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La Réunion Holidays

A striking volcanic island deep in the southern Indian Ocean that’s made for adventures.

Dramatic volcanic peaks and lush tropical wilderness, with a French identity and a rich melting pot of cultures, beautiful La Réunion – a relative geological youngster – is quite unlike its neighbours. In fact, it’s more like a glorious scaled down Hawaii or an epic real-life Jurassic Park backdrop. There’s still the chance to relax in coastal hotels, but with scenery so wonderfully diverse, you’ll want to get out and explore.

Since we added it to our collection of featured destinations, this tiny Indian Ocean outpost of France has quickly become a firm favourite. Perhaps this is because of those jaw-dropping natural wonders that were seemingly created for adventure, or maybe it’s due to the fact that, for the UK at least, it retains that off-the-beaten-track vibe that travellers crave. Either way, we think you’ll be as blown away by the island as we are.

Whatever entices you to this exotic island, talk to us and we’ll help you plan your tailor-made La Réunion holiday.

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La Réunion - Perfect for

  • Volcano high, valley low

    La Reunion is home to the Indian Ocean’s highest peaks and breathraking cirques.

  • Lava flows new and old

    Piton de la Fournaise is one of the world’s most active volcanoes with lava flows galore.

  • Off road and by air

    Go on a 4x4 adventure through jaw-dropping landscapes or see it all from a helicopter.

  • Beautiful coastline

    Down at sea level, there are some picture-perfect beaches and rugged stretches of coast.

La Réunion Hotels

Our recommendations for the best places to stay in La Réunion

LUX* Saint Gilles

Beachfront luxury, combining Creole influences with an elegant colonial design in verdant gardens...

Blue Margouillat

A gorgeous boutique hotel combining stylish Creole architecture with bespoke art and fine dining.

Ness by D-Ocean

A west coast hotel that’s located just steps from the sand and the largest lagoon in La Réunion.

Transparent Kayak on the Lagoon

No visit to Reunion Island would be complete without exploring the immaculate lagoon off the west coast. Surrounded by a coral reef and stretching for a vast 22km, this protected area is brimming with life and home to over 3,500 species. A fantastic alternative to snorkelling or diving, your experienced guide who knows all the best spots will navigate you through the lagoon as you gently glide on the pristine ocean’s surface in your glass-bottomed kayak. Turtles and rays call this area home as well as a huge collection of tropical fish you can spot darting through the coral and flora. Once on dry land, complete your adventure with a refreshing cocktail on the serene Trou D’eau beach before heading back to your resort for lunch.

• Duration: half day
• Morning departure
• Departs daily
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

Good to know
You’ll be out on the water for around one hour and private transfers to and from your hotel are included. Suitable for both families and couples.

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Lava Tunnels Experience

The Piton de la Fournaise is one of Earth's most active volcanoes, rising more than 2362 metres above sea level and is one of the only places in the world where you can explore the vast secret world of volcanic tunnels. Equipped with a helmet, kneepads, gloves and a headlamp, you’ll make your way across the lava fields towards the unassuming entrance where your qualified instructor will run through all the safety checks. As you drop down into the underground chambers, you’re instantly be transported to another world that will capture all your senses.

• Duration: half day
• Morning departure
• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Good to know
While most of the expedition will be spent standing, be prepared to bend or crouch in temperatures of around 23°C with a humidity rate of around 80%. Not recommended for those who suffer with claustrophobia.

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Scenic Helicopter Flight and Creole Lunch

There’s no better way to appreciate the vast beauty of Reunion Island than from the air. Take off on this stunning scenic flight and enjoy unrestricted views of the spectacular landscapes below before landing at the luxurious Ilet Boulon Lodge. Soak up the brilliant hues of the Indian Ocean, soar over the cane fields of Entre-deux and journey deep into the river gorges of the Bras de la Paine on this unforgettable flight before landing on the lush green runway of the lodge and indulging in an authentic Creole lunch. Experience the incredible panoramic views for a second time as you take flight for your return journey and absorb the diverse scenery below.

• Duration: half day
• Afternoon departure
• Departs Friday, Saturday and Sunday
• Operates year round
• Group experience; a private experience is also available.

Good to know
An intimate and exclusive experience, this is a fantastic trip for couples and those celebrating their honeymoon.

