The Haute Savoie is a mountainous region with crystal clear air and breathtaking views! Perfect for people who love wide open spaces, the Haute Savoie and particularly Annecy also has areas with rich history to discover. Annecy is known as the Venice of the Alps, and, together with its Lake make a wonderful destination.
Top Attractions in Haute-Savoie
Palais de l'Ile at Annecy
The symbol of the town of Annecy, and a not to miss visit, The « Palace of the Isle » is a 12th century building which has, amongst other things, been used as a prison, and a court. It is built in the middle of one of the many canals that gave Annecy its nickname of Venice of the Alps.
Ancient centre of Annecy
Ancient centre of Annecy – A delightful historical centre criss crossed by canals, and pedestrianised roads. Dont miss the « Lovers Bridge » the pont des amours, over the Vassé canal, or the Rue Sainte Claire, with gorgeous 17th and 18th century arches.
Chateau of Annecy
Chateau of Annecy – Dating from the 14th century and built on the side of a mountain overlooking Annecy, the castle is now home to a museum.
The highest mountain in Europe at 4810 metres, Mont Blanc is known as the « Roof of Europe ». Although the climb would be too much for non-mountaineers, no trip to the area would be complete without seeing this amazing site. Don't forget to charge your camera batteries !
The Cirque de Saint-Même
The Cirque de Saint-Même – A spectacular series of waterfalls which can be explored on foot as part of a one and a half hour signposted walk. You need to get here early, particularly on weekends, as the car park is paying, quickly full, and if you can't park there, you have a 4.5 km walk back from the nearest parking.
The Mer de Glace
The Mer de Glace – The Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice) is the biggest glacier in France, and the journey begins with a little rack-and-pinion train ride from Chamonix taking you up to over 1900 metres and opening up to an unforgettable vista. Next you can take a short cable car ride to enter the very heart of the glacier in the « Grotte de glace » the ice cave !, this is amazing, filled with ice sculptures, and needing rebuilding every year to take into account the 70 odd metres of movement by the glacier.
Aiguille du Midi
Aiguille du Midi - This is an expensive attraction, but I think that it is worth it. First off, a cable car takes you over 2300 metres, to an intermediate station that already has impressive views. Next you take a second cable car, climbing vertically up to 3777 metres. You now have the option to enjoy the views, take a lift up to the top of the « needle » or even have a meal at the restaurant with the most spectacular views imaginable – the highest restaurant in Europe ! . Make sure you wrap up VERY warm, and check the « annual » or the « family » passes, which seem to work out less expensive than buying the ordinary return. Buy your tickets at least one day in advance. *Not recommended for children under 3
Getting to and around Haute-Savoie
Geneva (GVA) is the nearest international airport, and has several flights to Europe and further afield. A bit further away is Lyon airport with flights to all over the world. The best thing would be to fly to one of these airports and then hire a car. Because this is a region, you are best to hire a car in order to fully explore.