Do I need a car in Réunion?

Should you rent a car in Réunion Reunion > Réunion

The small French overseas department island of Reunion is the sort of destination where it doesn’t really make that much sense to get a hire car, because most of the major resorts are all relatively close to each other, and they are all within a short bus or taxi ride from the island’s main airport.

Réunion Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

Although there is no form of regular fixed rail passenger service anywhere on Reunion (or on any other island in the Indian Ocean), local buses ply the one or two main roads which head around the island, and these are supplemented by local taxis and a range of guided tours, which most hotels will provide.

Having said all this, Reunion still has some great driving roads, and these match the stunning tropical landscapes which can be found in the interior.

The new offshore dual carriageway heading around the north-western side of the island between St Denis and the port is expected to open in 2018. This might looks like a massively over engineered bypass of the previous coastal road, except that the former road was often prone to heavy rock falls and storm waters, hence the need to provide a diversion that went completely around all of this.

If you are visiting Reunion for a week, it might be worth thinking about hiring a car maybe for one day to go around the island, but you could just as easily do this by taking some sort of island guided tour, so it’s not particularly necessary.

There are relatively few options for boat trips from Reunion – it’s an isolated island with nowhere else nearby. Since the shape of the island is pretty circular, there are no really impressive coves to explore – but you can still take various boat trips if you want to.

Why should you rent a car in Réunion?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Réunion?

Réunion Car hire summary

Overall drive rating



Cheapest rate for one week




How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?





Free parking score

Total 109 - of which 66 have free parking. [full notes - parking]



  • A hire car is ideal for a one day driving tour of the island.
  • No rail transport in Réunion.
  • Relatively low levels of congestion outside St Denis.

Why not? Visiting Réunion without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Réunion public transport quick facts

Train score



Water travel score


Overall public transport score


Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)


  • Public transport is more than adequate – on a par with rural mainland France.
  • Limited number of driving roads – no need for a car for more than a day or two.
  • Island tours by bus are widely available.

Do I need a car in Réunion? You certainly don’t “need” a car in Réunion, but you might prefer to have one for general flexibility. As far as exploring the island goes, it’s best just to rent a car for a single day.


Car rental in - Réunion Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Réunion?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.

Is it worth hiring a car in Réunion?

Based on value for money

Should you rent a car in Réunion?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Réunion if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?


Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Réunion if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?


What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Réunion if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?



Final score:


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Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Would you hire a car in Réunion?

Have you driven in Réunion? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Réunion?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below: