A rugged emerald and chocolate tumble of volcanic formations, the Francophone island of Reunion is a stunning contrast of mountains, beaches and hidden waterfalls.
Whilst nearby Mauritius typifies Indian-Ocean tranquillity with its desert-island beaches, Reunion offers a more active, and arguably more eye-catching, experience. Yet, this green gem – uncut, jagged to the eye – remains intriguingly European, as befits an island that has been French territory for almost 400 years.
A LITTLE MORE ABOUT REUNION
Just 63 kilometres long, this tiny island rises impressively out of the azure waters of the Indian Ocean. 40% of the island is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, incorporating the vast calderas that make up this volcano graveyard. The highest peak amongst these is the Piton de Neiges, which towers over the island, rising to a precipitous 3,069-metre peak.
To the south of this jumble of basalt crags, volcanic depressions and plant-rich slopes, the Piton de La Fournaise still rumbles with life. One of the most active volcanoes in the world, its lava flows sporadically slide towards the ocean – meeting the water with a colossal eruption of steam and sound. The surrounding landscape is arid and lunar in nature, contrasting wonderfully with the tropically verdant mountain slopes to the north.
SOME IDEAS FOR A REUNION HOLIDAY
- Witness the 2016 annular solar eclipse from the island's volcanic peaks.
- Fly by helicopter amongst stunning calderas, past thundering waterfalls and over the smoking rim of the Piton de La Fournaise.
- Hike through this exotic landscape – up dormant volcanic craters and through birdlife-rich forests.
- Explore the idyllic coastline and discover the island’s eclectic Creole culture.
- Cycle up the lunar slopes of the Piton de La Fournaise – past lava flows and with views of the impressive peak.
- Combine with the beaches of Mauritius or the lemurs of Madagascar for an intriguing Indian Ocean experience.