three smaller canals that weave through the heart of the old town.

Thiou River, a turquoise ribbon, adds to the aquatic ambiance. The waterways and the picturesque bridges create a distinctly Venetian feel.

But the similarities go beyond water. The historic center, a labyrinth of cobbled streets and colorful buildings, evokes the romantic charm of Venice's canals.

Like Venice, Annecy is a pedestrian paradise, perfect for strolling, exploring hidden squares, and soaking up the atmosphere.

A Walk Through Time: Unveiling Annecy's History

Annecy was one of the most religious cities in France. One of the reasons was the installation in the city of Saint Francis de Sales. Amid counter-reformation, Saint Francis de Sales was an excellent preacher.

Thanks to him, the Catholic Church regained strength. Discover the beautiful baroque church of Saint François de Sales or the Saint Pierre Cathedral.

Its role in the Catholic Counter-Reformation made it the Rome of the Alps.

What to do in Annecy?

Annecy, Alpine Venice

Annecy is on the shores of Lake Annecy, one of the largest alpine lakes in France. Surrounded by mountains, it provides a stunning view.

The city offers several outdoor activities! Try boat trips, pedal boats, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding. Around the lake, there is a boardwalk perfect for walking and running.

The historic center of Annecy is one of the best preserved in France. The narrow, winding streets are home to medieval and Renaissance buildings. One great example is the Palais de l'Isle. It was an old prison that became one of the city symbols. Visit Saint-Pierre Cathedral, a Gothic church built between the 15th and 16th centuries.

  • Explore Annecy's Old Town (Vieille Ville). A picturesque area with cobbled streets, winding canals, and pastel-colored houses. Stroll along the canals, browse the shops, or stop for a coffee.

  • Go for a boat ride on Lake Annecy. Europe's cleanest lake. It is a popular spot for swimming, boating, and other water sports. You can rent a pedal boat, take a cruise, or relax on the shores of the lake and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

  • Walk across Pont des Amours (Lovers' Bridge). This charming bridge is a popular spot for couples to take photos and admire the views of the lake. Legend says if you kiss your loved one on the bridge, you will be together forever.

  • Picnic at Jardins de l'Europe. These beautiful gardens are located on the shores of Lake Annecy and offer stunning views of the lake and mountains. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the gardens.

  • Explore Annecy Castle (Château d'Annecy). This medieval castle overlooks the Old Town and offers panoramic views of the city and lake. The castle now houses a museum with exhibits on the history of Annecy and the surrounding region.

  • Walk the Promenade du Thiou. This scenic promenade follows the Thiou River as it flows through Annecy. It's a great place to take a walk, go for a bike, or people-watch.

  • Visit Annecy le Vieux. This small village is located just outside Annecy and is known for its 12th-century church. It is a great place to escape the crowds and enjoy peace and quiet.

  • Shop at the Farmer's Markets. The markets in Annecy are a great place to find cheese, wine, and other regional specialties.

  • Take a day trip to the Alps. Annecy is located in the Haute-Savoie department, part of the French Alps. Many beautiful mountain towns and villages for hiking, biking, and skiing.

Savoring Annecy: A Culinary Adventure 

Choose one of the many bars and restaurants with incredible views.

Gastronomy is also a strong point of Annecy. The region produces Reblochon cheese and white wines with local grapes.

Restaurants offer typical French cuisine. Try the cassoulet (white bean stew with pork and sausages. Don't forget the ratatouille (vegetable stew).

I'm a fan of fondue, raclette and tartiflette.


Are you a ski enthusiast looking for an exciting winter getaway? Annecy is an excellent option for those who enjoy winter sports.

The city is just a stone's throw away from the renowned ski resorts of La Clusaz and Le Grand Bornand. These offer tracks for all skill levels and the best slopes in the region.

In summer, the mountains are also an invitation for trails and walks.

Annecy, the Venice of the French Alps, is a very welcoming and hospitable city. Locals are friendly and willing to help tourists.

The city is safe and quiet. It is an ideal spot for families with children and couples looking for a romantic atmosphere.

Planning Your Annecy Getaway: Location & Getting There 

Annecy, venice of the Alp from Geneva

Annecy is located in southeastern France, near the border with Switzerland. It's the capital of the Haute-Savoie department and is about 35 kilometers south of Geneva.

How to get there? 

Annecy is easily accessible by train or car from other parts of France and Switzerland. The closest airport is Geneva International Airport.

From Paris it is a 6 hour drive. An option is to take a 2 hours TGV to Lyon and then drive 1:20 hour to Annecy. Ticket prices start at $13.

Explore at your own pace with a car from RentalCars. One of the best car rental platforms.

If you prefer the train ride pre-book at Rail Europe!

Annecy is a complete destination! It offers beautiful landscapes, rich history, quality cuisine, and many outdoor activities. Be sure to include the Venice of France in your list of upcoming trips!


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page