Martinique is for (beach) lovers. And foodies. And divers. And hikers. And, especially, Francophiles. A marriage of Gallic culture and Caribbean customs, this overseas department of France is a sunnier, slightly less crowded version of the motherland. People looking for the more sophisticated pleasures, whether they be the kind you put on your plate or the kind you put on a credit card, will be happy to know that good food and the latest fashions aren’t optional here, but a mandatory fixture wherever visitors congregate - especially in its harbourside capital, Fort-de-France.
Volcanic in origin, the island is crowned by the still-smoldering Mont Pelée, which wiped out Martinique’s former capital of St-Pierre in 1902. There’s plenty of hiking and nature-watching on the slopes of the volcano. And since this is often called the ‘Isle of Flowers’ there are botanical gardens tucked into the rugged landscape.
Long luscious beaches and loads of diving are the main attractions in the south. Fishing villages dot the coasts; most of them have managed to hang on their seafaring soul while offering plenty for visitors to see and do.
There’s a lot going on here, but it all happens on Caribbean time. Except for the mountainous north, it’s an exceptionally easy island to drive around. One can surf at Presqu’île de Caravelle in the morning and make it back to Fort-de-France in time (avoiding rush hour) to sample the city’s budding nightlife.
Best places to stay in Martinique
Caribbean Islands travel guide
With amazing culture, beaches, activities and weather - not to mention the rum - the Caribbean is a joyous riot of islands offering the ultimate escape.
How to choose a Caribbean island
The dozens of islands scattered across the Caribbean are a remarkably diverse lot. Pulsing Jamaica has little in common with group-filled Aruba, and even islands in plain sight of each other like St Kitts and Nevis are vastly different not just in appearance but in what they offer visitors.
Caribbean Islands - Martinique (Chapter)
Volcanic in origin, the island is a mountainous stunner crowned by the still-smoldering Mont Pelée, which wiped out Martinique’s former capital of St-Pierre in 1902. Long luscious beaches and giant mountains covered in tropical forests are the main attractions here.
Martinique destination guides
Martinique and St Lucia Sailing
Embark on a Caribbean sailing adventure through Martinique and St Lucia. A cultural clash of chilled out Caribbean vibes and chic French swagger, Martinique and St Lucia are two countries best discovered by boat. Sail from hot spots, to parties, to chic fashion shops, to blissful beaches – island hopping in the Caribbean has never looked so divine.