Saint-Denis is the capital of the island and the largest city in the overseas departments of France. It is located on the northern tip of Reunion Island and is surrounded by mountains on three sides. In the eastern part of Saint-Denis is the Baracho district. This is a great place for walking and relaxing - there are restaurants, bars and cafes, shops and markets. Not far from here is the Botanical Garden, where more than 50 species of trees from around the world are collected, all kinds of plants that you can admire by walking along footpaths. The Botanical Garden has a Museum of Natural History. It was opened in 1855 and became the first of its kind on the islands of the Indian Ocean. There is a collection of shells, corals, birds and animals.
Among the architectural sights, one can distinguish numerous Creole mansions that stand along the roads, the Prefecture building, the construction of which was started in 1735 and which was used as the headquarters of the Indian Company, the Monument au Mortes monument, the City Hall and Saint-Denis Cathedral. It is worth noting that in addition to the cathedral, the city has temples and mosques that testify to the diverse cultural and religious affiliation of the local population.
In Saint-Denis, the Leon-Dur-Art Gallery is open with a collection of paintings by French impressionists. Be sure to visit the largest market on the island - Gran Marche, where you can buy souvenirs. Walking excursions from Saint-Denis to Mount Ecritus (2227 m), which descends to Salazi Circus.
Saint-Paul - the first capital of Reunion and the most ancient city of the island, it was founded in 1663. In the southern part of Saint-Paul on the coast there is a grotto in which the first Frenchmen who landed on the island lived. The city is full of colonial mansions that are located on a wide seaside boulevard. For tourists, the Simetier Marty area will be interesting, where there are shops, restaurants and cafes. In Saint-Denis is the largest cemetery of the island, where you can see the grave of the last pirate of the Indian Ocean - Olivier La Buez of Levasser.
South of Saint-Paul begins a series of beach resorts. In Saint-Gilles-les-Bains, the Gardens of Eden are interesting, where about 700 species of tropical plants are represented. To the east of Saint-Gilles-les-Bains lies the area of the lakes and waterfalls of Bassin Comoran, where you can swim. From Saint-Leo, head to the Coral Farm with the Sea Turtle Nursery. Near the town of Ethan-Celle-les-Bains is located the Natural Park of Birds. Saint-Louis is the island's oldest church, which was built in 1732.
The city of Silao is located in the center of the island at an altitude of 1200 m. In 1815, thermal springs were opened here, on the basis of which the resort was built. Today, a new Irreni Akkot complex is operating in Silao, which uses water from old sources. This complex offers a lot of procedures for the treatment of various diseases and relaxation.
EXCURSIONS ON VOLCANIC CIRCUSES
The centuries-old active activity of the island's volcanoes has led to the emergence of circuses (calderas) - large round valleys surrounded on all sides by mountains. Circuses have a diameter of about 10 km. On Reunion there are three of them - Mafat, Salazi and Silao.
There are no roads laid to Mafat Circus, so you need to get here either on foot or by helicopter. Here along the Riviera de Galets River, which flows into the ocean, you can see ancient lava flows dissected by numerous ravines and narrow mountain ranges. Despite the inaccessibility of the valley, it is inhabited by people. In small villages you will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the life and culture of the local population.
Salazi Circus is considered the most beautiful place on the island. The starting point for traveling through this valley is the city of Hell-Burg. Salazi is constantly cloudy or obscured by clouds. Above it rises Mount Python de Nej. It is a long and deep valley, with sheer cliffs from which waterfalls fall. In total there are about 100 waterfalls. The largest of them is Le Voile de Marie (Bridal Veil). The waterfall got its name because of the many thin jets that resemble a bridal veil.
Silao Circus is the southernmost of the island’s three circuses. Silao has the least rainfall, so the vegetation is not as diverse as in other valleys. Due to the sparse vegetation, Silao is more like an ordinary volcanic crater.
Reunion Island: Description
The island is of volcanic origin. It is located in the western part of the Indian Ocean. Reunion is part of the Mascarene Islands, along with Rodriguez and Mauritius. The modern name of the island was assigned to him only after the French Revolution.
Reunion has a rounded, almost regular shape. The flat line of its coast is not indented by numerous bays. The island is the westernmost stretch of land on the archipelago. Its area is 2500 km2.
The population of Reunion Island, according to the 2007 census, is approximately 800 thousand people. As for ethnic composition, creoles of African, French and Malagasy origin live here. Twenty percent of the population are Indians, and there are very few immigrants from China and Europe. The official language of the island is French. However, in everyday life in everyday life we use the Creole language, which is based on French, but it is quite modified.
