Last summer, I was able to spend a five week workation on the Portuguese island of Madeira. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions of my recent work life.
I work in politics in the German capital Berlin. In the months of July and August, the Parliament goes into summer recess. There is still a lot to do, but at some point I asked myself – why do I have to sit here in an empty office building? What is keeping me here?
In a workation in Madeira, I found a way for me to recover from stress built up over the year, to recharge the battery while continuing to be productive. Not only that! I would say, properly planned, a workation can provide new motivation for the tasks ahead.
Maybe you're just wondering which destination is suitable for a workation? If so, look no further. In this post I argue why Madeira is a perfect destination for a workation.
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What is a Workation?
A workation is a new work model that combines work and travel – a trend that is becoming increasingly popular among people that (temporarily) get to work remotely.
So how does it work? Well, you do your regular work – just not in your regular (home) office, but in a different location, preferably somewhere nice.
The key is to combine work and travel, to settle into a fresh new environment while following a familiar daily routine. The best of both worlds.
After work and on the weekends, you get to enjoy your leisure time in a different environment – vacation feeling included. Especially in the wake of the Corona pandemic, this work model has experienced a real boost.
Why Madeira is a Perfect Destination for a Workation
#1 Madeira Offers a Great Infrastructure
When traveling to Madeira, landing at Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport is already a highlight. Due to its location and its spectacular runway construction, pilots must undergo additional training to land at the airport. Here's a short video I filmed during take-off.
Beyond that, Madeira boasts a well-developed expressway system. Due to its compact size, almost every point of the island can be reached in max. 1.5 hours driving time. This makes it possible to explore different corners of the island after work.
If you want to book a rental car for your stay, I recommend not to choose the smallest available car. Once you leave the highways, steep roads with serpentines lurk in many places on Madeira. A few more horsepower is worth its weight in gold there.
Madeira also has very good cell phone coverage and fast internet. During my workation, I found myself noticing several times that the WiFi connection was faster and the telephone connection more stable than in my home office in Berlin. These are both big plus points that speak in favor of a workation in Madeira.
Overall, more and more digital nomads are discovering the advantages of Madeira. Since 2021, there is even a designated Digital Nomad Village in Ponta do Sol, which offers free working spaces plus convenient options for transport and housing. The village might be a good option for solo travelers.
#2 Madeira is an Incredibly Rich Island
Hawaii of Europe, island of eternal spring or island of flowers – Madeira has many nicknames. They give an idea of how blessed the Portuguese island is. Due to its location in the Atlantic Ocean, the climate is mild all year round.
In combination with the fresh spring water, channeled around the island via the typical levadas (small waterways), this makes for great conditions for flora and fauna.
Did you know that the word "madeira" means "wood" in Portuguese? The name was given to the island by the first settlers, who found with Madeira a lush island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Here's a glimpse into what it looks like driving along the beautiful northern coast.
When choosing Madeira for your home office location, you get to explore the many beautiful corners of the island in your free time. I guarantee you, it won't be boring! Whether you want to explore lush green rainforests, hike across banana plantations or swim in the sea, Madeira has something for everyone.
#3 Madeiran Food
Madeira's cuisine is rather down-to-earth and rustic, but super tasty. Fruits and vegetables are grown in many places on the island and end up fresh on the supermarket shelves or on your plate.
Look forward to delicious bananas, papayas and passion fruit as well as classic vegetables like carrots, beans and corn. Meat and dairy products come from the neighboring Azores.
The Portuguese, as I perceived it, like it hearty. During my five-week workation on Madeira, I feasted on the local cuisine – from delicious garlic bread and scabbard fish with passion fruit sauce to juicy meat skewers and tasty "poncha" cocktails. You may also check out my separate food guide to Madeira.
#4 Living Expenses on Madeira are Rather Affordable
Within the EU, the cost of living in Portugal (from a German perspective) is cheaper than at home. Restaurant visits with appetizer, main course and drink, for example, won’t have to set you back more than 12-15 euros. This is also true for Madeira. For a glass of wine I rarely paid more than 2.50 euros.
The cost of accommodation in Madeira is equally affordable. On Airbnb, you can find many well-equipped apartments for about 250-300 euros per week for 2 people.
The apartments could use a little updating here and there. However, the very good location, the weekly cleaning service, a desk and super fast wifi are clear advantages that facilitated my home office on Madeira. Jorge was always available beforehand and during my stay. I felt very well taken care of.
#5 Madeira offers a pleasant work climate - literally!
Madeira offers a mild climate all year round. In winter, the temperature does not drop far below the 20 degree mark, and in summer the thermometer rarely climbs above 30 degrees. So it is neither too cold nor too hot. Even in summer, the temperatures are pleasant to work during the day and jump into the sea or go for a hike in the evening.
Due to this mild climate, it seem that plants grow and thrive on every square inch of the island. Their lush green and the magnificent colors of the many flowers offer a very pleasant and refreshing working atmosphere.
Are you interested in a workation on Madeira? Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions about setting up your temporary home office in Madeira!