Of volcanic deserts, lunar landscapes, deep blue lagoons and black sandy beaches, Reunion is a jewel of the Indian Ocean. Although Reunion Island officially belongs to France, it is in fact located nowhere near Europe and instead lies East of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, basking in the southern hemisphere’s sun.
The island is mostly decked out in rugged, cloud-covered mountains, and most of the human habitation has been relegated towards the coastline. Perfect from outdoor enthusiasts, the mountains are great for hiking along steep trails, rappelling down waterfalls or even canyoning along its rivers.
With all that aside, here are several reasons why you should be impressed by this remarkable island:
The Island Holds the Record for the World’s Longest Domestic Flight Route
Since Reunion Island is a part of France, entering Reunion also means that you’re officially entering France, despite it being over 9,000 km away from Paris. Taking a non-stop flight to Reunion from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris also means that you have never left France and can therefore enter Reunion as a domestic passenger. The total flight time adds up to more than 11 hours, hence making it the longest domestic flight route in the world.
Villages Can be Found Inside Craters
As the volcanic island is covered in large craters, it is not surprising that entire villages can be found inside them. If you were to take a visit to Cirque de Cilaos caldera, you will be amazed by a completely different world that greets you, something that takes you far away from the beaches and cliffs of the coastline. Plus, the climate within the crater changes completely, with low temperatures and a change of landscape from rock formations to lush rainforests and magnificent waterfalls.
Tip: You can get the best views of the craters on a helicopter ride over the island
One of the World’s Most Active Volcanoes Resides in Reunion Island
Located on the east side of the island, Piton de la Fournaise is a major tourist attraction and has over 150 recorded eruptions. Although it was a popular hiking spot previously, its last eruption in January 2017 has put a halt to this.
Rampant Shark Attacks
We’ve all heard about the shark attacks in Australia and South Africa, but none of these compares to Reunion’s record. A fatal attack occurred in February 2017, making it the eighth one since 2011. Although scientists have been studying the phenomenon for years, it is still currently undetermined as to why Reunion has become a centre for attacks. The government has banned swimming and surfing at any of the island’s beaches except for those that have been protected by shark nets or lagoons.
Reunion Island Houses the Indian Ocean’s Highest Peak
With the nearby Maldives and Mauritius not having extremely high peaks, Piton des Neiges in Reunion stands at 3,069 metres and you’ll be able to summit within a day. However, if you do prefer to go at a slower pace, you can always spend the night in a mountain hike and catch the sunrise from the peak the next day.