Visit Haute-Savoie, France
Stunning mountain scenery including Mont Blanc, the beautiful city of Annecy and the villages and scenery around Lake Geneva combine to make the Haute-Savoie one of the most stunning departments in France, for both summer and winter visitors
Selected places to visit in Haute-Savoie
Haute-Savoie: an introduction
The Haute-Savoie is a department in the Rhone-Alpes region of eastern France, with Annecy as its 'capital' (or prefecture) town, the border with Switzerland to the north and with Italy to the east.
One of the 'newest' departments of France, Haute-Savoie was an independent principality with a wealth founded on the trade routes that pass through the region, until the Treaty of Turin was signed in 1860.
The Haute-Savoie department has quite different characteristics, according to your location - so like us you might like to visit several times!
In the south-west of the department undoubtedly one of the highlights is the beautiful town of Annecy (and its setting on the shores of Lake Annecy). Close to Annecy a lovely day trip along the shores of the lake will take you to the lovely villages of Talloires, Menthon Saint Bernard and Veyrier du Lac on the waterside.
A few kilometres west of Annecy the Gorges du Fier are great fun to visit, with a path fixed to the cliff enabling you to penetrate deep into an otherwise inaccessible gorge.
Towards the north of Haute-Savoie you will enjoy exploring the towns and villages along the southern shores of Lake Geneva (Lac Leman) - among these be sure to visit Evian les Bains (rather famous for its bottled water!), Thonon les Bains and the village of Yvoire, classified among the most beautiful villages in France.
South of here the trip to see the alpine village at Abondance is also recommended, both for the village itself, with an abbey dating in part from the 12th century, and for the picturesque scenery en route.
The centre, south and east of the Haute-Savoie are more mountainous, culminating in the Mont Blanc Massif with highlights such as Mont Blanc itself, the stunning views from the Aiguille du Midi and the glacier called the Mer de Glace.
This region also includes several famous ski resorts, such as Chamonix, close to Mont Blanc and the Italian border. Other popular winter resorts include Avoriaz, Megeve and Saint Gervais and La Clusaz.
Sallanches is also well placed to enjoy the mountains, and the village of Sixt-Fer-a-Cheval (east of Cluses) is both listed as a 'beautiful French village' and close to one of the scenic spectacles of the region, the Cirque de Fer-à-Cheval (classified as a 'Grand Site of France').
Although better known for its scenery there are also some interesting historical monuments in the Haute-Savoie department, such as the Chartreuse du Reposoir, in a beautiful wooded valley setting to the south, the medieval castle at Bonneville, the Chateau de Montrottier and the imposing castle that overlooks Menthon Saint Bernard.
See also our guide to the Savoie department for the associated department immediately south of here, east of Chambery.
See a list of all Haute-Savoie communes
Map of Haute-Savoie
French version: Haute-Savoie (Francais)