Hellbourg, The Most Beautiful Village In Reunion Island
There’s a reason why they say Hellbourg is one of the most beautiful villages in Reunion, in France, in Africa and even in the World. And if you see these pictures, we think you’d agree! Nestled in the extinct volcanoes of the island, this colorful village is a must see.
In this blog post, you’ll find everything you need to know to plan a visit to Hell-bourg in the cirque of Salazie, Reunion Island including how to reach Hellbourg, trekking through the Belouve Forest, waltzing through the colorful streets and how to spend two beautiful days in and around the village.
Visit the Notré Damé Assumption Cathedral
The Paroisse Notre Dame De L’Assomption Cathedral is one of the most beautiful places in all of Salazie. The view is an absolute stunner, especially on a clear day when you can see the tall mountains right behind the Church. The Church is located on the uphill way to Hellbourg.
Plan a personalised visit to Réunion Island with Anne from NamastéIndia
Go hiking in the Belouve Forest
From the village of Hellbourg, you can do a wonderful 10 hour trek through Belouve Forest, a beautiful, high altitude, cloud forest on an otherwise tropical island. This trek is made of two parts: one from the village to Gîte De Bélouve (a cozy hostel at the top of the mountain) and another which starts at the Gite and takes you into the forest to Trou De Fer (a waterfall known as the Iron Hole).
The first half of the trek (which takes 4 hours) can be avoided by taking a two hour drive through La Plaine-des-Palmistes, a low lying neighbourhood on the other side of the mountains, up to Gite Belouve. A guide is optional for the hike.
Tip: If you are not used to hiking often, take the road to the Gite and start the Belouve trek from there.
The Bélouve Forest is at a height of 1,300 metres above sea level, and is located on the remnants of the might volcaoes that once stood in the region. The forest is seemingly delicate in appearance, thanks to moss and ferns growing in perennial cloud cover.
There are a few bird species and deer in the forest which occassionaly appear on the trails created for human visitors. Carry an umbrella/raincoat and strong boots to explore the forest.
Safety in Bélouve Forest
If you have wondered if visiting Belouve Forest is safe, then you can rest assured, that even though there are few people on the forest trails and you may not see them for hours at times, it is very safe as long as you stick to the trail (watch the signboards). Cell network connectivity is strong throughout the region, even in the deepest parts of the woods.
Tip: There are no shops to buy snacks/water once you walk behind the Gite De Belouve. Ensure that you are carrying some light energetic snacks and drinking water.
Walk on the main street in Hellbourg
The soul of the village is here, on a 300 metre stretch named “Rue du General de Gaulle”. The hotels, houses, market building, the tourism office are all extremely pretty buildings – its almost like being in a painting! The village is surrounded by mountains with cloud forests also known as the “Belouvé”.
The Hellbourg Cemetery is ironically so beautiful because of the incredible view of the valley, and the colorful flowers growing all around. There is a belief of the Islanders, that watering the graves of others is a good deed. so the bougainvilleas have been growing as a result of this lovely deed.
Tip: Make sure you explore the village and its alleyways during the day as most stores and other buildings close by 5 pm.
The Maison Folio is an authentic Creole House in Hellbourg. The house was built in the 19th century in traditional Creole style, as a holiday cottage. Today, it stands as a museum with beautiful lush gardens surrounding the hardwood structure of the Cottage. Guided tours are also available.
Entry fee: EUR 5 per person.
Camping in the outskirts of Hellbourg
Salazie is one of the three Cirques (volcanic craters left behind) on Reunion Island. Just like the other two, Salazie has innumerable camping spots which are free for visitors to use. The campsites are equipped with water facilities and dining tables, besides a large parking area.
Other places to see in Salazie
The Voile de la Mariée or “Bridal Veil Falls” is a series of cascading waterfalls just outside Hellbourg. Visit this on your way back out of Salazie. There are many more beautiful view points all the way downhill from Hellbourg.
How to visit Hellbourg
The best way to visit Hellbourg is by doing a roadtrip. Renting a car is most recommended way of exploring Reunion Island, and the roads are excellent in the Cirque of Salazie. There are a few scheduled intercity buses which connect Hellbourg with cities down by the coast.
Salazie is on the north-eastern side of the island and can be reached from St. Denis (the capital and airport city) in two hours. The road from St. Denis to Salazie is partly an interstate highway and partly mountaineous curves, but is easy to drive through.
Where to stay in Hell-bourg
Hellbourg has very few hotels, since it is a small village – book ahead to reserve a room! We stayed in a hotel on the main street close, to the Maison Folio House. We recommend staying in a certified accommodation if you need a visa for visiting Reunion
See the best accommodations in Hellbourg here
Reunion Island is called the L’ile Intense or “The Intense Island” because of the extreme range of beauty, culture, and wild activities it encourages travellers to engage in! If Hellbourg was not enough a reason for you to plan a visit to Reunion, then here are a few more reasons to spark that desire to visit the island.
If you have questions on a planning a visit to Hellbourg, write to us now!