A UNESCO World Heritage Site like the cirques of Mafate, Cilaos and Salazie, the Piton de la Fournaise peak, whose highest point is at 2,632 metres in altitude, is one of the world's most active volcanoes. Known for its frequent eruptions that take place every nine months on average, it is also one of the most closely monitored volcanoes in the world. Easily accessible via the Volcano forest road starting in the middle of the Cafres plain, at the village of Bourg-Murat, the Piton de la Fournaise is also the most visited tourist site on the island!
Made up of a large dome set amid a vast area of subsidence called the Enclosure (Enclos), this imposing volcanic massif that emerged 500,000 years ago is now a treat for hikers and thrill-seekers. Located right at the heart of Réunion National Park and only accessible outside of eruption periods, the Fournaise volcano is sure to impress you with its lunar landscapes, thousand-year-old craters, hardened lava and very special flora…
Departing from the Bellecombe pass, two hiking circuits which are very popular with walkers will take you to discover this mysterious mineral world: the Nez Coupé de Sainte-Rose path (medium difficulty - 3h30 return trip - 350 metres change in altitude), for its amazing views of the volcanic massif and the Indian Ocean; and the Dolomieu balcony (quite difficult - 5h return trip - 500 metres change in altitude), to get up close to the volcano! This second route, as unique as it is fascinating, will not only give you a fabulous panoramic view of the Dolomieu crater from the observation platform, but also offers other places of interest, like the Formica Léo crater and the Rosemont Chapel rock formation, both located within the Fouqué enclosure.
Dotted with many remarkable viewpoints, the Volcan tourist road, which starts at Bourg-Murat and takes you to the Bellecombe pass, is well worth taking the time to explore. There are several particularly inviting places to stop: the Nez de Boeuf belvedere and its sublime panorama of the Remparts river valley; the spectacular viewpoint over the Commerson crater; the magnificent, warm-coloured panorama of the Sables plain; or the Bellecombe pass and its beautiful view of the vast, desert-like expanse of the Fouqué enclosure, surrounded by ramparts.
Located in the hills around the municipality of Le Tampon, right at the heart of the Cafres plain, the Cité du Volcan museum in Bourg-Murat will take you on a trip in the fascinating world of volcanoes. Modern and fun, its interactive exhibits that use innovative technological procedures such as augmented reality, holographic projection and multi-touch surfaces will delight adults and children in equal measure!