In Haute-Savoie, the Annecy destination unfolds in three major facets: the charming old town, often called the Venice of the Alps, the lake, and the mountains. Do you have 3 days to enjoy it all? Book your stay at a Campanile hotel in Annecy, and read on in this article to plan your trip. You'll find tips on how to make the most of the region with your family, friends, or loved ones!
You can start your weekend by exploring the city center to immerse yourself in its charm and admire the city's iconic landmarks. Strolling through the narrow cobbled streets, bridges, and canal banks, you'll have the chance to admire the Palais de l'Isle, Annecy's most famous monument, which once housed the city's prisons. Equally iconic, the "Pont des Amours" in Annecy is akin to what the Rialto is to Venice or the Pont des Arts is to Paris: legendary and romantic! Among other Instagram-worthy spots in the city center, don't miss the medieval castle overlooking the city, the Saint-Pierre Cathedral, the Saint-Maurice, Notre-Dame de Liesse, and Saint-François de Salles churches, or the Visitation Basilica located about ten minutes from the castle. And if you need a well-deserved break between explorations, the welcoming Campanile hotel is ready to recharge your energy for the rest of your adventure!
Your first day in Annecy might be the perfect opportunity to shop for local products at the old town's market on Place Sainte-Claire or in the numerous boutiques lining the canals. On your shopping list: typical Alpine cheeses, Savoie wines, charcuterie, as well as sweet treats like Savoie cake or the lake's reeds.
Wondering what to do in Annecy in the evening? Finish your day in the "Jardins de l'Europe" or on the "Pâquier" lawn before getting ready for an evening at a restaurant in the heart of the historic center or by the lake to savor one of Annecy's culinary specialties.
Even during a short stay, don't miss out on the charms of Haute-Savoie and the mountain air. Your second day in Annecy can be an opportunity to embark on a hike on one of the mountains surrounding the city and the lake. For enthusiasts, the Col de la Forclaz is renowned as the preferred take-off area for paragliders and hang gliders. Just outside Annecy, the Semnoz mountain dominates the entire western shore of the lake. From its summit, you can enjoy a breathtaking panorama of the Alps, reaching as far as Mont-Blanc on a clear day. Hiking enthusiasts can also explore the Tournette (2351 m), Parmelan (1856 m), Mont Veyrier (1291 m), or Taillefer (2855 m). Of course, these activities are better suited for a summer itinerary in Annecy. If your 3-day stay in Annecy takes place during winter, you can consider other activities like snowshoeing or skiing!
At lower altitudes, you can also savor the precious natural surroundings by staying by the water: the Bout-du-Lac Nature Reserve, located in Doussard less than 20 km from the center of Annecy, can be explored along a roughly 3 km family trail. It houses rich biodiversity, including wet meadows, forests, reed beds, and peat bogs, where numerous protected species thrive, including invertebrates, reptiles, the European beaver, as well as various bird species. A refreshing walk is guaranteed for your second day!
To end your trip on a more relaxed note, head to the shores of the famous Lake Annecy and enjoy the pleasures of the water! Water activities abound here, whether you enjoy leisurely pedal boating or prefer thrilling water sports like wakeboarding. Sailing, paddleboarding, canoeing, and even renting electric boats are among the myriad ways to navigate Lake Annecy! Of course, you can also content yourself with swimming and lounging on the Albigny or Marquisats beaches. We've even prepared a handy guide to the best beaches around Lake Annecy. Don't hesitate to check it out! And to enjoy the lake without getting wet, opt for a narrated cruise!
Day 3 can also be an opportunity to venture a bit away from Annecy and explore the surroundings: take a bike tour around the lake, or hop on the free summer shuttle that takes you to the must-see sites along Lake Annecy's shores. You can visit the village of Saint-Jorioz, the Paccard Bell Museum, the Lake Ecomuseum, or the wonderful Duingt on the lake's western shore. Don't hesitate to discover the other shore and its treasures, facing Annecy: the Angon Waterfall, the Menthon-Saint-Bernard Castle, the Talloires Abbey, the Roc de Chère Nature Reserve. This is also where you'll find the Lake Annecy Golf Club, an 18-hole course created in 1953 in an exceptional setting, ideal for enjoying an afternoon of tranquility and serenity on the lake's heights before heading back.
Another option: end your trip with a touch of fantasy! You'll find unique activities to do in Annecy and the surrounding areas. To surprise your friends or family, this can be a wonderful choice.
If you don't have enough vacation days to visit the city and its region in 3 days, you can also explore Annecy in 2 days. We've designed a dedicated itinerary for a shorter stay.