Reunion island, small volcanic rock located in the South of the Indian Ocean, is a French overseas department very popular for tourists in search of nature and adventure.
Tourism on Réunion Island
The northern part
North of the island of Reunion is the Roland Garros airport. Located on the commune of Sainte-Marie, it is the most important airport of the island, and the point of entry for the majority of tourists. Next door is Saint-Denis de la Reunion, the capital of the island, capital of the region and department. Its lively city center will be the opportunity for a bpleasant walk to discover beautiful colonial buildings and gardens, not to mention the waterfront along the coastal path. Further east is the commune of Sainte-Suzanne.
The West, its lagoon and its beaches
In the West, the climate is warmer and drier than in other areas of the island. There is a seaside atmosphere with its luxury waterfront hotels, beaches and lagoon, which offers a vast aquatic area protected from sharks.
From the North the West area can be reached with the coastal road Route du Littoral(and soon by the New Coastal Road NRL, for Nouvelle Route du Littoral). The localities of the Possession and the Port are rather urbanized (with the commercial port, only point of entry of the island of Reunion for the maritime goods). Further, once past the Rivière des galets extends the bay of Saint Paul. From here there are two choices: go down to the South by the Route des Tamarins road, or take the coastal road and discover the lagoon and its beautiful beaches: Boucan-Canot, Saint Gilles Les Bains, L'Ermitage, La Saline and Saint Leu.
But the western region of Reunion Island, it is also a mountainous area with winding roads that reach magnificent views like the must-see Le Maido which offers a bird's eye view of the Cirque de Mafate, or the Black Cape. These sites are easily accessible by car.
The Wild South
Continuing our journey further south, we successively reach the localities of Saint-Louis, Saint-Pierre (the capital of the South), then Saint Joseph and finally Saint Philippe. Outside of cities, they are wild landscapes appreciated by tourists, with fragmented coastline, witnessing the struggle between the lava flows and the ocean.
Eastern Reunion Island
Saint André, Saint Benoîtand Sainte Anne are located in the East. There are good rest areas before hiking or discovering beautiful waterfalls like the Takamaka site. The most touristic places are towards Sainte Rose, with its church that miraculously survived a volcanic eruption, the Cascades Cove and the crossing of very recent lava flows.
The Volcano, Circuses and High Plains
The volcano Piton de la Fournaise is a must to see during your stay in Reunion Island. The road that leads there is often above the clouds, which offers beautiful panoramas. Approaching the crater, the landscape becomes lunar. Although the volcano is one of the most active in the world (two eruptions per year on average), observing it in activity requires a little luck and a lot of preparation. Most visitors will be satisfied with the view of the dome and a visit to the Volcano City Museum.
The center of the island is occupied by the high plains, and by the circuses of Salazie, Cilaos and Mafate. The circus of Mafate is particularly difficult to access after a hike of several days.
Hiking on the island of Reunion
Reunion Island is famous for its beautiful hikes in its natural park that occupies most of its area. There are hundreds of possible hiking trails. Every year, athletes from all over the world rush up the steep paths of the island for the Grand Raid event.
Suggested itineraries to visit Reunion Island
Soon in this section we will propose you several ideas for your stay on the island of Reunion.
Réunion island Hotels and Accommodations
Reunion Island offers a range of accommodation oriented rather mid-range, with a lot of homestay accommodation or seasonal rental, and some luxury hotels.
The 5-star hotels on Reunion Island
Reunion has only four 5-star establishments, all located in the western part of the island. To be by the beach, book at the LUX Hotel in Saint Gilles, the only property with direct access to a lagoon beach. For a luxurious experience in a large colonial mansion, book at the #hotel2 :hotel Blue Margouillat|571461# in Saint-Leu, an elegant member of the Relais et Chateaux de France. During your stay in the Sud Sauvage, stay at Palm Hotel & Spa in Petite-île, one of the best hotels in Reunion with a magnificent view of the ocean. Note another establishment in the West, the Akoya Hotel, which is rated 5 stars, with beautiful rooms, but however less sensational outdoor spaces than the other hotels cited.
good price for value
Best Beach Hotels in Reunion Island
If you are looking for a hotel on the beach in western Reunion Island, here are our top three recommendations.
The best is undoubtedly the hotel LUX in Saint Gilles, which we have already quoted. Then come two very beautiful 4-star establishments located in the same area: Le Saint Alexis Hôtel & Spa and the Hotel Boucan Canot.
good price for value
Let's also mention, still in the same sector of the beaches of the West, the hotel Ness by D-Ocean, located just across the road that runs along the beaches, with a beautiful pool and a beautiful terrace overlooking the ocean.
How to get to Reunion Island
The plane is by far the most used means of transport to go to the island of Reunion. There are no passenger ferry services connecting Reunion Island to other islands in the Indian Ocean, but the island is a port of call for several cruise ships.
