Lava & leisure on Reunion Island

Not as well-known as Seychelles or nearby Mauritius, Reunion juts out of the ocean like a basaltic shield cloaked in emerald-green. With the formidable Piton de la Fournaise – one of the world’s most active volcanoes – on its south coast, white and black sand beaches in the west, and many mountains and rainforests in between, the 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 simply soak up the sun. For those who prefer an adrenaline rush over sunburn, 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, each contributing to the architectural treasures and vibrant festivals.

Highlights

  • St-Gilles-les-Bains captures the tropical side of the island with its clear lagoon and golden sand sprinkled with black basalt
  • Snorkel the coral reefs or dive into waters rich with marine life
  • The formidable Piton de la Fournaise rises 2,631m into the air and is one of the world’s most active volcanoes
  • Trek through the forest past its inhabitants, or canyon down the waterfalls
  • Explore the many trails through ancient cirques on a hike, a bike, or on horseback 
  • Best time to go:
  • Best
  • Mixed

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