The Laurissilva forest has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1999. An integral part of the Natura 2000 network, the Laurissilva forest is one of Madeira's greatest natural attractions. The forest occupies a vast area of the Island, with Machico having the largest area of Laurissilva, about 800 hectares, on the South-East coast.
Characterised by the existence of large evergreen trees that can grow over 20 metres tall with dense and leafy canopies, these large trees belong mostly to the Lauracea family.
Other endemic species to look our for are the Shrubby Sow Thistle (Sonchus fruticosus), Black Parsley (Melanoselinium decipiens), and the Pride of Madeira (Echium candicans).
In addition to being a Natura 2000 site, the Laurissilva forest is also an Important Bird Area (IBA) due to the many endemic birds that inhabit the forest such as the Trocaz pigeon (Columba trocaz) and Madeira Firecrest (Regulus maderensis).
Despite being a protected area, you can interact with the Laurel forest and may do so on the following routes: