©Photographe|Serge GELABERT
Lava Road

Route des laves

The volcanic flows of Grand Brûlé

A fascinating trip

Surrounded by the ramparts of Bois Blanc and Le Tremblet, Grand Brûlé has unique landscape, shaped by regular eruptions that have poured lava down the slope. It is part of La Réunion National Park and listed World Heritage. In this natural theatre, minerals and plants reveal the mysteries of life growing on the island’s youngest basalt soils.
Lava flows often plunge into the ocean, redesigning the coast which is of rare wild beauty. Under the open sky, braids, drapes and folds of lava are like works of art. Underground lava tunnels reveal hidden facets of the Earth’s veins.


Due to repeated lava flows that reached the ocean in Grand Brûlé, the national forest office has created a path parallel to the coast, to link forest trails down to the sea. Discover this savagely beautiful coast with caution. It reaches La Pointe du Tremblet. The path of lava slabs is narrow beneath your feet and cluttered with roots and submerged in ferns. Vanilla flourishes in the guava undergrowth. A sign informs that it is a cultivated area. Look but don’t touch, and most importantly, don’t pick the vanilla.

Petite-Île and the surroundings

Petite-Île is famous for citrus fruit and garlic. Visit the Maison de l’Abeille bee museum and Domaine de Manapany. Relax on a beach at Grande Anse, or Manapany-les-Bains shaded by coconut trees and whistling pines with a superb view of the impressive basalt cliff. Pamper yourself at the luxury spa at Palm Hotel & Spa*****.
On the highlands road, visit craftsmen working with wood, bamboo and volcanic rock and weaving coconut. Take a refreshing break at Domaine du Relais – organised for picnics, walks in typical “bois de couleurs” forest and sports activities. 

Spellbinding St. Joseph

Visit the Labyrinthe en champ Thé, Maison de Laurina (Bourbon Pointu coffee) in the Creole village of Grand Coude. At Plaine des Grègues , discover turmeric, known as the local saffron, the essential ingredient for caris at the Maison du Curcuma visitor’s centre. Stop for a picnic at Rivière Langevin or by the sea at the Débarcadère.
Warm hospitality abounds in farm accommodation and guesthouses for visitors who want to be first to head out to the volcano on foot. Tip: book for one night in case an eruption is announced.
Discover the typical village of Vincendo, where common screwpines invade the shore.

From Saint-Philippe to Grand Brûlé

Cap Méchant, Puits des Anglais, Saint-Philippe: this mysterious part of the coastline is the lower part of the volcano caldera. Grand Brûlé is part of Enclos Fouqué of Piton de la Fournaise. Bounded on the Saint-Philippe side by Le Tremblet cliff and on the Sainte-Rose side by the Bois Blanc cliff.
Bois-Blanc, Pointe de la Table, Pointe du Tremblet: the landscape around the Grand Brûlé is fascinating with virgin forest crossed by lava flows. No one lives here. Stop to contemplate this rebuilt site, redesigned with a new layout of tunnels and endless volcanic rock. Explore the bowels of the earth with a guided tour of the underground lava tunnel. Discover a completely different type of hiking. With helmets, gloves, knee pads and head lamp, enjoy an adventurous day with experienced guides. Plunged below the lava flow from 2004, it is a fun, unusual and magical adventure through galleries, cavities and caves sculpted by lava.

There is no trail, so be careful and wear sturdy shoes for walking on lava that is still hot in some places.