Discovering the Wonders of Fanal Forest: A Comprehensive Guide

Discovering the Wonders of Fanal Forest: A Comprehensive Guide

Discovering the Wonders of Fanal Forest: A Comprehensive Guide

I. Introduction

The Fanal Forest is a natural wonder on the Portuguese island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean. This ancient laurel grove is one of the last remaining examples of Europe's original rainforest, which dates back thousands of years and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its biodiversity for special characteristics It will be a place of storage.

The Fanal Forest is a popular destination for nature lovers and walkers who come to explore its hiking trails, enjoy its natural beauty. It's a peaceful haven from the hustle and bustle of modern life and a chance to reconnect with nature in the surroundings of this pristine space.


Discovering the Wonders of Fanal Forest A Comprehensive Guide
Credits: @VisitMadeira


This guide aims to provide everything you need to know about exploring Fanal Forest, including its location, directions and the best time to visit. Whether you are an experienced hiker or a nature lover looking to escape from your daily routine, this guide will help you discover the wonders of Fanal Forest.


II. Getting to Fanal Forest


A. Location and Directions

The Fanal Forest, part of the indigenous Laurisilva Forest, is located in Madeira, in the Paul da Serra Plateau. The best way to get there is by car, as public transport is not an option, or by booking private transportationRenting a Car in Madeira is one of the best ways to get to Fanal. If driving, take ER209 and follow the Fanal signs. It’s about a 40 minute drive from the island’s capital, Funchal. Once you arrive, you will have a breathtaking view of the forest in all its glory.

If you don’t mind renting a car, booking a trip is also an option. The best tour to Fanal: Open 4X4 Tour, is guaranteed to be one of the best days you will have on the island of Madeira. Friendly, enthusiastic and informative guides will take you to parts of Madeira you may never see on your own, making this trip an unforgettable experience, leaving the hotels and exploring the beautiful landscape of the island.

From Funchal to the Serra d'Agua, this trek takes you from the island's only plateau through a lush valley to the northwestern slopes, where waterfalls and ancient lava rock formations form cerulean lakes through the Fanal forest. Feel the adrenaline rush of exploring the surrounding trails. Add to that a walk through the man-made canals known as Levadas with breathtaking views and you are sure to have unforgettable moments. BOOK A TOUR


B. Best Time to Visit

Although Funal Forest is accessible all year round, June through August are the hottest and driest months to visit. But if you prefer a cooler climate and more vegetation, you can visit in spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November). It is not recommended to visit during the winter months (December to February) when rain and fog are common.


C. Entrance Fees 

There is no fee to enter Fanal Forest, as it is public. However, if you are planning to use any of the facilities in the forest such as camping or picnic areas there may be some fees to use. A good way to find out the latest information on any fees or permits required for your visit is to check with the local government or tourist information centre. It is also important to remember that the forest is a protected area and visitors must follow certain rules to protect the biodiversity.


III. Exploring Fanal Forest


A. Hiking trails

Fanal Forest has several hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty and duration, allowing visitors to explore the forest at their own pace. Trailhead locations, anticipated completion times, and points of interest are all included in this guide’s detailed description of each trail. Visitors can choose from easy trails based on their limitations to more challenging walks that offer great views of the surrounding landscape. 

PR13 Vereda do Fanal Hiking Trail


  • Vereda do Fanal PR13 Hiking Trail

The most popular and spectacular hiking trail in the Fanal Forest is the Vereda do Fanal PR13 trail. The trek is about 10 km long and takes about 3 to 4 hours to complete. The route starts from the Fanal car park and passes through the rich and picturesque ancient Laurisilva forest with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains, valleys and villages. You can also see some of the unique flora and fauna of the island, such as Madeira Firecrest and Laurel Trees.

Vereda da Fanal PR13 Hiking Trail Madeira


If you're looking for an unforgettable hiking experience in Madeira, then Vereda do Fanal PR13 Hiking Trail is a must. This trail is suitable for intermediate and experienced hikers and offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in raw nature. So, what are you waiting for? Book this walk today and get ready to experience the beauty of Fanal Forest firsthand! BOOK A WALK


  • Levada dos Cedros PR14 Walking Trail

Levada dos Cedros PR14 is another popular hiking trail in Fanal Forest. This trail is approximately 11 km long and takes about 3-4 hours to complete. The trail starts at the Paul da Serra plateau, in Seixal parish, and follows the Levada dos Cedros water channel, passing through lush green valleys, small waterfalls, and dense forests of cedar and laurel trees. The Madeira chaffinch and the Madeira laurel pigeon are but two examples of the unique fauna one can find along this Levada. 

