Aiguebelette - France
Road Trips

Road Trip Lyon to Annecy (the long way round)

04/17/2021

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The region of Auvergne-Rhône Alpes, in Eastern France, makes for a scenic road trip in France, visiting vibrant cities, small towns, and natural wonders.

This 6-day road trip from Lyon to Annecy covers three French departments (Ain, Savoie, and Haute-Savoie) and will take you through some beautiful sights Rhône-Alpes has to offer. This Lyon – Annecy road trip itinerary is an ideal self-drive vacation for those who love sightseeing, nature, and good food.

As you can see on the map, the Lyon to Annecy drive takes less than 2 hours, but we are on holiday, and we want to have fun so why rush when there are so many beautiful places to see between Lyon and Annecy?

This 6-day road trip Lyon – Annecy is one of the most beautiful road trips in France. Read more about road tripping in France:

Road Trip Lyon – Annecy Overview

  • Start: Lyon
  • Finish: Annecy
  • Duration: 6 days
  • Suggested Route: Lyon – Chambéry – Aix-les-Bains – Annecy
  • Total distance: 274 km, 4 hours drive in total
  • Regions covered: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
  • Best for: outdoors, sightseeing, and gastronomy.

Road Trip Lyon to Annecy Map

Road Trip Lyon to Annecy Map made with Google My Maps

Click here to view this Road Trip Lyon to Annecy Map on Google

6-Day Lyon to Annecy Road Trip Itinerary

The first stop of this Lyon Annecy road trip is Lyon, the capital of the region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, where you will spend three nights. For this road trip from Lyon, you don’t need the car until day 2, so if you are taking a self-drive vacation to the region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes in a hire car, wait until then to pick up your rental car in Lyon.

Click here to rent a car in Lyon

Day 0 | Arrival to Lyon

Lyon - France

As this road trip begins in Lyon, take this opportunity to explore this wonderful city before hitting the road. There is no road trip travel on the first day of our Lyon to Annecy driving holiday, but we have included recommendations on what to visit and where to stay.

For your stay in Lyon, book at Villa Florentine in the 5th Arrondissement. This former convent, located in the heart of Old Lyon, offers elegant guest rooms and fabulous panoramic views of the city. Don’t miss the pool!

Click here to book your stay at Villa Florentine

Day 1 | Explore Lyon

Lyon - France

Day 1 of this Lyon to Annecy road trip visits Lyon. Lyon is the third-largest French city and one of the most beautiful cities in France. Bisected by the river Rhône from north to south, Lyon is well known for its quality of life and its beautiful heritage from Roman times to contemporary architecture.

Considered France’s capital of gastronomy, Lyon is an excellent place for enjoying good food and wine. Take the time to learn about Lyon’s food specialties and, of course, try them!

Whether you prioritize sightseeing and ticking landmarks off of your bucket list, or simply soaking in the atmosphere of a city, this Lyon itinerary comes with many ideas for your stay in Lyon.

The list of fun things to do in Lyon includes:

  • Cathédrale Saint-Jean
  • Lugdunum – Musée et Théâtres Romains
  • Fourvière Hill and Basilica
  • Old Lyon and the Saône River Banks
  • Parc de la Tête d’Or
  • Musée des Confluences

Day 2 | Day Trip to Pérouges

After a good breakfast with a view on the terrace of Villa Florentine, day 2 of this road trip Lyon–Annecy takes you to Pérouges, one of the best Lyon day trips.

Pérouges is a pretty medieval walled village, just 40 minutes outside of Lyon. Perched on top of a small hill overlooking the Ain River, Pérouges is listed as one of the ‘Most Beautiful Villages in France.’

You are going to love Pérouges and its authentic historic atmosphere. Its well-preserved architecture, winding cobblestone streets, and pretty squares will transport you back in time.

You can combine sightseeing with one of the many hiking routes in the stunning countryside around Pérouges. These day hiking routes from Pérouges range from 40 minutes to 2.5 hours.

Day 3 | Lyon – Chambéry

Day 3 of this Lyon–Annecy road trip takes you south to the city of Chambéry, with a stop at beautiful Lac d’Aiguebelette.

Morning in Lac d’Aiguebelette

Drive about an hour to Aiguebelette-le-Lac for a relaxing morning by the beautiful Lake of Aiguebelette.

Aiguebelette-le-Lac is a small village in Savoie (Savoy) set at the foot of the Montagne de l’Epine, about twenty kilometers from Chambéry.

Visitors come to Aiguebelette-le-Lac mainly for its beautiful emerald lake, the smallest of the four lakes of the region Savoie Mont Blanc. It is also one of France’s warmest natural lakes: here, the water temperature can reach 28 °C in summer! To preserve the lake’s ecosystem, bathing is only allowed in specific areas.

Depending on the season, you can take a bath in the lake, have a picnic by the lake, explore the lake and its tiny islands in a kayak, or ride the cycle path along the lake. There are also many hiking paths around Lake of Aiguebelette that are accessible all year round, and they are great to learn about local history while enjoying fabulous views.

