Recharge your batteries
Perched on the edge of the worldScroll
With three trails classified as GR (Grande Randonnée or long-distance hiking trails) and more than 1,000 km of signposted hiking, horse-riding and cycling paths, Réunion Island is not only paradise on earth, but also a Garden of Eden for holidays in the wilderness and to get in shape (and work those legs)! Along the coastline, which overlooks the endless horizon, or high up in the mountains, gazing out over breathtaking landscapes from a belvedere perched up high, you might feel a bit like Robinson Crusoe discovering a desert island... Breathe in and out!
Would you prefer a romantic hotel, luxurious spa or challenging hike? Whatever your desire, multi-faceted Reunion Island has plentiful options to recharge your batteries. Thrill seekers and hikers will make their way to the belvederes: real balconies opening out over landscapes that are so breathtaking, you feel like you could be at the beginnings of the world...
It is one of the island’s most famous panoramic views, and also receives the most visitors: between 40 and 50,000 people every year. The Trou de Fer is a majestic 300m waterfall in the northeast of the island, located in a geological fault of the Piton des Neiges. It is even one of the island’s most-visited natural sites, after the volcano and the Maïdo. Although the hike is fairly easy, it is still reserved for early risers to ensure optimum visibility. The trail will even take you past the “Reine des Tamarins”, a three-century-old tree! Since last year, a new 55m² belvedere enables visitors to overlook the Trou de fer: a reward more than worthy of the physical effort and an unforgettable memory!
Another idea for an excursion is the Fenêtre des Makes, an exceptional viewpoint over the cirque de Cilaos, its ramparts and summits, including the Piton des Neiges. From Les Makes village, the direction to the “Fenêtre” (Window) viewpoint is clearly indicated, and the trail is even suitable for children. However, they should be supervised when crossing the bridges, protected by hand- and guardrails.
Lastly, another main attraction is the Maïdo. Along the heights of Saint-Paul, it is a true balcony over the cirque de Mafate, the wildest (and least accessible – on foot or by helicopter only!) one on the island. It can be reached after a walk through a tamarind forest and is the starting point of many hikes. In times of good weather, practically the entire island is on display: the Grand Bénare (the island’s third highest summit, standing 2,898 metres tall), the Gros Morne, the Cimendef, the Roche Écrite and more. The cirque de Mafate can be admired throughout and is revealed over the course of the hike.
For those who love the open sea, Reunion Island’s coastline offers a host of paths with the sea as focal point. To the north, you can walk from Barachois to Saint-Denis (with its cannons that awaited the English invaders at the very beginning of the 19th century, although they ultimately arrived from the west), and up to Sainte-Suzanne and the lighthouse of Bel-Air. There is also the fisherman’s trail between Sainte-Rose and the Anse des cascades (Waterfall cove). Don’t miss the Piton-Sainte-Rose Church, which was miraculously spared from lava upon the eruption of the Piton de la Fournaise... Heading west and a few kilometres along l’Etang-Salé and l’Etang du Gol in Saint-Louis, the waves erode the cliffs to produce supernatural shapes. Going south, finally, the Saint-Philippe trail winds between beaches, common screwpines (used in basketry) and casuarina trees; or you can head to Saint-Joseph, where the Piton Babet trail, named after a former mayor, leads to the Caverne des Hirondelles (Swallow cave), which was the location for the French film “Friday or Another Day”, inspired by the novel Friday, or, The Other Island, written by Michel Tournier. Enough to fuel the imagination with dreams of embarking on a long journey and going to a desert island one day...