Levada dos Cedros Walk PR14 Madeira

If you are a nature lover or enjoy hiking, then Levada dos Cedros PR14 is just the hike to do. This trail gives you the opportunity to experience the beauty and tranquility of Fanal Forest. You can stop along the way for a picnic or a breathtaking view of the surroundings. Don’t miss your chance to explore this magical trail!


B. Photography Opportunities

Fanal Forest provides a stunning backdrop for professional and amateur photographers alike, with majestic rolling hills and embryonic trees of phantasmagoric ocotia that look like they were plucked from a long-forgotten tale. 

Fanal Forest Photograph Luis Freitas
Credits Luis Freitas Photography



C. Camping and Picnic Areas

Fanal has a variety of camping and picnic areas, giving you the chance to spend the night and enjoy the tranquility of the forest. Here is a list of details on the features of each space, including bathrooms, water fountains and fireplaces. Visitors can also find out about reservations at these sites, including permit requirements. We emphasize the importance of responsible camping and respect for the natural environment.


  • Available Facilities: Fanal Forest has several designated camping and picnic areas, with facilities to make your stay comfortable. The camping areas have fire rings and picnic tables nearby, while the picnic areas have tables and grills. Restrooms and water sources are also available close by. However, it's important to note that the facilities are basic, and visitors should come prepared with their own camping gear and supplies.

  • Reservations and Permits: To camp in Fanal Forest, visitors need to obtain a camping permit in advance, this permit is free. The permit can be obtained online get the camping license here. It's important to make reservations early, as the campsites fill up quickly during peak season. Visitors should also check the forest website for any seasonal closures or fire restrictions that may affect their camping plans. Additionally, it's important to follow the Leave No Trace principles and pack out all trash and waste to keep the forest clean and pristine.


E. Wildlife & Flora

Funal Forest is home to a variety of flora and fauna, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers. Find below information on species commonly found in the forests, including birds, mammals and plants. Visitors can learn about conservation efforts and how to care for these animals safely and with respect.

F. Common species found in the forest

  • Laurel forest tree species - Fanal Forest is home to a lush and unique Laurel forest, where you can find endemic trees such as the Madeira Laurel, the Canary Laurel, and the Madrone and most importantly the notorious Ocotea foetens.
  • Birdlife - The Laurel forest also provides habitat for numerous bird species, such as the endemic Madeira Firecrest, the Trocaz Pigeon, and the Chaffinch. The forest is also a good place to spot raptors such as the Buzzard, the Sparrowhawk, and the Kestrel.
  • Reptiles and Amphibians - The forest has a variety of reptiles and amphibians, including the Madeira wall lizard and the common toad.
  • Insects - Fanal Forest is also home to a variety of insect species, including butterflies and beetles.



IV. Safety and Etiquette


A. Rules and Regulations

When exploring Fanal Forest, it’s important to follow the rules set by local authorities. These laws are in place to protect the forest and its inhabitants, as well as the safety of visitors. Rules include staying on designated trails, not littering and not disturbing wildlife. It is also important to follow any posted signs and warnings, especially during periods of uncertain weather.


B. Precautions to take while Exploring the Forest

While Fanal Forest is a beautiful and safe place to explore, there are still precautions to take to ensure your safety. For example, be sure to wear appropriate footwear and clothing, as some trails can be steep or slippery. It’s also important to bring plenty of water and snacks, as well as a first aid kit in case of an emergency. If you’re planning to camp or have a picnic in the woods, make sure you store your food and rubbish properly to avoid attracting wildlife.


C. Leave No Trace Principle

As with any natural area, it is important to follow Leave No Trace Principle when exploring Fanal Forest. This means that leaving the forest as you found out can reduce your impact on the environment. Some ways to follow these principles include collecting all rubbish, not destroying plants or wildlife, using campsites and picnic areas. By following these principles you can help preserve Fanal Forest beautifully for future generations.


Final recommendations and tips for visitors

We’ve explored the basics of what you need to know to fully enjoy and enjoy Funal Forest. We covered important issues from the moment we arrived to exploring its many wonders. We hope this guide helped you plan your visit and that you are excited to discover all the amazing things Fanal Forest has to offer.


As a final note, we suggest that you come prepared for your visit. Be sure to bring plenty of water, sturdy shoes and weather-appropriate clothing. We also recommend researching the hiking trails and other areas you plan to visit in advance, so you know what to expect. You can make the most of your time in the woods and ultimately respect nature at the same time, while having followed all regulations to help preserve this beautiful place for future generations to enjoy.


Fanal Forest is an incredible natural wonder, and we encourage you to take the time to fully explore all it has to offer. Whether you enjoy hiking, camping, picnicking, or just taking in the stunning scenery, this forest has something for everyone. So get out and explore the wonders of Fanal Forest for yourself - we promise it will be an unforgettable experience!