Île Amsterdam (translates to Amsterdam Island) is a mostly uninhabited island of the Indian Ocean, far from almost everywhere. Together with Île Saint-Paul, it forms a district of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands. Its only settlement is a research station.
- 1 Martin-de-Viviès – research station, home to about 30 researchers at any given time
Firstly, you'll need to understand that Île Amsterdam is very difficult to reach. The closest piece of land to the island is Île Saint-Paul, which is about 85 km (53 mi) southwest, which also has a population of zero (except for the researchers). About 1400 km further south is Kerguelen, the closest piece of inhabited land, but also mainly the seasonal home of researchers. Otherwise, the closest pieces of inhabited are Madagascar, mainland Australia, Réunion and several East African Islands or the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, all about 3000 km away.
The climate is usually cold all-year around, ranging between the tens. It mostly rains during the winter months.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
- Official website (in French)
There is no air service, and only a small landing pier at Martin-de-Viviès. This is visited four times a year by the support ship Marion Dufresne, which has berths for 8-12 tourists, for around €9000 per person. The ship sails from Réunion (which has flights from Paris) and takes about 28 days, half of them crossing a wild rough ocean. Research and support personnel always have priority for berths and you could be bumped off the trip at short notice if some urgent situation arose. The itinerary is from Réunion to Crozet Islands, Kerguelen, Île Saint-Paul occasionally (strictly protected and a hazardous landing, so tourists are not permitted ashore there) then Île Amsterdam and back to Réunion.
Tourist berths were suspended because of Covid and in 2023 these have not yet resumed.
There are a few roads near Martin-de-Viviès but that's all. There aren't many so it's just easier to get around the entire island by walking or hiking.
See and doEdit
- 1 Falaises d'Entrecasteaux. Straddling the island's west coast, these cliffs reach heights of over 700 metres and the site has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA). You'll find thousands of Indian yellow-nosed albatrosses and northern rockhopper penguins.
- 2 Plateau des Tourbières. The island's other IBA, covered in woodland and contains the highest peaks of the island.
- 3 Mont de la Dives. The island's highest peak, reaching 881 metres. It's a dormant volcano but it's unknown when the volcano last erupted.
Eat, drink and sleepEdit
- 1 Le Skua, Avenue Martin de Viviès (in the centre of Martin-de-Viviès). The only restaurant, bar and accommodation on the island.
You'll go wherever your ship is next bound, very likely to Réunion. This has flights to Paris, other East African islands, and the Middle East.