ROL Cruise recommends…
1. Get your hiking boots on
Dominating the island of Martinique is the imposing Mount Pelée, which stands at nearly 1,400m tall. This semi-active volcano erupted to devastating effect in 1902 and has been dubbed the worst volcanic disaster of the twentieth century. However, with underground seismic activity closely monitored, it is safe for visitors to take a hike up the mountain to revel in jaw-dropping views across this gorgeous island.
2. Smell the roses at Jardin de Balata
One of the most beautiful spots in Martinique is the glorious Jardin de Balata near the capital Fort-de-France. Started in 1982 by horticulturist Jean Philippe Thoze, it is now home to over 3,000 species of tropical plants, from wild orchids to hibiscus and from heliconias to porcelain roses. If you dare, walk across the 15m high bridge to see the gardens in all their glory.
3. Bask in the capital’s charm
A trip to Fort-de-France is a must on your Martinique itinerary. Founded in the eighteenth century, this capital city is a riotous blend of Creole and French, Caribbean and European, with rich history around every corner. Be sure to check out the markets, where your senses will be awakened by the delicious spices, liqueurs and fruits on offer amongst a host of goodies.
4. Visit Empress Josephine’s birthplace
One of Martinique’s most famous daughters is Joséphine de Beauharnais, who went on to become Empress Josephine as the first wife of Napoléon Bonaparte. You can tour her birthplace at Musée de la Pagerie, with exhibits including letters, antiques and other memorabilia. There’s also a famous ‘beheaded’ statue of the empress in Fort-de-France.
5. Take to the water
For something completely different, enjoy a kayak ride through the mangroves of Trois-Îlets, where you will witness the sheer diversity of Martinique’s flora and fauna. You’re likely to spot crabs, snowy egrets and yellow warbler amongst many more species. There are few better ways to get back to nature than this calming water voyage between sea and land.