Reunion Island

Intense island with a flamboyant culture, active volcano and dramatic landscapes.

Best time to visit Reunion Island


Summer month. Hot tropical weather with high humidity. Heavy showers expected.


Summer month. Hot tropical weather with high humidity. Heavy showers expected.


Summer month. Hot tropical weather with high humidity. Heavy showers expected.


Summer month, very pleasant weather, warm days and little rainfall.


Fall of summer, temperature around 28°, chilly at night time


The beginning of the austral winter. Temperature at 25° along the coast, below 15° in the mountains at night time.


Austral Winter. Temperature at 25° along the coast, below 15° in the mountains at night time.


Austral Winter. Temperature at 25° along the coast, below 15° in the mountains at night time.


Temperatures between 22 and 27° by the coast. But some frost possible up in the mountains at night.


In between seasons. Great temperatures, little rainfall


Summer. Temperature at 28° along the coast, little rainfall and start of cyclone season.


The onset of summer. Great summer temperature from 28°, some rainfall starting

Best Good Mixed

About Reunion Island

Religion & Culture



Local Cuisine


Religion & Culture

Most of the population of Reunion Island are Christians. Estimates show 86.9% of the population are Christians, followed by Hindus (6.7%) and Muslim (3.2%). Chinese and Buddhism are also represented in minority. Reunion Island is a real a mix of traditions and cultures. With people from Africa, Madagascar, Asia and Europe, this island is a beautiful ‘Reunion’ of cultures all living together peacefully. The diversity is mostly expressed in the island’s lifestyle, architecture, arts, music, cuisine and dance. Several religious festivals and traditions are also celebrated all year round: firewalking, Dipavali (festival of light), Chinese New Year, Festival of Guan Di, Cavadee, "Fêt Caf" on 20 December, Liberté Métisse (abolition of slavery).


Arabs first discovered the island, calling it Dina Morgabin. But they never stayed.

1512: Portuguese named the archipelago of Mauritius, Rodrigues and Reunion as the Mascarenes after the explorer Pedro de Mascarenhas.
1600s: French colonialists claim the island, naming it Bourbon.
1794: Island comes under the French crown and is renamed Reunion.
1810-15: During the Napoleonic Wars, the island is lost to the British, who introduced sugarcane plantations.
1815: Territory returns to the French under the Treaty of Paris.
1848: With the abolition of slavery, indentured labourers are imported from Southeast Asia, India and East Africa.
1946: Reunion changes from a colony to an overseas department of France.
1974: The island gains the status of French region. Headquarters of the French military in the Indian Ocean are established.
2000: French government proposal to split the island into two departments is rejected by the French Senate.


The current population of Reunion Island is 889,838 as of June 2019, based on the latest United Nations estimates. The population density is 356 per Km2 (922 people per mi2), not a densely populated country, mainly because of its geography. 100 % of the population is urban. The median age in Reunion at first birth is 34.8 years, with a fertility rate of 2.37 children per woman.

The people of Reunion are different ethnic groups who arrived from Africa, Asia and Europe over the last three hundred years, and there are no indigenous people. These groups married together very early, and the population today is mostly of mixed race. However, Islanders use their ethnic origins to define themselves as Cafres (African ancestry), Z'oreilles (born in France), malabars or Tamouls (from Madras in India), Z'arabes (from Gujarat in northern India), Chinois (from China), Malgaches (from Madagascar), Comores (from Comores), Yabs (poor rural whites living in the highlands), or Creoles blancs (white landowners). All the residents of the island are administratively French citizens.

Local Cuisine

Because of its diversity of cultures, the cuisine of La Reunion is a delight for the palette. Under the tropical sun, the marriage of spices, flavours from the different colourful cultures has created a tasty spicy exciting cuisine. Typically, the Réunionese menu consists of rice, pulses, leafy vegetables, curry or rougaille. They are copiously accompanied by pickles, salads or chilli (Chatini). When in Reunion, one need to try a curry, la rougaille saucisse (sausage in tomato paste creole style), cabri massale (goat curry), boucanne (curry with porc), bouchon (dumplings chinese style filled with meat) or l’americain (bread served with meat and covered with cheese). All the different cultures have their specialities, which makes the beauty of the food in Reunion.

What about the local drinks from this intense island? The local rum, rhum Charrette is impossible to miss. When sold in small plastic bottles, it is locally referred to as "pile plate" as code name. Next is the Bourbon beer, which is locally brewed. As digestive, specially in the cirques, an intense shot of faham is served which is an orchid-based alcoholic beverage.


