Last Updated on January 30, 2024 by Laila Oliveira
Nestled in the Atlantic Ocean, the Madeira Islands of Portugal offer a unique haven for a nomadic lifestyle. As more professionals escape the confines of conventional offices, Madeira beckons as an idyllic destination for remote work. This makes it an ideal choice for digital nomads in Madeira who seek both creativity and tranquility.
In this article, we’ll delve into the essential aspects that make Madeira an exceptional destination for remote work. From discussing connectivity and coworking spaces to the local lifestyle and activities, we’ll guide you on the perfect balance for a thriving digital nomad community.
Whether you’re a seasoned nomad or just embarking on your remote work journey, this guide will help you navigate the vibrant landscape of opportunities awaiting.
Where are the Madeira Islands?
The islands are a lush volcanic archipelago that offers expats a soothing escape with their stunning landscapes, temperate climate, and vibrant local culture. The Islands’ strategic location in the Atlantic is a winning feature for digital nomads in Madeira.
Nestled between Europe and Africa, around 600 miles off the coast of Morocco, the Madeira Islands offer an ideal time zone for remote work. This central location ensures that digital nomads can collaborate with teams across continents without facing extreme time differences.
Apart from this, the islands’ accessibility makes it convenient for expats to travel to and from major European cities, providing a perfect balance between work and exploration.
Who lives in the Madeira Islands?
The Islands attract a diverse community of residents, including a growing number of digital nomads and expats. According to Pordata, around 250,000 people live in Madeira. Out of which, 67.3% of the population is of working age, and 3.7% are foreigners.
This blend of locals, digital nomads, and expats fosters a unique sense of community that embraces cultural richness while providing an ideal environment for remote work and exploration. Among this population, 67.3% are of working age, and expats form 3.7% with legal residence status.
- Learn more on Living in Madeira: What is life like on the island
Top Cities For Digital Nomads in Portugal
Lisbon is the busiest city in Portugal and stands out as a digital nomad hotspot with its diverse coworking spaces and thriving tech scene. The city’s modern amenities make it an attractive destination for those seeking a dynamic work-life balance.
Digital nomads are also drawn to Porto’s creative atmosphere, affordable cost of living, and flourishing community of entrepreneurs. Coimbra also has a growing entrepreneur and start-up culture, which allures certain digital nomads to settle there.
However, the location, lifestyle, coworking spaces, and increasing opportunities attract digital nomads the most in Madeira Islands. Funchal and Santa Cruz are primarily popular among expat digital nomads. Funchal is Madeira’s capital, and digital nomads benefit from a laid-back lifestyle, excellent weather, and a growing number of coworking spaces.
Santa Cruz is located on the eastern coast of Madeira and is currently emerging as a digital nomad-friendly destination. Its proximity to Funchal, the main airport, and picturesque beaches make it an appealing choice.
Digital nomads in Santa Cruz have access to reliable internet connectivity and a growing community of remote workers. The islands’ natural beauty provides a peaceful setting for focused work and relaxation.
- Check out our exclusive interview Living Abroad: A Digital Nomad Interview with Katie Dillon.
Why are Digital Nomads choosing to live in Madeira?
We have seen that metropolitans like Lisbon and Porto offer a digital nomad-friendly infrastructure. Why are many digital nomads settling in Madeira? There are three main reasons for this; let’s review them individually!
Rise in Digital Nomads in Portugal
The rise in digital nomadism in Portugal reflects a global shift towards remote work and a desire for a more flexible lifestyle. This lifestyle has gained momentum through the advantages of digital telecommunications and the acceptance of virtual workspaces during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this wake of remote work, Portugal became a sought-after destination for those exploring alternatives to their current living situations.
The country’s quality of life, lower taxes, specific visas and cost of living, easy mobility, and welcoming locals make it an attractive long-term destination. With an estimated 35 million digital nomads worldwide, Portugal’s popularity in this community is rising.
The reliable internet connectivity and a growing community of remote workers appeal to the digital nomads in Madeira. As their number continues to increase, Portugal’s reputation as a digital nomad-friendly country only strengthens.
- Find out the 10 Ways Portugal Is A Digital Nomad Paradise.
Portugal is very Digital Nomad friendly
Renowned as the top remote work destination on a CNN-endorsed travel website, Portugal offers an unmatched quality of life and a welcoming community that feels like family. As mentioned, the pandemic underscored the viability of remote work and flexible hours without compromising productivity. This led recruiters to favor adaptability in employees amid global uncertainty.
The country even introduced a special D8 Visa For Digital Nomads. The visa allows non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens to stay and work in Portugal for a year. As digital nomads seek more than just work, the country offers diverse cities, unique lifestyles, and much to explore.
In 2021, the regional government launched the “Digital Nomads Madeira Islands” project to create a village that has become a hub for entrepreneurs and freelancers.
Digital Nomad Village Madeira
The digital nomad village is located in Ponta do Sol, just 30 minutes away from Funchal, the main city in Madeira. Since the village is small, it provides essentials such as an ATM, shopping center, restaurants, grocery store, and gas station nearby. Though entertainment options might be restricted, you’ll find all the necessities easily as you’ll know exactly where to find them.
