A slice of Gallic culture in the Caribbean, Martinique is an overseas département of France. While it’s noticeably more tropical than the mainland, there’s no denying the very French rhythm of life here. This is great for Francophiles, although it can also give rise to Martinique’s – at times – distinctly un-Caribbean air.
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, great diving and giant mountains covered in tropical forests are the main attractions here.
Far more developed than much of the Caribbean, Martinique suffers from uncontrolled urban sprawl in some places, particularly in and around the busy capital, Fort-de-France. Those wanting to avoid the modern world’s encroachment should head to the beautiful beaches of the south or to the mountains of the island’s remote north.