The capital of the island or the administrative center is the port town of Saint-Denis, which is located on the north coast. Its population is about 137,000 people. There are other significant cities on the island - Saint-Paul, Saint-Pierre, Saint-Joseph, Saint-Louis, Saint-Andre, etc.
The reunion was originally uninhabited, as evidenced by references in Arabic sources dating from the tenth century. But the island was regularly visited by sailors and merchants who named it Dina Margabin. Translated, it is nothing but the West Island. Europeans discovered this stretch of land much later. Moreover, the merit belongs to the Portuguese led by Dogo Dias. They named the island in the name of St. Apollonia. On February 9, 1512, sailors landed on the island of Reunion. Later, in 1642, it came under the jurisdiction of France and received a new name - Bourbon. And only after the French Revolution did the island get its current name. In 1810, the British occupied the Reunion, returning it to its former name (Bourbon).
Subsequently, the island was subordinate to Germany, France and England. And only in 1946, Reunion again returned to France, and subsequently became the administrative region of the country. The island has this status at the present time.
Now the main industry of the island of Reunion is nothing more than the production of sugar. In addition, cane rum, vanilla, perfume and coffee are produced on a rather large scale here. Significant income to the treasury also comes from fishing. However, the island has gained fame among tourism lovers recently. Nevertheless, tourism is very actively developing on its coast.
Travelers arrive by plane on the French island of Reunion. In the east of Seni Denis there is an international airport called Roland Garro, which annually receives about 200,000 thousand tourists from all over the world.
Guillot airport also operates in the south of the island, however it cannot accept large tourist liners and, of course, does not have international status. To this day, most of the guests are representatives of France and other European countries. But recently, there has been a tendency to increase the number of passengers from China and Asia.
On the island of Reunion there are port cities, the largest are Saint-Andre and Saint-Denis. Of course, the coast of the island can also be reached by sea, but the journey takes too much time, and therefore this option is not very convenient. Although some tourists stay on private yachts or on cruise ships.
Reunion is a volcanic island with a tropical trade wind climate. Due to the fact that the equator is located very close, there are no seasonal temperature changes in this region. Throughout the year, the average temperature is at +30 degrees. There are light winds on the island, thanks to which even at high temperatures there is no heat.
Due to the mild climate of the island, there are several natural climatic zones. In the southwestern lands, these are savannas, and in mountainous regions, forests and meadows. The prevailing tropical marine climate provides high humidity. However, due to the fact that there are mountains on the island, the climatic conditions here are dry and cool than on other islands of the archipelago.
The summer period on Reunion is November - April. At this time, it is quite humid and hot. In the daytime, the temperature is about + 30 degrees, and at night the thermometers do not fall below + 25 degrees. The most successful periods for visiting the island are - September - November and April - May. At this time, there is practically no rain on the coast, and the air temperature is quite tolerable.
Accommodation for tourists
Guests of the French island of Reunion have the opportunity to stay in hotels. True, there are not many such establishments here. This is due to the fact that the resort direction in the region began to develop not so long ago. Nevertheless, sixteen hotels operate among tourists, among which there are three five-star establishments. It is worth noting that hotels are located in resort areas on the coast. Each hotel offers a fairly good level of service, as well as a lot of entertainment: spa, golf, tennis and other pleasures.
Among the fashionable institutions include Les Villas du Lagon, Grand Hotel du Lagon, Le Saint Alexis, Palm Hotel & Spa. Based on reviews of Reunion Island, we can recommend that tourists choose complexes near the coast, as many are built in residential areas of cities. The remoteness from beaches and places of rest creates a certain inconvenience for vacationers.
If you do not want to stay in a large hotel, you can use the mini-hotels and private apartments in the mountains. Among them there are establishments near thermal springs. In addition, tourists may well rent a villa, chalet or apartment. So, for example, the cost of renting a villa on the coast is 800-3000 euros per week.
Reviews of tourists about the island of Reunion characterize it as an exotic place. And this is actually so. Indeed, even the sand on the beaches of its coast is very unusual - it has a black color. This is due to the fact that it is of volcanic origin.
For tourists on the island, the four most famous beaches in the world are of most interest - Black Sand Beach, Plage des Roches Noires, Grand Anse Beach, Saint Leu Plage. However, this does not mean that Reunion no longer has good coastal locations. Along the coast, though less well-known beaches are located, but also well-equipped for a good holiday.
It is worth noting that the island is a real paradise for surfers who come here from all over the world. The coast of Reunion has quite high waves, which are observed mainly in the autumn period. It is they who make it possible for surfers to enjoy extreme entertainment.
The most famous place that fans of this sport chose is the Salt Lake near the village of L’Etan-Sale. In this place, an incredibly strong coastal current is observed, which often takes inexperienced tourists.
