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Madeira is one of the fastest-growing destinations for remote workers, retirees, and expatriates in general.

Living in Madeira means having a temperate, mild climate, jaw-dropping natural landscapes, and rich gastronomy close to home without sacrificing a modern lifestyle and accessibility.

Madeirans are renowned for their hospitality. Most locals speak English or French, so you’ll have a less significant language barrier. Live your best life in Madeira!

Is Madeira a good place to live?

The short answer is yes!

Madeira has been a renowned tourist destination for centuries. As such, Madeirans are always welcoming and friendly to foreigners.

Many expatriates come from the United Kingdom, USA, France, Germany, Brazil, Venezuela, and other places and form local communities.

Because Madeira is such a popular destination for remote workers, there are several remote work communities, such as the Digital Nomad Village and the Remote EastCoasters.

Madeira is one of the safest destinations in the world, with Portugal being ranked as the 6th safest country worldwide. Madeirans are primarily Catholic but tolerant of other religions and very LGBTQ-friendly.

If you come from a big European or American city, you’ll find life in Madeira to be calmer and more stress-free.

Traffic jams usually only occur during rush hour in Funchal. Public transport is limited to buses and taxis. There are no trains, trams, or underground railways.

If you live outside Funchal, the bus routes can be tricky to understand, especially for buses going to the island’s north coast.

Most Madeiran residents have a car. Note that when moving to Madeira, you are entitled to benefit from an exemption on ISV, VAT and Customs fees on the legalisation of your vehicle.

street in downtown Funchal with people and shops

Downtown Funchal

Funchal during the evening. we can see some taxicabs and people walking the streets

Funchal at dusk

two people riding the monte toboggan in Funchal

Monte Toboggan ride in Funchal

several bolos do caco bread in a stone oven

The Madeiran bolo do caco bread

someone salting a madeiran espetada beef skewer

The famous espetada - beef skewer

Vineyards in Madeira Island

Vineyards in Madeira Island

Year-round mild climate

Madeira features a mild, relatively humid climate. The temperatures usually vary between 16⁰ C (61⁰ F) in the winter and 25⁰ C (77⁰ F) in the summer. The mild weather allows for year-round practice of water sports, hiking, trekking, and other outdoor activities.

There are various microclimates throughout the island. It is not unusual to have sunny, beach-going weather in one town and rain in the next one. Locals usually say that living in Madeira is experiencing the four seasons in a single day.

Free Education and healthcare

Public education in Madeira is free for all residents until the twelfth grade or 18 years of age. Some international schools teach classes in English and are fully integrated with Madeira’s public education system.

The University of Madeira teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses on various subjects.

The Regional Health Service (public health service) is free for all Madeiran residents. It consists of the main hospital in Madeira - Dr Nélio Mendonça Hospital and two other supporting hospitals in Funchal. A new central hospital is currently under construction. In addition, there are several public health centres throughout the island.

You can also find plenty of private hospitals and health centres, mainly in Funchal. There are pharmacies in every municipality.

How’s life in Madeira? Culture, gastronomy and more

Living in Madeira means living close to nature without sacrificing a modern lifestyle. For example, you can enjoy city life in Funchal in the morning and hike along breathtaking mountain trails in the afternoon.

In Madeira, there is no shortage of awe-inspiring natural landscapes to visit. The Laurel Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a prehistoric forest that once covered the entire island before Portuguese explorers settled here.

Today, 60% of this forest is protected and is a habitat for over 1.200 species of plants, nearly 300 species of birds, some reptiles, and invertebrates.

Many species of plants and birds are endemic to Madeira Island.  In the Laurel Forest, there is very little human development, and to reach the densest part of the forest, you have to hike along the levadas.

Madeira's cuisine is rich in history. There are many mouth-watering traditional dishes for you to try: espetada madeirense, carne de vinha d'alhos, black scabbardfish, and fried corn are just some of the traditional dishes of Madeira.

Madeira is synonymous with winemaking. The world-famous Madeira Wine is a fortified wine produced with local grapes varieties (some that don’t exist elsewhere). Madeira Wine has a unique history and ageing process. Check out our article for the complete history of Madeira Wine.

If you are more of a beer drinker, Madeira has its own beer – Coral. And one cannot forget the traditional Poncha – the traditional Madeiran cocktail made with lemon juice, honey and sugarcane aguardente.

Madeirans love to party! Something is always happening, so you’ll have plenty of things to do in Madeira.

Living in Madeira - FAQs

Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago situated in the North Atlantic Ocean. It consists of Madeira Island, Porto Santo, and two uninhabited groups of islands: the Desertas and the Selvagens.

Yes. Madeira is an Autonomous Region of Portugal, which means that while all Portuguese laws apply to Madeira, it benefits from some derogations, such as the more advantageous tax regime of the International Business Centre of Madeira.

Madeira is 1.000 km away from the Portuguese mainland. It’s approximately a 1:30h flight from Lisbon and Porto.

Madeira Island is 740 km2 (286 sq. mi), and Porto Santo is 42 km2 (16,4 sq. mi).

The Madeiran archipelago has roughly 250.000 inhabitants, 98% of which live in Madeira Island.

Yes! Madeira is very safe and tolerant, with low criminality and a very high quality of life. Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world (6th in the Global Peace Index).

Well, it depends on what you value the most. If you love city life, Funchal might be your best option. Calheta and Ponta do Sol are the sunniest places, perfect for the practice of surfing, paddling and other water sports. If you value calmness and being surrounded by nature, the island’s north coast is your ideal location.

Most expatriates live in Funchal and along the south coast of Madeira, in the municipalities of Calheta and Ponta do Sol.

The cost of living in Madeira is lower than in mainland Europe. Goods, house rentals, and utility bills cost less, especially compared to bigger cities like Lisbon, Porto, London, or Paris. Check out the average cost of living in Madeira.

Yes. There are no restrictions to buying property in Portugal for residents or non-residents. Our real estate department is ready to help you find your dream property for residence or as a second home. Note that owning property in Portugal does not, in itself, make you a resident.

Yes. The generally lower cost of living, mild climate and friendly locals make Madeira one of the best places in Portugal to retire to. If you plan to retire to Madeira, you must have a Portuguese tax number (NIF), open a bank account in Portugal, and have a residence permit. Getting a tax representative is also recommended.

Your foreign pensions will be taxed at a lower tax rate of 10% if you apply for Non-Habitual Resident status.

NEWCO can help you with all of this.

Yes. There are already some fast-growing communities of remote workers in Madeira, such as the Digital Nomad Village, the Remote EastCoasters, and more.

Remote workers in Madeira have access to a special Digital nomad residence permit. Contact us to learn more.