Must see on Madeira: The mysterious laurel forest Fanal Forest

Millions of years old laurel forests

Millions of years ago, laurel forests were common in parts of Europe and North Africa. Nowadays, many laurel forests have disappeared due to the ice age and other climate changes. You can only admire these special forests in Madeira, the Azores, Canary Islands and the archipelago of Cape Verde.

Special flora and fauna

The trees in Fanal Forest seem out of this world. They all have different shapes and the branches are covered with layers of moss. Because of the twisted branches it sometimes seems as if the trees are dancing.

In the forest you will not only encounter special flora. Be careful, because of the dense fog curious cows and birds can suddenly emerge from the fog.

Best time to visit Fanal Forest

Fanal Forest is located high in the mountains, so there is a good chance that it is often covered with a layer of fog. We definitely recommend visiting the forest on a cloudy and rainy day. Even on a rainy day the fog is unpredictable. There are moments where you can see 5 meters further and in a minute all the fog is gone. That makes this area even more adventurous. When fog rolls over this landscape, it creates fairytale scenes. The views looks like scenes that come straight out of a movie. Fanal Forest is super photogenic with fog and moody vibes and you won’t stop making content here.

It is difficult to predict when it will be foggy here, but early in the morning you have the greatest chance of fog. The south coast of the island is often sunny, if it is already rainy or cloudy here, there is a good chance that it will be foggy in Fanal Forest.

Hiking in Fanal Forest

In the area of ​​Fanal Forest you will find several hikes, including the walking route PR13 Vereda do Fanal. This route of about 20 kilometers takes you through the forest in about 4 hours.

Also read: Hiking on Madeira: Tips and 6 beautiful hikes

Get lost in Fanal Forest

Don’t want to take such a long walk? Then there are several points where you can park the car and discover a part of the forest. We liked it the most to just walk around from the parking lot and get lost in the forest. We certainly spent the whole morning in Fanal Forest. You will not get bored here.

How to get to Fanal Forest

The easiest way to visit Fanal Forest is by car. It is an hour’s drive from Funchal. Unfortunately you cannot get there by public transport. So if you don’t have a rental car, the only option to see Fanal Forest is by booking a tour.