Laurissilva Forest

The natural forest of Madeira (the ‘Laurissilva’) occupies more than 20% of the surface of the island, situated at an altitude between 300 and 1300 m. Most of it you will find in the northern part of Madeira Island due to the lower temperatures and higher humidity. This is the biggest concentration of ‘Laurissilva’ forest in the world and it is said to be also the best preserved.

Its origins are to be found in the Tertiary Period, when the Laurissilva forest covered an extensive area of the Mediterranean. Now it is limited to the bio-geographical region of ‘Macaronesia’ that consists of Madeira, the Azores, the Canaries and Cape Verde.

The word ‘Laurissilva’ comes from the Latin 'silva', which means forest and from 'Laurus' (lauraceous - laurel), family of the arboreal species that inhabits the forest.

Apart from its dazzling beauty this natural puzzle of shapes and shades of green reveals all the dynamism that is typical of a balanced ecological system.

Today the ‘Laurissilva’ forest of Madeira Island is classified as 'UNESCO World Heritage Site’.


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