Known as the Spice Island, Grenada is indisputably everyone’s idea of tropical splendour.
The 120-square-mile (310 sq km) island is a microcosm of all that’s best in the Caribbean. There are silky white beaches, unspoiled rainforests, hills and waterfalls, a breathtakingly beautiful colonial capital town, warm, clear bays for swimming and diving, a passion for food that’s a lasting legacy of the early French settlers, peace and quiet for lovers of solitude and a lively nightlife if you want it - all wrapped up in a perfect climate. It’s no wonder that the British and the French fought so many times for possession.
With its smaller sister islands - Carriacou (13 square miles, or 34 sq km) and Petit Martinique (just 486 acres, or two sq km) - Grenada rests at the foot of the Windward chain in the Caribbean’s deep south. If you can drag yourself away from its idyllic beaches and bays, take an eco-trip into the interior to see the spice plantations that have kept the world supplied with nutmeg. Cinnamon, cloves, pimento, ginger and vanilla are grown here, as are cocoa trees.
Back in the capital of St George’s, you can’t fail to admire this harbour town, generally voted the most attractive in the Caribbean. Spread around the busy working port like an amphitheatre, its pastel-coloured French villas line cobbled streets. Visit its forts and churches and, for a full history of this fascinating island, call in at the National Museum, housed in an old French army barracks. It has a marble bath that once belonged to Empress Josephine Bonaparte.
For a change of scene, take the ferry to Carriacou, where you’ll find life even more laid back than in Grenada. Travel on to Petit Martinique - population 1,000 - where things happen only when ships put in.