Great Cycling at Lake Annecy, France
I have traveled to many places in Europe, but there is one special place that I dream of visiting again. The lake of Annecy brought peace to my mind. A turquoise lake enclosed in the Alps, the beauty is overwhelming.
Three years ago, we chose to travel to Annecy, France by car. It is a two to three day long trip from Sweden to Annecy. It is so awesome to travel through several countries, staying in different places. For me, that is freedom, different from the structured life at home.
My love and I always bring our bikes, and this time we were heading for some mountains in hopes of climbing by bike. I was so excited because it was my first time cycling up through the narrow roads in the Alps. I also was a little worried if I could make it or not.
The plan was to stop for a few days in Annecy and then go south to the Mediterranean coast. Annecy is also known as “the French Venice.” My expectations were high because I have been to Venice once before.
Finding a camping
We arrived at Annecy in the afternoon. It was crowded with cars everywhere. We were weary and desperate in our search for a camping. Unfortunately, we had to drive through the town. Really tricky, I would not recommend going into Annecy by car! After some struggling, we finally head out of town. In this moment, I spotted the lake. So beautiful, I had not seen such color on a lake. It was a sunny day and the view was amazing, turquoise water that glittered in the sun. Towering mountains surrounding the whole scene, just amazing!
We had some trouble finding a camping site with available space for us. Of course, the ones situated by the lakeside were all occupied, not even place for a small tent. We usually bring our tent when we travel by car. In summertime, the weather is nice and it is a great way to save some money for other activities. I highly recommend you to reserve a place if you arrive during the tourist season.
Finally, we found a tiny camping area in a garden. The people that owned the camping area lived in a house in the garden. The living standards were quite simple, but ok for me: there was hot water, showers and toilets. We were also served a small breakfast for some Euros.
A map over the lake of Annecy
Climbing "Col de la Forclaz"
Our goal for the next day was to go by bike up to the pass Forclaz, which takes almost 1100 meters of cycling. Not too hard I thought, but my partner had to turn and go back down last time he was trying to reach Forclaz. He is used to cycling in the other mountains in the Alps…
Nevertheless, we underestimated the climb and ran out of water. A silly mistake, but a great lesson... We went back down, stopped in a village by the lake and had some lunch. This day the temperature was above 30 degrees C and I was really tired. We now had about 30km to return to our camping site. The nice thing was that we had to cycle next to the lake and that gave me some extra energy. And of course, so did the food…
As we started our way back, I just couldn’t get enough of the wonderful view, although the heat was really tough to deal with. As we passed the point where the road was closest to the lake, we decided to stop and cool down in the lake. A lot of people had come forward with the same idea, to go for a swim. I just took my socks and shoes off, walked in to the turquoise water, lied down and let the cool water embrace me. I’m no fan of swimming, but this was amazing. All the beauty around me, the perfect tempered water, just to lie there, relaxed. I looked up to the mountains, all covered by sunshine. Life sure is fantastic.
We came back to the camping late in the afternoon, tired but satisfied. The next day we were heading south.
For more information about Col de la Forclaz: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Col_de_la_Forclaz)
The climb of Forclaz
Other climbs near Annecy
Map over bike climbs close to Annecy. Five suggestions to look at; 1) Crêt de Chatillon 2) Col de Bluffy 3) Col de Leschaux 4) Flaine 5) Col de Chérel
My photos from the lake of Annecy and the town
Are there other things to do in Annecy than cycling?
Yes, of course there is. Some examples:
- There are fantastic views if you like photography.
- Hiking. There is several different routes, mostly in the mountains.
- Go by boat on the lake. There are dinner tours, guided tours and so on.
- Rent a tram. A great way to spend time on the lake.
- Go by bike around the lake. There are wonderful bicycle paths on the west side of the lake, but no bicycle path on the east side. The tour is about 45km.
- Visit the small villages on the way by the lake. Not many tourists and really wonderful.
Most of all, I think it is a marvelous nature experience to visit Annecy Lake. But if you like old, historic buildings there is something for you as well!
Useful links if you are planning to visit Annecy
- Lake Annecy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Some facts about the lake. Size, depth, surrounding cities and so on.
- Climbbybike.com - all cycling cols, tours and cyclo's to climb by bike worldwide
All cycling information on cols, tours and cyclo's to climb by bike.
- Annecy travel guide - Wikitravel
Open source travel guide to Annecy, featuring up-to-date information on attractions, hotels, restaurants, nightlife, travel tips and more. Free and reliable advice written by Wikitravellers from around the globe.
- Lake Annecy - Tourist Office - Official Website
Website of Lake Annecy Tourist Office
The lake of Annecy is truly a beautiful place
What about my high expectations of going to “the French Venice?” We took a trip into town on the first evening. It was a great old town with narrow streets, delightful ice cream and a lot of beautiful buildings. Swans were swimming in the water. People were out in trams and also were swimming. A lovely place, of course, but my reason to come back is the beauty of the environment. I adore the magnificent view from the mountain and the turquoise water.
So if you ever have the opportunity; go there! Maybe we will meet there.
Is Annecy a place you would like to visit?
© 2014 kerlund74