Getaway by motorbike to Annecy

We’re taking you on a weekend motorbike getaway to Annecy, France. Where to sleep, where to eat? We’ll tell you all about it in this road book.

In a nutshell

  • Country: France
  • Population: 126k
  • Coordination: 45’54’58”, North, 6’07’ 59′ East
  • Website: www.annecy.fr
  • The main tourist sites: old town and canals, Annecy Castle, Isle Palace, Pont des Amours, etc.

[updated June 2024]

Introduction

If you’ve been following us for a while, you know that Cruizador also offers many road books with motorcycle trip ideas. By browsing our blog, you will find all our road books to inspire you a bit.

Also known as the Venice of the Alps, the city is located only 50 to 90 minutes from Geneva, if you want to avoid the highway. We’ll give you the details of the itinerary at the end of the article.

So if you are looking for a perfect getaway for a day or two, this is the ideal destination to break your routine a bit.

Annecy Canal Cruizador Alpes France Venise
The water canals in the Old Town, around Palais de l’Isle

Easily accessible, this ride out allows you to combine gastronomy, shopping, and relaxation. We will also give you our hotel and restaurant recommendations at the end of the article.

This getaway can easily be combined with other road books of ours, such as the RDGA or even the South of France.

A little note in passing, we regularly update our road books to keep them relevant. However, we notice in this post-pandemic period an acceleration in turnover rates, particularly in the hotel and restaurant sectors.

Thus, it is not uncommon that even less than 12 months after our visit, establishments have closed or changed ownership.

Our recommendations should therefore be considered as at a given moment, and you will always have an interest in checking before going to ensure that the establishment is still in operation.

Motorbike getaway Annecy Franc

The main sights

One of the city’s key features is the canals that run through the heart of the old town (around the Palais de l’Isle).

The pedestrian streets are full of restaurants, bars, and shops of all kinds.

However, once the nice weather arrives, the city is swarmed by hordes of tourists, and the narrow streets quickly become very crowded.

You can stroll along the narrow pedestrian streets, window-shop, and buy local crafts. Note that the famous French knife, the Opinel, is from this region. There are also many food shops, such as wine merchants, butchers, pastry chefs, etc.

Motorbike getaway Annecy France

On Tuesdays and Fridays/Saturdays, a local market takes place around Place Ste-Claire.

Very picturesque! You will find all sorts of local products, including cheese, charcuterie, etc.

The local market (Tue, Fri, Sat)

Tired of wandering among the tourists?

Head to the lakeshore, on the Promenade Jaquet, to either take a dip in the crystal-clear waters of the alpine lake in case of high heat, or rent a boat to venture further on the lake. Your options include pedal boats, Stand Up Paddle boards, electric boats (no license required), etc.

Motorbike getaway Annecy FranceMotorbike getaway Annecy France

Motorbike getaway Annecy France

You will also find small street vendors (coffee, ice cream, etc.).

Otherwise, gain some altitude and head towards the Annecy Castle, built between the 12th and 16th centuries, overlooking the old town. It’s worth visiting, perhaps more for the view than for its museum, but still.

Looking for more sporting activities?

Annecy is a very sporty city due to its geographical location, on the edge of a lake, but also at the gateway to the Haute-Savoie ski resorts, such as Alpes d’Huez, Les Gets, etc., and thus on the Route des Grandes Alpes.

Additionally, it is home to the headquarters of major sports equipment manufacturers like Salomon.

And you can’t count the number of runners who traverse the lakeside paths and/or the mountain trails in the surrounding areas.

Also, if you want to enjoy outdoor activities such as paragliding, hiking, etc., many agencies offer tailor-made activities.

A search on the internet will give you all the necessary information according to your current desires.

Where to sleep in Annecy?

We stayed at the Hôtel des Alpes (website), which is a very nice 2-star hotel. There is an underground parking lot where you can park your bike nearby (about 100m away). It is not part of the hotel. But to date, if they haven’t changed anything, as long as you are parked in the marked spots, you won’t pay for parking.

The second time, we stayed at the Hotel du Palais de l’Isle. It is located in the historic center of Annecy, directly on the canals. For parking, we parked on the street, not far from the hotel. Even though it’s not an absolute guarantee, Annecy is quite a safe city. After all, it depends on the type of motorcycle, its age, etc.

Personally, we didn’t encounter any problems, such as vandalism, theft, etc.

And a little tip useful when traveling in France, there are often two-wheeler parking spaces in front of official buildings (town hall, city hall, etc.). And these are most often equipped with security cameras on their facades.

Parking in front of one of them can have a deterrent effect on petty thieves, but again, it is not an absolute guarantee.

And for breakfast, we can also recommend stopping by Au Fidèle Berger,, which offers pastries and viennoiseries and also serves as a chocolatier.

For those who want a more “hipster” breakfast, we can recommend Haven, franco-australian Coffee-Brunch Place

They offer savory dishes with eggs Benedict, burgers, etc., as well as sweet ones (pancakes, French toast, etc.).

Their brunch menu at €28 should set you up for a long motorcycle ride. And you will find solid reading material to accompany your breakfast 😉

Motorbike getaway Annecy France

Where to eat out in Annecy?

So many choices… Indeed, Annecy offers a multitude of options, from haute cuisine, particularly that of Marc Veyrat, a native of Annecy.

But you will also find more casual places offering more… substantial traditional Savoyard cuisine ????.

