When Christopher Columbus discovered Martinique in 1493, he considered it “the most beautiful country in the world” and named it after Saint Martin. Martinique’s indigenous people were the Arawak and the Caribs, who called it Madinina (“flower island”). Although the British briefly tried to take control of the country in the 18th and 19th centuries, the French had held Martinique (and Guadeloupe) since 1635. Tourism is an important part of the economy. Hundreds of thousands of tourists come each year for Martinique’s picturesque volcanic landscape, its fine black, white or black and white speckled sand beaches and the surrounding sugar, Palm, banana and pineapple plantations here. Its location also makes Martinique a popular stopover on cruises. Don’t forget to try the local rum, which is among the best in the world. Because of its high quality, it was awarded the prestigious French seal of quality “Appellation d’origine contrôlée”, which is actually reserved for French wines and cheeses. See other countries in North America on estatelearning.
Arriving by plane
There are no non-stop flights to Martinique from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Air France (AF) flies from Frankfurt/M., Munich, Zurich, Geneva and Vienna via Paris (Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly) to Martinique (Fort-de-France); Airport change in Paris (Charles de Gaulle – Orly). Feeder flights to non-stop flights from Paris are also possible with the national airlines from various German, Austrian and Swiss airports. Corsair International (SS) connects Berlin with Martinique via Guadeloupe. Air Antilles Express (3S) and Air Caraibes (TX) have flights from Paris to Martinique. Air Belgium (KF) flies from Brussels via Guadeloupe to Fort-de-France.
The quickest way to get to Martinique is via Paris. Paris-Orly – Fort-de-France: 8 hours 35 minutes Frankfurt/M. – Fort de France: 14 hours 45 minutes; Munich – Fort-de-France: 14 hrs 35 mins; Zurich – Fort-de-France: 14 hrs 05 mins; Geneva – Fort-de-France: 12 hrs 45 mins; Vienna – Fort-de-France: 14 hours 45 minutes (flights with 1 stopover each).
Arrival by car
Tolls: There are no toll roads in Martinique. Documents: The national driving license is sufficient.
Arrival by ship
Many cruise ships and ferries call at the port of Fort-de-France. There are ferry services in the smaller ports of Sainte-Pierre and Marin.
Cruise ships from AIDA, MSC, Costa and Seabourn, among others, dock in Martinique on their voyages departing from European ports.
L’Express des Iles ferries connect Martinique with Dominica, Marie-Galante, Guadeloupe and St. Lucia.
Traveling by plane
ACF Aviation and Heli Blue offer helicopter flights over Martinique.
Traveling by car/bus
The road network is well developed. Toll: There are no toll roads. Gas stations are sufficiently available.
Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic
Condition of the roads
Most roads are paved and well-maintained, including multi-lane roads around Fort-de-France. The coastal roads are mostly winding and often quite steep.
The range of rental cars is excellent. Drivers must be at least 21 years old and have held a driver’s license for at least one year.
Taxis are government controlled, metered and relatively expensive. Shared taxis that regularly depart from fixed routes are cheaper.
Mopeds and bicycles can also be hired.
There are only a few bus connections. From Pointe Simon in Fort-de-France mainly local minibuses, marked “TC”, travel to other places on the island.
Traffic regulations: – alcohol limit: 0.5 ‰; – Traffic regulations and signs are the same as in EU countries. Speed limits: – in built-up areas: 50 km/h; – Country roads: 90 km/h, in the rain: 80 km/h.
The ADAC foreign emergency call offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC foreign health and accident insurance comprehensive assistance in the event of vehicle breakdowns, traffic accidents, loss of documents and money, and medical emergencies. The emergency number is available around the clock; in the event of vehicle damage: Tel. +49 (0)89 22 22 22, in the event of illness: +49 (0)89 76 76 76. In the event of vehicle breakdowns and accidents, the car rental company should always be contacted first.
The national driving license is sufficient.
Traveling in the city
Fort-de-France: Rental cars and taxis are the best ways to get around. Buses run during the day – without a fixed schedule – until around 6 p.m. and can be stopped by hand signals.
Traveling by ship
Vedettes Tropicales operate a regular ferry service between Fort-de-France and Anse à l’Ane, Anse Mitan, Pointe du Bout and Bourg des Trois-Ilets and between Anse à l’Ane and Anse Mitan. Vedettes Madinina ferries connect Fort-de-France with Anse-Mitan, Anse à l’Ane, Pointe du Bout and Bourg des Trois-Ilets.