Places to visit in Reunion Island
If you thought Reunion Island is only famous for Piton de La Fournaise, it's time you give it another thought. Despite being fairly small, the island has something for everyone! From its mesmerizing unspoilt beaches, coral reefs and rainforest interior to its cirques, vibrant nightlife and traditional foods, whether you are visiting for a few days or weeks, you will want to make sure you visit some key attractions that just ooze the charm of this exotic island!
So here are 5 best places to visit in Reunion Island!
1. Takamaka, Trou de Fer Canyon and Voile de la Mariée Waterfalls
If chasing waterfalls is on your adventure list, you will be excited to hear that some of the world’s tallest waterfalls are situated in Reunion Island. The Takamaka surround one of the island’s longest rivers, the rivière des Marsouins with an untamed view of the waterfalls at the end of a small road. Gear up with your hiking shoes and sportswear to trail and hike down the falls.
For the most adventurous and adrenaline-filled lovers, explore the Trou de Fer canyon, ranked as one of the island’s top three tourist attractions! Offering countless waterfalls and creating diverse rhythms, you can either join a canyoning expedition you can simply enjoy the mesmerizing view from a helicopter tour.
Voile de la mariée is another waterfall famous for the optical illusion it produces. It owes its name to the bridal veil shape effect created by the long white stream of water during the waterfall’s full flow. You will find some epic viewpoints, definitely worth stopping for and admiring!
Do not end your adventure here! You can also discover the White waterfall, Chaudron falls and Niagara waterfall – all a real feast for the eyes and a real boost for spiritual energy!
2. Piton de la Fournaise
The famous volcano, ranked first among the island’s tourist attractions, is one of the best places to visit in Reunion Island. It can be explored on foot with hiking trails, by cycling or by car! There are some mesmerizing hiking routes including inside the caldera Enclos Fouqué or around the outside forest paths. Different types of volcano tours are available to different types of travelers. While fans of cycling can discover the majestic natural monument with a mountain bike ride, others can also take horse trails up to the exceptional view. Another more uncommon way to hike up the stunning scenery is a hike on a Segway. If you are exploring with kids or elderly people, you can visit the volcano’s lush forest by car, an enjoyable way to access all breathtaking scenic views, quickly and relaxingly.
The top of Piton de la Fournaise looks like a desert and the lava road will make you feel like you are on another planet. You can visit a lava tunnel, a great idea for a family tour in Reunion Island. The cité du Volcan Museum can also be discovered at the entrance of the Piton de la Fournaise forest road, where a fun, attractive and educational visit is guaranteed.
For those who want to explore more of the site, you can spend the night by sleeping on the volcano’s slopes at The Gite du Volcan Lodge! Moreover, the moonlight walk across the volcanic plateau Paine des Sables makes Piton de la Fournaise one of the best places to visit during your holidays in Reunion Island.
3. The cirques
Hike lovers, the cirques are for you! Reunion island is well known for its cirques, natural rocky hollows of volcanic origin. Hike Mafate, Cilaos and Salazie, each with their unique identities which will make you experience a diversity in scenery.
You can also explore Mafate, a hiker’s paradise, accessible only by foot. It is the heart of a collapsed volcano, which offers an authentic experience with only a few Mafatais with their coloured shacks. This world heritage site offers many trails with mountains, ravines and waterfalls at every turn.
Cilaos is another of Reunion Island’s cirques. Hikers usually set off from Cilaos to Piton des Neiges, highest Peak on the island. The latter offers a spectacle with its vertical walls, unique charm, pure fresh air and the welcoming generosity of the locals.
For an unforgettable day tour, visit the cirque of Salazie. Accessible by a single road, the site is home to beautiful waterfalls, luxurious vegetation and hot springs.
4. Go on a food tour
Reunion island has a lot to offer in terms of culinary styles and tastes. Discover a mix of African, Asian and French cuisine in restaurants on the island. Drop by the capital city, St Denis to discover a variety of fast food. One of the best things to do in St Denis is to try the different food shacks and cafés with a sea view at the Barachois, seafront park.
Next, take a tour to St Paul Market to discover authentic and traditional creole cuisine. The typical Réunionese menu consists of rice, maize, vegetables, curry or rougailles and often accompanied by salads, pickles or “chatini”. Saint Paul market is also the best place in Reunion to buy souvenir gifts. Do not forget to get some high-quality vanilla and taste some of the island’s famous rhum.
5. Discover sea creatures
Reunion Island has just as many wonders below the sea as it does on the land. Grab this opportunity to experience moving and unforgettable encounters with marine lives.
The stunning waters of the exotic island naturally contain an abundance of multicolored fish and corals, but there are also some more imposing visitors! Whales swim to the island's shorelines to bask in the heat of the Indian Ocean. Watching sperm whales, fin whales and the impressive humpback whales is possible between the month of June and October. They can be seen from the island’s west coast or even from the Barachois at St Denis.
Explore the various endangered species of the Indian Ocean by visiting Kelonia, sea tortoise observatory of St- Leu and if you are lucky, you may also catch a glimpse of baby turtles.
Planning to travel soon? Contact us to book your flights from Mauritius to Reunion Island.