Laurel Forest (Laurisilva) Tours

Laurel Forest (Laurisilva)
One of the many reasons why visitors come to Europe is to steep themselves in history. But the Portuguese island of Madeira is home to a piece of history that goes beyond the ruins of Rome and the battlefields of France – the Laurel Forest. Vegetation such as the kind found here used to carpet southern Europe, and it is believed that the forest is at least 15 million years old! Now it is a rare sight, and those going to Madeira put it high on their list of things to see.

The Laurel Forest, also called Laurisilva, holds a bounty of flora and fauna that astounds visitors – as well as a subtropical mist that gives it an ethereal ambience and makes the views from certain observation points that much more incredible. There are several long- and short-range hiking trails through this UNESCO World Heritage site that can accommodate various levels of ability. However, proper shoes and attire should be brought for the adventure, as well as food and drink.

Practical Info

The best point of entry to the Laurel Forest is in the village of Ribeiro Frio, about 45 minutes from Funchal. Follow the signs on foot along Highway ER103 from Ribeiro Frio to hiking route PR11, “Balcões.” It is a fairly level topography, and the walk to the (natural) observation point should take no more than an hour.
Address: Madeira, Portugal
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Madeira Best of the West Day Tour

The West Coast of Madeira is full of spectacular lookouts, traditional fishing villages, and natural wonders, but it can be hard to get around without your own transport. Maximize your time on this full-day tour from Funchal and take in highlights including Cabo Girão, Ribeira da Janela, Laurissilva forest, and Câmara de Lobos. Hotel pickup and drop-off is included.
  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Duration: 8 hours
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US$28.78
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Caldeirão Verde Levadas Walk in Madeira

Explore the wonders along Madeira’s famed Levada do Caldeirão Verde on this leisurely guided walking tour. Your day begins with a convenient pickup from your central Funchal hotel, then set off on a short 45-minute ride to the starting point. As you stroll the path, your local guide will illuminate the surroundings with informative anecdotes. Admire a tranquil laurel forest, historical local paths, traditional irrigation channels, and sweeping vistas of the island’s north coast.
  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Duration: 8 hours
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US$44.33
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Small Group West Tour Waterfalls and Peaks

Madeira Island’s western shores are home to natural sea pools, traditional fishing villages, soaring cliffs, and dense forests, but reaching the top sites requires local knowledge. On this tour, travel from your Canico, Funchal, or Machico hotel via air-conditioned minibus, and reach the sites with ease. Hit sites of interest including Câmara de Lobos, Porto Moniz, and the Ribeira Brava, and enjoy personal attention from your guide on this small-group tour, limited to 16 people.
  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Duration: 8 hours
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US$28.78
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Madeira Levada Walk - Rabacal Lakes and Fountains

Get acquainted with the verdant natural splendor of Madeira on a full-day tour of North West Madeira from Funchal. Alongside a knowledgeable guide, discover the secreted treasures of the Laurisilva Forest and enjoy the tranquility exuded by its abundance of flora and fauna. Continue to the spectral Rabacal Lake, home to 25 fountains and beautiful cascading waterfalls, and spend some relaxed free time enjoying the area of outstanding natural beauty. Enjoy the convenience of round-trip transportation from your Funchal hotel on this enriching excursion.
  • Duration: 7 hours
  • Duration: 7 hours
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US$44.33
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Madeira Levada Walk - Caldeirao Verde

Hike through the spectral landscapes of the UNESCO-listed Queimadas Forest Park, Madeira, on an enriching 5-hour excursion from Funchal. Accompanied by an expert guide, stroll at a leisurely pace through landscapes reminiscent of fairytales; see thatched-roof cottages, ancient trees and exotic bird species as you explore. Gaze at the emerald green lagoon beneath the famous Caldeirão Waterfall before taking the same route back to the start point. 
  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Duration: 5 hours
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US$41.45
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Balcões Viewpoint plus Jeep Tour

Explore the delights of the Levada dos Balcoes walk plus off-road Jeep on this full-day tour departing from Funchal. Your journey begins at the stunning Pico do Arieiro, where you can admire Portugal’s dynamic landscape and, if you’re lucky, local wildlife. Then venture to the center of Santo da Serra, including the levada walk “Balcões” at Ribeiro Frio. Admire the mystical Laurissilva forest before returning to hotel or similar accommodation.
  • Duration: 7 hours
  • Duration: 7 hours
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US$48.36
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Santana Full Adventure East Tour in Open Roof 4x4

Journey to the lesser-seen side of Portugal on this off the beaten track 7-hour Jeep tour, from Funchal. See Santana, a renowned UNESCO biosphere reserve, where you can explore traditional houses. If you choose, you can select an option to go trout fishing for your lunch. Enjoy a convenient pickup at your hotel.
  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Duration: 8 hours
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