St Gilles les Bains

If you're hoping that part of your trip to Reunion will include time spent on the beach, you'll no doubt want to head for St Gilles les Bain, the island's premiere sunbathing destination.

This beach attracts both visitors and locals, much thanks to its 20 kilometer stretch of lagoon and its beautiful golden sand, a rarity on an island where most of the sand is of the black volcanic variety. On weekends and holidays, you'll want to plan ahead and arrive at the beach early if you're not staying at one of St Gilles les Bain's resort hotels. When the weather is fine, the beach is crowded as are the beach bars and local restaurants. Still, the trip to St Gilles les Bain is well worth the traffic you need to fight to get there, as it demonstrates a different and more tropical side of the island, far removed from the rugged volcanic mountains.

Diving and other water activities like snorkeling or swimming are also concentrated around the area of St Gilles les Bain and its coral reefs, and the region is ideal for deep-sea fishing, with charter fishing boats departing from the marina on a regular basis.