11+ Best things to do in Martinique

Martinique has it all – pristine beaches, secluded bays, scenic hikes, and panoramic views.

Note: This is a guest post by Christine Rogador.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. These links can earn me (Rachel) a small commission, but this will not affect your price.

If you’re looking for a unique holiday destination in the Caribbean, this French territory offers diverse landscapes, intriguing history, and fascinating culture. There’s something for everybody in Martinique – whether you’re a beach bum, a nature lover, or even a gourmand.

A view along a beach with palm trees along its edge and, in the distance, a small town along the beach. Beyond the town is Mt. Pelee under a blue sky with fluffy clouds.
Photo courtesy of Louise of A Social Nomad.

From beaches to ruins to old covered markets, here are the best places to see and things to do in Martinique.

11+ Best Things To Do In Martinique

1. Fort-de-France

Fort-de-France is probably the first place you’ll explore when you arrive in Martinique.

Before heading to the beaches, check out the island’s vibrant capital and get a glimpse of its rich history and culture. See the gothic cathedral, visit the impressive Schoelcher Library or the ancient covered market.

A close-up on the exterior of the library shows very detailed and colorfful art nouveau tiling covering every inch of the exterior. Shown is one arched window and the decoration above and beside it.
Schoelcher Library.

For a quick escape from the hustle, enjoy a relaxing stroll at the picturesque Jardin de Balata up the hill or the beautifully landscaped La Savane Park in the center of town.

Added by Rachel: If you’re interested in history, as I am, you can tour Fort St. Louis, the 17th century fort that guards the port of Fort-de-France. Read my article about it here: Fort St. Louis and the Rum Battle.

A view across an area packed with low-rise buildings to a higher point of land with water beyond it. The point has walls around and on top of it and a French flag flying from its highest point. On the other side of the water is another shore with a mountain.
Fort St. Louis.

2. Visit the Cathedral of St. Louis

Located in the downtown area of Fort-de-France, the Cathedral of St Louis is one of Martinique’s best attractions.

One cannot miss this Gothic Revival structure, said to be one of the finer examples of this style. The cathedral also has a Romanesque bell tower in its peak that dominates Fort-de-France’s skyline.

The tower is tiered, so the lower parts are bigger than the upper ones. Itis a light brown color with reddish brown along all of the edges and around the arched window bottom center. A flying buttress supports the tower where it stands on the roof of the church.
The tower of the Cathedral of St. Louis.

The interiors are bright and pleasant, blending perfectly with its location on the sunny island of Martinique.

3. Martinique beaches

Surrounded by crystalline waters and close to rich marine ecosystems, the beaches are easily the top places to visit in Martinique.

From rocky to pebbly, to shores with fine sand, to those secluded black beaches – Martinique beaches are as fascinating as its history and landscapes.

A view of a small beach as seen fro m the water, hills covered in greenery rise behind it. The beach has a lot of palm trees along it and only a few small buildings. A few people swim in the water or stand or lie on the beach.
The beach at Anse du Four, east of Trois-Îlets.

Saint Anne is the town where you’ll find the best beaches, while Diamond Beach is known for its distinctly Caribbean atmosphere.

However, there are a lot of beaches close to the island’s capital that are also worth visiting such as La Francaise and Plage De Madiana.

4. Trois-Îlets

If you’re looking for more things to do after spending time at the beach, head towards Trois-Îlets.

This tiny harbor village boasts of city leisure staples with a distinct island vibe. Try your luck in the casino, or enjoy a few drinks in one of the bars after a meal at a fine dining restaurant.

Looking down a long narrow dock to the small town of Trois-Ilets. I nthe center straight at the end of the dock is a church with a tall tower low buildings cluster on each side of it. On either side of the far end of the dock is a beach with just a few people on it.
Trois-Îlets. Photo courtesy of Adriana of Czech the World.

During the day, play a round of golf or some watersports.

Stroll along the marina and take in the picturesque scenery made of quaint shops, Creole houses, and boats.

The busy and vibrant Trois-Îlets is just a ferry ride away from the capital, and one of the best places to visit in Martinique.

5. See the volcanic ruins at St. Pierre

The people of Martinique say that Saint Pierre used to be the Paris of the Caribbean until it was devastated by the 1902 volcanic eruption. The aftermath, they say, has turned this part of the island into the Pompeii of the Caribbean.

A high wall with crumbling walls sticking out at right angles to it, showing where the rooms of this building used to be. All seem to be made of stone.
Ruins at St. Pierre. Photo courtesy of Christian at My Travelworld (in German, with Martinique content)

However, this poignant history is also one reason why people visit the place. The ruins still somehow reflect Saint Pierre when it was the cultural capital of Martinique.

Walk up and take a closer look at the old theater, where you can still see the remains of its stairways. Spend a few hours exploring the ruins and discover a part of the island’s history that makes it among the best attractions in Martinique.

6. Hike the Montagne Pelée (Mount Pelee)

A scenic journey awaits when you hike Montagne Pelée (Mount Pelee) in Martinique’s Saint Pierre town. This was the volcano that erupted in 1902, destroying most of Saint Pierre.

