When you drive around the mountains surrounding Annecy you’ll pass many cyclists tempted by the challenging climbs which are sometimes pretty ambitious. If you’re not one of them and prefer an easier bike tour then try cycling Lake Annecy. This scenic ride follows the outline of the lake. It offers fantastic views stretching from one side to the other of the crystal-clear lake, quaint little villages, formidable castles and snow-capped peaks.
Cycling Lake Annecy: the itinerary
Castle of Duingt, Lake Annecy © French Moments
The car-free two way cycle path (“Voie Verte
“) links Annecy to Ugine and follows a disused railway line. At times you’ll enter old railway tunnels. At the end of the lake (Doussard), you have the option to cycle back to Annecy on the other side of the lake (via Talloires, Menthon) or go back the way you came. However at the moment parts of the route between Bout-du-Lac and Menthon will take you on the main road (completion of the entire cycle path around the lake is planned by end 2020). So if you go this way be careful of traffic, particularly when Summer is in full swing. This section is not as flat as the other side
. Between Talloires and Menthon there is a short steep climb of three bends but with with a durable touring bike
you’ll be fine. If you are not in the mood for any hills then I recommended you start the opposite end from the East shore (Veyrier, Menthon, Talloires) and do the itinerary backwards which is not quite as steep.
Cycling Lake Annecy: Key facts
- This circuit is great for cyclists that prefer flatter roads.
- It is approximately 43km long with an elevation of 464m.
- The route goes through Annecy and 7 picturesque villages.
Good to know: in the Summer and on sunny Sundays the path can be crowded with families and tourists, particularly near the centre of Annecy where the cycle path is shared with roller skaters and pedestrians.
Le Palace de Menthon © French Moments
Around the lake there are lots of amazing places to stop off and admire the view or even have a coffee half way round! We like the Boot Camp café in Talloires which is a bit of a bike hub and they organise charity rides too. The owners are English expats and will give you a warm welcome! If it’s Summer take your swimming things for a dip in the lake at the end of your ride and relax in the sun with warm croissants and coffee.
Cycling Lake Annecy: the stages
The bike itinerary starts and ends in Annecy. Along the way you’ll discover 7 beautiful villages
and castles that make Lake Annecy one of the most popular tourist sites in the French Alps
The old town of Annecy © French Moments
Situated 40km from Geneva, Annecy
is nicknamed Venice of the Alps
for its canals that run through the old town. The mighty fortress of the castle
dominates the site with fine views over the lake and the surrounding mountains. The lakefront
is also a popular spot with a marina, beach, the historic Imperial hotel and the romantic “Pont des Amours
Annecy Castle in Autumn © French Moments
Little Venice of Annecy in Winter © French Moments
Spring in Annecy © French Moments
Lake Annecy © French Moments
The romantic Pont des Amours in Annecy © French Moments
After a pleasant ride along the waterfront is the village of Sévrier. You’ll ride pass the beach and the marina.
Sévrier, Lake Annecy in Autumn © French Moments
Saint-Jorioz also has a marina and it offers a spectacular view of the highest peaks around Lake Annecy, including La Tournette (2,351m).
The Sentiers des Roselières in Saint-Jorioz © French Moments
In the quaint village of Duingt
admire the Ruphy castle which gives one of the most romantic views of Lake Annecy
. From the cycle path you’ll get a good view over the crystal clear waters of the Little Lake almost completely surrounded by mountains.
Duingt Castle in May © French Moments
Situated in the commune of Doussard, the hamlet of Bout-du-Lac marks the end of the lake. There is the national natural reserve of the Bout-du-Lac d’Annecy.
Bout du Lac seen from Col de la Forclaz © French Moments
From Bout-du-Lac to Talloires, the cycle path follows the edge of the lake with splendid views. Talloires
is a charming little village set on the Bay of Talloires. Since the beginning of the 20th century it has become a well known resort with famous hotels, restaurants and is a popular place for a stroll or a swim.
Auberge du Père Bise © French Moments
The village of Talloires © French Moments
Lake Annecy from Talloires © French Moments
Lakeshore near the Chère Mountain © French Moments
The village of Talloires seen from the lake © French Moments
The village is dominated by its fantastic medieval castle, still inhabited today.
The village and castle of Menthon-Saint-Bernard seen from the lake © French Moments
The last stage of cycling Lake Annecy is the village of Veyrier, which stretches out across the foot of Mount Veyrier and Mount Baron. With its villas and magnificent houses, Veyrier is an exclusive residential suburb of Annecy.
The village of Veyrier-le-Lac seen from the lake © French Moments
You’ll arrive back at Annecy via the marina, the Imperial Hotel and the beach front.
Cycling in Annecy Mountains
If you find this circuit isn’t challenging enough then here are a few more ideas to give you more of a work-out!
The Col de la Forclaz
Lake Annecy seen from the Col de la Forclaz © French Moments
The mountain pass is a must for all cyclists. Many prefer climbing on the D42 road from Vesonne and Montmin (11.5kms from the valley). From the pass (altitude: 1,150m) there is one of the finest views you can get over Lake Annecy
. The Col de la Forclaz is known for being a paragliding take-off spot.
The Semnoz mountain
At the top of the Semnoz Mountains © French Moments
To reach the summit of the Semnoz
you’ll have a steep climb up 18.5km of road. On the top (Crêt de Chatillon, 1,699m) is a small ski station. The view of the Alps of the Savoie
and Mont Blanc
The Col des Aravis
Col des Aravis © French Moments
From La Clusaz the D909 road leads to the mountain pass of Col des Aravis
(1,498m) with a few hairpin bends. The mountain pass has been used in the Tour de France
at least 39 times! The Aravis Pass is a great place to spot the Mont Blanc in the distance.
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