Coastal reefs are no less popular among vacationers, which is confirmed by numerous reviews of vacations on the island of Reunion. Divers are attracted by the wildlife rich in equatorial waters. As a rule, diving enthusiasts visit places near Saint-Gilles-les-Bains, where nature itself created the most comfortable conditions for scuba diving. Diving into the depths of the sea, here you can see large flocks of tropical fish, stingrays, dolphins and even small sharks that swim to the coast in search of food. In addition, the underwater world of the island is rich in crustaceans, stars and sea sponges. Experienced divers have the opportunity to see a British ship of the eighteenth century that sank once off the coast of Saint-Denis. The frigate is very well preserved, therefore, annually attracts the attention of numerous tourists.
Entertainment on the island
Walking tours are very popular on Reunion. In total, 600 km of hiking trails are laid on the island, during which you can get acquainted with the amazing tropical nature. The most popular are excursions to the valleys of the volcanoes of Silao, Salazi and Mafat. The most experienced and brave travelers have the opportunity to climb the craters of volcanoes.
Locals cherish traditions and honor them. The Reunion government strongly supports such undertakings and organizes thematic holidays and festivals. If you are lucky, and the time of your trip coincides with one of them, then you can become a participant in interesting events. So, for example, Sega’s dance is now more like a performance, and once it was a companion of slaves who, with its help, had fun and regained strength after hard work.
The Malabar festival, which is a festival of fire, is also interesting. Its appearance is associated with the arrival of the Indians on the island. The procession of mummers is accompanied by dancing and games around the fire.
For lovers of nightly entertainment and parties, clubs that are in every resort area open their doors.
In fairness, it is worth noting that the island has its own stunningly interesting places that will interest tourists. The attractions of Reunion Island are worthy of attention. You can start their inspection from the city of Saint-Denis, located in an incredibly picturesque place, on the very slope of a 700-meter cliff. In the city you can visit the stunning botanical garden and the prefect's palace, which is an architectural monument. In the area of the city called Baracho, there are old Creole mansions. Here stands the monument of victory. The most beautiful building in the city is the Hotel Villas. The architectural masterpieces of Saint-Denis also include St. Anne's Cathedral, which began to be built in 1735.
As we have said, Reunion is an island of volcanic origin. The highest point on it is considered an extinct volcano called Piton de Nege, whose height is 3069 meters. On the island there is also an active volcano, the height of which is 2631 meters, the Piton de la Furnes received world fame thanks to its last eruption in 2005. Craters of local giants annually attract not only numerous tourists, but also famous volcanologists. Experienced travelers recommend visiting the volcanic slopes and admiring the majestic beauty of the forces of nature.
If you consider yourself a lover of nature, then Reunion is just a find for you. The flora of the island is represented by tropical plants. On local lands there are several rivers and a large number of picturesque waterfalls. About 80 varieties of tropical palm trees grow on the island. And in the forests there are more than 400 species of woody and herbaceous plants, twelve of which are endemic.
Tourists are given a unique opportunity to enjoy the exotic fruits of Reunion Island during their holidays.
The small number of mammals on the island is more than compensated by the rich bird world. Parrots alone are home to over 32 species.70 plants were taken under protection of UNESCO, among which there are endangered and rare species, and 50 representatives of the animal world.
The traditional dishes of Reunion surprisingly combines the traditions of Chinese, Indian, European and Madagascar cuisines. The main feature is the use of a large number of seasonings and spices: ginger, curry, garlic, cloves, etc. The island is very popular branded scolding sauce, which is prepared from lemons, tomatoes and pistachios. The local cuisine has a large number of seafood dishes. Pork and poultry dishes with tropical fruits and rice are delicious. On the island, coffee and fresh fresh juices are considered traditional drinks. Locals prefer rum made from cane sugar, infused with fruits and herbs. Tourists should definitely try rum poon. They say that it was he who was used by pirates.
On the island there are many food establishments that you can safely visit. There is tight control over food, so it’s safe to eat in cafes and restaurants. But drinks and dishes bought on the street are not recommended to be consumed, since a high probability of intestinal infection.
Since Reunion is a French province, sales in local stores are exactly the same as in France itself. The massive discount season begins in February and lasts for six weeks. Tourists should also visit the local markets, which have a special atmosphere.
If you want to buy something in memory of the time spent on the island, you can buy handmade embroidery. In addition, tourists buy local wines and wood products as souvenirs. Perfumes, rum, jewelry and marine souvenirs - all this can also be useful as gifts to travelers.
Reunion is quite safe for tourists, because the level of crime is low. But still you shouldn’t walk alone at night. Earlier on the island, the issue of malaria was acute, but today it has been possible to cope with this problem, so now there is no danger of contracting this dangerous disease.
