A rugged and scenic gem that’s officially part of the Lesser Antilles and an overseas region of France.
With a potent mix of both Gallic and Caribbean flavors Martinique – which is volcanic in origin – boasts some seriously gorgeous scenery including world-class beaches, steep lush green hills perfect for hiking, pretty and charming towns, and cosmopolitan resorts.
Here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in Martinique…
1. Les Anses d’Arlet – a picturesque and charming coastal destination to visit in Martinique
Les Anses d’Arlet stands out as one of the best places to visit in Martinique, thanks to its charming villages and gorgeous beaches.
A winding coastal road connects the villages while providing a view of the oceanside.
Out of the collection of villages in the commune, Anse d’Arlet Bourg is the administrative center and top tourist area. An 18th-century Catholic church stands in the center of the village and greets visitors from the beach.
The nearby villages of Anse Dufour and Anse Noire are relatively free of tourists and home to many small restaurants and shops.
2. Morne Gommier – a naturally beautiful spot to explore
Morne Gommier is a mountain peak near the town of Le Marin and one of the most-visited sightseeing destinations on the island. The mountain is a short drive from Le Marin or Anse Figuier, but you must follow a trail on foot to reach the peak.
The top of the peak offers a panoramic view of the coast. Telescopes are available for viewing distant attractions.
On a clear day, you can spot Sainte-Anne to the southeast and the tip of the Diamond Rock to the west. Visitors can also pick up souvenirs at the gift shop at the top of Morne Gommier.
3. Jardin de Balata – a popular attraction in Martinique
Jardin de Balata is a sprawling botanical garden. The rainforest setting is one of the top attractions in Martinique. The garden includes clearly marked paths that take you past trees, plants, and ponds.
The site is about 10 kilometers north of Fort-de-France and was built around a historic Creole house. Jardin de Balata is privately owned and operated, with tickets available online or at the entrance.
A typical visit lasts about an hour and a half. After strolling through the garden, visit the restaurant next door for local cuisine.
4. Plage de Pointe Marin – a tranquil and stunning beach
Plage de Pointe Marin is a beach in the southern village of Sainte-Anne. The picturesque beach is lined with coconut trees that provide lots of shade from the midday sun.
The waters are typically calm and crystal clear. The shallow depth allows you to wade out into the water a great distance before it reaches your waist.
Compared to some of the other beaches on the island, Plage de Pointe Marin is not the most crowded spot. It is a relaxing destination with a few shops and bars nearby.
You can also rent a lounger to set up on the beach or grab a chair at one of the restaurants with outdoor seating and a view of the water.
5. Fonds Blancs – a wonderful sandbank swimming pool in the sea!
Fonds Blancs is a secluded bay on the east side of Le Francois. The surrounding mangroves and tall trees come right up to the water in most spots.
Instead of a beach, swimmers head out on boats into the shallow turquoise waters.
The water is about waist deep throughout most of the bay.
The bay is also a short trip from the town of Le Francois, which is where visitors typically arrange boat tours of the surrounding lagoons and inlets with local fishermen.
6. Le Diamant – a gorgeous seaside resort on Martinique’s south coast
Le Diamant is a town on the southern coast of Martinique. The seaside resort town has one of the most famous diving spots, as visitors come to see the massive volcanic rock that sits out in the sea.
The rock stands 175 meters tall and was used by pirates as a shelter several hundred years ago.
The town of Le Diamant includes access to beaches and various charming destinations, including an old church and the museum of shells and the sea.
The museum includes over 2000 species of shells from across the globe. Visitors can also get a better view of Le Diamant and the southern tip of Martinique from the top of Larcher Hill, which reaches a height of 477 meters.
7. Les Salines – a pretty remote tree-lined beach to explore in Martinique
Les Salines is home to one of the most popular beaches on the island of Martinique. Located in the village of Sainte-Anne, Les Salines beach has miles of white sand, tall palm trees, and calm waters, making it a great destination for families.
Visitors will also find rows of food vendors near the beach with a wide variety of snacks and drinks.
The beach is named after a nearby salt pond and spans 1200 meters in a perfect semi-circle lined with coconut groves. Due to the beauty of the area, Les Salines gets quite busy on the weekends, filling up with visitors and locals.
