Saying which are the best towns and resorts in Martinique inevitably faces the obstacle that different people like different kinds of destinations. The 1,130-sq-km island between Dominica and St Lucia boasts a surprising amount of variety. While it wouldn’t be true to say that there’s something for everyone, it’s not far off. 

    Looking for pristine beaches and a bit of peace and quiet? No problem. Want to sunbathe all day and party all night? You can. Do you prefer to get a flavour of the local culture and customs? You might have to drive a little further, but that just gives you more opportunity to enjoy the striking scenery. The important part is picking the right place for you, which is exactly why we’ve created this guide on where to stay in Martinique.

    1

    Fort-de-France

    The capital of Martinique

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    Fort-de-France makes a particularly good pick for first-timers trying to decide where to stay in Martinique. While the capital lacks the nodding palms and long stretches of white-sand beach you’ll find elsewhere, it makes up for that shortage with a great range of restaurants, shops, bars, and places showcasing the island’s history. Many of these venues occupy beautiful colonial-era buildings.

    Among the star attractions of Fort-de-France is the fort itself – Fort Saint Louis is still an active naval base and historical monument. There are 3 smaller forts around the city, too. St. Louis Cathedral is worth checking out, as is Sacré-Cœur de Balata Church. Both the port and airport are nearby, making this a very convenient spot and opening up the option for dolphin-watching and sunset cruises.

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    2

    Les Anses d'Arlet

    An excellent choice for families visiting Martinique

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    Les Anses d'Arlet is quite a large area in the southwestern corner of Martinique. While it mostly consists of jungle-covered mountains, there are 3 main coves that are popular destinations among nature lovers. Big Cove (Grande Anse) and Arlet Cove (Anses d'Arlet) in the north both have great ranges of restaurants and accommodation right on the beach, while Small Cove (Petite Anse) has a rocky shoreline.

    What makes this part of Martinique good for a family holiday is its distance from the capital and range of activities for curious youngsters. The water in the protected coves is fantastic for swimming and snorkelling, while the undeveloped areas away from the coast are fantastic for hiking. There are even a few museums where you can learn about the island’s past.

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    3

    Sainte-Anne

    A great place for budget travellers

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    Sainte Anne is a peninsula that sticks out of the southern section of Martinique. Accommodation, dining and activities tend to be on the cheaper side, partly thanks to its rustic vibe. The main settlement is more of a colourful fishing village than a dedicated tourist destination, with a daily market, quaint church and town square.

    That’s not to say there’s nothing for tourists to do in Sainte Anne. Its beaches are among the most beautiful in Martinique – and there are several to choose from. Those closer to towns and villages generally have some bungalows, bars and restaurants on or near the sand, too. Further inland, you can try hiking up to the top of Piton de Crêve Cœur – the view is spectacular.

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    4

    Tartane

    The place for peace and quiet in beautiful surroundings

    Tartane is the largest fishing village in the La Caravelle Peninsula, where at least half of the available land is part of a nature preserve. Located on the eastern side of Martinique, this part of the island is pretty quiet and peaceful. Despite its fascinating historical and geological sites, it has remained under the radar of most visitors to Martinique.

    One reason that might explain why Tartane has been largely overlooked is that its beach is quite narrow and virtually disappears at high tide. There are some nice ones nearby, including those at La Brèche and Pond Cove. The area may lack sand, but there are plenty of hiking routes, local charm and great restaurants serving Creole specialities.

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    5

    Sainte-Luce

    A good place to party in Martinique

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    Sainte-Luce is considered the best place to stay if you really like to party in Martinique. It still has all of the standard charm of anywhere on the island – white-sand beaches, nodding palms, colourful fisherman’s huts, and so on. However, this was historically the hub of rum production in Martinique and that devotion to strong drinks has endured to this day.

    Among the highlights of the area’s nightlife include the Cosmopolite, The Secret and ChaletVillage. There are also great restaurants, such as Case Coco and the Zanzibar Restaurant. If partying isn’t really your thing, don’t worry – there are 6 beautiful beaches and lovely hikes further inland. You can even go abseiling and gorge walking along the rivers that run through Sainte-Luce.

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    6

    Le Diamant

    Beautiful beaches and a rock that’s actually a ship

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    Le Diamant is on the southern coast of Martinique, just east of Les Anses d'Arlet. Its name translates to “The Diamond”, and it’s an apt description – the beaches here are said to be real gems! In all honesty, the name actually comes from the large offshore rock that kind of looks like a cut diamond, earning it the name Rocher du Diamant (Diamond Rock). Curiously, the rock was commissioned as a “stone frigate” of the British Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, so it’s officially known as HMS Diamond Rock.

    The forested hills of the southwestern parts of Le Diamant are very popular among hikers. While the trails can be challenging, they reward your exploration with fantastic views. If you’d rather just chill on the beach, you’ll find everything you need within a short walk, thanks to a good choice of eateries close to the sea.

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    7

    Saint-Pierre

    For those looking for something a little different

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    The commune of Saint-Pierre is known for Mont Pelée, an active volcano and the highest point on Martinique. Its most recent eruption was in 1932, but the one in 1902 destroyed much of the older parts of Saint-Pierre, so this town does lack a bit of the historical charm you'd find in other towns on the island. The remains, museum and memorial of that event are all quite fascinating. 

    Saint-Pierre is a bustling place, despite its tragic past. There are plenty of great hiking trails, some excellent dive sites, and pristine beaches. Being a volcanic region, the sand here is black instead of the typical white or golden.

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    8

    Le Carbet

    Follow in the footsteps of Columbus

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    Le Carbet is a township just south of Saint-Pierre and north of Fort-de-France. It stands out for its own historical reason – it’s where Christopher Columbus first landed on the island. The place has plenty of reminders of its colonial past, including a striking 18th-century church.

    If you’re looking for more modern attractions, La Carbet is home to Zoo de Martinique and several botanical gardens set in old plantations. Of course, the place also has a beach – it's a particularly long stretch of sand, but not the striking white of other parts of the island. Even so, with plenty of eat in town, it’s a very comfortable place to enjoy a beach break.

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    9

    Grand-Rivière

    Experience great seafood and a friendly village atmosphere

    Grand-Rivière is one of the smaller villages on Martinique. Generally overlooked by most tourists, this sleepy fishing village offers a peaceful spot that comes with all the facilities you need while still feeling a bit isolated. The seafood, furnished by the small fishing fleet based in the tiny harbour, is especially noteworthy. The lobster and crayfish are said to be among the best on the island.

    The village is at the foot of Mont Pelée's northern slope, so expect a wild and untamed land that's great for hikers. With the volcano in the way, it also takes quite a while to get to Grand-Rivière. You'll have to drive all the way around by the north-eastern coastline. Being volcanic, the beach has grey-black sand and is rocky in many places.

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    10

    Les Trois-Îlets

    Everything you need for a modern family holiday

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    Les Trois-Îlets gets its name from the 3 tiny islets just offshore, sitting in a bay close to Fort-de-France. Each island is uninhabited, though they have little piers for visiting boats to dock. The town itself, by contrast, is one of the most bustling in Martinique. It's also particularly oriented towards tourism. Expect to find plenty of shops, restaurants, nightclubs, a casino, and a golf course.

    Pointe du Bout is the main hub of this part of Martinique. It has some nice artificial beaches, a marina, several high-end hotels, and even a waterpark for kids – a series of inflatables floating out on the bay. You won’t get much of Martinique's distinctive charm and character, but you will be able to have a very comfortable, convenient holiday in Les Trois-Îlets.

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