Why Madeira?

In the latest Global Peace Index, published by the Institute for Economics and Peace, Portugal ranks on the Top 3 Peaceful Countries in the World. In this index, Portugal ranks above Switzerland, Canada and Switzerland.

International Living ranks Portugal in the Top 10 Best Countries to Retire in the world and Investopedia ranks it 2nd best country to retire in Europe. Unlike Spain, Portugal has never suffered any terrorist attack to date.

Main Geographical AreasCrime Rate (‰)
Portugal32,4
Porto City Area33,1
Lisbon City Area37,9
Algarve47,7
Autonomous Region of the Azores36,9
Autonomous Region of Madeira24,9

If you are looking for the city with the best quality of life, and where you can enjoy a cosmopolitan and yet calm island life, then Funchal is the place to be. The Portuguese consumer association has ranked Funchal as the second-best city to live in Portugal.

In fact, Madeira has been receiving international attention since European royalty discovered the wonders of its year-round, spring like climate and the associated health benefits. Empress Sissi of Austria, Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, and, later, Sir Winston Churchill stayed for extended periods, bringing this Portuguese island international status and notoriety.

Despite its proximity to Morocco, the island’s nearest continental neighbor, Madeira’s climate is humid (around 75% humidity year-round), thanks to its UNESCO World Heritage-protected, prehistoric Laurissilva Forest, which covers 20% of the island’s 741 square kms. This forest has more than 1,600 kms of irrigation channels accompanied by footpaths that once connected the entire island’s countryside.

With a population of 111,892, Funchal is Madeira’s only major city. Home to almost 42% of the four-island archipelago’s population, it’s the economic, cultural, and political center of the islands. Madeira’s other notable cities—Machico, Câmara de Lobos, Santa Cruz, and Santana—have fewer than 50,000 residents.

Just 55 minutes from Funchal, you can explore the wild coastal north and the town of Porto Moniz. Or, in 40 minutes, you can reach the sunny and peaceful village of Jardim do Mar, which both kisses the vast Atlantic Ocean and is walled by mountains.

Day-to-day life in Madeira is stress-free for locals, expats, and tourists alike, and the cultural offerings are immensely diverse for an island. Museums with Flemish and religious art, churches hosting organ music festivals, monthly symphonic orchestra and chamber music concerts, gastronomical and traditional folk festivals throughout the year, and recurring art exhibitions are just some examples of Madeira’s active cultural scene.

If you tire of the cultural agenda, you can always find peace on the neighbouring island of Porto Santo. A two-hour ferry trip takes you to one of Portugal’s “7 Natural Wonders”—Porto Santo’s 9 kms of healing-sand beach.

In Portugal there  is  a  national  health service  that  is  generally  excellent, English  is  widely  used  as  the  language  of communication.  The  WHO  ranks  it  world number  12,  while  Madeira  punches  far above  this  in  terms  of  doctor  to  patient ratios,  the  UK  is  number  18  and  Germany number 25.

As a resident in Madeira  you  will  be  treated  in  the same  way  a  Portuguese  citizen,  although state healthcare in Madeira is free of charge there is sometimes a contribution required. The  hospital  network  consists  of  3  units and  to  make  overseas  patients  feel  more comfortable they have been implementing patient  monitoring  and  personalized  care programmes.

If you are  a  national  of  one  of  the  27 European  Union  countries  or  Iceland, Liechtenstein,  Norway  or  Switzerland, you  must  show  your  European  Health Insurance Card or EHIC and your passport or identification document in order to gain access to free or the low-cost healthcare.

Overseas citizens (including EU/EEA citizens) holding Portuguese residency permits must be registered at a health centre and must hold a heath card. Non-EU expats will also need to provide a social security card.

Private healthcare in  Madeira  is  also popular  and  readily  available  with  over 20  private  clinics.  Madeira  offers  the  4th highest doctor to patient ratio in Europe.

Portugal ranks in the Top 30 Cheapest Countries in Europe (Numbeo), surpassing Spain, Malta, Greece, and France. Add this to the special tax regime available to new residents and businesses and your savings will increase even more.

  • Consumer Prices in Funchal are 3.17% lower than in Lisbon
  • Consumer Prices Including Rent in Funchal are 16.94% lower than in Lisbon
  • Rent Prices in Funchal are 42.31% lower than in Lisbon
  • Restaurant Prices in Funchal are 23.50% lower than in Lisbon
  • Local Purchasing Power in Funchal is 4.54% higher than in Lisbon

If you are aiming to do business with the rest of the world, while being based in Portugal, the Autonomous Region of Madeira will be your ultimate investment destination.

