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Pointe des Galets,

Located about 480 miles (773 km) east of Madagascar and 102 miles (164 km) southwest of Mauritius, Réunion is the largest of the Mascarene Islands. The archipelago, consisting of Rodrigues, Mauritius and Réunion, was named The Mascarentes following its discovery in 1512 by the Portuguese navigator, Pedro de Mascarenhas. The French made the decision to settle Réunion in 1642, but no one actually lived here until four years later when the French governor of Fort Dauphin in Madagascar exiled a dozen mutineers to the island. In 1649, the king of France officially took possession of Réunion and renamed the island Colbert Bourbon. After the French Revolution, the island took back its original name.

Since 1946, Réunion has been administered by France as an Overseas Department, with St. Denis as its capital. Facilities here are comparable to any major town in metropolitan France. St. Denis straddles the mouth of the St. Denis River and sweeps upward into the flanks of la Montagne where modern apartment complexes and luxurious houses have replaced the shanty town of the post-war era.

Pointe des Galets is the principal port of Réunion, 30-minute by car from the small capital, St. Denis. The island is best known for the rugged beauty of its interior. Major attractions include the fascinating and still active volcano, Piton de la Fournaise, and three extinct craters known as cirques. Their forested slopes are dotted with isolated villages. Two thirds of the western part of Réunion are covered by mountain ranges, with the 9,200-foot-high Piton des Neiges the highest point on the island. The major source of income is from agriculture, mainly sugarcane, vanilla and the production of geranium oil used as a fixative in perfumes.

Although the island has its share of beaches, most travellers arriving from France and South Africa come here for the stunning vistas of the interior. A taste of Créole-flavored French culture transported to the tropical setting of Réunion is also part of the attraction.

Pier Information

The ship is scheduled to dock at the port of Pointe des Galets. The distance to St. Denis is 8 miles, or a drive of approximately 30 minutes depending on traffic. Taxis are generally available at the port.


Local handicrafts include embroideries, vanilla, spices, rum and items made from seashells and plant fibers. Some souvenir shopping may be available in the port terminal. The main shopping area is in St. Denis. Shops are closed Monday mornings and open after lunch. The local currency is the euro.


Food is an important part of life on Réunion; much time and effort is devoted to its growing, cooking and eating. There is a good choice of restaurants offering French, Indian, Chinese and Créole cuisine. Many dishes feature fish and crustaceans, usually cooked in a spicy tomato-based sauce or curried. Islanders enjoy wine with their meals. Less expensive may be the local beer, a brew called Bourbon. In general, expect prices to be high.

Other Sites

State Garden
Located in St. Denis at the end of rue de Paris, the State Garden, or Jardin de l’Etat, was created by the French botanist Nicolas Bréon in 1877. The park contains hundreds of exotic plants and trees in an area of over 12 acres.

St. Gilles
About 12 miles south of the port is the seaside resort of St. Gilles. Its beach is popular with European tourists and young surfers. In addition to watersports centres, there are shops offering beach and resort wear, several small cafés and restaurants and a public aquarium.

Piton de la Fournaise
To visit the volcano and its eerie surroundings requires a lengthy drive and a full-day trip. While still active, the whole area around the volcano has a lunar-like appearance. The nearby Maison du Volcan (Volcano Museum) is closed on Mondays.

The best beaches are found in and around St. Gilles; snorkelling and scuba diving are available there.

Private Arrangements
For those guests who are interested in touring at your leisure, we are pleased to offer Silver Shore Privato - both half-day and full-day private arrangements by private car or van.  You may book this in advance at or it may be purchased on board, subject to availability.  Other private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be arranged by emailing

Pointe des Galets,