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Fanal Forest on Madeira - Everything You Need to Know

Fanal Forest on Madeira
Fanal Forest on Madeira

Fanal Forest is one of those places you could easily showcase on a postcard from Madeira. It is not just unique in appearance but also holds the distinction of being one of the few remaining laurel forests worldwide. This enchanting location is a must-visit during your trip to Madeira.

What to do in Fanal Forest

Fanal is situated in an isolated location with few attractions beyond the breathtaking nature. The area could be unofficially divided to 3 parts: The main area with the most impressive trees which are quite spread from each other in a way that on a clear day you won't feel that you're actually in a forest. The hilltop area, denser with picturesque trees offering a panoramic view of mountains and the ocean; and the third area, Fanal Pond, which occasionally dries out in the summer. While the pond may be the least captivating, being in Fanal makes it worth a visit.

Fanal Forest is an ideal place for a leisurely stroll amid beautiful scenery. Locals often picnic there, cooking the traditional barbecue – Espetada. Photography enthusiasts will find ample opportunities to unleash their creativity in the enjoyable setting. Additionally, there are hiking trails passing through the area, making Fanal an excellent combination with your hike. For those seeking a more immersive experience, camping permits are available for spending a night in Fanal in a tent.

How to get to Fanal Forest

As of now, public transportation to Fanal Forest is unavailable. The two options to get there are joining a tour or driving there on your own, which I highly recommend.

Finding Fanal is straightforward. Simply search for FANAL FOREST PARKING  on Google, and the map will guide you. There are two spacious parking lots, ensuring you find a spot for your car.

What to Expect of Fanal Forest

Fanal is a very unique place, so you can surely expect to see something special when heading there. It's not uncommon to see Fanal Forest covered in a dense fog. This fog is actually clouds which are passing over the mountain range. This atmospheric weather can change rapidly, transitioning from a beautiful sunset to complete fog in minutes. Patience is key if you want to witness Fanal in its moody version.

In the main area you'll see many cows trimming the grass. The animals aren't dangerous and they're are very comfortable with having people around. Unfortunately as the grass gets in, later it also gets out. So you have to be careful to not step in cow dung.

Ticks are another characteristic of Fanal. You can be almost sure that after sitting on the grass you'll get some on your clothes. It happens to me all the time. So the best way to avoid catching a tick would be having a proper footwear which will cover your foot fully. Having good shoes will also make you feel more comfortable, as the ground in Fanal very often gets wet and muddy. As this place is situated very high, the temperatures here could be way lower than at the sea level, so having a jacket just in case would be a good idea.

Fanal Forest is one of the top attractions of Madeira so you can expect seeing lots of people here. Fortunately, Fanal is also quite large, so the people will always spread out across the area. I found to see less visitors in the evening, at sunset than during the day.

Fanal Forest isn't a dangerous place, but be aware that with a dense fog it's very easy to get lost, what happened to me few times already even though I visited Fanal dozens of times.

Locations Near By

There are few places you could nicely combine with your visit to Fanal forest. Hiking enthusiasts should explore Vereda do Fanal or Levada dos Cedros, one of Madeira's top levadas.

Read the Full Article: TOP 5 LEVADA WALKS ON MADEIRA

Just 15 minutes away, Bica da Cana viewpoint offers a fantastic panorama over the Sao Vicente valley and also serves as a starting point for hikes.


For swimming, the black beach in Seixal is 30 minutes away, and the natural swimming pools in Porto Moniz are even closer. The viewpoint in Ribeira de Janela is also noteworthy, particularly for photography. Consider visiting one of these locations at sunrise before heading to Fanal Forest.

My Experience

I enjoy visiting Fanal Forest, often coming for private photoshoots multiple times a week. Whether on a clear day or with the forest cloaked in fog, every visit is an opportunity to challenge myself and capture the unique essence of Fanal Forest. From a photographer's perspective every time is good to visit Fanal.

Other Articles about Madeira you'd might like

Madeira is such an amazing place to visit, and we still can't believe we've been able to call it home for the past two years. During our stay, we explored all the best spots on the island and tried all the most exciting activities, many of them more than once! This helped us create these comprehensive guides that will help you plan your own trip to Madeira.



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