Location and Transportation
Annecy is a charming Alpine city – very close to Geneva. So it is a good place to visit if you are flying in to Geneva. Of course, technically, it lies in France – but that shouldn’t make any difference as long as you are on a Schengen Visa / Permit.
It only takes about 45 minutes by bus from Geneva to Annecy. Trains are also available, and they are not very expensive; but they end up taking a lot longer (around 2 hrs 20 mins) – as they route you via Culoz and Aix-le-Bains – which is really not the shortest route distance wise. So we would really recommend taking a bus from the Geneva Gare Routiere (bus terminal). It is possible to buy tickets on the spot at the bus terminal.
As with most of these Alpine villages, you can see the spectacular combination of lakes and peaks whichever way you look.
Whether you consider it a good or bad thing, Annecy remains a bit hidden from the international touristic landscape. It was nevertheless quite crowded when we visited – but with mostly locals (both French and Swiss) having a picnic. The place is still quite international that you shouldn’t have any problems even if you don’t speak any French. Of course, the internationalism is primarily due to its proximity to Geneva, which also implies that you wouldn’t get the cheaper French prices for gifts / souvenirs that you would get in most parts of France (other than of course, Paris). So be prepared for prices comparable to the (higher) Swiss prices here.
We stayed at the Imperial Palace hotel in Annecy. As you can see from the pics below, the hotel and its surroundings are really impressive – easily rivalling a James Bond movie location 🙂 The mandatory lake / mountain views are a given at this hotel. We unfortunately could not get an ariel shot of the hotel, but check out the hotel website for the really impressive pics of the hotel.
“Venice” of the Alps
The most unique and beautiful thing about Annecy is of course its Canals – winding their way through the “old” city – and also the reason for it being called the ‘Venice of the Alps’.
The restaurants along the canals make for a picture perfect setting for the senses at night:
mind (peaceful / serene), eyes (alpine scenery), ears (the gentle sound of the water flowing in the canals), and taste buds (authentic french cuisine) – oh, how I wish I was a poet !!.