Aiguebelette - France
Road Trips

Road Trip Lyon to Annecy (the Long Way)

11/29/2020

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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.

Driving in Eastern France is very easy and if you don’t have your own car you can rent one in Lyon, the capital of the region. You can fly to Lyon – Saint Exupéry Airport from many international destinations or, if you are visiting Paris before, it’s only a 2-hour ride by train from Paris Gare de Lyon.

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 road trip Lyon – Annecy itinerary is an ideal road trip for those who love sightseeing, nature, and good food.

As you can see on the map, the Lyon to Annecy drive is 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 around?

This 6-day road trip Lyon – Annecy is one of the most beautiful road trips in France. Click here for the best road trips in France.

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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.

PRACTICAL INFO | DRIVING IN FRANCE

Practical Info

Getting around France by car

If you are hitting the French roads for the first time, have a look at our Driving in France Guide.

We recommend booking your car with RentalCars.com.  This site is great because it takes all of the major rental companies, such as Hertz, Avis, etc, and more and does the comparison of prices for you.  This helps to ensure that you get a great price without all the time and work.

>> Browse the Car Rental Companies operating in France

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Road Trip Lyon to Annecy Map

Road Trip Lyon to Annecy Map made with Google My Maps

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6-Day Lyon to Annecy Road Trip Itinerary

Day 0 | Arrival to Lyon

Lyon - France

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

Click here to rent a car in Lyon

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 awesome panoramic views of the city. Don’t miss the pool!

Click here to book your stay at Villa Florentine

For your first dinner in Lyon, head to Au Petit Bouchon – Chez Georges (8 rue du Garet) for a cuisine typical of Lyon with big classics like the gratin d’andouillette, or oeuf-cocotte au saint-marcelin. This epicureans’ meeting place is small but cozy, with casseroles and other artifacts decorating the walls.

Day 1 | Explore Lyon

Lyon - France

Day 1 of this Lyon to Annecy road trip is dedicated to Lyon. Lyon, the third-largest city in the country, is of the most beautiful cities in France. Crossed 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 a great place for enjoying good food and wine. Take the time to learn about Lyon’s local dishes 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
  • Trabouler + some drinks at La Croix-Rousse
  • Old Lyon and the Saône River Banks
  • Parc de la Tête d’Or

For your second dinner in Lyon, book a table at Victoire et Thomas (27, rue de l’Arbre Sec), for a good, inventive cuisine made only with local, seasonal produce.

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.

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 historical feel. 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 hiking routes range from 40 minutes to 2.5 hours.

Pérouges is small, with a limited choice of restaurants. For something special, you can dine at the Hostellerie du Vieux Perouges before going back to Lyon. Hostellerie du Vieux Perouges is located on the village’s main square (Place du Tilleul) and it is one of the oldest inns in France serving today good regional dishes.

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 of Savoie (Savoy) set at the foot of the ´Montagne de l’Épine, about twenty kilometers from Chambéry.

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

Depending on the season, you can have a bath, a picnic by the lake, explore the lake and its tiny islands on a kayak, or ride the cycle path along the lake. There are also many hiking paths around the lake accessible all year round and they are great to learn about local history whilst enjoying awesome views. For more ideas, visit the tourist office of Lac d’Aiguabelette, at the Maison du Lac (570, route du Lac d’Aiguebelette Cusina Nances), situated at the northern tip of the lake.

Afternoon in Chambéry

Chambéry - France

From Aiguebelette-le-Lac drive to Chambéry where you are going to spend one night.

For a unique stay, we recommend Château de Candie, just out of Chambéry. Château de Candie is a historic 14th-century chateau set in a large park overlooking Chambéry, and with a stunning panorama of the Chartreuse mountain range. The château features guest rooms inspired by historical characters, an outdoor swimming pool, a shaded terrace, and two onsite restaurants, including a gastronomic one.

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 some historical sights and great Savoie food and wines. During the winter, some of the best ski resorts in the Alps are within an hour’s drive from Chambéry.

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

For a special dinner, choose one of the two restaurants at Château de Candie. During the summer, you can dine on the terrace.

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 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, Aix-les-Bains’ hot springs were recognized for their medicinal properties, good for treatments against rheumatism, or for 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 beautiful people looking for the virtues of the hot and sulfurous springs and also to enjoy other pleasures by the lake.  

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

It is indeed thanks to the hot springs and the thermal baths that the city developed and attracted international tourism. Without the thermal baths, Aix-les-Bains would surely 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 do in Aix-les-Bains includes:

  • Visit the Thermes Nationaux, today historic monument
  • 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
  • Do a spa treatment at Chevalley Thermal Baths
  • Visit the casino (beautiful architecture)

Another interesting thing to do around the lake is to visit the Abbey of Hautecombe, located on the wild shore of the lake. This beautiful 12th-century Cistercian abbey hosts the tombs of princes and princesses of the Maison de Savoie, today the Royal Family in Italy. From Aix-les-Bains, it is a 35-minute ride but you can also take this boat cruise at Aix which includes the visit to the abbey.

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 left of the restaurant (behind the tourist office hut), and walk a couple of minutes under the trees. Then, it’s a WOW! moment guaranteed, the views of the lake are awesome!

If you booked well in advance, enjoy sunset and dinner at Le Belvédere restaurant, well-reputed both for its view over the lake and its (classic) cuisine. Alternatively, the on-site restaurant at Auberge Saint Simond is always listed in all of the major national guides, recommended for the quality of their home-made dishes made with fresh market produce.

Days 5 – 6 | Annecy

The last stop of this road trip from Lyon is Annecy. Instead of an easy 2-hour drive from Lyon, it took us 5 days to arrive but we hope that you enjoyed the detour!

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 a good place to enjoy great food and a good life, and we recommend spending at least 2 nights in Annecy.

For your stay in Annecy, book a room at the beautiful Black Bass Hotel, located just out of Annecy by the lake. 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.  

For dinner, two good addresses to taste local cuisine in the Old Town of Annecy are:

  • Les Chineurs de la Cuisine (26 rue Sainte Claire). This restaurant with a flea market decoration proposes a traditional cuisine of quality and with generous portions and a good selection of wines. In the summer, it is also possible to eat outside.
  • L’Esquisse (21 rue Royale). This is a small restaurant with a great, inspiring cuisine and a menu that changes with the seasons. This is a top place for a gourmet dinner in Annecy.

During the summer, if you want to dine outdoors by the canals, be sure to book the day before or the same day early in the morning.

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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