Sick of the boffice? Atlantic island opens 'Digital Nomads Village' for remote workers

Madeira is joining countries like Iceland, Croatia and Estonia in pitching for a growing remote working business...

Ponta do Sol, Madeira. Photo:

Pól Ó Conghaile

Working remotely? How about doing it from the Portuguese island of Madeira?

Of course, non-essential travel is off the cards in Ireland for now, and Madeira is currently rated as 'red' on the EU's traffic light maps for travel.

But both will hopefully change in the not-too-distant future, and Madeira is as tempting an alternative to the office (or 'boffice') as you'll find.

Digital Nomads Village opens on February 1 in Ponto do Sol on the south coast, as a response to what its tourism board says is an increasing demand for people to live and work remotely on the island.

Applicants need to register on its website, must be employed and provide a job title, and commit to a minimum stay of at least one month.

You'll also need to book your own flights and accommodation - two-bed apartments start from around €800 a month in the village centre.

That doesn't sound too onerous though, with stunning Atlantic views as well as beaches, bars and local restaurants nearby, along with natural lava pools and the scenic hike, Levado do Moinho.

Temperatures in spring average around 17 degrees Celsius in these parts, too.

Remote workers will get a free workspace at the local John Dos Passos Cultural Centre with desk, chair, internet and access to a Slack community.

The pilot programme lasts to June 30, and is part of the Madeira Digital Nomad program, which aims to tempt professionals and digital entrepreneurs to make the island their home for months at a time.

It comes as destinations all over the world, from Croatia to Dubai, Portugal, Estonia and the Canary Islands, are increasingly offering packages and long-stay visas as incentives to remote workers.

Iceland is allowing foreign nationals from countries not requiring a visa to stay six months, for example, as long as they are employed elsewhere and earn at least €6,200 a month.

With tourism in collapse, the hope is that 'workationers' will rent unused Airbnbs or villas, spend at restaurants and explore in their downtime.

Last week, Algarve Tourism also released a range of remote work deals, including 15 nights at the four-star Hotel Faro from €800, including hi-speed WiFi, second monitor and laptop support and 15pc off food and drink.

“With first class healthcare and with English widely spoken, it is a perfect place to work from for an extended period," said its President, João Fernandes.