Remote work from Madeira and Lisbon
Why have I decided to work remotely from Portugal?
Portugal is popular as a great place for digital nomads on the Internet. Specially Madeira as a best place in Portugal in Polish digital nomads chat.
We've managed to buy a flight for 70 EUR (Easyjet with a guaranteed change in London). We got back through Lisbon and Madrid (another 75 EUR, but we chose these routes because I wanted to see these cities for a few days). Wizzair announced that Poland should get the first regular and direct connection with Madeira from Katowice.
We decided to rent a house in Ponta do Sol because you can find a free coworking space in this village and the local digital nomad community is based around this place. The city is small enough that you can see digital nomads in the local community and most of the normal residents know what is digital nomadism and that they have coworking space in their neighbourhood. Ponta is a small place, with an old centre at the bottom of the village and a lot of small houses on hills around (we rented one of them).
Many people recommended renting a car. I believe that was the biggest expense of the whole trip - 600 EUR p. week. The car was quite helpful and good for the first trip to the Island. But next time I would decide not to rent it. From the airport to Ponta do Sol, you can take a bus (with a change in Funchal) or Taxi. If you choose accommodation within walkable distance from cowork, you can easily walk every day. There are a lot of bars in the village, one supermarket and a few small stores. So you can go everywhere on foot. If you want to see more places, you can buy tourist trips to other parts of the island (most of them cost around 48 EUR per day).
The most popular foods are seafood and beef. What was funny was that we started with more expensive restaurants but later we were able to find cheaper and cheaper places every day. At the end of the trip, we found a small bistro, with the best burgers I ever had in my life. The cost was 4 EUR. Prices in this bar were like 1 EUR for 200 ml of beer, and 1 EUR for a shot of local liqueur. In Ponta centre, prices were a little bit higher, but it was still possible to have a nice dinner for 20 EUR for 2 people with something to drink. It depends on the restaurant it could be a little bit cheaper or more expensive than in Poland. But mostly the prices were really good!
The coworking space is open every day around 9 (you can sit before 9 outside). Inside you can find many tables, chairs and a few screens. The place closes around 6 pm, but you can sit longer outside. The Internet was really good (symmetric 250 Mbps). Many events happen around the digital nomads community, so it was really easy to meet people (e.g. Wednesday organised lunch). What is funny is I believe that Polish people are 3rd biggest minority (after UK and Netherlands) in this place ;) .
Ponta coworking space is a really good place for comfortable work and space around is really nice to chill after work. Around you can find a lot of options for active recreation. Residents mostly speak good English and are friendly.
After one week in Maderia, we had a flight to Lisbon. On the internet, you can find a lot of information about the big local digital nomads community and the big amount of coworks in the city.
When I checked the prices of coworking spaces, most are almost the same - around 18 EUR per day. On the first day, we went to Outsite Cowork Cafe, where we had one drink included in the price. The place is quite nice, in busy hours it can be fully packed with people. Outsite is inside the city centre. I need to say that in general, it was quite comfortable to work from this space. The next day we decided to save a little bit of money and we went to Copenhagen Coffee Lab & Bakery, where we spend a smaller amount of money on breakfast, coffee etc than for entrance to Outsite. But working conditions were worse. It was louder, darker etc.
We have noticed that Lisbon is definitely more expensive than Madeira and (in my opinion) there were too many foreign people in this city. I heard much more English than Portuguese. Also, the city was a bit neglect for me.
On the last day, when we didn't work we decided to go for a trip to Sintra (40 minutes by train from Lisbon), which is famous for its castles. Sintra was a much more interesting and chill place for me than Lisbon, and the views there are stunning and accommodation is also cheaper. Because of that, we decided that if we would like to come to this area again, we definitely would choose Sintra than Lisbon. The only con of the place is that you can't find any coworking space there.
When I compare Lisbon and Madeira in my mind, Madeira looks like a much more interesting place. It is cheaper and calmer on this Island and because of that you can focus on your work and after it, you can get some active (or not :P) recreation.