Lake Annecy: Is it Europe’s most beautiful lake?

·3-min read
Photo credit: Pierre Longnus
Photo credit: Pierre Longnus

Believed to have the cleanest waters in Europe, Lake Annecy is the darling of France. Sitting south of its pretty namesake town, the sparkling lake fed by mountain springs, is just nine miles long and two miles wide and affords an idyllic French Alps location.

Lake Annecy may be less famous than some of Europe's larger and better-known lakes, such as Lake Garda and Lake Bled, but its show-stopping alpine scenery, oodles of activities, and picture-perfect French town help make the lake one of the most beautiful on the continent.

VISIT LAKE ANNECY WITH GH

In glorious hues of sapphire and turquoise, Lake Annecy's colour makes it beautifully striking and enticing for a swim. The water is pleasantly refreshing in the summertime temperatures, which generally hover in the mid-20 degrees Celcius.

If you're more inclined to enjoy the views from the glittering surface instead, there's paddle boarding, wakeboarding, and sailing to try. But Lake Annecy is equally enticing to those wanting to simply sit back and enjoy the views across the water and admire the snow-capped Tournette Mountain beyond.

Photo credit: Andia - Getty Images
Photo credit: Andia - Getty Images


In winter, the beauty of Lake Annecy changes, taking on silvery tones and soothing tranquillity. Early morning mists cast a mysterious atmosphere across the lake making wintertime a wonderful season to visit the alpine lake.

One of our favourite spots on Lake Annecy is Lovers’ Bridge or Pont des Amours. This beautiful bridge is an iron crossing joining two pretty gardens and legend has it that if two lovers kiss on the bridge, they’ll stay together forever.

Photo credit: Bernard Grua - Getty Images
Photo credit: Bernard Grua - Getty Images

Linger on the bridge, then take a slow wander to the Gardens of Europe, a grassy park dotted with fountains that’s perfect for picnicking and people-watching in equal measure. You'll want to go prepared with snacks from a traditional boulangerie in the town.

However beautiful the lake is, time in the town of Annecy shouldn’t be missed. Traffic-free streets and storybook canals carve their way through this elegant town – dubbed the ‘Venice of the Alps’ for good reason.

Photo credit: golibo - Getty Images
Photo credit: golibo - Getty Images

Colourful houses are made even more kaleidoscopic thanks to window boxes overflowing with flowers, making a simple stroll through Annecy utterly enchanting.

Elsewhere around the lake, you can visit a splendid medieval chateau that overlooks the water at Menthon-Saint-Bernard. Peek inside its impressive rooms, including its chapel, library, and kitchens. It's not the only lakeside castle either - there are four other turreted beauties to spot on a boat trip across the lake.

Photo credit: © Sergio Parisi - Getty Images
Photo credit: © Sergio Parisi - Getty Images

You can also hire bikes and cycle the Lake Annecy greenway. This smooth 33-kilometre cycle path hugs the shoreline and makes moving from village to village easy. It's recommended to join the route in Annecy and cycle south down the western edge of the lake. You may wish to top at sandy spots, such as the beach at Saint-Jorioz, or one of the green parks.

Visit Lake Annecy as part of an exclusive trip to Switzerland and France with Good Housekeeping this September and in 2023. You’ll get the chance to spend a day exploring Annecy before boarding the incredible Mont Blanc Express.

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