The most contemplative: Carbet
In Anse Marigot, near the village of Carbet (not far from Saint-Pierre), we settle down on a specially installed viewing platform and take in the view. On this promontory, surrounded by pared back vegetation, floating above the sea, you could be at the ends of the Earth... or at the prow of a ship as it sails the Caribbean. In the distance, a white sail catches the last rays of the setting sun. Then, the technicolour clouds turn pink and violet... and we go for dinner on Carbet’s beach, enjoying grilled fish or chicken in coconut milk in a thatched hut on the water’s edge.
The best night-life: Grande Anse d’Arlet
Anses d’Arlet, with its colourful little boats moored on the beach against a backdrop of verdant mountains, is not just one of the most endearing spots on Martinique’s west coast. With sand between our toes on the terrace of one of the restaurant-bars in Grande Anse, we take in the sunset while tucking into some delicious cod Accra. The long jetty reaching out into the water and the brick church with its slender bell tower provide the backdrop. We love the atmosphere on this beach, which comes to life on weekends and after work.
The most exotic: Balata Gardens
Stop by Balata gardens, an impressive botanical garden perched on the heights of Fort-de-France, before it closes at 6pm. From rope bridges, marvel at the tropical foliage, bamboo, tree-like ferns, and other palm trees, silhouetted against the reddening sky. Listen to the dusk chorus of the birds, with the delightful sensation of being within a world that belongs to plants, which transform as night falls.
The picture postcard: Plage des Salines beach
If you’re looking for coconut trees leaning over the water, white sands and turquoise waters, then Plage des Salines is for you, the most famous beach on Martinique for its 100% tropical setting. It is found on the southern tip of the island, hugely popular for its long stretches of coral sands. At sunset, when the shore is bathed in golden light and the Rocher du Diamant draws the eye to the horizon, its beauty is enthralling. It is also a special time, when you can have all to yourself a beach that is extremely busy during the day.
The wildest: Anse Couleuvre
In the north-west of the island, hidden between Prêcheur village and Grand’Rivière, lies a wild coastline hemmed by cliffs and beaches of black sand, bordered by forests whose emerald green is reflected in the water. Accessible via a minor road with hairpin bends, Anse Couleuvre, furthest west, is huddled against a rocky cirque. Unspoilt due to its remoteness, it is visited more by birds than by tourists. At dusk, the contrast between the black sands and white waves is captivating.
The most romantic: at sea
Head out for a sunset boat trip. From Fort-de-France, Trois-Ilets, or Case-Pilote, on a semi-rigid boat or old rig, there’s something to suit all tastes on this briny outing. Set sail to see the island in its very best light. The evening light will set its red cliffs ablaze, bring glitter to its golden sands, and highlight the statuesque beauty of Mount Pelée and its foothills.
Getting to Martinique