A bit of history
The island of Mascaren (as Reunion was originally called) was uninhabited until the Middle Ages: it was visited only by Malay, Arab and European sailors who were not eager to stay here. In the mid-17th century, rebels from the French Madagascar were exiled to Mascaren - they received the link with unexpected enthusiasm, which attracted attention to the island. In 1649, Louis XIV proclaimed it French and named it Bourbon. Soon, sugar cane plantations were planted here and slaves from Africa were brought in. In the 18th century, coffee, spices, cotton and vanilla were produced on the island. A century later, a republic was proclaimed in France, and Bourbon was renamed Reunion. Since 1946, the island has been the overseas department of France.
Reunion is the southernmost island of the Mascarene volcanic ridge, located 220 km southwest of Mauritius. It is small: 63 km long and 45 km wide. The main volcano, Piton de la Furnes, is 2,600 m high, located in the southeast of the island and continues to erupt with enviable regularity - about once every two years, covering the slopes with fiery lava flows and continuously creating one of the main natural attractions of Reunion - the black volcanic valley of Gran -Brule. By the way, with each eruption (and since 1640 they counted more than a hundred!), Its height grows. In total, solidified lava covers 20% of the island.
The three thousandth Piton de Neyge in the western part of Reunion behaves unlike more relaxed, to the joy of numerous climbers and lovers of mountain hikes. Between both peaks lies an area of wide and deep canyons called circuses: Silao, Mafate and Salazi. Well, and closer to the coast begins the region of high plains, cut by rivers flowing down from the mountain peaks.
From the tourist’s point of view, the country can be conditionally divided into 4 parts: the inner “circle” of mountains and plateau circuses and 3 coasts encircling it: civilized and vibrant western, picturesque and secluded eastern and wild southern.
Thanks to the high mountains, the tropical climate of Reunion is much more heterogeneous throughout the year than in neighboring Mauritius. There are two seasons on the island: hot and rainy summers (from December to April) and cool, dry winters (from May to October). Hurricane season falls on summer - the risk of being in the heart of a cyclone is especially great in February and March. On the east coast of the island, much more rain falls than on the west.
The average temperature on the coast varies from +22 ° C in winter to +27 ° C in summer. In the mountains, it is significantly colder: +11 ° C in July and +18 ° C in January.
The high tourist season in Reunion lasts from around late June to early September. In October, the flow of tourists, and with it the prices for accommodation, falls, and right up to the New Year you can have a good rest here at an adequate price. January to March is a low season. Starting in April, when the weather is getting better, tourists are starting to arrive again, and prices are rising.
Time difference with Moscow
- with Kaliningrad
- with Samara
- with Ekaterinburg
- with Omsk
- with Krasnoyarsk
- with Irkutsk
- with Yakutsk
- with Vladivostok
- with North Kuril
- with Kamchatka
Visa and customs
Citizens of the Russian Federation to enter Reunion will need a visa to visit the overseas territories of France, for which you need to apply to the consular offices of the French Republic. According to the usual Schengen, even French, it will not be possible to visit the island either on the French national visa.
Holders of a French multiple Schengen visa issued for 6 months or more, as well as a long-term visa or residence permit of any other country of the Schengen community, can visit Reunion without a visa.
You can visit the island without a visa as part of a one-day excursion from Mauritius. Such a trip must be purchased from an official tour operator.
You can bring into the country duty free 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars, 1 liter of strong alcohol or 2 liters of alcohol with a strength of less than 22%, 2 liters of wine, 50 ml of perfume or 250 ml of toilet water, as well as other goods worth up to 900 EUR. To import animals and plants to the island, you need to get permission of phyto-veterinary control.
There are no direct flights from Moscow to Reunion, you need to get with one or two transfers. The cheapest, but not the fastest option - on the wings of Emirates and Air Mauritius: a round-trip ticket will cost from 1200 EUR, 2 transfers will be required, in Dubai and Mauritius. A flight with Air France will cost a little more - from 1400 EUR, and you will have to travel independently from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Orly (Schengen is required). In any case, get ready to spend at least 17 hours on the road.
Most flights arrive at the Roland Garros Reunion Airport, which is 10 km from Saint-Denis, however, some flights from Mauritius take off at Pierrefonne Airport on the island’s south coast. You can get from the capital's airport to the city by taxi (approximately 25-30 EUR during the day and 40-45 EUR at night) or by shuttle bus that runs once an hour from 6:00 to 18:00. The road will take no more than half an hour, the fare will cost 4 EUR.
Search for flights to Reunion
Reunion is connected by ferry to Mauritius. In the low tourist season, there is one flight a week, in the high - two. The journey takes about 11 hours. Ticket prices start from 160-170 EUR for a place in a cabin of the second class.
