Madagascar is massive, and unless you're looking at a sabbatical then it's unlikely you'll have time to take in the entire island. That's where we come in, because we know the island well and can suggest an itinerary to fit your brief exactly. One quick win? Should you want the perfect combo of adventure and beach action, head north, because this region is home to some of the country's most dramatic landscapes (which is really saying something) and also the best luxury beach hotels in Madagascar.
First, the adventurous stuff. Heading south from Antsiranana (formerly Diego Suarez) there is the Amber Mountain National Park, teeming with beautiful Jurassic ferns and, for wildlife nuts and photographers, the place for superb lemur and chameleon sightings. Next stop, the frankly bizarre red tsingy limestone pinnacles, and finally Ankarana National Park where the tsingy pinnacles are grey in colour and on a far larger scale, with rope bridges for access. Speaking of scale, there is also a bat cave big enough to make Bruce Wayne green with envy, and home to a vast number of bats - not for everyone, we appreciate, but a proper Indiana Jones moment for others.
After all that adventure, you are going to need some rest and relaxation, and it doesn't get much more relaxing than on the islands of the Nosy Be and Mitsio archipelagos. This is where to snorkel, dive, explore mangrove forests and sail. Or just enjoy a well-earned rest in a charming beachfront hotel.
Of particular note is the tiny island of Tsarabanjina, made famous by Joanna Lumley when she was marooned there for nine days for a TV show and resorted to making a pair of shoes out of her bra. Fortunately you can now experience this little slice of paradise in the comfort of the recently built Tsarabanjina Lodge, where footwear will be the least of your worries.
A little further south, Anjajavy is a secluded peninsula on the northwest coast and home to another of the country's most luxurious hotels, and the only Relais & Chateaux property on the island.