Madeira is an archipelago of volcanic islands situated in the Atlantic Ocean, about 500 km northwest of the Africa’s coast, but of Portuguese nationality. The two main islands are Madeira and Santo Stefano, the others are small uninhabited islands.
The major natural attraction of the island of Madeira, the goal of my trip, is the Laurisilva forest; an endemic forest of laurel trees, with a humid subtropical climate.
The largest part of the laurel forest is located in Madera, where it expands on an altitudes ranging from 300 to 1400 meters high on the northern side, covering 149.5 km2. The Madeira forest was declared part of UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1999. The forest is composed mostly by Lauraceae, including Til (Ocotea foetens), Loureiro (Laurus novocanariensis), Vinhatico (Persea indica) and Barbosano (Apollonias barbujana).
It’s a really stimulating environment from a photographic point of view and, in the island of Madeira, from the dense forest near the Ribeiro Frio and the 25 Fontes, with their paths along the “levadas”, you can find small canals used for the water harvesting and centuries-old isolated trees located on the upland of Paul da Serra, in the Fanal area. If you are lucky, you can visit this particular place in the fog that gives a mystical and fascinating atmosphere. Dense pine forests, thunderous waterfalls and rushing streams, and cliffs hit by ocean winds complete what is a really amazing island from a naturalistic point of view.