Madeira might not be the first destination you have in mind when planning your travels as a digital nomad. Maybe you are only familiar with the island because it is the birthplace of Christiano Ronaldo. However, the Madeira archipelago is so much more! It’s a hidden gem for both tourists and digital nomads. In fact, we actually think; That Portugal is the best places to live for digital nomads in 2022.
But why should you add Madeira to your destination bucket list as a digital nomad?
Why Digital Nomads should consider Madeira
Madeira is one of the very few places in Europe with a subtropical climate. That usually means sunshine year-round, with hot summers and mild winters, making it a perfect place for digital nomads to escape the winter.
The Madeira archipelago is an autonomous region of Portugal, comprising four islands off the northwest coast of Africa – just like the more “hyped” Canary Islands. However, Madeira is very different from the Spanish chain of islands, and you will experience that in everything from culture to landscapes.
Madeira is often called the “Hawaii” of Europe, and for good reasons. Nature is outstanding, so if you are into; hiking, scuba diving, surfing, or a unique road trip, then you will love the surroundings. There is plenty to do for digital nomads in Madeira, and we highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle in tune with nature.
The Island of Madeira is rich in culture, and you will find excellent local cuisines where the seafood is a must-try!
By now, we might have sparked your curiosity about Madeira, but what makes the island different from other digital nomad destinations, and how did Ponta do Sol become the World’s first digital nomad village?
The world's first digital nomad village
You might already be familiar with digital nomad hubs like; Canggu in Bali or Chiang Mai in Thailand. You are probably wondering – what makes a digital nomad village any different from these destinations?
Most well-known remote work destinations have become digital nomad hubs because people like the place’s culture, nature, weather, or general vibe. Then private businesses like cafés, coworking spaces, etc. have seized t opportunity that has led to a growing community that benefits digital nomads and remote workers.
What makes Ponta do Sol in Madeira different is their approach. Instead of waiting for increased demand among digital nomads, they have created an environment and opportunity that will put Madeira on the radar of remote workers.
The project ‘Digital Nomads of Madeira‘ is a collaboration between the regional government of Madeira, Startup Madeira, and digital nomad; Gonçalo Hall. In partnership, they have made an effort to attract more digital nomads to Madeira and Porto Santo.
What makes the digital nomad village in Madeira the first of its kind is the government support and the wish for a digital transformation of Ponta do Sol. They saw an opportunity during the Covid-19 pandemic and created this unique project instead of waiting for digital nomads and businesses to pop up by themself.
But what exactly is the Digital Nomad Village project in Madeira, and how have they created a community where digital nomads can flourish?
The digital transformation of Ponta do Sol
The Digital nomad village in Madeira is a good initiative that boosts innovation and the digital transformation of Ponta do Sol. Let’s cover some of the benefits of choosing Madeira as your temporary or permanent nomad home.
The idea behind the initiative was to create an infrastructure that could help aspiring nomads settle in Medeira and provide the necessary facilities and social support to boost growth. The Nomad Village pilot project has been a big success, and the government has already decided to extend its lifespan.
By knowing the needs of nomads, the project aims to blend digital nomads with the local businesses and Ponta do Sol inhabitants, turning it into a community of people that have a strong positive impact on the village, both socially and economically.
The Nomad Village has adapted local products and services to fit the needs of digital nomads. That involves the local community and private entities like hotels, rent-a-cars services, cafés & restaurants, accommodations, consultants, lawyers, etc.
Digital Nomads Madeira has set up a coworking space in the center of Ponta Do Sol, which is free to use! The epic coworking space provides both indoor and outdoor facilities for remote workers.
In Madeira, you don’t have to worry about internet speed which is often a concern for digital nomads when staying on an island. The Autonomous Region of Madeira has the highest fixed internet speeds in Portugal, providing super fast download and upload speeds.
Furthermore, the project tries to make the process of moving to Ponta Do Sol easy and stress-free by helping with accommodation and other practical things. It’s easy to find a room or an apartment through their international accommodation partners Flatio & NomadX. They have also listed a few houses and hotels on their website, where additional discount codes are available for nomads.
Co-living spaces are also starting to pop up in the small coastal village. Outsite recently opened a beautiful beachfront property for digital nomads looking for long-term rentals.
The organization behind the Digital Nomad Village makes sure to arrange events where its community can meet over networking events, sports activities, or simply a night out. The Nomad Village has created a Slack group that makes it easy to connect and keep updated on weekly events. A calendar is updated weekly with everything from skill-sharing and mindfulness sessions to hiking and water sports activities.
In some parts of the world, digital nomads have a bad reputation because they come to enjoy the good aspects of a place without really contributing to the local community. It often causes inflated real estate prices and other changes that make it more expensive for the locals.
We believe that this government-supported project in Medeira is a great way to address this issue. Through their innovative approach, they have managed to blend digital nomads with the local community in a balanced and controlled way. We see it as a good solution where both parties can benefit from each other and grow together.
Madeira digital nomad visa
EU citizens and nomads from visa-exempt countries can enjoy a stay of 90 days without registration. Others can achieve the same status by applying for a short-stay visa.
You will need to register with the local immigration office to obtain a temporary residency if you want to live in Madeira as an expat. Luckily Portugal offers some very beneficial opportunities for expats.
The best way to find out if you need a visa before coming to Madeira is by contacting your embassy in Portugal.
Portugal's Golden Visa and Non-Habitual Resident Status (NHR)
Portugal is well known for its Golden Visa, which grants you residency in exchange for qualifying investment in Portugal. If you get a Golden Visa, you can stay in Portugal as long as you wish and be eligible for citizenship at the end of five years.
The Non-Habitual Resident Status (NHR) is a good alternative for those looking for a more simple residency process where no investment is needed. The NHR program offers a beneficial tax scheme for new residents and is valid for a period of 10 years.