Bordering both Switzerland and Italy, Haute-Savoie offers breathtaking panoramas and a multitude of activities both in summer and in winter. Between the towns of Annecy, Chamonix and Évian-les-Bains, discover preserved landscapes and make wonderful discoveries in pristine natural settings. So, what to do in Haute-Savoie? Discover 10 must-see places and must-do activities!
What to do in Haute-Savoie?
What to do in Haute-Savoie? 10 places to visit and activities to do
1. The Aiguille du midi
The Aiguille du Midi is accessible by cable car from Chamonix – at an altitude of 3,842 metres, this peak is a must-see in the Mont Blanc Massif in summer or in winter. The more adventurous can try “Le Pas dans le Vide” (“Step into the void”) for a breathtaking view of the valley in a 100% glass chamber.
2. The city of Annecy and its lake
Annecy is known as the Venice of the Alps and is one of the most beautiful cities in France. Stroll through its old town along the small canals and alleyways and enjoy outdoor activities on the shores of Lake Annecy in a dream setting. What to do in Haute-Savoie to enjoy an incredible view? Take a few steps up and visit the towering Annecy castle!
3. Lake Geneva
Évian-les-Bains is world famous for its mineral water. On the shores of Lake Geneva, the town is surrounded by a magnificent and serene natural environment. There is no shortage of activities to enjoy, including nice long walks, including through the quaint town centre, remarkable buildings and water tasting at the Cachat spring.
4. The medieval village of Yvoire
Yvoire is listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France: on the shores of Lake Geneva, this small town is located between the Alps and the Jura ranges. Travel back in time by visiting its castle, its ramparts and its fortified gates. The small streets, the port, the restaurants, the Cinq Sens garden and the craftsmen’s shops are all popular with visitors in the area.
What to do in Haute-Savoie other than visit towns and villages? Explore Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps and in Europe! Rafting, hiking trails, slopes for skiers and snowboarders in winter – enjoy the exceptional nature of Haute-Savoie around Mont-Blanc, in one of the most famous ski resorts, Chamonix. At an altitude of 4,808 metres, Mont Blanc offers a large array of activities both in summer and in winter.
6. Thonon-les-Bains and its funicular
Thonon-les-Bains is also located on the shores of Lake Geneva, which is just as famous for its mineral water as Evian-les-Bains. You can walk along the harbour and in the town centre, but also discover the Belvedere park thanks to the funicular. You can enjoy a picnic or rest in this beautifully landscaped park with a splendid view of the lake in the background.
7. The Mer de Glace glacier
What can you do in Haute-Savoie that is unique and original? In the municipality of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, go and discover the Mer de Glace, the largest glacier in France. Unfortunately, this exceptional glacier is currently suffering from the effects of global warming. Take the Montenvers cogwheel train, which is also the starting point for a visit to the Grotte de Glace (Ice cave).
8. The Cirque du Fer-à-Cheval hike
Another must-see in Haute-Savoie is the Cirque du Fer-à-Cheval (literally “Horseshoe cirque”). This impressive natural cirque is located in the town of Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval. Its walls rise up to 500 to 700 metres in height, with several waterfalls in spring. The shape of the cliffs gives it its name, and it is a place where you can do some of the most beautiful hiking in Haute-Savoie (the trails are for all levels).
9. Le Grand-Bornand
What to do in Haute-Savoie with the Aravis mountain range as a background? Visit Le Grand-Bornand, a charming little village famous for its wooden chalets. Enjoy a multitude of activities and discover the superb mountain lakes with ibex, marmots and chamois!
10. The Portes du Soleil ski area
In winter, the Portes du Soleil ski area is one of the largest in the world. The area has 12 ski resorts (Avoriaz, Morzine or Les Gets among others) which offer more than 650 kilometres of slopes for skiers from all over the world. The joys of skiing are at your fingertips!
Haute-Savoie: a truly unique setting
You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding what to do in Haute-Savoie! Discover this unique land of wilderness and its wide range of landscapes: from meadows to mountain pastures to forests and nature reserves, this “département” is a French favourite. On the shores of two lakes famous throughout Europe (Lake Annecy and Lake Geneva), we welcome you to Haute-Savoie with your family, friends or partner to share unforgettable moments and take a breath of fresh air.