By Plane From Metropolitan France
The largest French territory in the Indian Ocean, Reunion is very well served from Paris. It is a real air bridge that maintains contact with the Paris capital. No less than 4 airlines offer non-stop flights: Air France, Corsair, Air Austral, French Bee and XL Airways.
Air France, the French national airline, offers (depending on the season) between one to two flights a day from Orly airport, with many air connections with major French cities.
Air Austral, French airline based on Reunion Island, also offers up to two flights a day to Paris Charles de Gaulle, and several flights per week to Marseille, for a level of comfort and benefits equal to or even higher than Air France. Air Austral offers connections with TGV Air to major French cities.
Corsair, French airline specializing in leisure destinations, operates daily flights to Reunion from Paris Orly, sometimes combined with the island of Mauritius, for a correct level of benefits. On the other hand, it does not offer good connecting options towards Europe or the big French cities.
French Bee (former name French Blue), is a new low-cost French airline that operates a daily flight to Reunion from Paris Orly. If it promotes in the off-peak season particularly attractive rates compared to its competitors, it will be necessary to pay attention to what is included in the price of the ticket. Indeed, its low-cost model does not incorporate basic full service, which can be uncomfortable for a flight of 12 hours non-stop.
XL airways, French charter airline, has a rather irregular flight schedule, often at very competitive prices, to the detriment of a more basic onboard service.
Air Mauritius with connection in Mauritius
Air Mauritius offers flights from Paris Charles de Gaulle with stopover in Mauritius to the two international airports of Reunion: Gillot airport in Saint Denis (North) and Saint Pierre airport (in the South).
Air Madagascar with transfer to Antananarivo
Air Madagascar connects Reunion several times a week from Paris Charles de Gaulle and Marseille, with stops in Antananarivo. It relies in particular on codeshare flights with Air Austral between Reunion and Madagascar
Air Austral with correspondence in Mayotte
Air Austral, the leading airline in the Indian Ocean also offers several flights a week from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Reunion with correspondence to Mayotte, the other major French island in the Indian Ocean. It is a solution to use mainly in case of combined stay between the two islands.
RUN Aviation, subsidiary of Air Austral, offers chartered private flights for small groups of people from Mauritius, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rodrigues, Mayotte and the Comoros.
By plane From Europe
Only Air Austral, thanks to its service to Paris Charles de Gaulle and its codeshare agreements with Air France, offers a relevant service to Reunion from Europe, especially from Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain or Italy. Air France also sells tickets from Europe and North America to Reunion, but there will be a change of airport between Charles de Gaulle and Orly.
From London, Air Mauritius can prove to be a good option thanks to its direct flights to Mauritius, which connect to Mauritius to the two airports of the Reunion Island.
By plane From Asia
Air Austral offers several direct flights to Reunion between Thailand (Bangkok), India (Chennai Madras) and China (Ghanzhou Canton) several times a week, and many connections from all over Asia with Thai Airways and Cathay Pacific (and Dragonair from Hong Kong).
Air Mauritius also sells tickets from Asia and Australia, with flights to India, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Beijing and Perth.
By plane from Mauritius
Air Austral and Air Mauritius operate many daily flights between Mauritius and the airports of Saint-Denis de la Réunion and Saint Pierre. Air Austral also offers weekly flights to the island of Rodrigues (east of Mauritius), also accessible every day with correspondence in Mauritius with Air Mauritius).
By plane from Seychelles
Air Austral offers a flight once a week between Seychelles and Reunion.
By plane from Madagascar
Air Madagascar and Air Austral are offering good service between the islands of Madagascar and Reunion, sometimes woth a transfer in Mayotte: Antanarivo, Nosy Be, Tamatave (Toamasina), Diego-Suarez (Antsiranana), Majunga (Mahajanga), Tulear Toliara), Fort Dauphin (Tolagnaro).
By plane from South Africa
From South Africa, you can either take a direct flight between Johannesburg and Reunion with Air Austral, or a flight with Mauritius to South African Airways and Air Mauritius.
By plane from Mayotte and the Comoros
Air Austral provides daily service between Mayotte and Reunion, and connections to the Comoros Islands (Anjouan and Moroni). Once a week, it also provides a direct connection between Saint-Denis de la Reunion and Moroni.
Cruise ships in Réunion Island
From the end of the austral winter (end of October), cruise ships stop by Reunion Island. For the 2019-2020 season the following vessels have planned to dock: Costa Mediterranea, MSC Orchestra, Albatros, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary 2, AIDA Blu, Oceania Nautica, Artania, CMV Marco Polo, Pacific Princess, Norwegian Spirit, Sun Princess and Oceania Insignia.
The best activities in Reunion Island
Soon in this section we will advise you the best activities to do on Reunion Island.
Hiking on the Reunion Island
Soon in this section we will advise you the best hiking trails to do on the island of Reunion.