Annecy is known as the Venice of the Alps, and the crown jewel of the Haute Savoie region. Surrounded by its lake, the historic town centre is home to a number of secular buildings. Things to do in Annecy on a budget: we've chosen five low-cost or free activities to help you really get to know this gem of a town.
Start the day with a tour of the castle overlooking the town. Built in the 12th century by the Counts of Geneva, it is now home to a museum. Its walls enclose collections dedicated to regional, as well as contemporary, art.
The seat of the bishops
The St. Pierre cathedral is an awe-inspiring 16th century building, used by Geneva's Catholic clergy fleeing the Protestant reform. The Renaissance style illustrated by the triangular pediments of its façade rubs shoulders with Gothic elements, such as the rose window.
The old prison
Your Annecy adventure continues on at the shores of the lake. The Isle palace is encircled by the Thiou and was once a prison. Guided tours lead you through the ancient cells that have been meticulously preserved. The old prison has been home to the CIAP since 2005, a centre that aims to spread awareness and understanding of the region's architecture and heritage.
The late 17th century Sales hotel can be found on Rue du Pâquier. This was once a residence of the Princes of Savoy, and is renowned for its façade embellished with four busts symbolising the four seasons.
Lake Annecy makes for a breath-taking walking spot. The Champ de Mars is accessible from the town centre: simply cut through the Jardins de l'Europe gardens and cross the Pont des Amours bridge. The views here is simply spectacular.