Today, Mount Pelee is a dormant volcano that attracts hikers who want to enjoy views over the town and the Atlantic. At  1,377 meters high, this is a relatively easy climb.

the view shows green hills nearby, covered with some sort of low growth. IN the distance, more hills covered with darker green growth, and beyond that, through a bit of thin cloud, the sea is visible.
View from Mt. Pelee. Photo courtesy of Christian of Punta Cana Travel Blog.

However, the peak tends to be covered by clouds so schedule your hike early in the morning. Pack comfortable hiking shoes and your sense of adventure; this is one thing to do in Martinique that you shouldn’t miss.

7. Hike along La Caravelle Trail

See more of Martinique’s diverse scenery by hiking along the lush La Caravelle Trail. The path takes you through dense forests, mangroves, and rugged cliffs carved by the waves of the Atlantic.

Hiking along the La Caravelle also offers a closer look at the ruins of Château Dubuc. Stop here and take the audio guide as you explore this site. This is a fascinating look at life on the island centuries ago and one of the best places to visit in Martinique.

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Text: 11+ best things to do in Martinique (and the Rachel's Ruminations logo) PHotos: top, the view from Mt. Pelee. Middle left, a close-up of some fritters. middle right, view of a beach from the sea. Bottom: view down a pier to Trois-Ilets.
Pinnable image!

8. View marine life at Diamond Rock

Surrounded by the Atlantic, Martinique boasts of rich marine life. Head towards Diamond Rock with your diving or snorkeling gear and bond with the island’s underwater residents.

Here, you’ll see beautiful corals,  many species of fishes, sea fans (gorgonians), and sponges.

A view over  a calm blue ocean with one bare, pointed rock sticking up out of it.
Diamond Rock. Photo courtesy of Sarah of LetsGrowCook.

You cannot miss Diamond Rock: it is a popular Martinique attraction, a huge rugged diamond-shaped stone that protrudes from the water. Apart from the diverse marine life, Diamond Rock is also known for its underwater caves.

9. Visit l’Habitation Clément (Rum Distillery)

If most of France has wineries, Martinique distinguishes itself with its rum distilleries, including l’Habitation Clément in Le François.

Now a museum, a visit here often tops the list of things to do in Martinique. Here, you will learn the history as well as the process of turning sugar cane into rum.

A large round tank with a sign reading "Clement Rhum Agricole Appellation d'origine Controlee."
L’Habitation Clément. Photo courtesy of Nigel at A Free Drink.

Surrounded by a park, l’Habitation Clément offers quite a laid back ambiance and a taste of its famous rum at the end of the tour.

Book your rental car here!

10. Eat local delicacies

Being a French territory, Martinique is not exempt from the country’s rich culinary heritage. The island offers an interesting mix of Creole cuisine and local delicacies. Martinican cuisine often reflects its complex history as well as the island’s diverse cultural heritage.

In Martinique, you’ll get to enjoy scrumptious dishes that are made with either the freshest catch of the day or locally sourced ingredients.

Some of the must-try dishes are the popular Accra fritter, Boudin Creole sausage, Lambis or sea snail, and sweet blanc manger au coco for dessert.

Close-up of a plate of fritters: small lumpy fried balls. Once is broken open to reveal a bread or cake-like consistency inside.
Accra fritters. Photo courtesy of Sarah. Read about the best beaches in Martinique on her site, A Social Nomad.

11. Shop spices in Grand Marche

After spending days on the island, you’ll surely want to bring home a bit of Martinique with you. One of the best things to do in Martinique is to spend hours, perhaps even an entire day, shopping for spices.

You’ll always have a taste of Martinique as you stock up on cinnamon sticks, dried bois bande, nutmeg, and turmeric root. Be sure to also buy colorful bottles of herbs and condiments. All of these are found in the Grand Marche, in Fort-de-France.

12. Go on a dolphin-watching trip

Added by Rachel: I have to add one more item to this list. I was only in Martinique for a few days and didn’t get much past Fort-de-France and Trois-Îlets. I took a dolphin-watching trip from Trois-Îlets, but I was also lucky enough to see a humpback whale! You can read all about it here: 4 snorkeling trip surprises.

In a view of empty ocean, a whale's tail points upwards out of the water.

So, that’s our list of the best things to do in Martinique. I hope this helps if you’re planning a trip to Martinique. Do you have any other suggestions for Martinique? Let us know in the comments below!

Christine Rogador is a full-time traveler, travel writer, and web publisher who manages several travel websites. She’s been to over 50 countries and lived in four continents, including the Caribbean. Check out her adventures at Exploring Caribbean.

Pinnable image
Text: Martinique in the Caribbean: 11+ best things to do and see: sights, hiking, beaches, etc. (and the Rachel's Ruminations logo).
Image: the Schoelcher library, with its ornate art nouveau tile work.

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about Rachel

Hi, I’m Rachel!

Rachel’s Ruminations is a travel blog focused on independent travel with an emphasis on cultural and historical sites/sights. I also occasionally write about life as an expatriate. I hope you enjoy what I post here; feel free to leave comments! Read more...

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