The Cirques & Surrounds Holidays

The centre of Reunion Island is dominated by three cirques, or natural amphitheatres, which were previously the craters of volcanoes, long since dormant. 

Cirque de Cilaos

The Cirque de Cilaos is the largest of the three, with a beauty akin to the Alps in summer. The village of Cilaos, inside the cirque, makes an ideal base for three or four nights. It is an attractive, tranquil village with several fine restaurants (lentils are a local speciality), and they even cultivate their own wine.

It is a starting point for many walks, drives or hikes; there are wonderful hiking trails up into the mountain forests and among the ravines – and gentler, shorter walks. There are scenic drives to La Roche Merveilleuse and the hamlet of Ilet a Cordes.

You can join group walks, hire mountain bikes, and go canyonning (abseiling down waterfalls) from here. There is a useful Maison du Tourisme which has hiking guides and information on all kinds of local produce and crafts. If you overdo the hiking you can recover in the famous Irenee Accot Health Spa which has hot thermal springs, its waters rich with minerals. The spa offers a wide range of treatments.

Access to the cirque is on an incredible mountain road, winding up and up from the coastal plain, with more than one hundred hairpin bends! It’s a most scenic drive and allow plenty of time to do this during daylight hours.

Cirque de Mafate

This is the wildest and most rugged of the cirques, so much so that there is no vehicular access. You have to walk into it. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking. Some small, hardy hamlets inside the cirque are home to about 600 people who live off the land in splendid isolation. The first inhabitants were runaway slaves in the mid 19th century.

There are 100 kms of walking trails with this cirque. You can walk in from either Cilaos or Hell-Bourg or drive up from St Gilles on the coast. There is an excellent vantage point above Maido. If you are short of time consider taking a helicopter trip over the Cirque from St Gilles.

Cirque de Salazie

Salazie is the lushest of the three amphitheatres. Its 100 waterfalls plummet down spectacular gorges and cliffs like giant, silver ribbons. Walk to the hot springs, Les Sources Pétrifiantes, or drive to the outstanding viewpoint at Le Point du Jour and the nearby cascade. Go canyonning, mountain-biking or climbing; or explore the Forest of Bélouve, with its endemic silvery tamarind trees.

This is the most accessible of the cirques as the main settlement, Hell-Bourg (voted the most beautiful village in France in 2000), is less than two hours drive from the airport at St Denis. Consequently, it makes a good starting-point for a tour.

Read more about The Cirques & Surrounds

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Holiday Type
Total Holidays: 6      
Reunion Island Walking Holiday
  • Adventure
From £1980 per person
9 day holiday
Flights included
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Reunion
This Reunion adventure combines hiking through the spectacularly beautiful natural amphitheatres with time to chill on Reunion's west coast sand beaches.
Reunion Island - Self Drive
  • Beach
  • Fly-Drive
From £2450 per person
16 day holiday
Flights included
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Reunion
This two-week Reunion driving tour combines days exploring the active volcano and the breathtaking mountain scenery with a beach holiday, where you can dive, surf, play golf, windsurf and paraglide.
Indian Ocean contrast – Reunion & Mauritius
  • Beach
From £2499 per person
10 day holiday
Flights included
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Mauritius     Reunion
The ruggedly beautiful mountain scenery of La Reunion and the golden sand beaches of Mauritius are two dream destinations that can easily...
Luxury Reunion Honeymoon
From £2540 per person
12 day holiday
Flights included
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Reunion
Luxury Reunion honeymoon staying at three prime locations on the island, with exploration, adventure and relaxation.
Reunion Touring & Beach Holiday
  • Beach
  • Family
  • Fly-Drive
From £2695 per person
13 day holiday
Flights included
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Reunion
If you enjoy spectacular scenery, outdoor pursuits or adrenaline activities, tropical beaches or walking and hiking you'll love this Reunion Island holiday. There are excellent family-friendly places to stay too, and with so many different activities on offer we can tailor-make a holiday to suit all tastes and interests.
Reunion Beach Holiday
  • Beach
From £2780 per person
10 day holiday
Flights included
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Reunion
This Reunion beach holiday combines an overnight hike into Cirque Mafate with a week on the beach at the five star LUX* Ile de la Réunion . Helicopter flight with views of Cirque Mafate included.
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