Tourist Attractions in Martinique
The French island of Martinique offers a mixture of dark and golden sand beaches, lush mountains, quaint towns, and historic ruins. It attracts large numbers of tourists from both North America and Europe, who frequent beach side resorts during the winter months. The main city and capital is Fort-de-France, where most visitors will arrive on the island, either by air or by boat. The beaches, resorts, and various attractions are spread around the island.
Fort-de-France has a few points of interest but is not one of the prime tourist destinations on the island. Fort St Louis, the Bibliothèque Schoelcher, the Cathédrale Saint-Louis, and the Palais de Justice are some of the main architectural highlights for sightseers. Place de la Savane is a pleasant park with shady trees, gardens, and vendors selling goods, much of it targeted towards tourists. Beyond the city limits but not far from town is the Balata Church, a smaller size replica of Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Paris.
For a truly interesting excursion head to Saint-Pierre, a city built among the ruins of a town destroyed by the eruption of Mt Pelee in 1902. Mt Pelee, the volcano that has wreaked much havoc on the island throughout the ages, provides a dramatic backdrop to the surrounding towns and beaches and this is a particularly good vantage point to see the mountain in its full glory. The harbor has become a popular scuba diving site, with several wrecks from the tidal wave that followed the eruption.
Trois Ilet is a small town south of Fort-de-France, known for being the birthplace of Empress Josephine, the wife of Napoléon Bonaparte. Visitors can learn more about her at the Musée de la Pagerie which is located in the home where she was born. Le Carbet, said to be where Christopher Columbus landed, maintains some beautiful gardens and the ruins of a sugar factory. In the far south of Martinique is the town of Sainte-Anne, with shops, restaurants, and some surrounding beaches with good snorkeling grounds. Another particularly scenic area is around the town of Le Diamant, known for the offshore island of Diamond Rock, once registered by the British as a ship and occupied by sailors.
Martinique has an extensive system of hiking trails leading through lush forests, past waterfalls and coastal scenery. Diving and snorkeling are also popular, either for wreck diving or to see aquatic life. However, many people simply come to enjoy the fabulous beaches and there is no shortage of great locations.