The most popular transport on Reunion is the yellow bus of the state company Car Jaune. From the central bus station of Saint-Denis, located on the seaside boulevard of Lancastel, they travel around the cities and villages of the island, in general, following the schedule. Buses run from approximately 6:00 to 19:00, on Sunday there are a limited number of routes. A ticket can be purchased from the driver. Approximate prices - from 1-3 EUR in the city and the nearest suburbs to 15-20 EUR on intercity routes. To small settlements follow the same yellow minibuses.
Rent a Car
Car rental in Reunion is very widespread, prices start from 35 EUR per day, including insurance and unlimited mileage per day. The driver must be at least 21 years old, have a driving experience of at least a year and present a driver's license of international standard. For the pledge, you need a bank card on which about 800 EUR will be blocked. You can also pay 10 EUR per day and become the proud owner of extended insurance, reducing personal financial risks to zero.
Right-hand traffic, speed limits according to signs - from 50 km / h in settlements to 110 km / h on the highway. The driver and all passengers are required to use seat belts.
We have looked at offers from LEADING companies and want to offer you excellent rental options.
Communication and Wi-Fi
Due to the remoteness from the "civilized" world, roaming tariffs on Reunion are draconian. In order not to go bankrupt at international negotiations, you can use the services of public telephones called a “payphone”, or purchase a local SIM card. The network of “taxphones” covers the entire territory of the country, payments are made using special telecard cards, which are sold everywhere: in tobacco and newsagents, shops and post offices. Two national operators, Orange and SFR, are responsible for mobile communications at Reunion. Rates are about the same for both. A SIM card can be purchased at the sales offices of operators, a passport is required.
Wi-Fi on Reunion is not very common: you can use it only in hotels, in popular cafes and restaurants. Wireless Internet connection in a hotel is usually paid, but many cafes offer this service to their visitors for free.
Given that Reunion is the overseas department of France, the island's official currency is the euro. The exchange of other currencies (for example, US dollars) into euros at the Reunion is not practiced.
You can withdraw cash from a credit card at ATMs located in bank branches and at the post office. Preference is given to cards of international systems Visa and MasterCard. You can pay by credit card only in large hotels, restaurants and supermarkets, usually in the amount of 15 EUR. Family pensions, fast food and private shops will be asked to pay in cash. It makes sense to stock up with the necessary amount of cash when traveling inland.
Most stores wait for customers from 8:00 - 8:30 to 18:00 and close for a two-hour lunch break between 12:00 and 15:00. Banks are open from 8:00 to 16:00 from Monday to Friday or from Tuesday to Saturday. Sunday at Reunion is a day off; only souvenir and tourist shops and small goods shops work.
How to avoid problems
A shark attack on a surfer or swimmer occurs on Reunion approximately once a year. This is not a cause for concern - the statistical probability of meeting this animal is extremely small. Nevertheless, it is important to always follow the recommendations of lifeguards on equipped beaches and not to show disastrous courage on wild beaches. Since Reunion is practically not protected by reefs, rip currents should be wary of trying to drag swimmers into the open ocean - in particular, do not swim in unfamiliar places.
If you rent a car, you need to be very careful while driving: the reunionists are not honored with the rules of the road: they do not comply with the high-speed regime, in addition, they drive while intoxicated. It is worth considering that the island has a lot of mountain serpentines and “blind” turns.
Otherwise, safety rules are standard: do not keep valuables in sight, keep money and jewelry in the hotel safe, and take reasonable cash with you, do not walk alone in the countryside and on the outskirts of cities after sunset.
How not to get lost: locals understand only French, but in every major city (of those whose name begins with "Sen") there is a tourism office with English-speaking employees. If you don’t have a map at hand, head for the largest church in the city - a tourism office will be nearby.
The mains voltage is 220 V, standard European sockets are used.
The number of rooms on the island is definitely not soaring in the sky-high heights of the Mauritian or Seychelles stars - the hotels here are mostly old: with a small area of rooms and a rather rudimentary design, but good-quality - they offer tourists comfort without claiming for luxury. Most accommodation facilities at Reunion are two- and three-star hotels, family-run guest houses and guest houses. The newest and most stellar, and therefore the most expensive establishments are concentrated in the capital of Saint-Denis, the resort of Saint-Gilles-les-Bains and the surrounding area, as well as in the picturesque and popular mountain towns of Silao and Elbur. A night in a double room in an ordinary guesthouse will cost 40-50 EUR, in a mid-range hotel - from 50 to 100 EUR. Accommodation in the best hotels of the island starts from 120-150 EUR.
