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Why This European Island Is Skyrocketing In Popularity With American Travelers

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When the words Europe and island are next to each other, it’s usually the glitzy Mediterranean that’s the first place to come to mind. However, there is another trending destination that American travelers are discovering, and this one is over two thousand miles from the Mediterranean.

The newest trendy island location to win people over is Portugal’s Madeira, an autonomous region located about 600 miles out into the Atlantic from the coast of Portugal. 

A young female tourist on Ponta do Sol Beach in eastern Madeira in summer copy

As you may have already read, Portugal is often found to be one of the top countries for both a holiday as well as for digital nomads, and its popularity doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. So, with all the benefits of a Portuguese way of life combined with an island vibe, what’s not to love about Madeira?

In their 2023 Digital Nomad Report, popular rental housing platform Flatio has found that Madeira is the 7th overall favorite spot for remote workers and the 3rd destination that people are looking forward to visiting next.

@destinationinspiration This place looks unreal! Often called the Hawaii of Europe, Madeira is an island off the coast of Portugal that offer stunning views and bucket list hikes! #travelinspo #bucketlisttravel #traveltips #airbnbfinds #traveltiktok #hiking #madeira cc: @gustavokarlsson @Jon Miksis @Meghan ♬ Madan (King) – Bakermat

Here’s Why Madeira Is Skyrocketing In Popularity With American Travelers: 

Getting There And Away  

With direct flights from New York’s JFK airport to Madeira’s capital city of Funchal, getting to this island paradise is easy and convenient. When you have had enough of the island lifestyle, multiple daily flights connect the island to the mainland of Portugal, not to mention other major European cities. 

Due to its location, Madeira is a year-round destination, as it’s nearby the topics and far from the typical European climate. 

Its popularity does rise in the winter when many mainlander Portuguese and travelers from other European cities vacation here for its warmer and sunny climate. 

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Madeira 7 day travel guide📍🇵🇹 🎥dainluka

♬ original sound – Discover Madeira Island

Low-Cost Lifestyle  

Portugal has been consistently finding itself at the top of affordable destination lists recently, and Madeira is no exception.

While luxury properties and high-end restaurants are on offer here, sticking to a budget can be easy with a bit of planning.

There are endless Airbnbs and hotels all over the island, meaning shopping around for the best price is a no-brainer.

Going out for dinner and drinks is affordable, and transportation doesn’t break the bank either, especially when compared to the rising cost of these things in the United States. 

Aerial drone view of Camara de Lobos village panorama near to Funchal, Madeira. Small fisherman village with many small boats in a bay.jpg

Stunning Scenery 

Madeira Island is the primary island of the Madeira archipelago and is joined by the smaller island of Porto Santo and the uninhabitable islands of Desert Island and Selvagens Island. 

Known for their picturesque views, world-class beaches, and mild climate, the islands are volcanic, meaning they are rocky and covered with exotic flora to marvel at. 

Some epic hikes with jaw-dropping views of the island topography and the Atlantic Ocean are a favorite pastime there, as are watersports, fishing, and whale watching. 

With the small capital city of Funchal, you can easily explore and feel at home without being overcrowded and overwhelmed. Getting out of the city is easy and convenient, and many smaller towns lie around the island worthy of exploring and getting to see the way of life for the locals. 

@katbennettphoto Cost breakdown of one of my favorite trips of 2022 👉 Madeira!! #madeiraisland #madeiratravel #travelbudget #funchalmadeira #azoresislands #portugaltravel #seixalmadeira #picoruivo #portomonizmadeira #islandvacation #madeira ♬ Would That I (True that I saw her hair like the branch of a tree) – Hozier

Off The Beaten Path 

As the country has been gaining more popularity with travelers recently, many of mainland Portugal’s hotspots are getting increasingly crowded with tourists.

Ask anyone who has been to Lisbon or Porto lately, and they can tell you firsthand that crowds are squeezing in all the major tourist attractions.

Madeira is one area of the country where you can explore and still have many places to yourself, as many people don't make their way out here on a trip to Portugal. 

This is likely to change soon, though, as more people discover the island and all the reasons to visit.

view of town in Madeira

Ideal For Digital Nomads

Madeira's location is also a great plus to American travelers that are planning on working remotely while visiting.

The location and central time zone make coordination across multiple other time zones and continents a bit easier than it would be if you headed further into mainland Europe.

For the digital nomads, wifi, co-working spaces, and overall great infrastructure help two make this a top choice for remote working. 

Funchal Old Town, The Capital Of The Island Of Madeira, An Autonomous Community Part Of Portugal On The Atlantic Sea

Solo Traveler Friendly

Having continuously been ranked as one of the safest destinations in Europe, Madeira is ideal for the solo traveler as well.

The locals are friendly and happy to see visitors, and English is widely spoken in the tourist areas (although of course a bit of basic Portuguese is always appreciated).

Travelers report that walking around the cities after dark was problem-free, and hiking solo is also common to see, although remaining aware of your surroundings and normal safety advice should be followed.

porto santo beach

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Monday 21st of August 2023

I would like information on possibly retiring in Portugal cost of living health care etc