The Fanal Forest in Madeira is a magical place. Perhaps this one short sentence best describes our secret tip, which is not often mentioned in guidebooks.

The Fanal area is a small plateau filled with wet, marshy lush green meadows ideal for grazing cattle and ancient native laurel trees, which have grown to sometimes bizarre shapes thanks to the specific microclimate and frequent northerly winds.

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The magical atmosphere is completed by the interesting character of the place. The dense laurel forest in the valley turns into more of a laurel grove on the Fanal Plateau, with occasional trees in the green meadow, often with many pools after the rains. From the edges of the small plateau, you get incredible views of the 10km coastline far below.

Fanal is a popular spot, especially among photographers. It lies at an altitude of around 1,100 metres, which in Madeira is usually the limit of the clouds. These create a magical backdrop ideal for great photos.

You can only get here by car on the ER209 road connecting the coastal village of Ribeira da Janela with the plateau in the middle of Madeira.

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