Accommodation prices soar in July-August (when school holidays and holidays are in France) and during the Christmas and New Year periods.
Book popular Reunion hotels at the best prices
It is a mistake to believe that on Reunion you will be greeted by white sand beaches washed by calm azure water. The island is practically not surrounded by reefs, and the stormy waves of the Indian Ocean periodically with noise and crash crash down on its basalt rocks. Among the few textbook paradises are a strip of sandy coast in the west of the island, protected by a lagoon, and several black sand beaches in the south. Suitable places for swimming are adjacent to the resorts and are easily identified at the end of the “le-ben”, that is, the “baths”: Saint-Gilles-les-Bains, Lermitage-les-Bains, La-Salin-les-Bains and Ethan-Sale le ben. Locals prefer the long beach in the lagoon of Bukan Kano.
Not to say that Reunion is on the list of the world's leading surfing destinations, but a keen surfer will not remain idle: the long and moderately wide waves of the Indian Ocean will suit both beginners and confident users of the board. Those who take their first steps in surfing should prefer the beaches of Saint-Gilles and La Salin. The more experienced surfers prefer Saint-Le, and the most brave ones challenge the high and fast wave in Gauche-de-Saint-Le. The best surfing on Reunion is from May to November.
Scuba diving is not the most popular pastime on Reunion, but there are still some dive centers. They are located mainly on the west coast of the island - between Bukan Kano and Gran Bois. The diving style is calm, suitable for beginners and those who prefer to explore the underwater depths at a relaxed pace. Coastal lagoons have provided shelter for 190 species of coral, 1300 species of mollusks and 1000 species of marine fish. A few artificially flooded wrecks and single sheer walls - these are perhaps the most “extreme” dive sites of Reunion. An additional highlight is the British frigate of the colonial era, which sunk naturally in shallow water.
Shopping & Stores
Ornaments from wood, baskets and all kinds of household items and interiors from wicker straws, home textiles and clothes with colorful embroidery, coffee and spices (especially vanilla), rum and local wines are brought from Reunion as souvenirs. The best choice is in the famous Grand March market in the capital. It makes sense to look at the neighboring Petit Marche in search of fruits, vegetables and the same spices.
Women will appreciate the reunion essential and vegetable oils, cosmetics and aromatic waters - floral distillates. It is best to buy them at specialized stores, usually with their own production.
Cuisine and restaurants of Reunion
The national cuisine of Reunion is a motley mixture of European, African and Asian gastronomic traditions. Here, they have coffee with a croissant, curry lunch, dinner with fish and seafood, not forgetting to eat rum in large quantities between meals and enjoy fruit, of which lychee and pineapple are preferred.
The most popular food of Reunion is Indian curry - meat or fish in the same spicy sauce with a side dish of rice or legumes: red beans, lentils or peas. There are no food prohibitions dictated by religion, so curries are made with everything that is suitable for food - from chicken, duck and guinea fowl to pork, tuna and octopus. If the dish doesn’t seem sharp enough to you, you can “catch up” with an even more flammable oral sauce with the characteristic name “curse”, which is often served in a separate gravy boat. The island’s second most popular dish is “scold sausage,” that is, smoked sausages in the same sauce. Variations - “scold the buccane” from smoked pork and “scold the sea” from cod. Finally, beef is excellently cooked on the island - steaks, steaks and stews are guaranteed to please meat-eaters.
There are a lot of catering establishments on Reunion - from "curry" eateries to a la carte restaurants. You can have a quick whip in fast food restaurants serving French "Kaskrut" sandwiches, donuts and samsa for the price of 3-6 EUR. At lunchtime, most restaurants offer a fixed 3-course menu for 10-12 EUR. In the evening, classic restaurants come into their rights, the cost of a dinner with wine in which starts from 30-40 EUR per person.
The sign “cuisine metro” means that the restaurant serves French cuisine (from the former metropolis).
Of the drinks, the Reunionists prefer rum, which is served in the form of a variety of cocktails under the general name "rum arranger" - with sugar and vanilla, orchid flowers and fruits. The island has a good selection of wines - local, produced in the wine region of Silao, and imported from South Africa. You can also quench your thirst and cheer up with the local Bourbon beer, commonly known as Dodo. Non-alcoholic drinks include coffee and tea, fruit juices, and Silao Mountain Mineral Water.
Attractions and attractions of Reunion
The vast majority of Reunion sights are natural, and not relaxed, contemplative, but actively overcoming. Undoubtedly, nobody canceled the pacification of incredibly beautiful beaches, but lovers of leisure with a backpack behind go to the island first of all. And Reunion has something to offer them.
