Réunion is, quite literally, a delightful slice of France in the heart of the ‘Ocean Indian’. Known for its stunning landscapes – dramatic volcanic peaks, lush green interior and hidden waterfalls, this exotic island will appeal to those looking to add a little off the beaten track adventure to their beach holiday.
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Where to Go in Réunion
Over 3 million years ago the Piton des Neiges volcano emerged from the Indian Ocean and the rugged island of Réunion was formed. As the volcano collapsed 3 cirques (or circular craters) were formed – Salazie, Cilaos and Mafayete – now listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Cirque de Mafate is surrounded by mountains and only accessible by air or foot but Cirque de Salazie and Cirque de Cilaos can easily be explored on full day’s excursion. Hire a car or book a private car & driver to discover the island’s breath-taking beauty. There are lush green valleys, steep gorges, hidden waterfalls tumbling from the craggy peaks and quaint Creole villages such as Hell-Bourg and Cilaos to explore.
In the South of the island, Piton de la Fournaise is one of the world’s most active volcanoes with an arid, moon-like landscape surrounding it. Such diverse terrain makes Réunion a hiker’s paradise and there are well-marked trails to suit all abilities along with some exciting activities such as canyoning, rock climbing and fast mountain bike descents. However, we think one of the best ways to fully appreciate the island’s incredible scenery is from the air and a helicopter tour is an awe-inspiring experience you won’t forget!
Every year from July to October humpback whales migrate to the warm waters surrounding Réunion to give birth and during the season there are daily whale and dolphin-watching cruises departing from St Gilles les Baines.
One word of caution – English speakers are few and far between on Réunion! However, we are sure you will have fun dusting off your French phrase book or we can arrange an English-speaking guide if you prefer.
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When to go
Réunion’s climate is similar to neighbouring Mauritius. Summer runs from November-April and is the hottest time to travel but can be very wet especially over the mountainous interior. Cyclones are also a possibility at this time of year and can disrupt the island’s weather for 48-72 hours.
Winter is May-October when the weather is generally drier and although temperatures are much lower it is a pleasant time to travel, especially if you are looking to join in some of the more energetic activities that the island offers such as hiking and biking! However, don’t forget to pack something warm if you plan to go trekking at higher altitude.
Flights: There are no direct flights to Réunion from the UK; however, there are connecting flights with Air France, Air Mauritius, Air Austral and Emirates.
Typical carbon emissions for a return flight via Paris (Economy) per person: 2.65 tonnes.
FCDO travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/reunion
Time Zone: GMT+4
Capital City: Saint-Denis