France isn’t short of dreamy and historic lakeside towns, but Annecy might just be one of the most beautiful. It’s a city in the French Alps close to the border with Switzerland.
In fact, many people only visit the so-called “Venice of the Alps” as a day trip from Geneva but there’s plenty to do in this charming city that would warrant an entire weekend in Annecy! You just need a 2-day itinerary for Annecy to lay out exactly how you can spend the extra day here.
Annecy, France is known for its beautiful Vieille Ville (Old Town) with cobblestone streets, winding canals, and flowers adorning every window box. Not to mention the achingly beautiful Annecy Lake, the second-largest glacial lake in France after Lake Bourget.
Considering Annecy’s natural beauty and outdoor offerings, the best time to visit Annecy is during the summer. However, Annecy’s Christmas market is also spectacular and one of the best things to do in Annecy in winter!
When choosing where to stay in Annecy, you couldn’t pick anywhere better than the Old Town for an Annecy weekend break. You’ll be based in the heart of the city close to all the iconic spots, restaurants, and bars and everything will be within walking distance. That’s exactly what you need when you only have 48 hours in Annecy.
This 48 hours in Annecy itinerary breaks down everything you need to spend 2 days in Annecy, France. It includes what to eat, what to drink, things to do in Annecy and the best tours to take so all you have to do is book your flights and explore Annecy at your leisure!
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2-Day Itinerary for Annecy
Day 1 in Annecy
Brunch at Laymouna
Start the first day of your Annecy itinerary by enjoying brunch at Laymouna. This cafe is located in a beautiful part of the city near the Le Thiou canal river just off Rue Royale. They serve loaded flatbreads, Buddha bowls, local pastries and delicious artisanal coffees.
Stroll Around Annecy Old Town and Canals
After satiating your appetite, it’s time to explore Annecy Old Town! There’s a lot to see. Le Palais de I’Isle is a former medieval castle and prison sitting on top of the Le Thiou canal that is now an art and history museum. It has an intriguing design and you’ll want to photograph it even if you don’t head inside!
You should also visit the city’s main cathedral, Cathédrale Saint-Pierre. This catholic church was once a Franciscan priory and it has a stunning checkered floor with high vaulted ceilings.
Porte Perrière is one of the most popular attractions in Annecy as it used to be one of the gates to the city during medieval times and it’s still standing today. Many consider it a pretty part of the city to visit at night.
Swing by Place Sainte-Claire which is one of the main squares in Annecy is always bustling with people. This is where you’ll find lots of restaurants, shops and cool little monuments like the Fontaine à Annecy.
Lunch at Food Crêpe or Tête de Cochon
You’ll have worked up an appetite after all that walking around Old Town so it’s time for some lunch. If you’re in the mood for French pancakes and are travelling on a budget, check out Food Crêpe for some delicious and authentic sweet or savoury crêpes.
If you’d rather dine in a cosy restaurant where you can relax for a while, head to Tête de Cochon for a mezze platter or flatbread.
Visit the Château d’Annecy
In the afternoon on the first of your 2 days in Annecy, visit Château d’Annecy. It’s located just a little walk south of the Old Town and the main canals so it’s not difficult to find. This is a restored medieval castle which is now a museum exhibiting paintings and sculptures made in the region with works from historic and contemporary eras.
As well as the museum, the castle itself it’s just a magnificent complex. It also offers stunning vistas across the Old Town from one side and Annecy Lake from the other.
Eat Dinner at Les Chineurs de la Cuisin
While in Annecy, you want to eat as much delicious French cuisine as possible! On your first night, dine at Les Chineurs de la Cuisine which is a classic French bistro in the heart of the Old Town. They serve traditional regional dishes such as potato and cheese tartiflette, quiches, and mousses for dessert.
Drink French Cocktails at La Queue Du Coq
After you’ve finished dinner, stop by La Queue Du Coq for a classic French cocktail or two. You’ll find it near the Tourism Office of Lake Annecy and it offers a slight hipster vibe (lots of exposed brick walls and fairy lights) and an extensive drinks menu.
Day 2 in Annecy
Breakfast at Café Bichette
Head back into Annecy Old Town to enjoy lunch at Café Bichette. This restaurant is open all day and it’s housed in a traditional building with unpretentious decor.
Visit Lake Annecy
Since you’ve not seen much of it yet on this 2-day itinerary of Annecy, you should spend your entire second day exploring the purest lake in Europe, Lake Annecy. If you are visiting Annecy in winter, you can swap out some of the lake activities for more time exploring the Christmas markets.
Stop by Jardins de l’Europe (The Gardens of Europe) which is a lakeside park filled with walking trails and views over the lake and mountains in the distance.
This is also where you’ll find Pont des Amours, a romantic and pretty bridge, and Le Pâquier d’Annecy which is a much larger park on the lake next to the Gardens of Europe park.
Picnic Lunch on the Banks of Lake Annecy
If you’re visiting Annecy during the summer, you should spend as much time outdoors enjoying the lovely weather as possible. Instead of diving into a dark bistro, why not stop by a boulangerie and pick up lunch supplies and enjoy a picnic on the banks of the lake?
Some of the best boulangeries in Annecy include Boulangerie Rouge, Boulangerie Patisserie Alexandre Perchat and Marmillon.
