For a relatively small island, Reunion boasts a wide range of dramatic landscapes. From the lava fields of the south to the palm-fringed beaches of the west, jagged peaks of the inland plateau, and forests teeming with flora, fauna and tumbling waterfalls, there is certainly no shortage of attractions and activities. Reunion is well-known for the formidable Piton de la Fournaise – one of the world's most active volcanoes, which erupted as recently as April 2020. Located on the south coast, you'll find white and black sand beaches in the west, with many mountains and rainforests in between. This Indian Ocean island offers a getaway that ranges from toes-in-the-sand leisure to adrenaline-pumping insanity.
St-Gilles-les-Bains captures the tropical side of the island, far away from the reaches of the rugged volcanic mountains, with its clear lagoon and golden sand sprinkled with black basalt. Snorkel the coral reefs, dive into waters rich with marine life, or soak up the sun. Those who prefer an adrenaline rush over sunburn can hike 2,631m to the top of the volcano, trek through the forests past its inhabitants, pass the mountain villages, or abseil down waterfalls.
Explore the ancient cirques and crumbling ground where volcanoes once stood. The three natural amphitheatres offer kilometres of trails that twist around the cirques and disappear into the mountains, which can be hiked, biked, or traversed on horseback. Reunion is an ethnic mixture of Creole, Indian, Chinese, French, and African cultures, all contributing to the architectural treasures and vibrant festivals.
We've taken the liberty to answer everything you may need to know about visiting Reunion Island
There are nine native mammal species on the island. The emblematic animal is the chameleon, with many other reptiles like the lizard and gecko abound. In the forested areas, you can catch a glimpse of the rare rusa deer, as well as hares, among others.
If you're a bird-lover, you can see 91 species of birds, including endemic ones, such as the white blackbird, the iconic Reunion cuckooshrike, the Barau's petrel, and the Audubon's shearwater.
Sealife includes corallian species and pelagic fish. When exploring the lagoon, you'll find starfish, hermit crab, boxfish, damselfish, butterflyfish, surgeonfish and crabs. On the other side of the coral barrier you’ll find the turtle, ray, marlin and shark. And, of course, you can see the whale and dolphin, best viewed from a boat!
If you're looking for wind-in-your-hair excitement, you certainly won't be disappointed. Plenty of visitors may be content basking in the island sun, but if you're not that kind of traveller, you can take to the:
- Hang gliding
- Water skiing
- Deep-sea fishing
Mountains and waterfalls:
- Mountain biking
The Euro is the official currency.