Digital Nomad Guide to Madeira, Portugal
The best places to live and stay, coworking spaces, cafes and beaches in Madeira
Where to stay in Madeira
Ponta do Sol
Beach lovers and remote workers: this is your spot. Nestled in the south of the island, Ponta do Sol is decorated in scenic costal views, pebble beaches, and promenades lined with palm trees. Along with Outsite Madeira, you'll find 4 main beaches: Anjos, Lugar de Baixo, Madelena do Mar, and Ponta Do Sol here. This area is also home to the newly launched Digital Nomad Village.
Great for first-timers, Funchal is the capital city of Madeira with all the conveniences of a capital city plus some pretty epic ocean views. With a more metropolitan feel, it features a multitude of shops, coworks, restaurants and attractions. In comparison to the rest of the island, it's a bit more expensive though still affordable.
Conveniently situated close to the airport and Funchal, Santa Cruz is a small coastal town famous for its beaches (and water park). It's a great spot for water sports like diving and snorkeling.
A little smaller and quieter than Funchal, the town of Machico is nestled on the east coast, and is home to Praia de Machico. While most beaches in Madeira are rocky or pebbled, this beach is unique in that it has golden sand imported from Morocco. Here you'll find a wide variety of restaurants, shops, bars, and accommodation in this area. This is a great area for hiking lovers as there are many trails nearby.
Digital Nomad Communities in Madeira
Madeira is an exciting place to be for digital nomads, and as word gets out about its allure, its popularity among remote workers continues to soar. Its recent boom in popularity is in large part due to the island's Digital Nomad Villa, launched in 2021. It’s been named the “most impressive offering for the remote working community”, and it’s easy to see why. The village hosts up to 100 remote workers at a time, with each one staying anywhere between one and three months. They offer a free workspace, a private Slack channel, regularly scheduled networking events, and more.
Coworking Spaces in Madeira
- Outsite Madeira
Outsite Madeira is situated in Ponta Do Sol and has 15 private bedrooms, a dedicated workspace, swimming pool and communal area.
- Digital Nomad Village's Cowork
As part of the Digital Nomad Village, remote workers will receive free access to a free coworking space available to all remote workers joining the village. It’s conveniently located in the center of Ponta Do Sol, steps away from plenty of restaurants and bars.
- Quinta Splendida
Quinta Splendida is under the same management as the Digital Nomad Village project, and is a highly rated coworking space offering daily rates for about $14 and monthly memberships for about $116.
- Vila Galé
Located in Santa Cruz, Vila Galé is a hotel with a dedicated work area. With a stay, you can purchase monthly memberships for about $72, which includes round the clock access, an on-site gym, and hot desks.
- Cowork Funchal
Cowork Funchal is a large coworking space that boasts great facilities in an old historic building. The space includes thirteen offices, two meeting rooms, and multipurpose rooms. They have multiple memberships to choose from, as well as day passes available. Monthly passes start at €242/month, and their day pass is €12.
Best cafes with Wifi in Madeira
- Design Centre Nini Andrade Silva
This design center was recently converted into a working cafe space with a robust menu, fast wifi, and beautiful ocean views.
- Loja do Chá
A great spot to unwind, Loja do Chá is a relaxed tea house in Funchal serving vegan and vegetarian options.
Things to see in Madeira
- Tour the Miradouros on the Western Coast of Madeira
Escape the beaten path and explore West Madeira's rugged coastline. The area boasts beautiful views of lush valleys, steep mountain peaks, and jagged cliffs along the coast. Some highlights include: Viewpoint Fio, Ponta do Pargo Lighthouse, Garganta Funda Viewpoint, and Boa Morte Viewpoint.
- Porto Moniz
Admire and take a dip in the natural pools here. Admission is 1.50€ and includes access to the cafe there.
- Traditional houses in Santana
When Madeira was claimed by the Portuguese in the early 1400s, they built small, triangular houses with thatched roofs. This cultural site named Casas típicas de Santana, showcases several of these houses, and is free and open to the public to visit and enter.
