The island beauty of La Réunion, which is still traded as an insider tip, is located in the middle of the Indian Ocean and has a more prominent sister island in the immediate vicinity: Mauritius is only a 45-minute flight away. A total of around 850,000 people live on the island, which is 700 kilometers east of Madagascar. The island of around 2,500 square kilometers surprises with a great variety of landscapes and is a paradise especially for active vacationers.
Because La Réunion has much more to offer than pristine, fine sandy dream beaches and crystal clear water – although of course there are also plenty of them. One of its facets is that it is easily possible to drive through a barren, dry and moon-like environment into a lush lagoon. You can also hike on the same day in cool temperatures and enjoy extensive sunbathing at 30 degrees on the sandy beach. Réunion – island of diversity!
In the following we present you the most exciting tours, the most beautiful attractions and the best sights on La Réunion.
1. Cap Jaune
The Cap Jaune is a nearly 50 meter high rock face, which is located in the south of La Réunion directly on the sea. The golden colored rock alone stands out in an impressive way from the blue of the sky and the sea. But it gets really spectacular when you rappel down the wall and marvel at the monumental structure of nature from below.
Then suddenly the dimensions become clear – and together with the violently surging waves that crash against black volcanic rock, there is a majestic spectacle for all the senses. The wall can only be reached via a 30-minute hike from Rue de la Marine in Vencendo. It’s worth it!
2. Whale Watching La Réunion
A whale watching tour on Réunion should definitely not be missing. No matter how often you may have seen the gentle giants of the sea – it is always a fascinating experience. And the first encounter with the marine mammals is unforgettable anyway. The whale season is mainly from June to September off the southwest coast of the island. Often you can even spot the huge animals from the beach. Of course, you can only get really close to them by boat. Although there are also limits:
For reasons of species protection, certified providers are only allowed to approach the whales within 50 meters. This is certainly a comprehensible measure worth supporting – and even from this distance the large mammals are an amazing sight! The best place for whale watching tours is St. Gilles. In the port of the small town there are excursion boats of all sizes and equipment – from small nutshells to more or less luxurious yachts with on-board catering.
3rd road to Cilaos
A masterpiece of architecture is the road to Cilaos, which leads from St. Louis over 420 curves to the village of Cilaos. The scenic sights you get on this route are almost unbeatable. First it goes at a snail’s pace from the valley steadily up into the mountains.
The road is partly single-lane, but in good condition throughout. Once at the top, a magnificent panoramic view awaits the holidaymaker. In addition, many wonderful hiking trails have their starting point here. The town of Cilaos, with its little streets that invite you to stroll, is also a real sight!
4. Trou de Fer
The Trou de Fer is a canyon-shaped canyon in the middle of the island. In this fascinating place, waterfalls cascade down into the valley from six different sides. When they fall up to 300 meters deep into the Trou de Fer, they generate a powerful roar. A moderately strenuous hike takes about an hour and a half to reach a viewing platform that offers a fantastic view of the gorge. Out
The starting point for the hike is the Gite de Bélouve, which can be reached after a drive on an adventurous road. The landscape in this region is beautiful and the vegetation is lush. Then it goes over footbridges, steps and forest floor through a real fairytale forest. For the way back there is the possibility of choosing an alternative route that is a little longer. No matter what you choose: this place in the middle of the mountains lined with rainforests is a must-see.
5. Cirque de Salazie
There is also rainforest en masse in the Cirque de Salazie. The easiest to reach basin on the island is also the greenest. It can only be reached via a driveway from the northeast. You should take some time for this route alone and charge the camera’s batteries. Because it goes past idyllic streams and waterfalls as well as green slopes – in short:
A landscape like from a picture book! Hell-Bourg is a place here that has been recognized several times as one of the most beautiful sights in France. It goes without saying that there are also delicious savory and sweet crepes in the alleys. From here, there are also numerous hiking trails on which the Cirque de Salazie can be explored.
6. Piton de la Fournaise
The Piton de la Fournaise volcano is one of the most active volcanoes on earth. However, its annual eruptions are not classified as dangerous. The last eruption occurred in 2007. At that time, the lava even reached the sea, which is still visible on the coast today. The crater can be reached in a five-hour hike. From above there is a breathtaking all-round view of the island landscape – divided into two parts:
Dark lunar landscape on one side and a glittering sea on the other. Wonderful contrasts, great views and a physical activity that is easy to manage for an average trained person – a wonderful combination. This makes the fascinating Piton de la Fournaise one of the most popular sights on La Réunion.
7. Cap Méchant
La Réunion also has a rock gate like the famous Azure Window, which collapsed some time ago. It is located in the south of the island near the town of Saint-Joseph and can be easily reached by car. The surf is particularly strong here and crashes against the mighty lava rocks with a loud roar.
However, swimming is strictly forbidden at Cap Méchant. On the one hand, there is strong surf here, on the other hand, great white sharks occur time and again on this stretch of coast. So bathing fun at this point is probably out of the question, even for brave adventurers.
8. Grand Anse
One of the most beautiful beaches on Reunion Island is Grand Anse, which is around 15 minutes south of St. Pierre. In this picturesque place, which is lined with palm trees, many residents practice water sports or relax in the neighboring park. As on many beaches, an area protected by rocks invites you to swim.
Here, large stones not only dampen the strong surf, but also eliminate any risk of a shark attack. By the way, don’t panic: There are enough bathing spots on the entire island where you can plunge into the turquoise-blue waters.
9. Kélonia turtle station
The Kélonia Aquarium in Saint-Leu, which specializes in sea turtles, is one of the most popular attractions on Reunion Island. The facility, which opened in 2006, takes care of injured and sick sea creatures, especially turtles. Among other things, there is a huge open-air pool.
They are pepped up, monitored and, as far as possible, then released back into the wild. The aquarium is therefore less of a zoo than a useful facility for protecting the animals. It is open every day and is well worth a visit, especially on a rainy day.
10. Market in St. Paul
A visit to the weekly market in St. Paul, which has a colorful potpourri of goods on offer, is also a great experience. You can browse diligently on weekends. The palette ranges from spices, fruit and vegetables to souvenirs and colorful clothing.
The stands are set up right by the sea and the atmosphere is very relaxed. Because many locals shop here, the prices are at a comparatively low level. It’s also a great opportunity to get a glimpse of local life and try some delicacies.