Amazing 1 Day Trip to Annecy and Gruyères

Explore and discover the beautiful must-see lake town, Annecy in France! Enjoy a short detour on this road trip to the village of Gruyères, Switzerland. This is a 1-day trip you won’t want to miss!

Gruyères Switzerland

My husband and I love road trips, and seeking out new adventures! We were in the city of Colmar and decided we wanted to have lunch in Gruyères, Switzerland before heading to our planned stay in Annecy, France. It’s a 3-hour drive there, and another hour’s drive (total of 4hrs) to Annecy. Please note: Tolls are anticipated on most routes and definitely not the least expensive route. But, I was determined to see this cheesy city, ha-ha!

Gruyeres Day Trip

Day trip from Geneva to Grueyers Switzerland.  Look at open views of town with mountains in the background.
Gruyères Switzerland Day Trip

Parking for Gruyeres is out of town and you have to walk up a hill to get there. If you don’t mind stretching your legs, it’s just a short walk. We did notice that tour buses had some premier parking spots if you chose to visit with a group. Day trip tours are truly an ideal way to see this charming city.

Gruyères is one of those quaint, breathtakingly beautiful towns where cows wear bells around their necks and you can smell chocolate in the air.

Grueyers Switzerland Day Trip - photo of castle and mountain in the background.
Gruyères, Switzerland Day Trip

Le Chalet de Gruyeres

LUNCH: We ate lunch at one of the lunch establishments downtown called Le Chalet de Gruyeres. I remember sitting off their second floor and feeling the fresh mountain air from the open windows. I could even hear cow bells from our table, it was just that peaceful and quiet. We did come earlier in the day and avoided any crowds. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I always prefer to travel in shoulder season to see cities and towns without a large influx of tourists.

Afterward exploring the town and shopping for cheese and chocolate, we got refreshments at the very unique bar and museum, HR Giger. From top to bottom, this establishment looks like an alien designed it.

Although this journey to Gruyères was out of our way, I really enjoyed this trip and would drive out of my way again. Next, we headed onto the beautiful lake city called Annecy in southeastern France.

Annecy France

Annecy is located where Lake Annecy feeds into the Thiou River and is approximately 40 minutes outside of Geneva, Switzerland. It is known for its cobbled streets, canals similar to Venice, and pastel-colored houses. There is a magnificent Château d’Annecy, once belonging to the Counts of Geneva. It currently is a museum with local artifacts such as Alpine furniture and artwork. Since we had limited time, I didn’t tour the museum.

This city is much larger than Gruyeres, and spectacularly beautiful. Since we arrived in the later portion of the day, we enjoyed the scenery wandering around the canal streets and the park. This city is where I had my first Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc beer (of course with a lemon). I have such fond memories of this city by the water.

Annecy France with views of the canal and Annecy shops.
Annecy, France – Canal View

Anney Hotel: Splendid Hotel Annecy

Splendid Hotel Annecy, 4 Quai Eustache Chappuis, Annecy, 74000, France is located in the heart of the city overlooking Lac d’ Annecy. It is a 3-star hotel that has great reviews and walkability to everything.

We had one issue related to the a/c and did not realize the heat/air conditioner is controlled by the main hotel operator. Once the manager switched it from heat to a/c it resolved our dilemma. Our room was particularly nice because it overlooked the lake. Overall, the hotel staff was pleasant and helpful and I would stay here again.

Restaurant L’Etage

I had made reservations by email in advance with Restaurant L’Etage – 13 rue du Paquier, 74000, Annecy, France. It is steps away from Splendid Hotel Annecy.

We had a nice table outside and enjoyed the weather as our day came to a close. I indulged in their delicious truffle fondue which reminded me fondly of our time in Gruyères. My husband chose to get the steak tartare (I admit to not being adventurous enough to try it!). The fondue dish and atmosphere provided an enjoyable end to the day.

Annecy has gorgeous waterfront parks, and definitely worth checking out these evening views!

Lake Annecy views of Switzerland
Lake Annecy

I hope you enjoyed my day excursion to Gruyères and Annecy, got a few helpful tips along the way. Next on my journey is the amazing town of Chamonix France! Check out this 1-day trip itinerary here. Chamonix is the ultimate destination for skiing, snowboarding, and more winter fun!

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