In a destination that has always excelled in the art of welcoming, those who visit Madeira increasingly want to become residents. While this piece of paradise embraced by the vastness of the Atlantic has always attracted tourists from all over the world, property here is increasingly sought after by those who, on their visits to the island of eternal spring, are captivated by its beauty and the excellent quality of life they find here.
In addition to its mild climate, the island has been blessed with breathtaking landscapes: majestic mountains and cliffs, crystal clear waters, waterfalls, the mythical levadas, nature reserves, beaches and the Laurissilva forest, an ancient treasure that has been declared a World Heritage Site. Crowned the World's Leading Island Destination by the World Travel Awards since 2015, Madeira is a true sanctuary for nature lovers and digital nomads alike, all in search of beauty, serenity and connection. Best of all? This enchanting paradise is very accessible too as it is just 90 minutes by plane from Lisbon and there are regular low-cost flights to Madeira from major European cities.
Together, these factors have made Madeira an increasingly popular destination for both local and foreign investors seeking a property in a beautiful destination with strong potential for capital appreciation.
Since the pandemic, its appeal has grown by leaps and bounds, especially amongst HNW individuals. As the regional government kept its doors open to tourists during the period of travel restriction, Madeira received an influx of travellers from all over the world, many of whom were accustomed to luxury travel destinations. The high-end property market has also benefited from this increased interest from HNW individuals as prime property prices have risen by 5% annually over the past three years.
This increase in value has been largely driven by the boom in digital nomads, who are often attracted by the idea of buying a home abroad. Remote working allows them to move to the island, escape the routine of the big cities and find a healthier lifestyle and a sense of community rooted in the centuries-old traditions of this subtropical oasis of just 741km².
This phenomenon of remote workers, which did not exist on the island before the pandemic, has even prompted the regional government to develop projects to promote Madeira as a destination for digital nomads: the Digital Nomads Madeira Island, part of the Startup Madeira initiative. This has been one of the main drivers, along with existing tax incentives, of foreigners buying homes and settling on the island.
For a long time, the Madeira property market attracted mainly German, English and French buyers as these nationalities most frequently came to the island for tourism. However, Madeira now attracts property investors from around the world and experiences notable demand from clients based in the USA, South Africa, Scandinavia and Brazil.
This diversity has set new standards of luxury living in a market that, while still limited, offers truly unique and exclusive opportunities. This is the case of the Savoy Residence Monumentalis and Savoy Residence Insular projects marketed by Athena Advisers, the result of a partnership between AFA Real Estate, which specialises in the premium market, and the prestigious Savoy Signature hotel brand.
Funchal, the capital of the highly cosmopolitan archipelago, is home to a large proportion of the high-end residential property on offer and has even been ranked as the fifth best destination in the world to buy a holiday home in 2021, according to a study by Compare The Market.
Situated by the ocean in a unique natural amphitheatre, this small city rivals many European capitals in what it has to offer: it combines six centuries of heritage and culture with world-class restaurants, including two which have been awarded Michelin stars (II Gallo d'Oro and William), and some of Europe's most prestigious 5-star hotels, such as the Savoy Palace.
For shoppers, Funchal has an exclusive range of shops and wine boutiques including a regular local market for fresh produce including their local fruits, vegetables and flowers such as Strelitzia which is commonly known as the bird of paradise, Madeira’s most recogznised flower. For nightlife fans, the historic centre is full of bars and pubs where you can enjoy some of the local specialities such as the unmissable poncha or the refreshing Coral beers. The city is also internationally renowned for its famous New Year's Eve fireworks display, which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records.
An ocean of possibilities
In an archipelago where the calendar doesn't dictate the seasons, life is intense throughout the year, with activities and events taking place at all times. In addition to walking along the many levadas (once built to divert water and supply the island's plantations), which have become cult sites for hikers, the beaches of the west coast, the sunniest on the island, are a must and a favourite destination for lovers of the beach and water sports such as surfing and kitesurfing. The scenery on this coast is also framed by imposing cliffs, charming villages and stunning viewpoints. For beach lovers, don't miss the paradise of Porto Santo, the other island in the archipelago.
On the north coast, you will be enchanted by the idyllic natural pools of Porto Moniz, which open out onto the endless ocean, and the bucolic village of Santana. This is the ideal place to step back in time and discover the island's typical palhoças, or thatched-roof houses. Also worth a visit are the enigmatic São Vicente Caves, where you'll learn how the volcanic island was formed.
For golfers, Madeira offers three internationally renowned courses (Santo da Serra, Funchal and Porto Santo) and for the more adventurous, nature has provided the island with huge peaks such as Pico Ruivo (1862 metres) or Pico do Areeiro (818 metres), which challenge the most experienced explorers.
Whether you're looking for relaxation or adventure, there's no shortage of things to do on the island. But one thing's for sure: wherever you are, you'll always be surrounded by the greenery of the mountains and touched by the gentle ocean breeze, guardians of Madeira's timeless beauty.