The first step is to visit His Majesty the Volcano Piton de la Furnes - take a walk along the valleys of frozen lava, climb hiking trails to the observation deck or, conversely, go down to the “Martian” Sand Valley - a vast, absolutely flat surface covered with volcanic ash. Continuing acquaintance with the lush character of the island is certainly worth it in the neighboring lava valley of Gran Brule - it is here that, for thousands of years, the main stream of lava spewed by the very same Piton de la Furnes has been pouring.
The “body” of the island created by volcanoes - its three circuses, the most spectacular of which surrounds the highest mountain of Reunion - the extinct volcano Piton de Neuge (3071 m) - and is called Silao. This is a real amphitheater of history and geology: from each of the 400 corners of the 37-kilometer track winding along the circus, views are opened that take your breath away. In specially equipped parking lots, you can leave your car and take a walk - many hiking trails are laid here. The path to the top will take about 1.5 hours.
The Salazi Circus boasts not only a “branded” reunion nature, but also a rich cultural heritage: on its “steps” are a series of authentic Creole villages. Guarded by the impregnable slopes of the Emerald Mountains, the toy town of Elbur invites you to admire the colonial mansions, the church and the town hall and visit the excellent Museum of Music and Musical Instruments of the Indian Ocean.
Mafate Circus is the most remote and virgin region of the island, whose rugged mountain ranges soaring in the haze of clouds sound like a symphony of the most delicate colors, which Time itself seems to admire.
Sights of Saint-Denis - Creole mansions of the 1800s, the Grand Mosque, Notre Dame Cathedral, the picturesque promenade of Barashua and the impressive Museum of Natural History. The capital's botanical garden is almost a must to visit - such a variety of vines and rare orchids you will not find anywhere else in the world. This is not an exaggeration: more than 90% of known orchids are represented on the island, with 49 species being endemic. Orchids can also be found in the wild, they look especially beautiful against the background of numerous waterfalls (Reunion holds the world championship in the number of waterfalls per sq. Km). But remember: you can’t tear orchids, let alone take them out of the island!
There are two nature reserves on Reunion. Marine Park Maren occupies almost a third of the 25-kilometer lagoon on the west coast of the island, from Bukan Kano to Trois-Bassin. Authentic underwater and coastal flora and fauna are protected here. The area of the national park O de la Reunion is more than 1000 square meters. km, including not only the volcano Piton de la Furnes, but also smaller mountain peaks, as well as the circus of Mafate and Grand Bassin - a total of 42% of the island's surface. There are as many as 816 km of hiking trails of varying difficulty. Travelers are waiting in the center of visits, where there is a small eco-museum, you can take park maps, choose a route and sign up for a group tour accompanied by rangers.
Vacation with children
Although Reunion is primarily interesting for outdoor enthusiasts, children on the island also have something to do. With young travelers you can visit the water park with real sharks, a crocodile park, as well as a farm-laboratory for breeding sea turtles. If you find yourself on the island in June-September, then right from the shore you can observe the seasonal migration of whales.
Holidays and events
The rich history of Reunion endowed the islanders with a mass of various holidays - Creole, Indian and European, which are celebrated with equal zeal - noisy, fun and on a grand scale. The most colorful are the Indian diwali with the lighting of fires and the Tamil Kavadi with processions of the torturers of flesh, the Creole week in October and the feast in honor of Our Lady of de la Salette, lasting as long as 10 days. You can get acquainted with the products of the terroir closely at the holidays of green honey and grapes, guava and garlic, saffron and turmeric.
In addition, the country widely celebrates the Abolition of Slavery Day on December 20, the Bastille Day on July 14 and All Saints Day on November 1, as well as international holidays - New Year, Christmas, Victory Day, etc.
How to get there
Every day, Air France planes fly from major French cities to the international airports of Saint-Demi (Roland Garros Airport) or Saint-Pierre (De Pierrefonds). Travel time from Paris will take about 11 hours.
You can travel around Reunion by buses that run between the major cities of the island, or rent a car.
Climate and weather Reunion
A tropical humid climate is characteristic of the entire island. Most of the Reunion is located in a mountainous area, at an altitude of more than 1000 m above sea level, respectively, their climatic zones are established there, for example, in the mountainous regions at night light frosts are sometimes possible. The best time to visit Reunion is the period from May to November. During these months, the likelihood of prolonged rain and exhausting heat is minimized.
So called the rainforests of the island. About 700 km of hiking trails have been laid across the island. In the central part of Reunion there are three valleys, in their shape they resemble Greek amphitheaters. Numerous hiking trails also lead to them. These valleys - Salazi, Silao and Mafat, were formed due to the ancient failure of the tops of volcanoes. These circuses, as they are called here, form magnificent landscapes.