Portugal has a strong tradition of political stability, with power alternating between the two main center parties since 1974. Given its constitutional system, premier-presidentialism, it is not unusual for these center parties to form coalition with other minor parties in recent years.

The Autonomous Region of Madeira possesses its own political and administrative statute and has its own government. The branches of Government are the regional executive (Governo Regional) and the legislative assembly (Assembleia Regional). The assembly is elected by universal suffrage. Power in Madeira has been exercised by the same party since 1976.

Portugal has a vast network of prestigious private schools and state-run Universities scattered across the country (including Madeira), to which those residing in Madeira can apply.

If you are considering moving with your family to Madeira you will find International Baccalaureate® accredited schools Funchal.

Universities in Portugal rank among the Top 500 in the international Shanghai Ranking and have European renowned colleges in the following fields:

Engineering:

Economics

Nova School of Business and Economics (Nova SBE) and Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics areTriple Crown” holders, being certified by:

Nova SBE is Member of CEMS Global Alliance in Management Education

In terms of climate, Madeira is characterized by an all year-round spring-like weather which make it so famous among its residents and visitors. During Summer, Spring and Fall, temperatures vary between 17ºC (62.6ºF) and 24.ºC (75.2ºF). As for the Winter months temperatures will vary between 14.ºC (57.2ºF) and 20.ºC (68ºF).

Given the above it is easy to understand why Madeira is famously known as the “Pearl of the Atlantic”.

Last, but not least, note that the number of hours of sunshine per year reaches values as high as 3300, a 70% larger value than the ones found in northern Europe.

Madeira’s unique geographical location is what turned Portugal into the first global empire in the 15th century. It is the meeting point between three continents – Europe, Africa and America. Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport (FNC) connects the island to international airports an to the Portuguese mainland.

Distance, in hours, of Lisbon and Santa Cruz, where FNC is located, from major cities (direct flights):

CitiesFrom LisbonFrom Santa Cruz
Paris2h 18min3h 30min
Frankfurt2h 51min4h 3min
Helsinki4h 41min5h 52min
Zürich2h 39min3h 51min
Madrid1h 8min2h 19min
Luxembourg2h 39min3h 51min
Stockholm4h 13min5h 23min
London2h 28min3h 36min
Amsterdam2h 49min3h 59min
Brussels2h 38min3h 49min
Rio de Janeiro10h 4minN/A
São Paulo10h 21minN/A
Luanda7h 39minN/A
Maputo10h 54minN/A
LisboaN/A1h 43min

The Autonomous Region of Madeira has a modern highway system that connects Funchal to all other municipalities in the Madeira Island. As for Porto Santo Island , the island is served by a ferry boat and by its own airport (PXO).

The Portuguese Law system is part of the civil law legal systems, based on Roman Law. Since the 20th century there has been a major influence from German civil law, a shift from the French influence of the previous century. Since 1986 European Union Law became the major driving force on corporate law, administrative law and civil procedure.

Portuguese Law has influenced the legal systems of Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe, Timor-Leste, the State of Goa (India) and the Special Administrative Region of Macau (China).

Portugal is the only country in Top 6 Most Powerful Passport Index (Visa-Free Score of 185 countries) to have the most cost-efficient Residency and Citizenship by Investment in Europe.

According to the Cato Institute’s Human Freedom Index, Portugal ranked among the Top 20 Countries, surpassing France, Spain and Greece pertaining economic and personal freedoms.

As for religious, bioethical, family and gender freedoms, Portugal ranks in the world Top 3 in the World Index of Moral Freedom, surpassing all the G20 countries in these fields.

Portugal is among ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Index Top 10 European countries in respect to LGBTQI equality, surpassing countries like, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Germany.

Portugal is one of the oldest countries in Europe, having the same defined continental borders since 1249, when King Afonso III captured the city of Faro and the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves was effectively established.

Nevertheless, its rich history dates to back to 27 BC and to the Roman Imperial Province of Lusitania. Roman ruins and cromlechs (prehistoric megalithic structures) can be found a few kilometers away from each other.

It is with no surprise that you can find 15 UNESCO Heritage Sites, plus 11 sites on UNESCO’s tentative list, across the country and its Autonomous Regions.

Madeira is known for its a rich traditional folklore, with great regional varieties, it’s unique gothic architecture (Manueline style), literature and last, but not least, its food and wines are among the best in the world, specially if you take into account price-quality ratio.

Being inhabited shortly after its discovery in 1418 by João Gonçalves Zarco, the island flourished as one of the richest regions of the country, thanks to its sugar production which in turn contributed to the archipelago’s unique cultural setting.