TOP 10 outdoor activities to do around Annecy

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Nicknamed in 1916 "the pearl of the French Alps" or the "Venice of the Alps" because of the two canals and the Thiou River that run through it, Annecy is a city of the outdoors. A city of location, founded on a lake at the entrance to the northern Pre-Alps massif. A city of landscapes. Romantic as can be. A town where the tourist industry is largely focused on sport and outdoor activities. And it's a choice that's reflected in the town's urban planning. 40.3% of the municipal surface area is taken up by green spaces. Between the ski resorts and water sports on the lake or in white water, there is a wide range of outdoor activities on offer around Annecy. Here's a quick overview of what you can do on land, on ice, in the water or in the air.

Paragliding over Lake Annecy

With 130,000 paragliders taking off every year, according to a 2012 article in Le Dauphiné Libéré, paragliding over Lake Annecy is quite simply king. The town is Europe's leading site for hang-gliding. The lake (the second largest in France) is even more beautiful from the air. Its turquoise waters vibrate between the green mountains. The weather conditions are very favourable for flying, and the season, which runs from May to the end of October, offers some magnificent days. Beginners can enjoy tandem paragliding in ideal conditions.

Canyoning near Annecy

On the outskirts of Lake Annecy, the Angon and Montmin canyons are perfect for beginners, experts, families and individuals. Numerous schools offer their services to help you enjoy this sport in complete safety, backed up by the experience of professionals. The Angon canyon is ideal for families. It is recommended for children over the age of twelve. On the way down, you'll enjoy slides, small jumps and waterfalls, as well as an introduction to abseiling, particularly on a 30-metre descent. The route ends at the lake. The Montmin canyon is wilder. The water comes from La Tournette (at an altitude of 2,357 metres) and is fresh and clear. It has a number of beautiful pools, but its originality and reputation lie in the many jumps along the way. They are up to 7 metres high. For the more timid, these jumps can be replaced by abseils or zip lines. There are also a few slides waiting for you! The canyon can also be explored by the whole family, but the level is more demanding than in the Angon canyon.

A wakeboard session on Lake Annecy

Wakeboarding or wakesurfing, whatever your camp, take place on Lake Annecy. You can hire a boat with a pilot to do as much or as little of your favourite activity as you like, ending with a well-deserved aperitif with friends. The music on board makes the experience even more exhilarating. Introductory courses are also available, as is personalised coaching, whatever your level, to improve your performance and take your riding experience even further. Lake Annecy is a small paradise for enjoying the joys of wakeboarding, a convivial sport par excellence. More than just a sport, wakeboarding can also be seen as a way of relaxing.

Cliff climbing around Lake Annecy

Out of the swimming costume. Put on your climbing shoes. Head for the cliffs. Around Lake Annecy, there are a number of natural rock-climbing sites with exceptional panoramic views. Climbing the cliffs is a feast for the eyes, whatever your level. There are also routes for children. There really is something for everyone. Climbing is one of the massif's flagship activities, offering guaranteed thrills and a real sporting edge. As you climb, you'll be working all your muscles without realising it. Or how to combine a breathtaking view with a slim fast effect.

Via Ferrata near Montmin or Thônes

Known as the "vertigo hike", this all-inclusive discipline is a dream come true, combining hiking, climbing, monkey bridges, zip-lines and abseiling. Around Lake Annecy, you can try it out near Montmin on a route that's ideal for beginners. Only available with Monté Médio private guides, this multi-faceted activity, in the heart of a superb setting overlooking the Tournette massif, will take you on an unforgettable adventure. On the Aravis massif, you can also try the Via Ferrata de Thône. The level of fitness required is a little higher than for the route starting from Montmin, but the circuit is designed in such a way that it is possible to leave it frequently. Very well equipped and safe, this Via Ferrata "à la française" passes close to houses but is still very aerial. A real treat for fans of this outdoor sport.

Hang-gliding yeah baby!

Hang-gliding is the ultimate open-air activity, and its unique sensations make it one of a kind. Lying down under the sail gives you the impression of flying like a bird. Children and the elderly alike can enjoy it. After just a few steps, you'll already be in the air. The impressive character of this sport is combined with great gentleness. Little effort is required. It's all about letting yourself glide through the air. Only a hang-glider can give you that feeling. Annecy is a magical spot for hang-gliding, thanks to the splendid lake and its mountainous, snow-covered surroundings. The packages on offer around Lake Annecy vary in difficulty. You can choose to go tandem for the first time, but for the more experienced, acrobatic flights are also possible.

Mountain Bike with views of Lake Annecy

The undergrowth surrounding Lake Annecy is a great place to enjoy mountain biking. A number of schools offer bike hire, as well as guided outings with instructors who know the valley inside out. One of the most iconic descents around Annecy is the Semnoz. This long descent has a vertical drop of 1300 metres (negative) and is accessible to all levels. It starts at 1700 metres and offers a sublime panorama of Lake Annecy, the Arabis and Bauges mountain ranges, with Mont Blanc as a picture-postcard backdrop. The route then winds through the Semnoz forest, mostly in the shade of the undergrowth, before finishing in the lake for a swim. There are some lovely viewpoints along the way.

Hot-air balloon

To discover the Annecy region in a completely original way, there's nothing like a balloon ride. You heat up, the balloon goes up, you stop heating up, the balloon comes down. Of course, the mechanism is a little more complicated. As the balloon is not dirigible, the pilots use the differences in wind between the different altitudes to navigate. It's a subtle art that the professional responsible for taking you on the flight will introduce you to. Hot-air balloon flights over Lake Annecy generally last an hour. No special skills are required. Let yourself be swept away in this magical craft, a dream for children (who have to be over 1.20 metres tall to climb aboard) and adults alike. The view is breathtaking and the experience gentle, punctuated by the rhythm of the flames.

A more or less sporty trip on a sailboat

Sailing in all its forms is an excellent way to enjoy the waters of Lake Annecy. Optimists, catamarans, windsurfers - there's no shortage of schools around the lake! Many of them also offer stand-up paddling, even though technically it doesn't include a sail. You can sign up for introductory or advanced courses that will keep you busy for several days, or simply enjoy a nice family outing aboard a sports catamaran skilfully manned by an instructor. He or she will accompany you on the lake to help you discover its beauty, as you leisurely survey its blue waters against a backdrop of sky and alpine vegetation.


We want to fly, glide and dive, but let's not forget: we have feet. What could be more precious than feet to discover the world? Of course, there are many paths in Annecy, even if they all lead to the lake. With a little effort, you'll soon arrive in wild landscapes where you might even spot some animals: ibex, chamois, marmots and many birds of prey. Guides are on hand to show you around their territory. Depending on the level of difficulty required, they will take you on trails they know like the back of their hand for a day or half-day of guaranteed change of scenery. Nature lovers will not be disappointed. From panoramic views to observing the flora and fauna, hiking offers many ways to take in the landscape. With a sausage at the end.

Here are some ideas for outdoor activities to discover Lake Annecy. So now, if we find you watching television, you're really doing it on purpose! And if you'd like other ideas for your stay in the region, beyond outdoor activities, don't hesitate to take a look at the other things to do in Annecy.