- Cabo Girao
These sea cliffs along the southern coast offer incredible panoramic views of the fajãs of Rancho and Cape Girão. This is also a popular place for paragliding and base jumping.
Things to do in Madeira
- Swim with whales and dolphins
There are many tour companies that offer swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving with the sea animals that call the waters of Madeira home. You'll be led by a specialists trained in dolphin and whale observations.
- Go surfing
Nicknamed the Hawaii of Europe, Madeira's waves attract surfers from all over the globe. Its surf spots are world-class, appealing mostly to experts, though there are breaks available to beginners as well.
- Go canyoning
Perfect for the adventurous, canyoning in an all-year sport here. For beginners and experts alike.
- Go hiking
With its large variety of wildly scenic trails winding throughout the island, Madeira is considered to be somewhat of a hiker's paradise. Trails for every level are available. Note that there are two types of hiking trails you'll find: Levadas, which are paths that run along manmade springs, offering a more leisurely experience, and Veredas, which are your typical hiking trails that lead up and through Madeira's mountains. Expect more of a challenge, but incredible views.
Yoga studios and gyms in Madeira
- Emilie Mangoni YOGA
Emilie hosts private and group classes as well as events. She teaches at all levels and hosts classes by the beach or in the mountains.
- Innovation Fitness Lab
Situated in La Vie Shopping Centre in Funchal Town Centre, this gym is well equipped, they offer group classes like cycling and pilates, and
- Magic Health Club
Workout with a view at this health club. Located in Funchal, you can find group classes, a swimming pool, a spa, and bodybuilding facilities
- Fitness Factory Funchal
This gym offers a great selection of packages, one which will allow entry for up to one month which is unlimited for just $35 USD per month. This is probably the best-suited package for digital nomads looking to not stay on the island for more than one month.
Shopping and groceries in Madeira
This is a small market with an attached cafe in Ponta do Sol which should cover most of what you need, though they don't carry any fresh meat or seafood.
Health Food Stores
Located in Funchal, fully stocked with organic food products, natural beauty products and supplements.
Getting around Madeira
While getting around Madeira by car is a totally viable option, it should be noted that the roads and driving conditions are particularly rugged and not for the faint of heart (or novice drivers). The roads can be narrow with sleep hills and drop-offs, and there are many long-distance tunnels spanning through mountains. Confident drivers should be fine, but if this isn't you, there are plenty of other ways to get around.
Connecting Funchal to Monte, the cable car lines are a great option for getting around this area, plus they come with some pretty great views of the mountains. A roundtrip will go for €15, though it's worth noting this is aimed more towards tourists.
The bus is a very popular way of getting around the island. Some bus routes include free audio tours available through this app, so you can learn while you ride. You can buy tickets in advance, or purchase on board from the driver. You'll find three different kinds of buses: Orange (running only throughout Funchal and its immediate surroundings A one-week unlimited ticket will cost you €15. Find bus routes and schedules here Horários do Funchal), Red (Operating in the western part of the island), and Green (operating in the eastern part).
Taxis are also available here and typically available at good rates.
Visas for Portugal
For US citizens, no visa is required for stays under 90 days. For Europeans, Portugal is part of the The Schengen Area, making it extra simple for citizens from Schengen Area counties to travel to Portugal. If you're considering a long term move to Portugal, check out our guide to Portugal's D7 Visa.
How to get to Madeira
The best way to get to Madeira is by plane or ferry. Madeira is a quick 90-minute flight from Lisbon. There are two airports in Madeira: Santa Cruz and Vila Baleira Airport, both having frequent flights well connected to Portugal and the rest of Europe. The ferry picks up and drops off at the Funchal Port, however, this mode of transport is seasonal and dependent on weather and sea levels.
Ready to book? Outsite offers discounts on 30+ day stays, and you'll be instantly connected with the digital nomad community in Portugal.