Seven hundred kilometers west from Casablanca rest the Madeira Islands, a magnificent autonomous Portuguese archipelago full of volcanic landscapes and rich nature.
Unlike the Azores, Madeira has been attracting tourists, ex-pats, and nomads from all around the globe for decades, and steadily became a haven for remote workers.
But why is that the case? What is the recipe behind the impressive growth of digital nomad communities in Madeira in the last ten years?
Let’s take a moment and dive together into the middle of the Atlantic, to give context as to why you should consider the Madeira Islands as your next destination!
How is the internet in the Madeira Islands?
According to Madeira Island Direct’s website, the main island surprisingly scored the highest download and upload internet speed on fixed accesses, respectively 83Mbps and 49Mbps, following a test done in 2020.
Almost the entirety of Madeira is covered with broadband internet and you’ll have access to free WiFi in public places such as the airport, in the city center, cafés, hotels, and restaurants.
Wifimap.io lists 978 free WiFi hotspots in Funchal, the main city, only.
Therefore it is pretty safe to say that you will not experience any inconsistencies during your stay and that the internet speed in Madeira is fast and reliable.
And much like the internet coverage, the 4G network spreads across the island, except in the more rural and natural areas.
As shown by the previous link, the best mobile network provider is NOS due to its superior coverage.
One thing to note is that in general, the south of Madeira is better equipped than the northern side, mainly due to the attractiveness of the south like the more pleasant weather and beaches.
The actual governor of the Madeira Islands, Mr. Barreto Rui, has recently addressed that the government of the region is looking to improve the connectivity and digital nomad communities in cities like Santana, Sao Vicente, and Porto Moniz.
Where to stay in the Madeira Islands?
After a quick read through that last article, we can see multiple projects in Madeira, organized by local remote workers in correlation with the regional government, that aim to bring digital nomads together.
On top of that, coworking spaces are becoming more common and their design reminds the ones you can find in South-East Asian countries or other digital nomad meccas.
Thus, you’ll have a plethora of options to enjoy your stay in Madeira, starting with the ambitious Digital Nomad Village.
Digital Nomad Madeira Islands
Located in the warmest part of the island, in Ponta do Sol, is the result of a project created in February 2021 by StartUp Madeira and the notorious digital nomad Goncalo Hall with the help of Madeira’s government: the first Digital Nomad Village.
As a member of Digital Nomad Madeira Islands, you’ll have access to a vast coworking space situated in the John do Passos Cultural Centre, exclusive and community events (sportive activities such as Yoga and Reiki), and finally advice and counseling for accommodations.
Indeed, Flatio.com and other local accommodations providers, have partnered with StartUp Madeira to help travelers that are looking for a place to stay and propose lower prices.
Since the opening, Digital Nomad Madeira Islands have welcomed over 300 nomads and applications are still coming by the hundreds, and they are looking to expand to other cities in Madeira and mainland Portugal.
But worry not about the space, as cafés, hotels, and rented houses and apartments in Ponta do Sol are generally equipped with free WiFi connection.
All things considered, the Digital Nomad Village is a great way to introduce yourself to the Madeiran lifestyle while staying connected to your work and also fellow digital nomads.
Digital Nomad Retreats
This one is a bit more specific as it targets groups of workers who want to participate in a retreat far from typical office work.
Located near the Madeira Airport in Santo Antonio da Serra in the eastern part of the island, Quinta do Cabeço Alto is a coliving (up to 12 people) residence with an enormous 6000m2 garden and stunning view.
The residence provides a large and colorful communal space with access to high-speed WiFi, a well-equipped gym, a yoga room, and lastly a conference room to handle your private video calls.
They also organize frequently other types of events, such as hiking or whale watching.
If you have a few friends or colleagues interested in working abroad, don’t hesitate and book this place, you won’t be disappointed.
Coworking & Coliving Spaces
Here is a short list with detailed information on the remaining coworking spaces in Madeira.
Set in the capital city of Madeira, Funchal, Cowork is at the forefront of productive shared spaces for remote workers.
The main coworking space has 34 seatings with high-speed WiFi, some are furnished with an additional monitor and you’ll find a printer, scanner, and a projector.
Cowork provides a fully equipped kitchen as well where water, coffee, and fresh beverages can be consumed, although snacks are available for a price at a vending machine nearby.
There’s a beautiful sense of community in Cowork, as they often organize workshop events to develop your ideas and projects and finally socializing parties in the courtyard. A must for any digital nomads visiting Madeira!
Closer to the Digital Nomad Village concept, HubRemotely is an organization that tries to guide digital nomads coming into Madeira.
From coworking and coliving spaces to tours and other activities, you can directly contact them and they will help you in arranging your trip.
At this moment in time, only two locations are opened for coworking, the Vila Galé (maps link) which is a hotel in Santa Cruz, and Quinta Splendida (maps link), another hotel with a botanical garden and wellness programs.
Sometimes, you got to start somewhere, and helping a local organization to expand its network seems like a fairly good thing to do.
I recommend using AnIslandApart.com as their search engine is specifically made to find all sorts of housings on Madeira.
And as I talked about it higher in the post, Flatio.com is another great tool to find cheap accommodations in Madeira.
Why work remotely from the Madeira Islands?
Madeira is known as the island where Spring never leaves. All year-round, you can enjoy the beach and the activities that come with it, but also the nightlife.
As astounding as it is to read, there is not a single moment where traveling to Madeira is wrong, except if you’re looking to do a unique activity such as whale watching.
Think of the Azores but warmer. It can be quite windy in some areas of the north but it is never too hot, never too cold, the temperature during winter is 18C° on average, and goes to 25C° in the summer.
The amazing landscapes and activities to do
Madeira sits at the top of a shield volcano which created irregulars and uneven terrain, especially on the northern side, dominated by unending and stunning cliffs.
This brings a lot of hikers from around the world, as Madeira’s hiking trails are truly breathtaking.
There are also a lot of beaches around the main island, where you can practise surfing, admire the marine biodiversity through snorkeling and whale or dolphin watching.
Thrill-seekers might want to look at activities such as paragliding, canyoning, or even mountain biking. There are so many things to do, that it is impossible to get bored.
The cost of living
Much like Portugal as a whole, the Madeira islands have a lower cost of living than most European countries.
It is not hard to find mid to long-term accommodations since tourism is the main income for the Madeira Islands.
For a nice-looking flat in the center of Funchal, the price starts roughly around $885 per month.
You can also expect cheap and exquisite food, even a full night-out is very affordable.
Madeira provides every amenity you can hope for a healthy working environment, from the internet and 4G coverage to the many choices of accommodation.
Furthermore, the cost of living is fairly low and even the government itself is working towards welcoming more digital nomads in the coming years.
I cannot recommend this beautiful archipelago enough, and I do hope that I convinced you to try and experience it for yourself!