Mark Read

Port Louis

Port Louis (por loo-ee), the island's capital and largest city, can feel like a kaleidoscope of countries and cultures, with flashes of India, Africa, Europe, China and the Middle East. Unless you've essential business to transact here, though, or you're in the country for a prolonged visit, there aren't that many reasons to come – there are numerous other day excursions that we'd rank above Port Louis.

But if you are here, it can be a good place to take the pulse of the country and get an alternative slant on the island's rarefied world of resorts and private beaches. Most interest lies amid the bustle of the downtown streets, the tangle of ethnic quarters and some wonderfully preserved colonial buildings. Apart from Le Caudan Waterfront, it all shuts down after dark, when countless commuters rumble out of town en route to their homes on the Central Plateau.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Port Louis.