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October 30, 2021

Designed as a utopia for remote workers, and located on the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira, the world’s first official digital nomad village offers free workspace and wifi for those staying a month or more.

Making its debut earlier this year, Digital Nomads Madeira Islands is the brainchild concept of acclaimed digital nomad Goncalo Hall who wanted to bring digital nomads – a growing body of remote workers who enjoy the flexibility and freedom of the digital nomad lifestyle – together whilst bringing in revenue.

The first official digital nomad village is born

With the rise in remote working during the pandemic and increasing numbers of remote workers looking to work in sunnier climes or work while they travel, Hall pitched the idea to the Government of Madeira and along with StartUp Madeira, the concept was born.

The first Digital Nomad Village in the Digital Nomads Madeira Islands concept, which was piloted in February before being unveiled officially in July, is located in the coastal town of Ponta do Sol.

A short drive from the capital, Funchal, and with 8,200 inhabitants, it’s considered to be the “hottest municipality of the island” and credited with being the island’s cultural hub delivering beautiful beaches, great dining and drinking spots and numerous hiking trails.

What does the digital village offer?

Designed as a “place to mingle, work and network with digital nomads and the local community”, the digital village hosts up to 100 people at any one time, and since February has been visited by more than 500 international digital nomads – from entrepreneurs and developers to lawyers, writers and consultants – with an incredible 9,200 remote workers from 105 countries having registered with the intention to visit once Covid restrictions ease.

Digital nomads must stay a minimum of one month, maximum of three months, and will get free communal working space, free access to Slack, and free strong WiFi (500mb download speed) at the John dos Passos Cultural Centre. Digital nomads also get access to a village hosting team who can help facilitate exchanges between nomads and locals, and they can participate in exclusive events, talks and workshops held on a daily basis. To access this, remote works have to commit to staying for a minimum of one month.

The concept, which is set to continue until at least 2024 with the village likely to be replicated throughout Portugal with plans for a further one in Madeira and various concepts in rural areas of Portugal.

Why choose Madeira?

Having been named ‘Europe’s Leading Island Destination 2020′ in the World Travel Awards for the seventh time, Madeira is a pull for tourists and nomads alike offering year-round sunshine, stunning scenery, activities in nature and culture and easy access to the rest of Europe.

But that’s not all. In the top 10 of Nomadlist, Madeira is considered by digital nomads due to its safety, good infrastructures, fast internet and places to work from. According to Digital Nomads Madeira Islands. It boasts “the perfect conditions to attract digital nomads”.

And with the rise in recent years of small businesses, from independent stores to boutique hotels, an increasing number of young people are setting up shop here.

Rise of the digital nomad visa

Since the onset of the pandemic, and the Work From Anywhere possibility, digital nomadism has exploded with more and more remote workers looking to relocate to sunnier climes and lifestyle-rich destinations.

This has given rise to the unveiling of a roster of digital nomad visas by countries worldwide all opening their doors and shores to overseas remote workers.

Barbados was the first country out of the digital nomad blocks in July 2020 with its 12-month visa and this was followed by other Caribbean countries including Antigua & Barbuda (2-year digital nomad visa), Bermuda (1-year residency), and the Cayman Islands (up to 24 months).

But it’s not just the Caribbean coming up digital nomad trumps. The UAE has unveiled a 12-month visa for workers and their families; Estonia, Georgia and Croatia all now deliver one-year digital nomad visas and even Iceland offers a six-month remote working visa.