Cycling Lake Annecy: I can think of few places that are more joyful to ride around than Lake Annecy in Haute-Savoie. The sparkling lake, backed by snow tipped mountains, passing through picturesque villages and ogling gorgeous castles. If that doesn’t make you want to get on your bike – I don’t know what will!
Cycle path of Lake Annecy
If you go all the way round the lake, it’s about 42km. How long it takes is up to you. If you keep pedalling it’s about 3.5 hours. But why would you want to do that when it’s such a fabulous route with the most stunning alpine scenery and brimming with must-see stop off points.
For the most part, it’s a flat route and if, like me, you want to enjoy a relaxing ride, you can hire e-bikes (as well as normal bikes) in the town. Much off the cycle path follows the old railway track which once connected Annecy to Albertville. The two way path is mostly dedicated to bikes and off road, voie verte, but there are a few spots which run on to the road. From Talloires to Menthon-Saint-Bernard with its incredible chateau for instance. Cycling is massively popular in Annecy so motorists are used to seeing two-wheeled travellers and will drive with care when they see you.
Take the route clockwise round the lake to avoid any hills – though it’s not really very hilly anyway.
Stop off en route
It’s very easy to meander off the path and take in some of the sites. And there are plenty of tempting places to stop off for a break and refreshments. These are a few of the locals’ favourites:
Le Bon Wagon – Duingt. Coffee, delicious snacks, bike repair and cycle hire. There is a spectacular castle in Duingt on the edge of the lake where cultural events are held. It’s built opposite the Roc de Chère, made famous by Paul Cezanne who painted it when he visited (and stayed at the Abbaye de Talloires).
Abri Cyclette – Saint Jorioz, friendly snack bar (and fabulous ice cream). Saint-Jorioz has a beautiful marina and has spectacular views over the highest peaks around the lake.
Base Camp – Talloires-Montmin. There’s a shop, cycle hire, guided tours – and they claim to have the best coffee in the mountains!
Talloires with its incredible turquoise lake and pretty village. The cycle path runs right along the lake with several little beaches.
Café – Vélo La Petite Reine – Veyrier du Lac. Wonderfully relaxing place to stop for a snack, drink and rest. Plus they offer facilities for bike repair. Time your ride to arrive for aperitifs for sunset views over the lake.
Take it further
This is Tour de France cycling country so if you’re after a challenge, you’ll certainly find it here. Between the lake and the mountains, Annecy Mountains provides year-round cycling opportunities.
From Annecy head up into the mountains with ease. It’s hard to pick favourites but…
On the road to Plateau des Glières: Take a bread at the Stop&go des Verges de Thorens at Thorens Glières where you can find 24/7 local specialities like apple juice and cheese in the automatic distributors. Don’t miss Chaumière Saint Maurice for a delicious pizza cooked over a wood fired oven, or tasty classics cooked with local produce.
On the Road to Semnoz: Make a stop at Terrasse du Lac with a stunning view on the lake. At the top you’ll have the most magnificent views over the chain of the Alps to Mont Blanc. You’ll also find Les Rochers Blanc restaurant, perfect for classic local dishes.
On the road to La Forclaz: At the top, enjoy lunch at La Ferme and indulge in their memorable Beignets de Pomme de terre (potato donuts, seriously irresistible and perfect for replenishing your energy levels).
Pick up a map and details from the tourist office in Annecy for loads more routes and information: en.lac-annecy.com
For inspiration and loads of ideas for what to see and do in and around Annecy Mountains head here: www.annecymountains.com