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, boasting a beautiful lagoon and gorgeous white-sand beaches. Once a sleepy fishing village, Saint-Gilles is now Réunion's most popular resort, attracting crowds of visitors intent on enjoying its wealth of leisure activities, watersports and lovely beaches. Snorkelling, scuba diving and swimming are all highly recommended here, 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 also has plenty of hotels and restaurants, though these tend to get crowded at peak holiday periods and over weekends.