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Despite being 6000 miles from Europe and smack in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Réunion (or more properly Ile de la Réunion) is legally part of France, making it one of the last fully-fledged colonies on earth. Created by the lava flows of a vast underwater volcano, the island is a playground for French holidaymakers, who are lured here by the beaches, scuba diving, surfing, fishing, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting, paragliding, and the chance to trek on the rugged trails through the Trois Cirques — three enormous calderas formed by the collapse of the Piton des Neiges volcano. Despite the island vibe and lush tropical scenery, the ...

Despite being 6000 miles from Europe and smack in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Réunion (or more properly Ile de la Réunion) is legally part of France, making it one of the last fully-fledged colonies on earth. Created by the lava flows of a vast underwater volcano, the island is a playground for French holidaymakers, who are lured here by the beaches, scuba diving, surfing, fishing, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting, paragliding, and the chance to trek on the rugged trails through the Trois Cirques — three enormous calderas formed by the collapse of the Piton des Neiges volcano. Despite the island vibe and lush tropical scenery, the atmosphere is unmistakably French — informal gites (holiday homes) are dotted around the countryside and brassieres and bistros line the streets of the handsome colonial capital, Saint-Denis.

At the southern end of the island, La Piton de la Fournaise is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, rewarding visitors with spectacular lava flows every couple of years. However, early booking is essential to secure any kind of accommodation during the French holiday season.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Reunion is a French island located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar and southwest of Mauritius. Réunion is also one of the 27 regions of France and an integral part of the Republic.
  • Language: French, Creole Réunionnais, Tamil, Mandarin, Hakka
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    June to September is peak season but early booking is essential; things are quietest in the cyclone season (February to March).