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Reviewed on 29 Jun 2021
Reviewed on 10 Aug 2021
Reviewed on 14 Jan 2022
An exotic island paradise, this French overseas territory offers challenging volcanic hikes, beautiful coastal walks and abundant cultural activities.
The French region of Réunion is a small remote island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. Many travelers have never heard of the island, let alone thought of visiting it, but those who do will be amply rewarded. Discover stunning volcanic scenery, dazzling sandy beaches and some photogenic hiking trails.
Réunion’s location in the Indian Ocean made it an enticing trade settlement for early explorers. Although it underwent a period of unrest during the colonial era, today’s Réunion is a diverse and tolerant society. Discover cuisine and architecture influenced by French, Creole, Indian and Chinese cultures.
Lace up your hiking boots for a trip to one of Réunion’s main attractions: the active volcano of Piton de la Fournaise. This natural wonder is constantly monitored by experts for signs of eruptions. Take a helicopter tour to see the lava spewing from above or camp out overnight near the rim.
For relaxation, venture to the pretty beaches on the island’s west coast. Scuba divers can swim through coral reefs off the coast of St. Gilles-les-Bains, while surfers can ride the waves in St. Leu. After getting your feet wet, browse the outdoor market in St. Paul to buy locally made crafts and fresh produce.
For cultural diversions, head to the capital city of St. Denis. Survey the modern art collection at the Musée Léon Dierx and learn from exhibitions on the area’s natural history at the Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle. Dine on traditional Creole food while enjoying the sunshine on an outdoor terrace.
Two main airports serve Réunion: Roland Garros Airport in St. Denis and Pierrefonds Airport in St. Pierre. From the airport, take a taxi to your accommodations or rent a car to travel to the more remote areas of the island with ease. There is also an inexpensive bus system connecting most major towns. French and Creole are the two main languages.
Experience Réunion’s unique culture by dancing, dining and shopping alongside the welcoming locals who live in harmony on their beautiful island home.