The volcanic origins of La Réunion give this island an exceptionally beautiful landscape, which is characterized by high peaks, deep gorges and plains. With the fantastic backdrop, it is a hiker’s paradise. The cities with their colonial architecture are ideal as starting points for inland adventures.
In contrast to the Seychelles and Mauritius, the two neighboring islands in the Indian Ocean, the beaches are not the main attraction of La Réunion. Saint-Gilles-Les-Bains is full of bathers and sun worshipers during the holidays. It’s a great beach, but if you’re really looking for a beach getaway, Reunion’s neighboring countries are better off.
Like many other French overseas regions, Réunion is unfortunately an extremely expensive travel destination, which is therefore rather nothing for price-conscious travelers.
Réunion is about 63 kilometers long and 45 kilometers wide, covers a total area of 2,512 square kilometers and is located in the Indian Ocean. The closest neighbors are Mauritius and Madagascar. The Piton de la Fournaise, a shield volcano at the eastern end of the island, rises 2,630 meters above sea level and last erupted on January 2, 2010. The volcano Piton des Neiges is the highest point on the island at 3,070 meters and is located northwest of the Piton de la Fournaise. The slopes of both volcanoes are heavily forested.
Best travel time
The climate of Réunion is tropical hot and humid, but it varies greatly depending on the altitude and the prevailing wind conditions.
There are two different seasons on the island: the hot and humid rainy season from December to February with average temperatures of 23-30 ° C and the cooler and dry season from May to November with average temperatures of 25-18 ° C. The temperature decreases with increasing altitude and can even drop below freezing at high altitudes. It can be chilly in the mountains and it is advisable to bring warm clothes for the evenings. In October 2006 it actually snowed on the 3,000 meter high Piton des Neiges . The highlands in the interior of Réunion have an almost temperate climate. The island can be hit by cyclones between January and March.
The best time to travel to Réunion are the cooler and drier months between May and November .
In the northern capital of Saint-Denis, an average of 1,150 mm of precipitation falls per year. It is generally cooler on the east coast, being the wettest area of Reunion with rainfall values of up to 8,000 mm of rain per year. The west coast is hot and dry. Usually the amount of precipitation is less than 650 mm per year.
The temperature of the sea varies between 23 ° C in August and September and 27 ° C from January to April.
Climate in Saint-Denis
During the summer (November to March) on Réunion, precipitation is highest and the risk of hurricanes greatest. If a cyclone hits the island, wind speeds can reach more than 200 km / h. This is also the period when temperatures are warmest and often exceed 30 ° C on the coast. If you like fresh tropical fruits, you can find a wide variety of mangoes, lychees and longans at this time of year.
In winter (May to August), temperatures in the mountainous regions of Réunion can drop below freezing point. However, it is also the time when the island’s mountain peaks are most likely to be cloud-free. That is also the reason why hikers prefer the island at this time of the year. On the coast, the average temperatures are 25 ° C, but the water in rivers and even in the sea is quite cool. Winter is the ideal season for whale watching . Humpback whales come to Reunion to mate and give birth before returning to Antarctica with their newborn calves.
According to experts, Réunion has almost a hundred microclimates. While the east is usually rainier than the west, the highlands have a more temperate than tropical climate. Sometimes you only have to drive a few kilometers to find sunshine again – or on the contrary – milder temperatures.
According to Themakeupexplorer, Réunion is a French overseas territory that prides itself on its cultural diversity. There is an abundance of architectural highlights, historical sites, colonial and religious buildings, and lively festivals. Hell-Bourg in the municipality of Salazie is an authentic 19th century settlement where the residents will bring you closer to the history of Réunion. You can marvel at the grandeur of the French colonial era on the west coast and in the spa town of Saint-Leu with its pretty stone buildings.
Food and drink
Food on Reunion Island is a delicious mix of Creole, Indian, Chinese and French influences. Try grilled fresh fish, local rum, exotic fruits as well as baguettes, croissants and cakes from bakeries and patisseries across the island.
Bouchons are also very popular. These are dumplings (similar to a dim sum) and are usually filled with pork and vegetables. The bouchons are particularly tasty in the coastal regions.
A typical meal on Reunion always consists of white rice, beans and some meat that is cooked in a certain way: the carri. The most delicious is Carri Volaille, where onions, garlic and tomatoes are cooked with spices such as turmeric and thyme and then served with the meat.
An amazing 42% of the island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site . The volcanoes have created steep peaks and deep gorges covered by emerald green forests and three extinct calderas called cirques. The most impressive is the Cirque de Salazie , a beautiful green valley with around 100 waterfalls that fall steeply down. The Cirque de Cilaos is also worth visiting. Cilaos village is very pretty and a great place to relax after driving here from the coastal plain on a road with more than 100 switchbacks.
The Piton de la Fournaise dominates the southeast of the island. The volcano earned Réunion the nickname “Hawaii of the Southern Hemisphere”. As you step out of its shadow, near Saint Philippe the green of the landscape gives way to the Grand Brûlé , an area where lava flows from this very active volcano have clearly marked the landscape. The lava is not bad, however, because the Jardin des Parfums et des Épices grows on an 800-year-old lava flow. Ylang-ylang, clove trees, cardamom, orchids and vanilla thrive here.
French is the official language, but Creole is the most widely used language on the island. The distinctive version of Réunion Creole mixes several Tamil and Malagasy words. As a French overseas department, the currency is the euro.