From beach to beach around Lake Annecy
During the summer months Lake Annecy takes center stage, and its beautiful shores offer the chance to enjoy a truly captivating experience. Using the beaches to outline the contours of the lake offers a unique perspective of the surrounding peaks and landscapes.
The beaches along the lake, whether grass or sand, each offer their own unique summer charm. The lake’s magnificently blue, crystal clear waters provide the perfect opportunity to cool off in the summer sun, and the very moderate temperatures for an alpine lake, 23°C on average during the summer, translate to an almost shiver-free outing!
For your time spent along the lake to measure up to the awe-inspiring landscapes, we offer a few recommendations to ensure that peace and quiet reign when exploring the area’s beaches.
© Monica Dalmasso / Municipal beach of Duingt
Cool and calm at dawn or dusk
Appealing by nature, crowds usually flock to the beaches around Lake Annecy during very specific times of day.
The crisp cool mornings offer the ideal time for families to take advantage of the almost empty beaches, playgrounds, and calm lake waters. The beginning of the day also allows you to find the shadier corners of each beach, as well as relative peace and quiet when heading into the water for a swim. As night begins to fall, the changing colors of the lake’s surface offer so many magical moments. Relax after a busy day by picnicking or enjoying a drink with friends. Bask in the lake’s magnificence by opting for the cooler temperature windows.
© Monica Dalmasso / Beach of Angon
Mix activities, using the beaches as your home base
A great way to take advantage of the beaches around Lake Annecy is to mix in a wide variety of activities.
The beaches can serve as a starting point or destination for the many must-dos or must-sees in the area. Here are just a couple of great ideas to inspire you.
© Gilles Piel / Beach of Saint-Jorioz
- Before or after you go swimming Les Marquisats, the closest beach to Annecy’s Old Town can serve as the ideal starting point to embark on a full or half day of exploring the historic venues up and down the centuries-old cobblestone streets. You can also add or opt for a bike ride on the designated bike path along the amazing west side of the lake.
Another option is the “Société des Régates à Voile d’Annecy” (Annecy Sailing Club) right next door to the Les Marquisats beach. They offer half-day or full-day beginner sailing lessons in an optimist, catamaran, sailboat, or skiff. You also have the option of taking private lessons or simply renting a boat to take out onto the lake.
- The spacious sand and grass beach in Saint Jorioz is perfect for kids and families. An entrance fee is required in July and August, from 9:30 to 17:30, adding an extra level of safety to your outing in addition to the lifeguards on duty. Saint-Jorioz beach has lots of shade as well as a wide variety of facilities, including a diving board, a pier, a wading pool, a playground for kids, and volleyball and pétanque courts. From the beach, take a stroll on the “Les Roselières” (Reeds) trail, which starts from the beach parking lot and takes you on a 1.5 hour (4.5 km) leisurely stroll along the lake in a natural environment that several species of water fowl call home.
After spending your morning at the beach, you have the option of venturing to higher ground to the top of Mt. Semnoz, where summer activities of all kinds abound, including an alpine coaster, all-terrain kick scooters, mini go-karts, and summer biathlon for the more audacious. And for those looking to explore the vibrant all-natural mountain environment, enjoy the several themed hikes and orienteering courses through the forest and along the summit plateau.
- After cooling off at Menthon Beach, one of the shadiest beaches around the lake (an entrance fee is required in July and August between10:00 and 18:00), you just have to pay a visit to Menthon Castle/Chateau de Menthon.
The fairytale-like architecture, incredible centuries-old history, and magnificent views of the lake constitute just a few of the many reasons to visit this majestic location overlooking Lake Annecy. Each room of the castle has a story to tell, from the kitchen, to the chapel and library, by way of the sitting rooms and Countess’s bedroom; dive into centuries of history in a castle that has the unique claim to fame of belonging to the same family for twenty-three generations!
On weekends and holidays in July and August, young actors and actresses dressed in traditional garb play the roles of former residents from a time long past as they lead guided tours. As a bonus, through the end of October, contemporary artists will exhibit their works in the gardens and inside the castle based on the theme, “Botanical Legends.”
- In Talloires, the public beach is the most spacious in the area. Enjoy a diving board, waterslide, small and large designated swimming areas with lifeguards on duty, a wading pool, a beach volleyball court, and a pétanque court. For a little more peace and quiet, opt for Cassines Beach, just two kilometers down the road from the village center.
From the beaches in Talloires, anyone looking to add a little excitement to their day can opt for a tandem paraglider flight and land right near the water’s edge. From “Perroix,” several paragliding schools offer a first-time experience taking off from just a short ways up the road above the cliffs of Planfait. The views from the takeoff area are breathtaking, with the lake far below shimmering in the sunlight. Flying over the turquoise-blue water is an unforgettable, truly magical experience.
- Good to know: the Marquisats & Albigny beaches in Annecy, Sevrier Beach, Saint-Jorioz Beach, and La Brune Beach in Veyrier-du-Lac all have floating beach wheelchairs to provide easier access to the water for people with reduced mobility.
Always a must-visit when staying in Annecy, the beaches around the lake have so many well-kept secrets to explore. Ride a bike or take public transportation, and mix the relaxing beach experience with other activities for a full, fun-filled day.
All roads lead to the beach
Even outside peak hours, leave your car behind and take advantage one of the many alternative modes of transport to access the beaches around Lake Annecy.
You will appreciate the stress-free experience and help to keep the lake and surrounding environment as pristine as possible!
© Gilles Piel / Beach of La Brune
Mobil’été wherever you go
With summer in full swing, so is Mobil’été, Annecy’s way of making it easy to use public transportation and alternative ways of moving around without your car.
From July 1 through August 31, all of the buses and coaches in the SIBRA bus system that connect the city with the outer reaches of the lake are free. From Talloires to Duingt, the “Lac” (Lake) lines allow you to circumnavigate the lake. During this two-month period, take advantage of free parking in a “park and ride” parking.
The Compagnie des Bateaux d’Annecy (Lake Annecy Boat Company) offers the perfect way to access the beaches along the lake: the Navibus ferry stops at every port along the lake as well as at other designated piers during the summer. What a great way to get to the beaches in Talloires, Menthon, Les Marquisats, Sevrier, Saint-Jorioz, and Duingt.
Good to know: for 1 euro more, you can take your bike with you on the Navibus ferry; the perfect way to extend your day to explore the area.
With SeaBubbles Mobility Solutions, learn about this new, experimental form of transportation on Lake Annecy. When you try the SeaBubble experience, it feels like you’re “flying” on water.
Ride around the lake on the 40-kilometer long bike path. Based on your motivation and fitness, it takes between 1-hr 15-min and 2.5 hours to complete. To reach the beaches by bike, the lake’s west shore offers the easiest ride and best options for a family outing. There is a designated bike path from Annecy all the way to the end of the lake on almost entirely flat terrain.
Whatever your destination, you can rent a bike through the area’s private bike rental shops or through the city’s “Vélonecy” bike rental service. The latter allows you to rent a bike for free for the first 30 minutes, and it costs just €1.50 for the first hour. If you need a bike for more than an hour, the private bike rental shops are your best option (better prices and more services).
- © Gilles Piel / Municipal beach of Talloires
Journalist: Gaëlle Tagliabue
Translation: Darin Reisman