For more suggestions on what to do in Aiguebelette-le-Lac, visit the tourist office of Lac d’Aiguabelette, at the Maison du Lac (570 route du Lac d’Aiguebelette, Nances), situated at the northern tip of the lake.

Afternoon in Chambéry

Chambéry - France

From Aiguebelette-le-Lac drive to Chambéry where will to spend the night.

For a unique stay, we recommend Château de Candie, just out of Chambéry. Château de Candie is a historic 14th-century château set in a large park overlooking Chambéry. Enjoy the château’s grounds and a stunning panorama of the Chartreuse mountain range. The castle features guest rooms inspired by historical characters, an outdoor swimming pool, a shaded terrace, and two on-site restaurants, including the fine dining L’Orangerie.

Click here to book your stay at Château de Candie

Use the afternoon to explore Chambéry, the capital of Savoie. Chambéry is a mid-size city (for France’s standards) in the Alps. It is a pleasant city to visit for a day or on a weekend getaway, with interesting historical sights and great Savoie region food and wines. During the winter, some of the best ski resorts in the Alps are within an hour’s drive from Chambéry.

Explore Chambery’s Old Town, with the Medieval Castle of the Dukes of Savoy, the Chambéry Cathedral, and the intriguing Elephant Fountain.

Day 4 | Aix-les-Bains

Day 4 of this road trip Lyon to Annecy explores Aix-les-Bains, a beautiful small city and lakeside resort nestled between the mountains and the Lac du Bourget (the biggest natural lake in France).

For your night at Aix-les-Bains, the Logis Auberge Saint Simond is ideal. Located in a calm, residential district of Aix and with free parking, Auberge Saint Simond has a Mediterranean feel, surrounded by beautiful gardens with an abundance of olive and orange trees.

Click here to book your stay at the Logis Auberge Saint Simond

Morning at Aix-les-Bains

Aix-les-Bains is nicknamed the Riviera of the French Alps. By the end of the 19th century, the waters of the Aix-les-Bains’ hot springs were recognized for their medicinal properties, suitable for treatments against rheumatism or people suffering from respiratory tracts.

It was thanks to Queen Victoria and her daughter Beatrice, who visited Aix-les-Bains regularly, that the resort acquired international fame and attracted high society visitors looking for the benefits of the hot springs and the sulfur springs as well as to enjoy other pleasures by the lake.  

Approved by the Academy of Medicine, the Victoria thermal mixing (named in honor of the Queen) results from two drilling sites more than 1,000m deep and water at more than 70 °C. This water is then cooled down for use in thermal baths.

Thanks to the hot springs and the thermal baths, the city developed and attracted international tourism. Without the thermal baths, Aix-les-Bains would never have had a casino, a racecourse, or such beautiful private mansions!

Spend the morning visiting Aix-les-Bains. You can do some sightseeing or enjoy one of the endless activities around Lac du Bourget.  

The list of fun things to see and do in Aix-les-Bains includes:

  • Visit the Thermes Nationaux, today historic monument
  • Take a stroll or a bike ride around the lake
  • Go to the beach (from May to August). Entrance beach + swimming pool is 6.5€ for adults, 5€ for kids
  • Enjoy a spa treatment at Chevalley Thermal Baths
  • Visit the casino and admire its stunning architecture

Another interesting thing to do close to the lake is to visit the Abbey of Hautecombe, located on the lake’s wild shore. This beautiful 12th-century Cistercian abbey is the location of the Maison de Savoie’s (the House of Savoy) medieval tombs.

Today, the dynastic Maison de Savoie is more well known as the ex-Royal Family in Italy (Italy’s monarchy was abolished in 1946). From Aix-les-Bains, it is a 35-minute drive to the Abbey of Hautecombe, but you can also take this boat cruise at Aix, which includes the visit to the abbey.

Hautecombe Abbey - Lac Bourget

Afternoon and Evening at Col de la Chambotte

In the afternoon, drive up to Col de la Chambotte for some great views of the Lake du Bourget. From the parking lot, take the small path on the restaurant’s left (behind the tourist office hut), and walk for a few minutes under the trees. Then, it’s a WOW! moment guaranteed; the views of the lake are fantastic!

Days 5 – 6 | Annecy

The last stop of this road trip from Lyon is Annecy. If you drive directly to Annecy from Lyon, it is just an easy 2-hour drive, but we hope you enjoy this extended detour of the region.

The beautiful city of Annecy is a must on any trip to the Alps. Located by the lake of the same name, Annecy has many historical and natural highlights. Also, Annecy is an excellent place to enjoy great food and a good life, and we recommend spending at least two nights in Annecy.

For your stay in Annecy, book a room at the beautiful Black Bass Hotel, located by the lake just out of Annecy. The hotel has comfortable and stylish rooms, a pool, and beautiful grounds.

Click here to book your stay at Black Bass Hotel

In Annecy, we recommend spending one day exploring the Old Town and another day around the lake. This Annecy itinerary comes with many ideas for your stay in Annecy.  

So, what are you waiting for? Book this road trip Lyon to Annecy, in Eastern France today!

Click here for other Road Trips

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