Madeira is emerging as a frontrunner choice for remote workers following the opening of a major development yesterday. The Digital Nomads Village has been referred to as the most significant project in Portugal to date for remote working, following a steep rise in demand accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Crowned Europe’s Leading Island Destination 2020 (World Travel Awards) for the seventh time, the lure of this sub-tropical Atlantic haven is growing, with many seeing it as an ideal place to take up temporary residence.
The Digital Nomads Village is situated in tranquil Ponta do Sol on the south coast, with views out to the Atlantic and a short drive from the charming capital, Funchal. It is an entire village dedicated to welcome a growing community of workers who no longer need to be located in their home country.
For the pilot programme, running from 1st February to 30th June, the village is offering travellers a free working space with a desk and chair, access to a Slack community and free internet use. The team there will also facilitate access to the local community and host fun events. This symbiotic relationship between the nomads and locals is core to the brand.
The concept has launched in partnership with the Government of Madeira, StartUp Madeira and acclaimed digital nomad Gonçalo Hall. Hosting up to 100 nomads at any one time, residents must commit to staying for at least a month.
Ponta do Sol is the perfect place for such a development, being small but perfectly formed: it is a cultural hub on the archipelago, due to the investment in art and culture, has beautiful beaches and great local restaurants and bars, including on the beach – perfect for afterwork drinks. For those who like hiking there is a very scenic walk, called Levado do Moinho, close by.
Why is Madeira the perfect temporary home?
Madeira was referred to as the most enviable island on earth by author H.N. Coleridge in the 19th Century – ‘it ensures every European comfort with almost every tropical luxury’ – and this perception is still widely held today.
On the same latitude as Casablanca, the Portuguese outpost is home to some of the most striking and lush landscapes in Europe. The scenery is rugged, varied, more tropical than anywhere else in the continent and the warm sea is always close by. The rich volcanic soil, mountainous terrain and expansive Laurissilva forest – a UNESCO World Heritage Site covering 20% of the main island – mean that if nature is your thing, you will feel extremely happy here.
When working hours are over, nomads can spend time exploring the 3000km of levadas (ancient irrigation channels) which make for perfect walking tracks, sampling exotic delicacies, swimming in natural lava pools, off-roading on near vertical tracks or spotting dolphins and whales, which swim close to the shore. For the more adventurous, there is surfing, mountain biking, canyoning and trail running. And for sun worshippers, there is 9km of unspoilt sandy beach on the nearby island of Porto Santo, referred to as ‘Little Paradise’.
Funchal has a growing scene for younger people, including alfresco bars, independent boutiques, craft breweries and a range of restaurants from local establishments to fine-dining. Locals are friendly and there are immersive cultural events throughout the year, adding greatly to the experience of Madeira.