Flying visit: Annecy, France

Here’s a question. If you had three days for an end-of-summer getaway, where would you go? Three final days of summer sun before heading back to the regular routine. This year we wanted to explore somewhere off the beaten track that still ticked our usual boxes for short-breaks: warm climate, good food and waterfront location. After skimming through a few destinations, Annecy in southeastern France emerged as a strong contender, and it soon proved to tick all those boxes and more.

Annecy, Savoie, France

Getting there
Annecy is an alpine town in southeastern France, so to get there we flew from Dublin to Geneva. The flight time is around 2 hours 40 minutes. We pre-booked our transfer from the airport, so the drive only took about 40 minutes. The scenery was breath-taking along the way. As an alternative to an airport transfer, there’s a public bus with regular service to Annecy that takes roughly 90 minutes.

We stayed at Hotel Atipik Alexandra, which was the perfect location to base ourselves for the trip. We were within walking distance of all the major attractions so getting around was super easy.

Recreational boats in Annecy's harbour, captured at sunrise.

Things to do
We started our days early, grabbing breakfast on the go before heading to the beach at Lake Annecy. It’s the third biggest lake in France, so you have a few beaches to choose from. We opted for Plage des Marquisats, which is an open beach with grassy verges, great for laying out the towel and enjoying the scenery, and taking the odd dip in the water.

Another good beach option is ‘Beach Club Imperial Palace’. Entry comes at a fee of €15 per person, and there’s a lifeguard on duty. All of these beaches are set against an amazing backdrop of the French Alps.

We spent one of our afternoons on a boat trip. We were ferried across the lake to Plage Municipale de Talloires. Here the decked platform is perfect for taking a plunge into the fresh water. For adrenalin seekers, there are lots of water activities on offer.

If you don’t feel like taking to the water, you can rent bikes and cycle the 40km of cycling paths around the lake.

Annecy’s location means you have your choice of French, Swiss, Italian or German cuisines. We ventured into the Captain pub located in the heart of the evening bustle. It offers a relaxed atmosphere with a varied food menu and extensive selections of local beers and ales to choose from. It’s well worth a visit.

Annecy, Rhone-Alpes, France, Europe

Last day
An evening flight home meant we had the morning to do a little more exploring, so we decided to split up. My wife, who’s a better shopper than me, wanted to browse the high-end stores in the newer part of Annecy town and the local craft shops in the older part of town. Meanwhile, I went in search of some alpine antique shops. The buildings and artefacts really transport you back to ancient times. I found some of the most unique and interesting artefacts along the winding canals and cobbled streets.

Annecy really is an undiscovered gem. Perfect for a short break away from the bustling crowds. For us, it’s definitely somewhere to return to again.


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