Circus Salazie (Le cirque de Salazie)
This is a commune in the central part of Reunion, famous for amazing waterfalls. The widest water cascade is Le Voile de la Mariee. In the past, Salazi was one of the most prestigious areas of the island, even now it is fashionable to have your own property here. Here you can find a full of Creole restaurants with national cuisine.
Circus Silao (Le cirque de Silaos)
At the end of the XIX century, this area began to actively develop as a resort. Wellness centers were built on the site of thermal springs. Over time, the resort became empty, and it was turned into an open-air museum.
In recent years, work has been carried out to restore the resort area, so in the future we should expect the opening of modern sanatoriums.
Silao is worth a visit in order to see the Cascade de Bras Rouge waterfall. Mountain ledges, jets of water, and lush vegetation create a picturesque landscape.
There is also a sugar factory, where you can see the whole process of making sugar.
Circus Mafat (Le cirque de Mafate)
This is the most remote and inaccessible circus of the island. It is most convenient to get here by helicopter. Hiking can be fatal, which means the name of the circus in translation from Madagascar. Despite the very dangerous location, there are several villages in the area. When you visit them, you should be prepared for the fact that there are no familiar benefits of civilization (electricity, gas, mobile communications, Internet). But the beauty of nature of this magnificent area is worth it at least once to see it.
Volcano Piton de la Fournaise (Piton de la Fournaise)
The island has the only active volcano that wakes up from time to time. This is the famous volcano Piton de la Furnes. His last eruption was contemplated in January 2010.
Another famous volcano of the island is the Piton des Neiges, which has long been extinct.
Waterfall Troye de Fer (Le Trou de Fer)
In total, there are more than 1000 waterfalls on the island, among which the main pearl is waterfall Trois de FerBy the way, one of the highest in the whole world (its height is more than 700 meters). In addition to Troyes de Fer, here is another large waterfall - Bras Mazerin (Bras Mazerin), at the foot of the lake forms. Between these two waterfalls there are several more water cascades, but not of such large sizes. This place was found out only in 1989. The waterfall is located in a deep canyon, and to see it in all its beauty it is best to take a helicopter tour. A 30-minute tour of the canyon will cost 200 euros. Flights are organized from Saint Pierre and Saint Paul.
Reunion National Park (Parc national de La Réunion)
The park is located in the central part of the island, it was opened in 2007. Three years later, it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage. The main goal of the park is to protect the local flora and fauna.
The most beautiful lagoons are the west and south coast of the island. These parts of Reunion are the resort area. Here are the best beaches and hotels. Coral reefs stretch along the coast, this allows you to engage in fascinating snorkeling. The most popular resort is Saint-Gilles-les-Bains. In the lagoon, in which the resort is located, you can see beaches of three colors (white, coral and black volcanic). But most locals prefer to relax on the beaches of Mauritius, 30 minutes by helicopter and you are already on the neighboring island.
In the main city of the island, it is worth visiting the Catholic Cathedral of Saint-Denis, the city hall, the Léon-Dyur Art gallery, the monument to the fallen soldiers of Monuments-aux - Morts. It will also be interesting to visit a coral farm, take a walk in the Botanical Garden (Jardin de l’Éta), in the Park of Colorado (Parc du Colorado), or in the most romantic part of the city - along the promenade of Baracho. Saint-Denis is famous for its nightlife. The city is full of entertainment venues, open until morning. The most popular clubs are located on the main street of the city - Rou de Paris.
This is the very first capital of the island. The city is simply saturated with the atmosphere of the colonial era. The Simetier Marty area is full of historic buildings that are worth a visit.
It will be no less interesting to visit the largest cemetery of the island, where the most famous place is the grave of one of the last pirates of the Indian Ocean - Olivier Levasser. Many believe that somewhere on the coast of the city all its treasures are buried.
Museum of Vanilla (Musée vanyly). One of the symbols of the island is vanilla. Her plantations can be seen all over Reunion. There is even a museum dedicated to this fragrant spice. The museum is located in the town of Saint-Andre. Here you can learn all about this plant culture, as well as see what amazing souvenirs you can make from it.
Shopping at Reunion
Almost all Reunion shops are open from 9 am to 6 pm, lunch break from 12 to 15, Sunday is a day off. Large supermarkets are open until 8 pm, and on Sunday, but only until noon.
The most popular souvenirs:
- wooden figurines and caskets,
- wicker baskets,
- homemade alcohol tinctures,
- handmade decorations,
- sea shells,
- aromatic oils,
- National costumes,
- DVD records with the last eruption of the famous volcano.
In Saint-Denis, the main trading point is the Grande Marche market. People come here from all around to purchase the necessary goods. Tourists here expect a large selection of souvenirs.