Sunbathing & Swimming

When the sun’s out, the beaches fringing the lake beckon. Some are patrolled in July and August, including Plage d'Albigny and Plage des Marquisats, when they can become very crowded.

Walking

Annecy is a real biped's town: you'll see large numbers of locals jogging serenely along their lakefront at all times of the year, and walking the Vieille Ville (Old Town) is a joy. From Jardins de l’Europe, you can amble along the lakefront northeast towards Annecy-le-Vieux, and southeast to Esplanade des Marquisats and beyond. Annecy's commercial centre is a few blocks north of the Canal du Thiou, around rue Royale.

Forêt du Crêt du Maure, about 3km due south of Annecy, has plenty of walking trails, as do the wildlife-rich wetlands of Bout du Lac, 20km from Annecy on the lake’s southern tip, and the Roc de Chère nature reserve, 10km away on the eastern shore.

The tourist office sells walking maps, including IGN’s Lac d’Annecy (€12).

Cycling & Blading

Biking and blading are big, with 46km of cycling track encircling the lake (aside from a gap on the eastern shore between Menthon and Perroix, awaiting construction). Another gentle path, once a railway grade, leads all the way to Albertville, 44km to the southeast. There are several bike rental operators in town, including Cyclable.

Roll'n Cy runs weekly rollerblading group rides through town, an unconventional way to meet some locals.

Water Sports

Between May and mid-September, there is pedalo rental, costing around €15 for an hour, offered by the shore of Lac d'Annecy (at or near Jardins de l'Europe). Alternatively, the safety-conscious diving pros at Annecy Plongée can help you take the plunge on a dive into the lake's pristine waters.

Adventure Sports

The tourist office has listings of mountain biking, canyoning, ballooning and other adrenaline-sport operators in and around Annecy. An enormous range is offered by Takamaka, including tandem paragliding (€95), rafting (€42 to €62), rock climbing (€49) and water-skiing (€42).

Skiing

Hankering for a snowy day trip? Annecy is less than an hour from three ski resorts. Perched on the northwest side of the Chaîne des Aravis, La Clusaz gathers reliable snow to pad out its 125km of pistes, served by 49 lifts. Topping out at 2600m, the resort is best for intermediate and experienced skiers, with just a few green and black runs for beginners and pros.

Six kilometres north, Le Grand Bornand has a 29-lift ski area, between 1000m and 2100m elevation, comprising more than a dozen each of green, blue and red pistes (with just a few black runs for advanced skiers) plus almost 70km of cross-country trails.

Best for beginners is Semnoz (elevation 1700m), less than 30 minutes' drive from Annecy. The piste and lift network are limited, but there are lift tickets for just two hours (adult/child €9.20/7.40) if you only want a taste of the snow. In summer there's luge, biking and hiking.

In ski season Transdev (www.transdevsavoie.com) offers bus transfers from Annecy to La Clusaz (€8, 50 minutes, six to 10 daily) and Le Grand Bornand (€8, 1¼ hours, six to 10 daily). Local buses reach Semnoz from Annecy (€5.60, 45 minutes, three daily) but timetables vary depending on season; ask at Annecy's tourist office.