Being an overseas French territory, French is naturally the official language of the country. Creole is also widely spoken as a second language. It is the native language of a large part of the population that evolved along with the island’s first settlers, with people from France, Madagascar, Africa and India. Their need to understand each other led to a language full of imagery.
Creole is used informally and orally in some administration offices whereas the official language of any administration office as well as education is French. Indian languages, mostly Tamil, Gujarati and Urdu are also widely spoken by the different communities. Arabic is taught in mosques and spoken by a small community of Muslims.


Places to Visit

Piton de la Fournaise

Piton de la Fournaise peaks at 2632m above sea level and is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Visiting the volcano is a must expedition. The road to the volcano offers surreal landscapes and the view point breathtaking.

Saint Denis

Saint-Denis is the capital city of Réunion Island. It is known for the creole style mansions, reminiscent of the colonial heritage, the religious sites, museums. In all there are 130 historical monuments in Saint Denis. Definitely worth a visit.

Piton des Neiges

Piton des Neiges is the highest peak of the island, culminating at 3070m high. It is an extinct volcano, which once contributed to the formation of two-thirds of the island over more than three million years ago. Hiking to the peak is a most demanded activity, with the view from the top being absolutely speechless.


Mafate is the most remote place of Reunion and is only accessible by foot or helicopter. Walking or trekking into Mafate is an amazing adventure, accessible to everybody with a minimum physical fitness. There is no word to explain the feeling of waking up in a village surrounded by mountains, no roads, no cars, a complete cut off from civilization.

Salazie & Hellbourg

Cirque de Salazie, is in its entirety classified as a World Heritage site by Unesco. Situated on the eastern side, which is the wetter side of the island, Salazie is full of water running down streams, rivers, and waterfalls. The road to Salazie is dominated by the amazing waterfalls Voile de la Mariée or Bride’s Veil. Hell-Bourg, main village of Salazie is classed as one of the "most beautiful villages in overseas France".


Perched on a plateau at 1200m above sea level, Cirque de Cilaos is the land of hot water springs, embroidery and wine. The road leading to the plateau has 400 turns, each of which is a new breathtaking landscape worth a photo stop. Nearly 80 km of trails are scattered around the cirque making it an amazing playground for trekkers and hikers.


Our Favourite Drink

Faham, made from the orchids of the mountains, it is served regularly in the cirques as digestive. Bourbon beer and Rum charette are enjoyed by most locals.

Our Favourite food

Rougaille Sausisse, rice, lentils and condiments are highly enjoyed by locals. Or a good curry be it with chicken, beef or goat meat, depending on the family background.

Our fun thing to do

Spend time with the family or at the beach. The landscape of the country has it that hiking and picnics in nature are highly enjoyed.

Did you know?

  • It was first named Dina Morgabin by the Arab traders.
  • Highest point is Piton des Neiges at 10,069 feet.
  • The island remained a French colony throughout most of its history.
  • Reunion was the first place in the world where the Euro was used.
  • Le Tremblet is the youngest beach on the planet as it only appeared in 2007 .

Traveller Essentials

All you need to know before you go.


Capital City

Saint Denis

Time Zone

GMT+3 in Summer
GMT+4 in Winter






Roland Garros Reunion Airport


French and Creole

Things to do in Reunion Island

Frequently asked questions

What can I bring back as souvenir from Reunion Island?
Vanilla pods!!! Reunion is world famous for its vanilla, known as Bourbon Vanilla. Buy them fresh from the island at an excellent price and you can store them away for a long time. It is also a nice present to bring back. Otherwise, local Rhum charette is quite unique and make good cocktails. ‘Jours’, embroidery from Cilaos are quite special and unique.
What is the ideal length of stay to discover the island?
10-12 nights should be enough to discover the island and enjoy some relaxing time. One must not forget that the island is a big volcano and to get from one side to the other, it is necessary to go around as you cannot go across the island. It takes time and it is an outdoor adventure island.
Where are the beaches located on Reunion Island?
The most popular beaches are situated along the west coast from Boucan Canot to Saint Leu, Saint Gilles being the best known tourist village. In the south of the island, there is also a nice beach at Saint Pierre.
Is it allowed to swim in the sea in Reunion Island?
Yes perfectly safe to swim in designated areas. It is strictly forbidden to go swimming during shark alerts and this is clearly notified along the beaches. Most shark attacks in Reunion occurred in places where it was forbidden to swim.