Reunion’s 12 most beautiful viewpoints

Les cascades de Takamaka

By car or on foot, Reunion Island offers an ever-changing array of wonders. Panorama of the 12 most beautiful viewpoints on Reunion Island

Numerous routes and hikes, like elevators to Réunion’s most beautiful vantage points, lead to unforgettable panoramas. Whether in bright sunshine, starry night or fiery sunrise, these landscapes are always spectacular and moving. With its jagged geography, rugged terrain and volcanic massifs, Réunion Island is a veritable playground for lovers of breathtaking scenery. Here’s the proof in 12 points of view.

1. Piton de la Fournaise

points de vue La Réunion

Photo credit: Shutterstock – A. Karnholz

The Piton de la Fournaise and its eruptions are still the subject of much ink and lava. Yet this doesn’t stop this behemoth from being one of the most popular spots for sunrise lovers. In fact, it’s at dawn and when the mist is still on the ground that the Piton de Fournaise offers one of the most beautiful views on Reunion Island. The view from the Pas de Bellecombe parking lot alone is breathtaking. The Enclos, or Caldeira, unfolds before your eyes, as does the discreet Formica Léo crater.

But it’s still at the summit, perched on the Dolomieu crater, that we admire the most beautiful scene. The interior of the crater is impressive, magnetic and capricious. You need to be lucky to see it in its entirety, with no clouds trapped between the volcanic rocks. To get up there, it’s a four-hour walk through a chaotic lunar landscape. Black and red pebbles everywhere, the sound of the wind and the crushing silence: a desolate setting that’s not lacking in charm and clearly strengthens the calves. A climb to be made at first light.

2. Black Cape

Roche Vert Bouteille

Photo credit: Shutterstock – SYLVAIN FELTEN

The winding road to Cap Noir, already dotted with magnificent viewpoints, is already worth the trip. At the end of the road, it passes through the small village of Dos d’Ane and finally arrives at the orientation table at Cap Noir. Already, you have access to an incredible view of the Mafate cirque.

However, don’t be content with just this (already grandiose) panorama and follow the path from the parking lot. The relief of Mafate and the Rivière des Galets, carved out of this breathtaking scenery, gradually come into view. You can also admire the Piton Cabri, which pierces the landscape and gives a totally different dimension to the cirque de Mafate. We advise you to leave early to take full advantage of this exceptional spectacle.

3. The Iron Hole

points de vue La Réunion

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Endemik Studio

The view from Trou de Fer is breathtaking. This belvedere, one of Réunion Island’s finest vantage points, is actually a canyon of Cyclopean proportions. Waterfalls cascade uninterrupted through the dense jungle. To take in the scenery, head for the Bélouve forest. A two-hour, easy trail winds through this primary forest before arriving at the viewpoint.

4. Piton des Neiges

Le Piton des Neiges

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Zamir Popat

Towering over the entire island from its three thousand, three hundred and seventy-metre height, the Piton des Neiges boasts the title of roof of the Indian Ocean. One of the most beautiful vantage points on Reunion Island, it is the only one offering a 360° view of the island. The beauty of the place is almost breathtaking. You’ll find it hard to hold on to your gaze, as details and scenery blossom everywhere. For the more curious, this viewpoint embraces all three of Réunion’s cirques, as well as Gros Morne, Grand Bénare, Roche Écrite and Piton de la Fournaise.

When the weather is incredibly clear, you’ll even catch a glimpse of a splendid pearl in the distance:Mauritius. The view from the Piton des Neiges is best appreciated at sunrise. However, it can only be reached on foot, via a rather strenuous hike. It takes around five hours and 1,700 metres of ascent to reach the summit.

5. La Fenêtre des Makes

points de vue La Réunion

Photo credit: Shutterstock – SYLVAIN FELTEN

The fenêtre des Makes lookout is Réunion’s finest viewpoint over the cirque de Cilaos. It can be reached from the eponymous village of Les Makes. Take the beautiful forest road when the island is still asleep and watch the sunrise from this breathtaking balcony. Like a gift from heaven, the sun slowly breaks through, the landscape turns indigo and is finally flooded with morning light.

The mythical peaks are gradually revealed: the Piton des Neiges, the Grand Bénare and the Col du Taïbit. You can also see the town of Cilaos and its famous four-hundred-turn road. The fenêtre des Makes is accessible both by car and on foot. It’s a fairly straightforward two-hour hike, with very little to show for it.

