On the island of Madeira, on the western side, away from the cities and the seaside, you’ll find amongst the green hills and forests a place of pure relaxation. This is Fanal. Located near Paúl da Serra, the island’s largest plateau, Fanal is a large extension to nature and wildlife that culminates on one of the best natural viewpoints I’ve ever witnessed.
Like I said before, Paúl da Serra is the only large scale plateau on Madeira. The island is almost exclusively made of mountains and valleys, so it is curious to see such a different landscape. From what I’ve heard there were ideas to move the airport to this plateau, since no other natural place in the island is so flat as to hold the landing runway, but there is a problem with it: It’s too remote. I encountered this problem when trying to get there by car. It is the deep interior of the island, composed of open fields and untouched nature, except for the roads. So we did get a bit lost, but when I finally managed to arrive at Fanal, it was breath taking.
Fanal is a vast natural beauty and viewpoint, made out of ancient trees of the typical Laurissilva forest, some of these tree even go back to the times of the island’s discovery, in the XV century. It is not uncommon to find cows peacefully grazing amongst the view, so be sure to also enjoy the gorgeous view of the ancient trees that greet you when you arrive, it is a truly soothing experience that makes me consider Fanal a real must-see, and only for the greeting view, but if you go up from this path, you’ll meet the viewpoint, surrounded by a sea of low ferns, and looking down on a sea of clouds. Truly spectacular.
Curiously Fanal is known to be gorgeous on a foggy day, yet it was one of the few places in the inner-Madeira that I visited that wasn’t covered in fog, unlike Balcões or Queimadas. Even so, as you can see from the pictures, its beauty on a sunny day is not to be understated!
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