Saint-Gilles-Les-Bains marina © Damien Boilley
Close to Saint-Paul, on the northwestern side of the island, Saint-Gilles-Les-Bains is a highly popular weekend destination, offering a beautiful 12-mile (20km) lagoon and gorgeous white, sandy beaches. Saint-Gilles was once a sleepy fishing village, but now it is Réunion's most popular resort, filling up with those seeking sun and fun. Snorkelling, scuba diving and swimming are a must, but those tired of the beach can head to the Garden of Eden, a lovely botanical garden with roughly 700 species of tropical plants. Saint-Gilles has plenty of hotels and restaurants, though these tend to get very crowded at peak holiday periods and weekends.