The Ultimate 7-Day Reunion Island Itinerary
Reunion Island is a French department in the Indian Ocean. It’s located just off the east coast of Africa, about 175km from Mauritius. What makes it different from a French settlement or colony, is that it’s currently run by the French government as a part of France. Everything from the zip code to the infrastructure and currency is exactly as you would find in France. So while you may be imagining rural villages and dirt roads, in reality, you’ll find an island with well-maintained highways and a very distinct French culture. Here’s the ultimate 7-day Reunion Island itinerary, to help you plan your trip.
Reunion Island spans 2500km² and is home to just over 800 000 people. The Piton de la Fournaise – one of the world’s most active volcanoes, covers much of the eastern side of the island. The island itself was formed through an eruption, and the volcano has erupted regularly since the 1600’s, with the most recent eruption happening in April 2018. It’s one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is closely monitored by seismic experts around the year. It poses no threat to inhabitants, who all live in the north, south and west, protected by the shield of the volcano in the east.
For such a small island, Reunion is unbelievably diverse. With 200 microclimates across the island, the vegetation and landscape change around every bend. From the desert island-like beaches in the west, to a rainforest climate in the interior, and a moon-like landscape at the volcano in the east. You'll be able to see and do a lot in 7 days, but be prepared for early starts - life gets going early on the island of adventure!
The Ultimate 7-Day Reunion Island Itinerary
Day 1: Travel Day
Flights to Reunion Island on Air Austral depart from Johanneburg 3 up to times per week. Four hours from takeoff, you'll be landing at Roland Garros. Make sure to rent a car ahead of your visit, as they get booked out quickly (you'll need an international driver's permit, which you can get through the AA)
Day 2: Beach Day
Welcome to Reunion Island! Spend the day soaking up the sun on our beautiful little piece of paradise. A beach day at l’Hermitage in Saint-Gilles is just what you need to start your holiday. There are few restaurants and bars on the beach, so you can enjoy a light lunch at the beachfront. After your day in the sun, you can shop for groceries at the fully-stocked Score in Saint Gilles, or you can enjoy dinner at one of the many local restaurants in the area.
Day 3: Volcano and the Wild South
Wake up early for the start of a big day. Drive up to Piton de la Fournaise (the peak of the volcano) for views and beautiful lunar landscapes. You need to arrive before midday in order to see the landscape before the clouds roll in. Enjoy a Creole lunch at Panoramic in Bourg Murat. Lunch costs 25€ for a starter, main & dessert and 5€ for wine. Drive home along the Wild South and stop for views and photos along the way.
Day 4: Saint Paul Market (open on Fridays and Saturdays)
Skip breakfast and head to the famous Saint Paul Market to shop for souvenirs and taste local and French food. Definitely try the bouchon gratiné – a local specialty of steamed dumplings on a bread roll, covered in cheese sauce and grilled. Shop for local produce, fresh French breads and cheeses and local preserves. Enjoy a relaxed afternoon and sunset drinks at Coco Beach or Bucan Canot. The locals all come to the beach for sunset on the weekend so there is a great vibe.
Day 5: Canyoning
There are many jaw-dropping canyoning routes than vary in difficulty and excitement level. Your guide will be able to recommend the best route for your group. Get dressed up in wetsuits, helmets and life jackets before starting your adventure. Spend the morning jumping off cliffs and waterfalls, and swimming in icy rock pools. Enjoy a very traditional local dinner at Chez Herbert in Saint Gilles (don’t miss it!)
Day 6: See Reunion from the sky and explore Saint Denis
Head to the helipad early in the morning for the experience of a lifetime flying over the island. From your seat you'll be able to see the lagoon, the three cirques and the stunning island plains. Drive to Saint Denis and explore the local market to pick up some last-minute souvenirs and grab a beer (bear in mind that pretty much everything is closed between 12pm and 2pm). Check out the square behind the cathedral for drinks and then head to Apoteek for your final island dinner in a typical French style.
Day 7: Travel Day
It's time to say goodbey to the island of adventure. But don't worry, we know you'll be back soon!
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