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The traditional way of working is changing. The remote work phenomenon gained serious traction with the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and shows no signs of slowing down. While many places worldwide are set to capitalise on the growth of remote work, Madeira is at the forefront of this movement.

You might have heard of Ponta do Sol Nomad Village, the world's first digital nomad village. This successful project was launched in February 2021 and has garnered a lot of attention worldwide as a "haven" for digital nomads and remote workers. However, this is not the only option for remote workers looking to scratch Madeira off their remote work bucket list.

On the eastern side of Madeira sits Machico – an unlikely place for a community of remote workers. Despite all odds, the aptly named Remote Eastcoasters found their niche here and have been very successful. We spoke with the project's founder, Dina de Freitas, and a few resident remote workers to find out how.

Madeira - A remote workers' paradise

Why is Madeira one of the world's top destinations for digital nomads and remote workers? The warm climate, breathtaking views and fast internet speeds are certainly some reasons why. Nevertheless, one significant advantage is that remote workers can benefit from a very advantageous tax regime. By becoming a Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) in Portugal, you can get tax exemptions on:

  • Income derived from high value-added activities
  • Salaries received from foreign companies
  • Dividends received from foreign companies
  • The occasional sale of cryptocurrencies
  • Many other advantages for setting up a business

We have a complete Guide for Digital Nomads in Madeira



A world's first

What Madeira lacks in size, it makes up in the diversity of landscapes and climates. Nonetheless, one common way of "dividing" Madeira is between the very sunny south side and the more humid, less sunny north side. When deciding on the place to open a digital nomad village, Ponta do Sol stands out as the perfect candidate - sunny, cosy, and with a great beach and waterfront. It's no surprise that over 1000 digital nomads have visited Ponta do Sol since the project's inception.

However, there are other alternatives for remote workers and digital nomads in Madeira. Similar coworking spaces have popped up in Funchal, Porto do Santo and Machico. We talked with Piótr, Audrey and Sandra, resident remote workers in Machico, who confessed that they preferred to live in a bigger city and be integrated into a larger local community. This is one of the factors that weighed in on their decision to choose Machico over Ponta do Sol.

Remote Eastcoasters – the origins

The Remote Eastcoasters – a coworking space in Machico - began as the brainchild of its founder, Dina de Freitas. She came to Madeira before Covid-19 and stayed in Machico, her mother's hometown. After a while, Dina began asking herself, 'What's making me stay here'. She concluded that Machico is the one city in Madeira (apart from Funchal) with everything you need. As she says, 'Everything is under a kilometre away – you don't need a car. There are beaches, pharmacies, restaurants, bars, healthcare centres, and two huge supermarkets within a kilometre radius. There is huge potential in Machico'.

Oustide view from Forum Machico, where Amparo cowork space is located

Entrance to Amparo cowork space

Remote Eastcoasters

Remote Eastcoasters

Remote Eastcoasters

Remote Eastcoasters

Remote Eastcoasters

Creating a community

Having discovered a 'where' and a 'why', Dina needed to figure out 'how'. Fortunately for Dina putting people together has always been one of her passions. After meeting and getting advice from several people, including Gonçalo Hall, the man behind Ponta do Sol Nomad Village, Dina began organising coffee dates and yoga classes for remote workers. Things quickly evolved, and not before long, Dina had a healthy group of remote workers settled in a cowork space provided to them by the local government. Amparo, their coworking space is entirely free, and so far, dozens of remote workers have already come (with some even coming back after leaving!)

 

Plans for the future

'Give Machico a chance' could be an unofficial slogan for the Remote Eastcoasters. Dina plans to incentivise the interaction between the remote workers and the local community and contribute to the exchange of ideas, experiences and know-how among remote workers, local workers and the local youth, perhaps through workshops. While Machico has a lot of untapped potential, there are some areas where it needs to grow to attract more private investment. Dina and other resident nomads point out that there needs to be a larger variety of restaurants, bars and hotels across Machico. By putting remote workers and the locals together, Dina hopes to contribute to the growth of the whole community. The future is bright!

Machico

Machico is Madeira's easternmost municipality. With close to 20.000 inhabitants, its located at the meeting point of the island's sunny, beachy south and humid, mountainous north. This municipality's unique location gives it an impressive variety of climates and landscapes. There's the parish of Caniçal, notorious for the desert-like backdrops of Ponta de São Lourenço; the foresty hills of Santo da Serra with its famous golf course, the gorgeous bay of downtown Machico, and Porto da Cruz which is a popular surfing spot and well-known for its local rum. In sum, Machico has a lot for you to discover.

NEWCO is an inward investment services provider in Portugal and Malta.

With 30 years of experience, we are your one-stop-shop for investment and relocation services in Portugal or Malta.

We have a complete Guide for Digital Nomads in Madeira



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