Welcome to Réunion
From majestic landscapes and awesome viewpoints to attractive coastal cities and stunning forests, the island of Réunion really packs a punch.
The Great Outdoors
Want to get the heart pumping and the lungs gasping? You've come to the right place. With its extraordinarily varied terrain, Réunion is a dream destination for lovers of the outdoors. Hiking is the number-one activity. Some of the most inspirational hiking trails in the southern hemisphere are to be found here, from simple nature trails in the forest to more challenging, multi-day itineraries and iconic summits, including the Piton des Neiges (3071m). Need some more exertion? Paragliding, canyoning, mountain biking, rafting and horse riding are readily available. And although Réunion is not a hardcore diver's destination, it offers some cracking diving opportunities along the west coast.
Jutting out of the ocean like a basaltic shield cloaked in green, this scenically magical island enjoys a truly astonishing diversity of landscapes. What to expect? Awesome mountainscapes, emerald forests, tumbling waterfalls, soul-stirring panoramas, energetic coastal cities and a sprinkling of white- or black-sand beaches. The formidable Piton de la Fournaise, one of the world's most accessible active volcanoes, adds to the thrill – Réunion is not dubbed 'the Hawaii of the southern hemisphere' for nothing. And as if living on an active volcano weren't enough, Réunion has three Cirques (calderas) with folk living in them.
Réunion is not all about photogenic landscapes and adrenaline-pumping activities. There's plenty to compel culture aficionados, too. This French overseas territory offers a fascinating jumble of Creole, African, Indian, Chinese and French influences that was created by centuries of immigration, and there's a casual multi-ethnic atmosphere. Cultural diversity forms an integral component of the island's social fabric. There's a wealth of architectural treasures, historic sites, delightful religious and colonial buildings and vibrant festivals that are a great occasion to immerse oneself in local culture. A smattering of top-notch museums round out the offerings.
Gourmands will be in seventh heaven in Réunion. Island cuisine is made up of a well-matched mix of Creole, Indian, Chinese and French cultures. Food lovers will revel in trendy beach restaurants serving the freshest of fish, and in snug restaurants featuring mouth-watering Creole specialties. The tastiest Creole food is often served at B&Bs, which are famous for their home-cooked meals. Markets are full of colourful exotic fruits and vegetables, from sweet bananas and huge avocados to succulent mangoes and lychees. You'll also find plenty of bakeries and pastry shops selling baguettes, croissants and melt-in-your-mouth cakes. One thing is sure: Réunion is not a place to diet.