5 ideas to discover Annecy and its surroundings without a car

Annecy, a sustainable destination easily accessible by train

Less than 4 hours by train (direct) from Paris by TGV, and only 2 hours from Lyon by TER, Annecy is an easily accessible city without a car. On the spot, it is clear that Greater Annecy has made soft mobility one of its concerns to make this beautiful corner of France a sustainable and environmentally responsible destination.

As proof: two beaches around Lake Annecy are labeled with the Blue Flag, a mark that rewards sustainable tourism development policies, while two villages – Talloires-Montmin and Fillière – are labeled “Green Station”. This ecotourism brand highlights nature destinations throughout France.

⋙ Blue Flag marked beaches and harbors in 2022

By train, bus, bike or boat, you will be spoiled for choice to discover this destination!

Explore the old town of Annecy on foot

10 minutes from the station on foot, the medieval historic center of Annecy consists of cobbled streets and colorful buildings. It was there, on the banks of the Thiou River – one of the smallest rivers in France – that many artisans settled in the Middle Ages. Today there are many restaurants, cafés and other ice cream parlors in the old town!

A stroll through the old town of Annecy allows you to take a real journey back in time, with many must-see sites established throughout the ages. Starting with the Palais de l’île, built on a natural rock island and which appears to be located on the river! Listed as a historical monument in 1900, it is certainly the most photographed monument in Annecy. Château d’Annecy, created by the Counts of Geneva, now houses the Château-Musée and the Regional Observatory of the Alpine Lakes (ORLA).

For a view as romantic as it is sympathetic, head to the Pont des Amours, a work created by Claude Grandchamp in the early 20th century, which offers a double view: on the one hand, Lake Annecy and its mountains behind -plane, on the other Canal du Vassé and its boats. Finally, if you want a country holiday, don’t miss a visit to the Jardins de l’Europe, an English-style park with centuries-old plantations and a variety of species.

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Climb up into the mountains by bus from the center of Annecy

Located more or less an hour by car from several ski resorts, such as Chamonix, La Clusaz or Megève, Annecy is a favorite destination for winter sports enthusiasts.

Good news for the latter: enjoying the mountains around Annecy does not necessarily require a vehicle! It is actually possible to go by bus to Semnoz or Glières, two beautiful ski areas. Bonus: the buses also run in the summer for breathtaking hikes!

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Walk around Lake Annecy on foot, by bike or on roller skates

During your stay in Annecy, do not miss one of the most beautiful cycling tours that it is possible to experience in France. In fact, the Department of Haute-Savoie and the Syndicat Intercommunal du Lac d’Annecy have committed to develop the shores of the lake to make it a playground suitable for cyclists… but not only!

The complete trip to the lake is about forty kilometers with a slight difference in elevation, and it must be done in a clockwise direction. Good to know: half of the route is on one of the oldest greenways in France, the Promenade by bike.

This greenway and the other bike facilities allow you to go around the lake admiring incredible scenery while allowing the more athletic to reach passes to gain altitude.

Two other routes to explore by bike: on the one hand, a 30-kilometer ride on the west bank between Annecy and Val de Chaise, which takes place entirely on a greenway, the latter laid out on the right-hand side of the old railway line that connected Annecy with Albertville.

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On the eastern bank, 20 kilometers on the other side connects Annecy with Doussard. The route has just been completed and includes sections on a greenway, others on a multi-functional cycle track and shared lanes.

⋙ Cycling: 4 ideas for circuits by the water

Aix-les-Bains, Chambéry, Geneva, Grenoble… Explore the surroundings of Annecy by train

From Annecy station, several destinations nearby and accessible by TER are available to you, from Aix-les-Bains to Chambéry via Grenoble, and even Geneva, in Switzerland! The opportunity to discover Aix-les-Bains, the third spa resort in France located on the edge of Lac du Bourget, between Mont Revard and the Massif des Bauges, Chambéry, the most Italian of French cities, labeled “Villes et Pays d’ art and history”, or even Geneva, the watchmaking capital.

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Stay in summer in Annecy: go to the beach for free by bus

In 2021, Greater Annecy had chosen to create free access on certain bus lines, which, after being a great success, was reinforced in the summer of 2022: From July 1 to August 31 inclusive, it is all journeys on lines in the Annecy metropolis that have been offered to users.

Enough to allow everyone to enjoy the beaches that border Lake Annecy, thanks to lines that serve them between June and September, every day from Monday to Sunday, public holidays included.

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Do you want to travel differently this summer? Geo.fr invites you to discover several regions of France during the weeks without a car, using modes of transport such as walking, cycling or even sailing!

Also read:

Ecotourism holiday in France: Discover Haute-Corse without a car

Visit southern Brittany without a car: our ideas for ecotourism walks

Visit southern Brittany without a car: our ideas for ecotourism walks

Ecotourism: what are the best islands to visit without a car in France?

Ecotourism: what are the best islands to visit without a car in France?

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