The East Coast of Madeira is where you might settle if you want to be a little more secluded, closer to nature, but still well-connected. You can choose from a few picturesque villages in this area, such as Porto da Cruz, Caniçal, and Santo da Serra. Beloved by outdoorsy digital nomads, these villages form a triangle around Machico, the second largest city of Madeira. Whichever village grabs your fancy, you will still be within a 30-minute drive from the capital, Funchal, and about 10 minutes from Machico.
The Madeira East Coasters community organizes weekly meetups in the villages around Machico. So you can live your secluded mountain village dream, work, and still have options to meet people without much effort. Nomads who choose to live on this side of the island have access to the best hiking, trail running, and mountain biking trails. The climate is generally cooler than down south, but with more precipitation.
Porto da Cruz is popular with surfers and has a well-rounded village center, with cafés facing the ocean, perfect for a quick work session. Some people come here just to eat the great food at A Pipa. Meanwhile, Caniçal has probably the most beautiful shoreline for kayaking and paddle boarding and an impressive black sand beach to chill on a hot day. It has a variety of small restaurants in the center if you want to switch it up and work from a terrace. Santo da Serra is situated deep in the mountains and might seem secluded, but Machico is only a short, eight-minute drive from center to center. Santo da Serra also has a unique co-living place in a vast garden, Home Office Madeira.
Some of the most beautiful trails are in this part of Madeira. Walk the Levada do Caniçal, or one of the most spectacular hikes, Levada do Larano. When it comes to hikes, the levadas are what make Madeira like nowhere else. The levadas are a sophisticated irrigation system carved into the mountains by the early settlers to transport water from the Northern, higher elevation parts of the island to the South.
You can use the Walkme app and website for guidance, which is an app especially designed for Madeira’s levadas. Just know if you live on the east coast, you’ll need a car. Although you might get away with calling a cab or ride-share, or taking the bus to Machico. When you get to the island, get a few cab contacts to save to your phone.
Today, she writes for environmental and travel magazines and just launched a brand naming agency, giving into her language geek side
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