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Marie Galante ist bekannt für seine Windmühlen, Bild: vouvraysan / shutterstock

Marie-Galante – Island of 100 windmills

Marie-Galante is a Caribbean island that is part of the Lesser Antilles . It is part of the French overseas department of Guadeloupe. The small island is almost round like a circle and reaches a diameter of 15 kilometers.

Among the special features of the island are its many windmills. In earlier times, they were used to squeeze sugar cane. At that time, there were about 100 windmills on the island, which gave the island the name “Island of 100 Windmills”. At present, there are still around 70 windmills.

Geographical location of Marie-Galante

Marie-Galante is located 26 kilometres south of Sainte-Anne in Guadeloupe. Like Guadeloupe, Marie-Galante is one of the Leeward Islands. Since Marie-Galante and Guadeloupe are part of France , they are also part of the European Union. The island has a coastline length of 84 kilometres.

Because Marie-Galante is a small island, it doesn’t take long to discover it. There are also only three larger municipalities on the island. These are Saint-Louis, Capesterre and the main town of Grand-Bourg. The most important product on the Caribbean island is the Rhum agricole.

History of the island

Beach on Marie-Galante
Of course, there are also fantastic Caribbean beaches on Marie-Galante, Image: Jakob Fischer / shutterstock

Marie-Galante was discovered in 1493 by the navigator Christopher Columbus during his second voyage. He gave the island the name of its caravel “Maria Galanda”.

However, it took until 1648 for the French to settle on the island. The French settlers cultivated sugar cane. Over the centuries, the number of inhabitants grew to about 30,000 people. However, when the cultivation of sugar experienced its decline, large parts of the population emigrated. At present, about 13500 people still live on Marie-Galante.

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Marie-Galante is now very popular as a holiday resort. The island is still considered a kind of insider tip because it is wonderfully suitable for a relaxing holiday away from the tourist crowds. The fantastic beaches invite you to swim. However, the cultural offer is a little more limited. On the other hand, the island scores with its idyllic rural charm. In some places, it seems as if time is no longer moving forward. Inland, there are wonderful opportunities to hike and discover the many old windmills.

Best time to visit Marie-Galante

Because the weather is consistently good, Marie-Galante can be visited all year round. The most rain occurs between July and September. The maximum average maximum temperature is 31 degrees Celsius, the minimum is 21 degrees Celsius.

How to get to Marie-Galante

From Germany, the island of Marie-Galante can be reached by Air France plane. First from an airport in Germany via Paris to Guadeloupe. From Pointe-a-Pitre, you can take a taxi from the airport to the port. Express boats run regularly there in the direction of Marie-Galante. The journey to the island takes about 50 minutes. Alternatively, the windmill island can also be approached by small plane from Guadeloupe, which only takes about 15 minutes.

On the island, it makes sense to take a rental car that can be booked in Germany with international providers. There is also a bus service between St. Louis, Capesterre and Grand-Bourg.

Leisure activities on the Island of 100 Windmills

Particularly in demand on Marie-Galante is water sports in all conceivable variations. Some of the most sought-after sports include surfing, kitesurfing, water skiing, jet skiing, sailing, deep-sea fishing, and fishing. You can also dive on the coral reefs. There are several smaller diving centers. Various international regattas also invite you to visit.

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In addition, classic sports such as tennis or horseback riding can also be practiced on the island. There are several riding stables in Deshaies. Of course, there are also opportunities for cycling or mountain biking. If you want to go really high, you can do a parachute jump over one of the lagoons.

Beach holidays in Marie-Galante

For lovers of beach holidays, Marie-Galante offers white dream beaches that are among the most beautiful in the entire Caribbean. The sandy beach of La Feulliere with its coconut palms and turquoise blue sea is considered particularly beautiful. One of the best destinations for families with children is Anse-Canot Beach. It is located between two hills in a small bay.

Everywhere on Marie-Galante, the water on the beaches is warm and snorkelling is also possible.

The sights of Marie-Galante

Chateau Murat, Marie Galante
The Château Murat, Image: vouvraysan / shutterstock

There is also a lot to discover on the Caribbean island away from the hustle and bustle of sunbathing, swimming and water sports, such as the Chateau Murat in Grand-Bourg. The former manor house was built in 1832 and houses Marie-Galante’s Environmental Museum. Several exhibitions provide information about the traditions and way of life of the former islanders. These include culture and fisheries.

As already mentioned, Marie-Galante is particularly known for its windmills. Among the mills that are still particularly well preserved is the Bezard mill, which can be easily reached from Grand-Bourg or Capesterre. There you will find some interesting facts about the history of sugar cane. Le Moulin de Bezard is the only restored windmill on the island.

Another interesting sight is the castle of Capesterre. After it was subjected to considerable damage in 1928, the historic castle was later restored.

Eating at Marie-Galante

The Windmill Island offers culinary diversity. Outside the hotels, there are several local restaurants and bars that offer French and Creole cuisine, which can be combined with local products. The restaurant Le Touloulou in Capesterre, which is located directly near the beach, is particularly recommended.