I am Chloé, explorer in Réunion I inspected 13 vacation rentals in Réunion
Réunion is an overseas French department in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Also known as Intense Island or Sea Turtle Island due to its impressive mountains and turtle-shell shape, this destination will take your breath away!On a practical note, all flights from mainland France arrive at Roland Garros Airport about 10 kilometers from Saint Denis (in the north of Réunion Island). Flights from t...
Réunion is an overseas French department in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Also known as Intense Island or Sea Turtle Island due to its impressive mountains and turtle-shell shape, this destination will take your breath away!
On a practical note, all flights from mainland France arrive at Roland Garros Airport about 10 kilometers from Saint Denis (in the north of Réunion Island). Flights from the Indian Ocean zone land at the second airport, Pierrefonds Airport, located near Saint-Pierre.
What is the best time of the year to visit Réunion Island?
Réunion Island has a tropical climate. There are two main seasons. Southern winter from April to September is a period with the driest weather. From October to March, the weather is warmer with temperatures reaching 31°C. It's also a period with the most rain and cyclones are a possibility.
While on the island's heights the temperature can be as low as 15°, the warmer coastal temperatures average 25° all year long. Just what you'll need to spend your holiday in the sun!
How long to stay to truly discover Réunion Island?
In order to take full advantage of everything the island has to offer, I recommend you plan on staying two weeks. By booking two holiday rentals in different locations, you can cut down on the time you spend on the road. If you plan on staying only one week, you should opt for the west or the south as it easier to fan out from these areas to discover the rest of the island.
Where to stay in Réunion Island?
There is a wide variety of accommodations on Réunion Island. Hotel resorts, charming cottages with a view, apartments close to the beach or holiday rentals with a swimming pool—you'll have no problem finding a place to stay in Réunion Island. It remains to be seen which part of the island you'll choose to unpack your bags!
Seaside resort lovers will enjoy the 30 kilometers of white and black sand beaches that Réunion Island has to offer. Generally speaking, the seaside resorts are located on the west side of Réunion. For those looking to relax, the town of Saint-Gilles-les-Bains is the place to be with its famous beaches of Hermitage and Roches Noires. The Boucan Canot beach, halfway between Saint-Paul and Saint-Gilles-les-Bains, also provides a relaxing setting with a bathing area protected by a state-of-the-art anti-shark net. It should be noted that there's a pool of water surrounded by volcanic rocks on that beach which is a great place to swim! The Saline les Bains beach in Saint-Paul is a wonderful spot for snorkeling enthusiasts. You'll be able to observe a wide variety of tropical fish and coral.
The east coast, also called the coast "under the wind", provides a more pristine, authentic setting. The main towns include Saint-André, Bras-Panon and Saint-Benoît. Rafting on Rivière des Marsouins, discovering the Roulof vanilla plantation or the Bois Rouge sugar refinery, picnicking under century-old lychee trees of Bethléem……the east coast is just as interesting as the west side of the island!
For those wanting to spend a few nights in Réunion Island's calderas (known as cirques), the Cirque of Cilaos is 90 minutes from Saint Louis (west coast) and the Cirque of Salazie is 20 minutes from Saint-André. The exception is the Cirque of Mafate which is only accessible on foot (or by helicopter!)
What should you look for when choosing a rental in Réunion Island?
For a maximum of comfort, be sure to check whether your holiday rental has air conditioned bedrooms. Sleeping in a cool environment is always more pleasant, especially during the humid season! It would also be ideal to have access to private parking where you can park your vehicle with complete piece of mind. A private garden equipped with a barbecue makes it possible to eat outdoors.If the garden has fruit trees, depending on the season, you can taste passion fruits, lychees, guavas, mangoes, etc. The ultimate is to have a sea view from a patio or a private swimming pool for a refreshing dip during the hottest hours of the day!
What is there to do on Réunion Island?
Réunion Island, a hiker's paradise
Réunion proposes a wide range of landscapes and vegetation. The National Park covers 42% of the island's surface area. Réunion has more than 900 km of marked trails for hikers. Home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site which includes the Pitons, cirques and remparts, the landscape on this island will never cease to amaze you. Pitons des Neiges, Cirque de Mafate, and Le Maïdo are just a few examples of the sites where you'll enjoy the beauty of the still pristine nature. There is a number of activities available there, starting with hiking. There are more than 500 trails for all levels. Other activities make it possible to discover the beauty of the landscape in Réunion, including horseback riding, bicycling, helicopter rides, paragliding, ultralight aviation, etc.
Réunion Island, a playground for watersports enthusiasts
For lovers of the sea and water sports, the island has 22 kilometers of lagoons and 30 kilometers of beaches with both white and black sand. Just what you'll need to indulge in a number of activities like surfing, kitesurfing and jet skiing! Boat excursions make it possible to discover dolphins and whales from June through September or to take your first scuba diving lesson.
Réunion is also a superb natural marine reserve and an occasion to explore the exceptional sea floor, not counting freshwater activities thanks to the many bays and waterfalls which crisscross Reunion's landscape. Canyon de Fleur Jaune and Bras Rouge in Cilaos, Trou Blanc in Salazie—just a few of the sites which have contributed to Réunion also being known as the Intense Island!
Réunion Isalnd, of volcanic origin
Réunion is also volcanic and is home to Piton de la Fournaise, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. The Piton de La Fournaise is the leading tourist attraction on Réunion Island. Each year, the Piton de la Fournaise welcomes close to 400,000 visitors! Sand plains will lead you to the volcano. On foot or on horseback, by mountain bike or electric vehicle, there are many means of transportation to discover the areas surrounding the site!
What are the must-see sights in Réunion Island?
It's difficult to make a list as there are so many must-see sights! Here are a few recommendations, but the list is not complete!
If you don't enjoy walking, take at least the time to visit Maido to benefit from an exceptional view of Mafate. It would be best to experience it at sunrise. For hiking enthusiasts, the cirque of Mafate is a must-see destination with a choice of access from the east or west depending on your level. Opt for access from the south to discover the cirque and the village of Cilaos.
The cirque of Salazie and the little village of Hellbourg, elected one of the most beautiful villages in France, is a step back in time. On the way, stop at the outlook of Voile de la Mariée (a must-see especially when it has been raining because the waterfalls are even more impressive). In the same area, the forests of Béhour Bélouve and its majestic tree ferns will immerse you ina 100% tropical setting.
The Piton des Neiges has to be mentioned, culminating at an altitude of 3,070.5 meters! Plan on spending the night in the Dufour refuge to be able to take in the sunrise.
Anse des Cascades is also a point of interest which should be on your list during your stay in Réunion Island. You'll be able to see a series of waterfalls and the site is very well laid.
Lastly, Kélonia, a sea turtle observatory, is also a recommended visit, especially when traveling with the family. Located in Saint Leu, you'll be able to observe sea turtles in 1500 sq.m of water, magical!
As you have surely understood, Réunion is first and formeost a land of diversity, through both its landscape and residents. It is a multicultural society composed of people from many different ethnic origins. This is reflected in their cuisine which tourists will be sure to enjoy. With Chinese, Indian and Creole influences one thing is sure, you'll be impressed by the mix of flavors and spices of Réunionese cuisine!
An emotion-filled holiday awaits you in Réunion! Trust VillaVEO to help you research your holiday rental in Réunion. We have found the location but it's up to you to make your dream vacation happen!