They all sell fresh bread, pastries, quiches, cheeses, and more so that you can put together the best picnic you’ve ever had. All of these boulangeries are within walking distance of the parks so you can eat everything fresh.
Enjoy a Lake Cruise and Lounge on Plage des Marquisats
After your picnic, head to the jetty and hop on a boat cruise so you can actually get out onto the water and learn all about what makes Annecy Lake and the surrounding countryside so special.
Afterwards, walk down to Plage des Marquisats which is one of the best beaches on the banks of the lake. Bring your towel and pack your bathers because you’ll want to swim in these clean, crystal-clear waters!
The temperature of the lake is usually around 22° – 24°C (72° – 75°F) in summer so it’s absolutely perfect for swimming.
Eat Dinner at L’Esquisse
After a hot shower back at your accommodation and wiping the sand off your shoes, eat dinner at L’Esquisse on the Rue Royale. This is a highly-rated restaurant that serves hearty French alpine dishes with a modern twist and can also offer wine pairings with its tasting menu.
It’s a little bit spendy but since you’re only in Annecy for the weekend you should treat yourself!
Enjoy a Glass of Wine or Two at La Bella’Muse
Keep the good times going by enjoying another glass of wine at La Bella’Muse, a wine bar literally a one-minute walk away from L’Esquisse. They have an extensive wine list and the staff will be able to help you make a selection if you’re struggling to differentiate between dozens of different wines with similar-sounding names.
Tours in Annecy
If you’re concerned that you won’t get to see all of the city’s hotspots on your 2-day itinerary for Annecy because you’re worried about getting lost, join an Annecy walking tour. This is also a great idea if you want to learn more about the history behind the architecture and landmarks of the city from a local, knowledgeable guide.
You can arrange a time with your guide to suit you and if there is anywhere in particular that you wish to see, they can add it to your personalised itinerary.
French food is famously high-quality and delicious, and the food in Annecy is no different. Make the most of your time in this gastronomic area by booking a food tour with wine tastings and aperitifs too.
You will visit all the best bars and restaurants in the city and taste at least eight different sweet and savoury delicacies.
Market and Cooking Tour
Joining a food tour not enough to satisfy your cravings for delicious French cuisine? No one could blame you, so you should also book this market and cooking tour too. Visit a local farmer’s market with a local foodie and learn about which ingredients are in season and why make the best local dishes.
Your guide will then use the ingredients you buy at the market and give you a cooking demonstration (yes, you’ll be able to eat the food afterwards!) so you can cook this meal at home and remember your wonderful trip to Annecy.
FAQ for 2 Days in Annecy
How Many Days Is Enough for Annecy?
When answering the question, “how many days in Annecy?” many people will say one day is enough, but this is a mistake. You need two full days in Annecy to explore Annecy Old Town and the surrounding areas by the lake.
If you only have time to visit Annecy on a day trip from a nearby city like Geneva then by all means, take the opportunity! But if you have the time and budget to spend 48 hrs in Annecy, then definitely do it.
Is Annecy, France Worth Visiting?
Annecy is absolutely worth visiting. It’s a great place to visit as an extension of a trip to larger cities like Lyon, Geneva, and Chamonix. It’s small so don’t need to spend long here, you can explore the highlights in just two days.
Why Is Annecy So Popular?
Annecy is a charming, beautiful French city with a gorgeous glacial lake and pretty cobblestone lanes with canals running through them. Its beauty alone is enough to warrant its popularity because it looks like it was lifted straight out of Beauty and the Beast.
Annecy is also popular because it’s nearby other popular cities. Annecy is only 47 km south of Geneva in Switzerland, 93 km west of Chamonix and 150 km east of Lyon. All of these journeys take less than two hours by bus or public transport so it’s a convenient place to visit as an add-on trip.
Plus, Annecy is a beautiful summer destination but, thanks to its Christmas markets, it’s also a cool place to visit in winter. In fact, it’s strange how Annecy is not more popular!
Where To Stay Near Annecy?
If you are looking for where to stay in Annecy then Annecy’s Old Town (or Vieille Ville in French) is the best option. This neighbourhood is the historic centre of the city and is where you’ll find all the best restaurants, bars and most iconic landmarks in the city.
If you are looking for where to stay near Annecy because you don’t want to base yourself in the heart of the action, Annecy-Le-Vieux is a great choice.
This neighbourhood is to the east of Annecy Old Town and is much quieter, offers more open green spaces, and is directly next to the lake. It’s also a great place to pick if you are driving to Annecy.
2-Day Itinerary for Annecy Wrap-Up
This Annecy 2-day itinerary covers exactly how to spend two full days in this charming French city. All you need to do is organise your France travel, book your accommodation, pack your bags and head to Annecy! You won’t regret booking a weekend stay in Annecy rather than just popping in for a dL’Esquisseay trip.
Recommended tours in Paris
- Annecy Segway Tour – 2h
- Electric mountain biking in Annecy
- Private Market Tour and Modern French Cooking and Meal with a Local in Annecy
- Private 2-hour Walking Tour of Annecy with official tour guide
- Annecy: Cheese & Wine Tasting
- Private Full Day Tour of Perouges and Annecy from Lyon with Hotel pick-up
- Touristic highlights of Annecy on a Half Day (4 Hours) Private Tour with a local
- Private photo shoot at Lake Annecy