How to visit the Cirque de Cilaos

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Renowned not only for its sumptuous scenery, but also for its famous 400-curve road, the Cirque de Cilaos is one of Réunion's must-sees. A visit to the Cirque is not to be missed, and there are plenty of activities on offer too!

Located to the south of the Piton des Neiges, right in the heart of the island, the Cirque de Cilaos is the most temperate of the 3 cirques that make up the island. Easier to get to than the Cirque de Mafate and less rainy than the Cirque de Salazie, it offers perfect conditions for a whole host of outdoor activities on Réunion Island! It's a UNESCO World Heritage site with exceptional scenery, renowned in particular for its thermal baths, ideal for relaxing after a long day out. Whether on foot, by vehicle or even from the air, find out how to visit the Cirque de Cilaos and discover all its facets!

1 - Hiking to the most beautiful sites in the Cirque de Cilaos

hiking in the Cirque de Cilaos
Bureau Montagne Réunion

One of Réunion Island's leading outdoor activities, hiking is of course the most popular way to visit the Cirque de Cilaos. Equipped with good walking shoes, comfortable clothing and a rucksack containing water and snacks, all you have to do is follow the paths leading through the cirque to reach its most impressive sites! Hiking in the Cirque de Cilaos can be done on your own, but going with a local guide is the most rewarding way to discover the site while learning more about its culture, history, flora and fauna.

To the south of the Cirque de Cilaos, the hike in the Makes forest is one of the most accessible, as is the hike to La Chapelle, near the village of Cilaos at an altitude of 1,200 metres. And for those looking for a real adventure, the Cirque de Cilaos is also the ideal starting point for a 2-day, 1-night trek to the Piton des Neiges!

2 - Admire the Cirque de Cilaos from the air

helicopter in the Cirque de Cilaos
Corail Hélicoptères

Of course, you can visit the Cirque de Cilaos from land, but that's not all: if you decide to take to the skies by taking a helicopter flight over Cilaos and Mafate from Saint-Pierre, you'll discover the cirque landscapes from an impressive new angle! You'll have the pleasure of seeing the ramparts and peaks delimiting each of the cirques clearly in view, as well as realising just how powerful nature has been in shaping this exceptional panorama.

It's also possible to fly over Réunion's cirques from Saint-Paul in a microlight, an aircraft that won't take you as high as a helicopter, but will give you a panoramic flight for slightly less money.

3 - A sporting adventure in the heart of the Cirque de Cilaos

ridge climbing at Cirque de Cilaos

Surrounded by numerous peaks such as Gros Morne, Grand Bénare, Piton de Sucre, Bonnet de Prêtre, Morne de Gueule Rouge, etc., the Cirque de Cilaos can also be discovered through the practice of sensational sports, perfect for discovering its mountainous environment. Canyoning in Cilaos is one of the most spectacular experiences in the cirque, which has 3 canyons of varying levels, accessible to the less athletic from the age of 12: the canyon de Mini Fleur Jaune, the canyon de Fleurs Jaunes and the canyon de Bras Rouge. As well as having fun and exercising, you'll have a refreshing time in the magnificent setting of the Cirque de Cilaos!

And for those who want to take on the challenge of cliffs or even ridges,climbing in the Cirque de Cilaos will give you the adrenalin rush you're looking for! Experiences suitable from the age of 6, as well as big-pitch climbing for sports enthusiasts aged 16 and over, will satisfy everyone's desire to discover the unique Cirque de Cilaos.

4 - Enjoy an outing to the main sites of the Cirque de Cilaos

village of Cilaos

If tackling the road of 400 bends at the wheel of a car impresses you, taking part in a guided van tour of the Cirque de Cilaos is one of the best options! Not only will you be spared the stress of dealing with the challenging driving on this road, but you'll also have the chance to admire the scenery as it passes before your eyes, accompanied by the commentary of the guide who will pass on to you all his knowledge of the cirque. The day will be planned so that you can fully discover the nature of this wonderful site, as well as its culture, including a local lunch featuring the region's famous lentils and wine.

But if driving isn't what you're after, then quad hire at Le Dimitile should be just what you're looking for! It's a unique way to visit the Cirque de Cilaos, off the beaten track and on your own, on an itinerary predefined by local guides. You won't miss out on any of the treasures the Dimitile has to offer, while enjoying the thrill of driving an off-road vehicle!

waterfall in the Cirque de Cilaos
Bureau Montagne Réunion

Whether you're coming to Réunion Island for a sports trip packed with thrilling activities, or simply to enjoy the island's exceptional scenery without tiring yourself out too much, the Cirque de Cilaos is a must on your itinerary. There are many ways to visit the Cirque de Cilaos - on foot, mountain bike, helicopter, quad bike, etc. - to suit all tastes and budgets!

And if you need some inspiration to help you plan your stay, take a look at the list of things to do on Réunion Island for an unforgettable trip!