Reunion is an island home to active volcanoes, beautiful beaches and idyllic landscapes. A small, green speck cast adrift in the Indian Ocean close to Mauritius, Reunion holidays are an off-radar treat for beach lovers seeking something a little different to other island escapes. Many visitors opt for the wildlife of Madagascar or the beaches of its northerly neighbour, Mauritius, and while holidays to Reunion can be easily twinned with the two, the pretty island is a rewarding destination in its own right.
As well as its natural beauty, Reunion is an island designed for adventure. Intrepid explorers will relish the opportunity to get out and discover at their own pace on self-drive holidays, while over 1,000 kilometres of hiking trails will tempt avid walkers who can lace up their boots and set out to explore the gloriously green hills. Reunion Island is home to three craters and one of the world’s most active volcanoes, the Piton de la Fournaise, and one of the best trails follows a 13-kilometre route to the rim of the volcano, where you can look out over a landscape more reminiscent of Mars with smouldering black rocks and glowing lava flows – a worthy reward after the lung-busting climb. As well as its green and pleasant interior, Reunion is famous for its beaches, and those along the west coast are blessed with a scenic beauty that includes coral reefs and streaming waterfalls that plunge into crystal-clear rock pools; it’s an added extra dimension to the typical Indian Ocean beaches on the more famous islands and due to its unspoilt setting there are few resorts, so it never feels crowded. However, due to sharks in the waters around Reunion’s coastline we’d recommend you keep your toes on the sandy shores, unless you’re in a protected swimming area.
Despite its location off the coast of East Africa, Reunion is French and has many French influences; the currency is the Euro, and the official language is French, though many speak the local dialect of Reunion Creole and English. This influence trickles over into the island’s fantastic cuisine, which includes seafood and garlic dishes heavy with spices and simmered into rich sauces. Accommodation across the island is comfortable rather than luxurious, but this all adds to Reunion’s back-to-nature charm.