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Gourmet Celebration Dinner

Whether you’re celebrating something special or simply looking for an exclusive dining experience, L’eveil des Sens Restaurant promises a sophisticated evening of romance. Located within the gorgeous boutique hotel Blue Margouillat, which successfully combines stylish Creole architecture with bespoke art, soak up the chic tropical setting on the terrace overlooking the serene bay of Saint Leu. Discover an original gourmet tasting menu from the award-winning chef Marc Chappot where fresh local flavours meet traditional French cuisine and revel in the extensive wine list which has been carefully designed to enhance your dining experience.

• Duration: half day
• Afternoon departure
• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Private experience

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Creole Cooking Class

Cooking classes are a fantastic way to delve deeper into the local culture and are a unique souvenir, providing you with authentic recipes that can be shared for years to come. Dedicated to teaching the art of traditional Creole cuisine, Jacky from Far Far Kreol begins his class with a stroll through the local market. Unearthing the best local ingredients and chatting with the stallholders, you’ll learn all about their daily lives and the importance of using fresh produce in Creole cooking. Back at the kitchen in Saint Suzanne, learn everything from folding samosas to making a traditional gateau ti-son – a cake made with maize flour – as well as delicious tomato chutney and curry cooked on an open fire. After an action-packed morning, tuck into your authentic creations with the rest of your group while soaking up Jacky’s final cooking tips!

• Duration: half day
• Morning departure
• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Group experience with private transfers

Good to know
You’ll enjoy your own private vehicle and driver for the duration of this experience.

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Get to know La Réunion and those important practicalities when planning your perfect holiday.

Capital
TIME DIFFERENCE

GMT +4 hours

CURRENCY

Euro

FLYING TIME TO DESTINATION

12 to 13 hours (indirect flight; not including stopover times)

RELIGION

Christianity (Roman Catholicism)

LANGUAGE

French

Where is La Réunion?
This small island, which is actually a region of France, is located in the southern Indian Ocean, 435 miles to the east of Madagascar and 124 miles to the southwest of Mauritius.

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Volcanoes
40% of La Réunion is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, created to protect the island’s rugged volcanic interior. At 3070 metres high, the dormant volcano of Piton des Neiges is the island’s most dominant feature, shrouded in lush subtropical forest. It covers most of the north-west of the island and offers a variety of sightseeing and outdoor activities. The active Piton de la Fournaise (2,630 metres) is the world’s second most active volcano. Situated in the south-east corner of the island, it’s La Reunion’s most popular attraction. ‘Furnace Peak’, as the volcano’s name translates, erupted as recently as 2004 – and the island continues to grow with the lava spread.

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Cirques
Where the volcanoes have collapsed, ancient jungle-clad natural amphitheatres have been created, known here as cirques. Salazie, Cilaos and Mafate make up the three cirques. The Cirque de Salazie is the largest and is surrounded by verdant forests and dotted with more than 100 waterfalls. It hosts one of the island’s prettiest villages, Hell-Bourg, on the edge of the cirque, with its Creole houses and beautiful gardens. Reached by a memorable winding road, the colourful Cirque de Cilaos has a thermal spa and is known for its hiking and biking trails and vineyards. The third cirque, the rugged, isolated Cirque de Mafate, can only be reached on foot or discovered by helicopter.

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Coast
La Réunion is far more than a beach holiday destination, but the beaches here are still pleasant. The hotels that we’ve hand-picked are mostly focused in one area on the west coast, around the charming villages of St-Leu and St-Gilles-les-Bains. St-Leu has a volcanic black-sand beach typical of the island, while at popular St-Gilles-les-Bains the sand is unusually golden. In this area, natural lagoons formed by coral reefs provide safe places to swim, away from the sharks that inhabit the deeper waters. It’s not permitted to swim outside of these areas.

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St Denis
La Réunion’s main city, St Denis, is also the island’s northernmost, often overlooked in favour of the natural attractions. But for a spot of culture and architecture appreciation, it’s a great stop-off, with Creole houses – some open to the public – and two museums: the Musee Leon Dierx with an impressive collection of modern art and the Museum d'Histoire Naturelle. The restaurants here are also some of the best on the island.

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Getting around
4x4 trips are an excellent way to explore and discover the island’s interior and offer the advantage of a knowledgeable driver/guide en route. This is useful when, for instance, your driver alerts you to lava tunnels at the side of the road that you can actually climb inside. By hiring a car, you can enjoy the comfort and flexibility of exploring the island at your own pace. You’ll find that the roads are in very good condition throughout the island – it’ll be similar to driving in Europe. You can either hire a vehicle for just a day or for the whole duration of your stay on the island.

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La Réunion Weather

Apr - May, Sep - Oct

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