Digital nomads in Madeira’s Village can access free coworking spaces, fostering productivity and collaboration. However, you’re encouraged to take meetings outside the building so other workers aren’t disturbed. The village is small, so you’ll often encounter familiar faces, which is one of the core reasons for its strong community.
With over 8,000 digital nomads, Madeira Digital Nomad Village is a safe space with amenities for a quality lifestyle and an enriching social experience. In terms of community, the Village goes beyond workspaces, offering various activities and events.
There are ample opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals, from dance and fitness classes to walking shelter dogs and community lunches.
The cost of living is notably inexpensive, especially for food and drinks, appealing to budget-conscious digital nomads. The one downside is that transport options might be restricted to taxis or owning a car. Remember that commuting daily from Funchal is an option due to the short distance, but it will impact your budget.
Another thing to consider prior to settling in is the availability of food. If you’re vegan, it might be difficult to find restaurants with various options.
If you’re traveling to Portugal as a digital nomad or as an expat, you’ll need housing. Our real estate experts at Viv Europe can help sort that out!
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Digital Nomad Guide To Live In Madeira Islands
Before you start living in Madeira, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the lifestyle and amenities offered in the region. Apart from knowing different coworking spaces, you must know about the different rental options, healthcare facilities, and transport options.
Earlier, we mentioned that foreigners are attracted to the Madeira Islands because of their affordability. Continue reading this guide to learn about the specificities of living costs in the Islands.
Renting an apartment or vacation rental is a common choice among digital nomads who seek privacy and comfort. If you’re on a budget, you can find co-living spaces designed specifically for digital nomads.
These spaces provide a community-oriented living experience, including shared workspaces, communal areas, and networking opportunities. It’s also an excellent choice if you value collaboration and a sense of community.
If you prefer the convenience of amenities like housekeeping, room service, and on-site facilities, options for hotels and resorts are available.
But if you’re considering living for an extended period, you can explore long-term rental options. This could involve leasing an apartment or house, providing stability and potential cost savings.
Lastly, digital nomads in Madeira can live in the Digital Nomad Village in Ponta do Sol. This purpose-built community offers accommodation, shared workspaces, networking events, and a supportive environment tailored to remote workers.
Finding a rental
Platforms such as Idealista and Airbnb offer a variety of reliable rental options. You can scroll through these to find accommodation that fits your budget and desired location. Remember that certain locations may charge a larger rent than others, depending on factors such as the neighborhood and nearby amenities.
For example, you can find a 50m² apartment in Funchal for €391 and a similar one in Ponta do Sol for €387.
Need someone to take care of this for you? Consider getting in touch with our professionals at Viv Europe!
Food & Dining
From fresh seafood to succulent meat, you can find diverse dining options in the Islands. Note that vegan or gluten-free options may be limited in the Digital Nomad Village, but you can always choose to live in other areas of Madeira.
For example, Funchal offers more options and an equally promising digital nomad landscape. You can savor regional dishes like espetada (grilled meat skewers) and taste Madeira’s renowned wine.
Cost of living
We have compiled the costs of essential expenditures in Madeira:
|Apartment Rent (one-bedroom)
|Apartment Rent (three-bedroom)
|Gasoline (per liter)
Data is from Numbeo (as of January 2024).
- Similar Article: Cost Of Living In Madeira: All You Need To Know.
Safety & Healthcare
The island’s commitment to safety and well-being appeals to the digital nomads in Madeira. With a low crime rate of 13.83 and a welcoming local community, the island ensures a secure experience.
The healthcare system is also of high quality, offering accessible medical services. Depending on your needs, you can utilize public healthcare facilities or even opt for private insurance.
Generally, the island’s public bus system connects it internally and also with other cities. Taxis and rental cars are also readily available for more flexibility. For those seeking an active commute, walking and cycling paths surround the scenic beauty of Madeira.
Do note that getting around Ponta do Sol can be challenging due to a lack of a bus network. You’ll mainly find taxis or rental cars there. Digital nomads in Madeira will find Funchal has better options budget-wise. There, a one-way ticket costs €1.95, and a monthly pass is €30.
Madeira caters to diverse entertainment options from nature exploration through hikes, water activities along beaches, and cultural events like festivals. You can indulge in culinary adventures of local specialties and outdoor sports, from golf to paragliding.
Funchal’s lively nightlife scene includes bars and live music venues, while local markets provide a taste of traditional crafts and fresh produce.
Do you need help getting a Digital Nomad Visa?
We hope this Digital Nomads guide to live in Madeira Islands was everything you hoped it would be! The Islands are an excellent destination for remote workers – as confirmed by the increasing numbers.
Got questions on how to get a Visa? Book a consultation with Viv Europe and get all the help you need! From Visa assistance to finding the perfect rental, we’re here every step of the way.
Join our Facebook Group – All About Portugal For Expats, to read stories of other expats living in Portugal and get ready to inspire others with your own! See you soon!