What is Reunion Island Famous for?
The Indian Ocean island of Reunion lies just off the east coast of Africa. Reunion Island is an overseas department of France and is truly French - all the way down to the dialling code. If you've never heard of Reunion Island before, you might have no idea what makes this special little paradise famous and you probably have no idea why it is lovingly referred to by locals as "the island of adventure".
One of the most active volcanoes in the world
The Piton de la Fournaise (The Peak of The Furnace) is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It is extremely closely monitored by seismic experts, and because of the shield formed by the volcano's caldera, it poses no threat to those living on the island. During eruptions, travellers and locals flock to see the spectacular lava erupting from the earth's core.
Over 1000km of spectacular hiking routes
Reunion Island's inhabitants love an active lifestyle, and the many hiking routes that criss-cross the island are extremely well maintained and frequented by the outdoorsy locals. Visitors to the island have the option to enjoy hikes varying in length and intensity and the unique opportunity to free camp. That's right, camping is allowed anywhere on the island for free, as long as you spend only 1 night in a particular spot and leave nothing behind when you depart.
Some of the highest-quality vanilla in the world
Reunion Island's vanilla, also known as Bourbon Vanilla is considered to be some of the highest quality vanilla being grown anywhere in the world. In fact, Reunion Island is part of a chain of Indian Ocean islands known as the "vanilla islands". The process is a long and detailed one, beginning with the hand-pollination of the vanilla orchid by a skilled expert. It's a fascinating and ancient process, which you can discover by visiting one of the plantations on the island for a guided tour.
A handful of remote villages that can only be accessed by foot
In the Cirque of Mafate, inside a collapsed volcanic crater, lie the remote villages of La Nouvelle, Marla and Roche-Plate. These villages offer a glimpse into an entirely different world - one with its own microclimate and unique culture, able to be accessed only by foot. There are no roads in or out of Mafate, so those hoping to visit will have to enjoy the stunningly maintained hike to the villages which are perched on top of the collapsed crater, where they will be met with warm Mafatese hospitality and a cold local beer.
Home to The Most Beautiful Village in France
That's right, the most beautiful village in France is located on Reunion Island. Hell-Bourg, in the cirque of Salazie, is famous for its stunning architecture and lush vegetation and is officially recognised by Les Plus Beaux Villages de France as the most beautiful village in France.