So, we are sure you will find something to your liking. But keep in mind that many restaurants are closed at least one day a week. Check online to see if your option is open.

Moreover, Annecy is a tourist city. Depending on the day/time of the year, you might want to reserve a table in advance. Check on TripAdvisor based on your tastes/budget.

Personally, we had an excellent time at the Osteria d’Annecy in 2023.

But in June 2024, it had closed. A new establishment has taken its place, keeping the decor but offering a completely different cuisine. The place was busy when we passed by, but we did not taste their food and cannot recommend it. More info -> here <-

In short, you understand that establishments close or transform at high speed. So, we can only recommend using a search engine to find a place that suits you.

Personally, we fell back on the Breton Creperie La Bolée.

And it continues to operate year after year. A sign of quality? Hard to say, as it’s not necessarily complicated to make crepes.

But this place has the advantage of offering all kinds of savory buckwheat crepes, as well as sweet ones made with wheat flour. Expect to pay around €12-15 for a savory crepe and €5-10 for a sweet crepe.

With a bowl of brut cider, of course 😉

Motorbike getaway Annecy France

Shopping Tips

If you have some space in your luggage, you can bring back local products, as well as local crafts or an Opinel, the typical knife produced in Savoie.

The city also has all sorts of large international chains, including Uniqlo.

We already mentioned it in our guide on the motorcycle show in Lyon.

While it’s not typical of the region, this textile chain offers better quality clothing than most fast fashion competitors, and they don’t necessarily have to blush compared to major outdoor brands. We won’t name them here, but you can make the connection ;-).

In this regard, we recommend their down jackets, with or without hoods, with or without sleeves, for less than €100/CHF.

These are formidable when worn under a motorcycle jacket, especially if you ride in the off-season.

Moreover, they come with a small storage bag. So, you can fold and roll them. The result is a mini sleeping bag format, and you can take it in any backpack, top case, etc. Handy for all kinds of activities: city getaway, hiking, etc.

Personally, we bought them more than 10 years ago, worn and wrung out at the four corners of the world, in all sorts of situations, and they still hold up.

A worthwhile investment? For less than 100 bucks, the question doesn’t even arise…

And their technical/thermal underwear is also very effective, and you can use it for your winter sports activities.

In short, a visit to Uniqlo is a must ;-). It is located in the Nouvelles-Galeries center, a 10-minute walk from the city center.

Motorbike getaway Annecy France

Road Books 

But let’s get back to our main topic, the motorcycle.

If you start from the Geneva side, the route between Geneva and Annecy is not particularly interesting in terms of attributes that a motorcyclist might look for. Except perhaps the Pont de la Caille, a suspension bridge dating from 1839. You can take the highway if you want to get to Annecy quickly to enjoy the city.

If you take the secondary road, you will avoid the approximately €6 toll, but it will slightly increase your travel time. Nothing prohibitive, since we are talking about around 40 kilometers.

If you come from Bern, Fribourg, Valais, etc., you can go through the south of the lake (Evian, Thonon, etc.).

If you start from, for example, Bern or Fribourg, you can also combine it with our itinerary that goes through Les Mosses, then continue through the south of the lake (Evian, Thonon-les-Bains).

Returning from Annecy

Once your stay in Annecy is over, you will have the option to either return via La Clusaz and then through the Col de la Forclaz to end up in Martigny.

Aim for the eastern shore of the lake, then follow the signs for Thônes.

And if you feel like it, you can even stop off at the lakeside for a refreshing dip. The Plage de la Brune and its refreshment bar, in Veyrier du Lac, seems to be that place.

Leg 1 Geneva to Annecy (42km, 57min) Take the highway if you want to be faster in Annecy to enjoy the city or take the regional road to avoid paying for sections. Spend the day/half-day in Annecy
Leg 2 Annecy to La Clusaz via Thônes
(32km, 44min)
Now we’re talking. Let’s go uphill. Tip: Use a GPS or smartphone (with the right mount like a quadlock) to predict zigzags.
Leg 3 La Clusaz in Chamonix
(62km, 1h25min)
Via Col des Aravis, Flumet and Megève. Stop in Chamonix for lunch and enjoy the view of Mont Blanc.
Leg 4 Chamonix in Martigny
(44km, 1hour)
Via Argentière, Col de la Forclaz, etc.
Leg 5 Martigny in Geneva · Via Montreux, Lausanne, Nyon (highway): 130 km, 1h40min
· Via Evian- Thonon (lake side): 110km, 2h30min

The climb up to the Aravis pass, marking the border between lower and upper Savoy.

Don’t feel like going back?

If not, you’ll have the chance to extend your trip with another of our itineraries, depending on how much time you have available and what you feel like doing.

Here are a few options, all of which can be doable from Annecy.

Once you’ve passed the Aravis pass via the resort of La Clusaz, you’ll have the option of returning via Mégève towards Switzerland (leg 5 of our road book), or continuing with the Route des Grandes Alpes and/or our itinerary around Mont Ventoux.

Click on the image to see the corresponding route booklet.

Motorbike getaway Annecy France

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Cruizador

Hey, I'm the founder and Chief Biker Officer of Cruizador. I've been a motorcyclist and travel enthusiast for a long time, and it was in 2018 that I decided to launch this new service, hoping that it would speak to as many bikers as possible who share the same philosophy and the same thirst for the great outdoors. I'd be delighted to take note of your comments, ideas for improvement, etc. Ride on!

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