8. La Savane des Esclaves – a museum of local slavery history
Located in the village of Trois-Ilets, La Savane des Esclaves includes a slavery museum, tropical garden, and historic Carib Indian homes.
Visiting this unique destination gives visitors a closer look at the history of Martinique.
The site covers two hectares at the edge of a forest. The historic village with traditional huts and plantations dates to the 1800s.
The homes have been well preserved and are fully furnished to help you understand life on the island several hundred years ago.
9. Les Gorges de la Falaise – a popular beauty spot
Les Gorges de la Falaise (Gorges of the River Falaise) is a narrow gorge between high cliffs in the middle of a rainforest. A river trail leads from the gorge to several rock pools and waterfalls.
Guests need to pay an entrance fee to enter the forest. Guided tours are also available. Once inside, a trail leads you deeper into the forest, past thick vegetation and lots of small streams and rivers. Be prepared to get wet.
The path takes visitors through water and up and down muddy stairs.
10. La Baignoire de Josephine – a small and very pretty lagoon
La Baignoire de Josephine is a sandbar on the Atlantic coast, near the town of Francois. The shallow white water barely reaches a meter deep and remains crystal clear throughout most of the surrounding area.
The name for La Baignoire de Josephine (Josephine’s Double Bath) comes from the legend that the wife of Napoleon used to bathe in these waters.
To reach the sandbar, you need to take a boat or kayak. The large sandbar has minimal facilities but does include a bar with snacks and drinks, including rum cocktails.
11. Anse Dufour – one of the best places to visit in Martinique
Anse Dufour is a large cove with a cozy beach and clear waters and is one of the best places to visit in Martinique. The shallow waters are perfect for snorkeling, diving, or simply wading around in the water.
The area also has a modern bathroom with changing facilities and convenient parking nearby.
A small restaurant and bar sit near the beach, offering local cuisine and cold drinks. Several nearby companies offer equipment rentals for snorkeling and other water activities.
The cove gets more crowded throughout the day, so showing up early increases the chances of claiming a good spot to sit.
12. Anse Céron – a beautiful black sand beach
Anse Ceron is a small bay on the southern coast of Martinique, a short drive from the village of Sainte-Luce. As with many beaches in Martinique, the area is lined with coconut trees and tall vegetation.
You receive lots of shade from the sun and calm waters to swim or snorkel in.
Cliffs flank the highway near the beach, helping to make the area feel more secluded. There are also many things to see and do near the beach, including hiking trails that take you through the surrounding forests.
Several other beaches are also a short walking distance to the east and west of Anse Ceron.
13. Pointe du Bout – a very attractive narrow peninsula to explore
Pointe du Bout is a narrow peninsula located across the bay from the capital city. The area includes a marina, resorts, shops, and restaurants.
Most of the shops and restaurants are just a few minutes from the beaches, which are found on both sides of the peninsula.
It is one of the busiest ports on the island and a common stop for tourists. Other highlights include a casino, nightclubs, and an art gallery.
Pointe du Bout is also known for its nightlife and party atmosphere, especially during busy tourist seasons.
14. Petite Anse – a beach lined with trees and coconut trees
Petit Anse is a bay on the western coast of Martinique, a short drive south of Anse d’Arlet. A small town sits next to the bay, providing access to a few restaurants and bars.
Chair rentals and snorkeling equipment are available from several of the restaurants.
Petit Anse receives fewer visitors compared to some of the other bays and beaches on the island, giving visitors a little more privacy.
The beach is a little rocky in spots and offers limited shade but remains a top destination for those who want to escape the more crowded areas.
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Gaby Maia – writer and photographer
Born and raised in Brazil, Gaby has always had a taste for the intriguing, the off-beat and the far flung. After traveling around most of South America, living in Spain and Italy and then moving to England, her feet have stayed continually twitchy. Studying for a degree in Spanish translation and then learning five more languages only poured more fuel onto her traveling ardor. Gaby likes nothing better than discovering new destinations in her spare time and meeting the locals, tasting the cuisine and then writing about her favourite places. Her other indulgences include French cinema, boxing, photography, colourful manicures and soaking up the rays on a sun-infused beach. The places she loves the most include Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Turkey, Barcelona, Lisbon and Cornwall. Find Gaby on Linkedin or Twitter.