Volcanic in origin, Martinique is a mountainous stunner crowned by the still-smoldering Mont Pelée, the volcano that famously wiped out the former capital of St-Pierre in 1902. Offering a striking diversity of landscapes and atmospheres, Martinique is a cosmopolitan and sophisticated island that boasts world-class beaches, top-notch hiking, great culinary experiences, an enormous array of activities and some colourful cultural life.
While it suffers from overcrowding and urban sprawl in some places, particularly in and around the busy capital, Fort-de-France, life – and travel – becomes more sedate as one heads north or south through some of the island's alluring scenery. The rainforested, mountainous north is the most spectacular, but the south has its fair share of natural wonders, including lovely bays and miles of gorgeous beaches. Add to this a dash of Gallic joie de vivre and you'll understand why so many people love Martinique.