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Island Paradise Creates Digital Nomad Village—With Free Wifi and Workspace


Arthur Krijgsman

Reprinted with permission from World in general, a news website on nature, politics, science, health and travel.

Winner of Europe’s Leading Island Destination award for five consecutive years, the Portuguese island of Madeira seeks to capitalize on the increase in the number of a unique type of traveler, digital nomads, by building a completely specialized city for their residence.

While COVID-19 has forced millions of workers into the telecommuting space, when they got there, they discovered that the sphere was already inhabited by Anthony Bourdain-type people who travel year-round and work from their computers.

Realizing that this market was driven by the rise of telecommuting and that the stunning beauty of the island would be deeply attractive to digital nomads, Madeira has created Digital nomadic people, a place with fast Internet, exclusive hotel property, community events and a free office space.

It is located in the quiet Ponta do Sol on the south coast, overlooking the Atlantic and a short drive from the capital of Funchal. Released in February, the pilot program for the people it will last until the end of June.

“The islands of Madeira have the perfect conditions to attract digital nomads with their natural beauty, nature activities, culture and fantastic weather conditions throughout the year,” the town’s website reads. “There was an urgent need to create an integrated strategy to attract this market, in order to make Madeira also known as one of the best places in the world to work remotely.”

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This concept is being launched in partnership with the Government of Madeira, StartUp Madeira and the acclaimed digital nomad Gonçalo Hall. Hosting up to 100 nomads at a time, residents must commit to staying for at least a month.

Europe’s island travel market is wildly competitive, with places like the Azores and its volcanoes, Sicily with its food and culture, the Greek islands with their long history, and Cyprus all battling for market share each holiday season. . Nonetheless, Madeira has been considered the best island destination in Europe for years.

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At the same latitude as Casablanca, the Portuguese outpost is home to a landscape that is both rugged and smooth, and more like the Caribbean than anywhere else on the continent, with warm seas always close at hand. The rich volcanic soil, mountainous terrain and forests that cover 20% of the main island serve to envelop much of Madeira in natural beauty.

Madeira’s forests are unlike anything on Earth. Laurissilva, or laurel forest, is a UNESCO World Heritage siteand an outstanding relic of a previously widespread forest type that covered much of southern Europe 15-40 million years ago.

Now, however, this type of forest, with 79 unique species of vascular plants, is found only in the Canary Islands, Azores and Madeira.

Madeira was referred to as the “most enviable island on Earth” by author HN Coleridge in the 19th century. “Well now, if you are a digital nomad, you can live and work there today.

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