Many people have embraced the digital nomad lifestyle in recent years, drawn in by its freedom and flexibility. That trend is expected to grow in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic makes remote work increasingly common and more entrepreneurs test the gig economy.
The Portuguese archipelago of Madeira hopes to ride the remote working wave by opening Europe’s first digital nomad village in February.
Digital Nomads Madeira is a joint initiative created by remote working evangelist Gonçalo Hall, the government of Madeira and business networking organization Startup Madeira. The village, located in the mountainous seaside municipality of Ponta do Sol, is geared towards nomadic professionals who want to add beauty and adventure to their workdays.
Beginning on Feb. 1, independent remote workers can live in local Madeira homes for between one and six months, enjoying the destination’s warm weather, stunning views, top-notch internet services and free public work spaces. The first phase of the initiative ends on June 30.
In an interview with 150sec, a website focusing on startup companies, Hall said the village will offer exclusive events designed to build relationships between visiting remote workers and local residents. He also said the village has partnered with local businesses, including real estate agencies and car rental companies, to ensure the Ponta do Sol community benefits from the initiative.
Madeira is a group of four islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, around 250 miles north of the Canary Islands and 320 miles west of Morocco. While it is technically part of the African tectonic plate, it is culturally European.
Hall, who co-founded Remote Europe, said the region is a hidden gem that rivals the best remote working locations on the planet.
“I’ve been to Bali,” he said. “I’ve been to Thailand. I’ve been to all digital nomad paradises. But when I visited Madeira, I was blown away and immediately saw the potential there. It’s just stunning. It’s incredible.”
He predicted the islands will soon become one of the hottest remote working destinations in the world. He said other future hot spots will likely include Portugal, Croatia, Greece, Spain and Cape Verde.