6. La Roche Merveilleuse

points de vue La Réunion

Photo credit: Wikimedia – Matthieu Sontag

La Roche Merveilleuse is Reunion’s second most beautiful viewpoint over the cirque of Cilaos. It can be a pleasant family stroll, or a more strenuous hike if you prefer. The sporty two-hour route starts at the Cilaos thermal baths, with a parking lot adjacent to the belvedere for easy access by car. As always on Reunion Island, we advise you to take in the view in the morning to escape the cloud cover.

The natural promontory overlooks the village of Cilaos and its immense belt of mountains, as well as the Piton des Neiges. Legend has it that women suffering from infertility would come and rub their bellies against the rock in order to become fertile. Whether the story is true or false, the Roche Merveilleuse offers a unique vantage point.

7. Takamaka waterfalls

Les cascades de Takamaka

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Zourite

If the Takamaka waterfalls are one of the most beautiful viewpoints on Reunion Island, it’s above all for the unique atmosphere that emanates from the site. The view is not quite as breathtaking as that from the Piton des Neiges, but it does culminate in an absolutely magical, minty setting.

Waterfalls spill into the distance, and the rugged terrain is completely smoothed out by the emerald vegetation that has reclaimed its rightful place everywhere. If you’ve seen Jurassic Park, you won’t be able to help but make the connection. The Takamaka waterfalls are directly accessible from the parking lot of the power station of the same name. For keen walkers, there’s also a short hiking trail along the steep slopes and gorges to the viewpoint.

8. Le Maïdo

points de vue La Réunion

Photo credit: Shutterstock – SYLVAIN FELTEN

Le Maïdo is one of Réunion’s most beautiful viewpoints. No guidebook will miss it. Directly accessible by road, this viewpoint is a must for most visitors. It offers a breathtaking view of the Mafate cirque. We advise you to get there early and wait for sunrise. There, the cirque’s ramparts and jagged rocks take on hypnotic colors. What’s more, the Piton Maïdo is quickly covered in clouds, and you could miss the show as early as mid-morning.

At dawn, the fiery skyline also reveals the island’s behemoth, Piton des Neiges, and Gros Morne. For even more views of the mythical cirque of Mafate and an unforgettable climb, a hike from Le Maïdo leads to the Grand Bénare, the island’s second-highest peak at almost two thousand nine hundred meters. The hike requires a six-hour round trip and a short climb of almost a thousand meters of positive vertical drop.

9. Piton d’Anchaing

Piton d’Anchaing

Photo credit: Flickr – Michael Kemper

The Piton d’Anchaing is undoubtedly Réunion Island’s finest viewpoint of the Salazie cirque. Indeed, from the forest-covered plateau, the whole cirque slopes down into the landscape. The ascent to the piton is quite intense, but short-lived. The descent, punctuated by gravel, is risky in wet weather.

In case of bad weather, or lack of desire/time, it is possible to park near the footbridge. This will shorten the hike, but will also take away some sublime views. The Piton d’Anchaing is steeped in legend and linked to the story of two slaves: Anchaing and Héva. These two characters symbolize the struggle for freedom throughout the island.

10. La Roche Écrite

points de vue La Réunion

Photo credit: Flickr – Emilien Lebourgeois

La Roche Écrite is one of Réunion’s most beautiful viewpoints, and one of the few located at the junction of two cirques. The luxuriant nature of Salazie on one side, the ramparts of the elusive Mafate on the other: the eye juggles between scenes each more beautiful than the last. Climb to the summit in the early morning to avoid the heat and the clouds piling up on the slopes.

There’s no need to get up at the crack of dawn to watch the sunrise. You can spend the night at the Roche Écrite gîte. The lookout is located at the end of a small path that winds through a humid tamarind forest. The walk takes you through soapy lianas knotted with shiny ferns. This arborescent crossing and plant ballet alone are worth the detour.

11. Dimitile

Le Dimitile

Photo credit: Shutterstock – torstengrieger

The Dimitile summit offers several faces to suit all abilities and tastes. There’s something for everyone. The hike takes place in the midst of intense untouched nature, culminating in an unparalleled panorama of Cilaos. The orientation table will help you find your way around the cirque’s sharp ridges.

12. Salazie from the Bélouve gîte

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Photo credit: Shutterstock – Balate Dorin

The wild, humid cirque of Salazie is an adventurous affair. A hike to get there, littered with incredible panoramic views, starts from a small parking lot behind the Hell-Bourg town hall. In fact, this is one of Réunion Island’s must-see villages, the beauty of which we’ve already extolled. But Salazie can also be discovered from the Bélouve gîte. The low-angled light accompanies you all the way if you take the road early in the morning. It’s always the best option.