Réunion

Réunion


In terms of its area, France is Europe's largest country. The fact that the Grande Nation is ahead in the European country ranking is due not least to its five overseas departments. One of the areas is the Île de la Réunion.

The tropical island lies in the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and Mauritius. With this and the island of Rodrigues, La Réunion is classified as part of the Mascarene Islands.

Article overview La Réunion

La Réunion – the dream destination for northern Europeans

The oval, 20 square kilometer volcanic island located south of the 2.504th parallel is often described by tourism experts as one of the last paradises on earth. The varied, overwhelming landscapes make the island seem fantastically beautiful to us northern Europeans. As far as the living conditions of the residents are concerned, you feel like you have been transported to the southern regions of metropolitan France: traffic congestion in large cities, reliable public transport, interesting and well-kept shops, good bars, cafés and restaurants as well as practiced nature conservation and exemplary cleanliness in public areas.

Saint Denis - Le Jardin de l'État

Saint Denis - Le Jardin de l'État


And something else remarkable: As the Île de la Réunion Tourism Committee notes, the island combines African, Asian and European influences. The result: La Réunion is a true melting pot of cultures.

As you might expect, the official language is French. However, Creole is traditionally spoken. The currency on Reunion Island is the euro.

Saint Denis - the Old Town Hall

Saint Denis - the Old Town Hall


La Réunion in numbers

According to preliminary estimates for 2024, the island's population will be around 885.700 people. According to an official estimate as of January 155.000, 1, almost 2021 people lived in the island's capital Saint Denis. Saint Paul, the second largest city, has a population of 105.000.

Saint Denis - the Victory Column

Saint Denis - the Victory Column


Reunion Island economically

French settlers have been drawn to La Réunion since the middle of the 17th century. Their interest was primarily in the plantation economy. The work was done by slaves. Their difficult fate only ended in 1848 with the abolition of slavery.

Agriculture is still an essential industry on the island. The main agricultural products are cane sugar and rum, but fruits and spices, especially vanilla, are also grown.

Another important economic sector is tourism. Hiking and sports holidays as well as diving tourism are particularly in demand. 

La Réunion – destination for cruise ships

Vacationers and day guests from cruise ships see the island as a very different landscape characterized by volcanic mountains. The volcanic areas take up around 40 percent of the island's area. Since 2010, the volcanoes and the regions surrounding them have been recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO because of their “unique universal” value. The highest point is the Piton des Neiges at 3.069 meters. A still active volcano is the Piton de la Fournaise. It measures 2.632 meters and is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. The last eruption occurred in July 2017. Dense cloud forest grows on the slopes of the volcanoes. From the heights, visitors can see volcanic plains, gorges with rivers, fields of vanilla and much more.

La Réunion - the volcanic plain of Plaine des Sables

La Réunion - the volcanic plain of Plaine des Sables


The few cruise ships that call at La Réunion head for the industrial port of La Possession. However, for reasons we cannot understand, the neighboring town of Le Port, which has 36.000 inhabitants, is named as the port location. La Possession has a tiny cruise center where taxi and shared taxi drivers offer their services. 

Reunion Island - La Possession cruise terminal


Reunion Island - La Possession cruise terminal


Reunion Island - Le Port bus station


Reunion Island - Le Port bus station 


The shuttle bus to Le Port, about four kilometers away, also starts at the Cruise Center. From there, regular buses run along the north coast to the island's capital, Saint Denis. The distance is 21 kilometers. The island's bus network is well developed and inexpensive. Driving a taxi, apart from collective taxes, is very expensive.

La Réunion is worth several visits. We report on what there is to see in the capital Saint Denis and in the interior of the island Reunion Island sightseeing.

Update March 2024