Annecy Walking Tour

The Palais de L'Isle in Annecy, France
The Palais de L'Isle in Annecy, France

By Vicky · Published Sep. 20th, 2023

Exploring Annecy on a walking tour is a fantastic way to discover this charming town, with picturesque canals and stunning lake views.


This walk starts from Annecy Train Station. It’s about 1hr30 on the train from Geneva, or 2 hours from Lyon.

Annecy Walking Tour Map

Get the route by downloading the .gpx or .kml file below. For navigation with on your mobile phone, simply download the .kml file and open to add it to the bookmarks.

Tips for Annecy Walking Tour

  • It can get very crowded in Annecy in July & August, so it’s best to start your walking tour early in these months.
  • For more walking tours and hikes, see our France Hiking Page.

Top Sights in Annecy

On this self-guided walking tour you’ll see the main sights and attractions of Annecy. You can explore most of the town in half a day, though allow a full day if you want to visit the museums or explore more of the lake. This tour is self-guided, however if you want to be accompanied on your walk, you can find a great Guided Private Walking Tour* of Annecy, or explore the town on a Segway*!

  1. Thiou River Walk
  2. Old Town
  3. Château d’Annecy
  1. Palais de l’Isle
  2. Jardins de l’Europe

While walking around Annecy, make sure you sample some local Savoyard cuisine. Try dishes like raclette, fondue, or tartiflette at one of the many restaurants in the Old Town.

Annecy Walking Tour Route

This walking tour starts at Annecy’s train station, which is conveniently located near the town center.

Directions: Head straight down the road opposite the train station to the river. Turn left before the bridge at the Thiou River.

1. Thiou River Walk

Thiou River Walk in Annecy, France

Follow the riverside promenade along the Thiou River. This picturesque walk will take you past numerous cafes and restaurants where you can stop for a drink or a meal while enjoying the view. You can find several little bridges and alleyways leading to and away from the banks of the river and it’s a lovely place for a stroll.

Directions: Cross over the next bridge, then left and left again over the next bridge. Explore the streets on this side of the river, where you’ll find many churches, before heading back over the next bridge.

2. Old Town/La Vieille Ville

Walking through the Old Town/La Vieille Ville of Annecy
Walking through the Old Town/La Vieille Ville of Annecy, France
Walking down an alley near the Castle of Annecy

In Annecy’s Old Town* you’ll find narrow cobbled streets, colorful buildings, and quaint shops. Take your time to explore the charming alleys and admire the architecture. There are many eateries, cafes, and the river flowing through the middle. You’ll also find little passageways and covered archways alongside the streets. There’s a market on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday mornings in the old town.

Churches of the Old Town

As you walk around Annecy Old Town, you’ll see several churches. The Cathedrale Saint-Pierre* is a small and simple cathedral with stained glass windows and a beautiful rose window at one end. Notre-Dame de Liesse* has many arches and semi-circular windows inside, with high vaulted ceilings. It’s worth taking a peak inside.

Church in France
Church in France

The Eglise St. Maurice* has a cool and peaceful interior, which can be a nice contrast to outside. There are nice stained glass windows but overall the church is fairly spartan. The Église Saint-François*, just next to the previous church, has high ceilings and white walls with a grand gold altar and lots of green marble and statues.

Directions: Now walk up to the castle. It’s worth the walk even if you don’t go inside the castle museum, as you’ll find some great views.

3. Château d’Annecy

Views from the Château d'Annecy in France
Château d'Annecy, a stop on a walking tour of Annecy

Key Information: Open Jun-Sep 10h30-18h, Oct-May 10h-12h & 14h-17h. Closed Tuesdays. Tickets cost €5.60/3 per adult/child, or €7.30/4.20 combined with the Palais de l’Isle.

if you’re interested in history, you can visit the Château d’Annecy (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*), which houses the Annecy Castle Museum and offers panoramic views of the town from its terrace. The castle also has a 12th-century tower with more spectacular views of the Alps. The museum houses a collection of fine artwork, artifacts from the Medieval Ages and more. However, only some of the information is translated into English – make sure to pick up a guide at the entrance. There are often interesting exhibits on inside, so check before you enter.

Directions: From the square outside the castle, head right down the narrow lane back towards the old town. Cross the river behind the Palais de l’Isle, then cross again at the next bridge to get the famous view.

4. Palais de L’Isle

The Palais de l'Isle in Annecy, a stop on the self-guided walking tour

Key Information: Open Jun-Sep 10h30-18h, Oct-May 10h-12h & 14h-17h. Closed Tuesdays. Tickets cost €3.90/2 per adult/child, or €7.30/4.20 combined with the Château d’Annecy.

Make your way to the Palais de l’Isle (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*), a stunning medieval palace located on an island in the Thiou River. It’s one of Annecy’s most iconic landmarks and is often referred to as the “old prison.” It’s a beautiful structure to photograph, most commonly taken from the bridge, and there’s a museum inside.

The museum has interesting exhibits that explain the history of Annecy and the Palais building itself, which used to be a prison. You can visit the old cells and a little chapel and courtyard and spend about 1 hour in the museum.

Directions: Follow the river down to the next bridge and cross into the gardens.

5. Jardins de l’Europe

Jardins de l'Europe and Lake Annecy in France

Explore the Jardins de l’Europe*, a lovely park on the lakefront with well-manicured gardens, massive trees, statues, and swans swimming in the canal. It’s a peaceful place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty. You can have a picnic in the park, rent a boat, go on a boat tour over the crystal clear waters, or simply have an ice cream.

Lake Annecy

Lake Annecy* is one of the cleanest and most beautiful lakes in Europe. Stroll along the lakefront promenade, enjoying the crystal-clear waters and the mountains in the distance. Alternatively, cycle or walk further around the lake to admire the views. There are many beaches along this turquoise lake, which is perfect for swimming in the summer.

Directions: On the far side of the gardens you’ll find the Pont des Amours.

Pont des Amours (Lovers’ Bridge)

The Pont des Amours* is a charming footbridge famous for its romantic atmosphere. It offers great views of the river and the surrounding area.

Directions: This is the end of the Annecy Walking Tour. To get back to the train station, walk along the water and then make your way back through the streets.

Best Places to Stay in Annecy

Annecy has many places to stay, from budget hostels to fancy hotels and everything in between. Check out the best hotels and apartments in Annecy below:

  • Hôtel du Château*: A great hotel high up by the castle, yet close to the centre of town. From the panoramic terrace and some rooms there are lovely views over Annecy town and the mountains beyond.
  • Hôtel du Palais de l’Isle*: A hotel right in the heart of Annecy with mostly large rooms that have great views.
  • Le Pélican Hotel*: A 4-star hotel with great views, including from the lovely pool & bar terrace. There’s an on-site bakery and it’s close enough to walk to the lake and the Old Town.

Guidebooks for Exploring & Hiking in Southern France

For more walking tours and hikes, see our France Hiking Page.

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