Whether walking with your family, on a trek with your portable shelter, or taking on the impressive Grand Raid trail, Réunion has everything for lovers of outdoor sports, whether they’re looking for the simple pleasure of a walk or intense sensations. Just put on the right walking boots, prepare your itinerary with or without a guide, bring the water bottles and the picnic, and you’re set!
Réunion has more than 900 kilometres of marked out paths through an environment which is now recorded as World Heritage Site by Unesco, and which includes a vast National Park with protected, natural reserves.

Marked paths

Three paths named as Grand Hiking Routes by the French Hiking Federation are almost legendary. The first – GR R1 – encircles the famous Piton des Neiges, (the islands highest summit), crosses the three cirques (Salazie, Mafate and Cilaos) and is completed in six stages after walking 60 kilometres through the mountainous landscape. The GR RS crosses the island from north to south across a distance of 130 kilometres, passing over the summits of mountains, through natural reserves, cirques, the Piton des Neiges and the Piton de la Fournaise. The GR R3 can be completed in five day, and gives hikers a chance to discover the entire cirque of Mafate, which is only accessible on foot. These hikes are an opportunity to spend the night in often-picturesque lodgings and to taste curry cooked on wood fires. And to discover more of the island’s soul, why not travel with the qualified guides, specialised in tropical destinations, who will bring the hike to life with their anecdotes, advice and make it a completely safe experience.

Now globally renowned, the island’s famous “Grand Raid” trail (also known as the “Madmen’s Diagonal”) attracts hundreds of people from all of the world to join local participants every year. For both the glory and the personal challenge, the “Grand Raid” trail is also something of a holy grail for hikers.

Volcanic treks

Another challenge is the Piton de la Fournaise volcano, which attracts 400,000 visitors every year. Upon arriving upon the sole path that leads through lush green plains and lunar landscapes, the Pas de Bellecombe mountain pass gives extraordinary views of the craters formed by the last eruptions. Information points and pathway maps enable you to understand the how the island is set out. Several hundred different paths lead to the volcanic domain, where the paths marked out with paint on the floor lead right up to the slumbering giant whose rage often shakes the whole island !

For more peaceful, family walks without too much strain, visitors are invited to the costal paths. Bordered by the Indian Ocean and crossing forests which will make you forget the heavy climate, these paths are perfect to live like the locals, who take the marmailles (children) for a walk after lavish Sunday picnics.