4 Natural Reserves in Madeira You Must Visit during your Holidays

May 4, 2023 | Activities

Natural reserves are places where nature is found in an almost pure state, allowing visitors to have contact with unique natural landscapes and animal and plant species that are rare or endangered. Madeira, a Portuguese island located in the Atlantic Ocean, is one of those special places that offers several natural reserves and ecology lovers.

In this article, we present 4 of the most important natural reserves in Madeira, which you should visit during your holidays on the island. From the Ponta de São Lourenço Natural Reserve, through the Desertas Islands Natural Reserve, Garajau, to the Laurissilva Forest, discover the natural treasures of Madeira.

In addition to being incredible tourist spots, these nature reserves help to promote sustainable, conscious and responsible tourism.

Natural Reserve of Ponta de São Lourenço

ponta de são lourenço

Photo by VisitMadeira

The Ponta de São Lourenço Natural Reserve is a unique and special place in Madeira. Located on the eastern edge of Caniçal, this protected reserve has been covering a 9 km peninsula extending into the Atlantic Ocean. Its sedimentary origin geology makes it home to unique plant and animal species, making it a reference spot for nature tourism in the region.

The Ponta de São Lourenço vegetation is not unique due to being unaltered but due to the presence of important groups that are virtually confined to this area. Furthermore, it is a reference spot for nature tourism in the region, with around 150 daily visitors enjoying hiking and trails of varying difficulty levels that go through incredible forest and mountain landscapes and allow for observation of fauna and flora. It is important to follow the rules of visitation and conservation established by local guides.

When exploring Ponta de São Lourenço, visitors can enjoy incredible views over the ocean, discover the geological history of the region, and appreciate the wildlife and nature in its purest state.

Madeira Natural Reserve: Deserted Islands

desertas island

Photo by VisitMadeira

The Desertas Islands Nature Reserve is a protected area located in the Desertas Islands, in the Autonomous Region of Madeira. Composed of three islands (Ilhéu Chão, Deserta Grande and Bugio) and adjacent islets, in addition to the entire surrounding marine area of up to 100 meters of bathymetry, this reserve is considered one of the richest in terms of biodiversity in the region.

Additionally, the Desertas Islands are an important habitat for several species of seabirds, including Cory’s Shearwater, the Castro’s Roque-de-Castro and the Russet. The reserve is also home to several species of plants endemic to Madeira, such as Echium nervosaum and Argyranthemum pinnatifidum.

The Desertas Islands Nature Reserve is an important example of the region’s commitment to nature preservation. By protecting the ecosystem and its unique species, the reserve ensures the survival of these species for future generations. It is an unmissable place for nature lovers who want to explore the natural beauty of Madeira and its adjacent islands.

Would you like to visit these wonderful islands? Boat trips are the best option to discover the natural beauty of the Desertas Islands and observe the species that inhabit the reserve. Make your reservation now!

Garajau Natural Reserve

Photo by VisitMadeira

The Garajau Partial Nature Reserve is an environmental preservation area located on the southern slopes of Madeira Island, east of Funchal. With an extension of about six miles, the reserve covers a total area of ​​376 hectares. It was created in 1986 with the aim of protecting the seabed of the coast of Madeira Island from progressive desertification and contributing to the faunal repopulation of adjacent areas.

Additionally, the reserve is a popular spot for underwater activities like scuba diving and snorkelling. Visitors can explore the reserve’s rich biodiversity and observe its wonderful underwater landscapes. In addition, within the scope of Environmental Education, there is a program of visits to the reserve, in which any pedagogical group can participate. Visitors can learn about the importance of preserving the environment and local biodiversity.

In summary, the Garajau Partial Nature Reserve is a treasure on Madeira Island, offering visitors the opportunity to appreciate the natural beauty of the region, as well as learn about the importance of preserving the environment. With its rich fauna and flora, the reserve is an incredible place to explore and discover.

Laurissilva Forest

Photo by VisitMadeira

The Laurissilva Forest Nature Reserve is one of the natural treasures of Madeira Island. Located in an expanse of natural forest, this protected area is one of the few remaining examples of Laurissilva forest in Europe. The forest is known for its density and diversity of flora and fauna. The endemic species of the island, such as Til, Folhadoiro and Louro, are a great attraction for visitors. Among the animal species that inhabit the forest, birds stand out, such as the Chaffinch, the Madeira Firecrest and the Loureiro Pigeon, as well as invertebrate species unique to the island.

Additionally, there are several entrances to the reserve, but the main ones are in São Jorge, Ribeira da Janela, Fanal and Queimadas. Activities in the reserve include hikes and trails of different levels of difficulty, which go through incredible forest and mountain landscapes and allow the observation of fauna and flora. It is important to remember that the reserve is a protected area and it is necessary to follow the visitation and conservation rules established by the local guides. Visitors must respect nature and not remove plants or animals from the forest. A visit to the Laurissilva Forest Nature Reserve is an unforgettable experience for anyone wishing to discover the natural richness of Madeira Island.

Madeira Natural Reserves: Conclusion

Madeira is a tourist destination rich in natural beauty, and its natural reserves are one of the main highlights of the island. In this article, we have presented four natural reserves that tourists should visit during their holidays: the Ponta de São Lourenço Natural Reserve, the Desertas Islands Natural Reserve, the Garajau Natural Reserve, and the Laurissilva Forest Natural Reserve. In addition to being important for the conservation of local flora and fauna, these natural reserves also offer various activities for tourists, such as hiking, bird watching, and diving. Furthermore, it is essential to highlight the importance of sustainable tourism for the preservation of these natural reserves and to encourage tourists to follow the rules of visitation and environmental conservation.

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