The farthest flung border of the European Union rises from the Indian Ocean about 500 miles east of Madagascar. But you might think you've landed in Hawaii based on the lush volcanic geography that covers the 970 square-mile island. Originally uninhabited, the population includes a heady blend of African, Indian, and European cultures. The pulsing heart of the island is Piton de la Fournaise, one of the world's most active volcanoes—it erupted as recently as 2014. The collapse of other volcanoes created the island's three spectacular "cirques"—natural amphitheaters that have earned Reunion UNESCO protection. Diving and snorkeling are spectacular, with 15 km of discontinuous reef, 150 species of coral, and 500 species of fish, as well as humpback whales, dolphins, and sea turtles.
- Hiking Millennia of volcanic activity in Reunion have carved out some of the most stunning tropical landscapes in the world, including the three famous "cirque" amphitheaters.
- Dance Under the Sea From Humpback whales to parrot fish, Reunion's coral reefs are a snorkeler's dream. More advanced scuba divers can join groups further out in Indian Ocean.
- Surrender to the Masseuse There's no dearth of luxury spas that offer every type of treatment under the sun. Relax and enjoy!
- Tiptoe Through the Vanilla Explore Reunion's exotic and intensely bright flora. There are more than more than 100 species of Vanilla orchids.
- Shop the Markets The culturally rich population of Reunion produces a colorful blend of handicrafts from India, Africa, and Asia, as well as local delicacies and produce. St Paul's market brims with sarongs, samosas, and dragon fruit.