Are you looking for digital nomad-friendly destinations? Do you dream of working remotely? Or are you already location-independent?
With remote working now the ‘new normal’, the ability to travel while working online is a privileged position to be in.
Another benefit is the ability to save money by living in a country with a lower cost of living than where you came from.
In this article, we take a look at some of the best places to live as a digital nomad or remote worker.
What Is a Digital Nomad?
Digital nomads are remote workers who travel to different locations regularly. They tend to seek location independent careers, such as working at startups.
Modern technology has been the key enabler for their nomadic lifestyles. Working from coffee shops, hotel lobbies, co-working spaces or libraries.
All they require is WiFi, a laptop or smartphone, to make this all possible.
What Is a Freelancer?
A freelancer is self employed, working for themselves or other companies as an independent contractor. Running a location independent business means they are their own boss.
Whilst Digital Nomads and Freelancers may appear similar at first glance, their subtleties differentiate them.
Which are the best places to live as a digital nomad?
- Canggu, Indonesia
- Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Phuket, Thailand
- Hanoi, Vietnam
- Taipei, Taiwan
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Barcelona, Spain
- Tenerife, Spain
- Berlin, Germany
- Budapest, Hungary
- Belgrade, Serbia
- Tbilisi, Georgia
- Krakow, Poland
- Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
- Medellin, Colombia
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Cape Town, South Africa
How do you choose digital nomad friendly destinations?
Where can I work as a digital nomad? Where do most digital nomads live?
These factors help to decide a great nomadic destination:
- Solid and reliable internet access
- Uninterrupted electricity
- Renewable digital nomad visa or freelancer visa options
- Openness to foreigners
- Co-working options
- Networking opportunities
In the next section we will take a look at the best spots across three continents, including cafes where remote work is allowed, with access to a solid wifi connection and above all a good work/life balance.
Where are the best places for digital nomads in Asia?
Asia has always been one of the top digital nomad friendly destinations. There is a huge variety of landscapes, mouth-watering cuisine, history and diversity of culture from country to country.
As digital nomad friendly destinations go, Bali ticks all the boxes. There is a variety of co-working, and shared offices for remote workers. Canggu is located on the south coast of the Indonesian island of Bali. In Canggu there is a wide range of these spaces, from trendy hipster cafes to corporate spaces. There are also plenty of nearby islands and cities to discover during your downtime, making Bali a great base from which to explore exciting and unique places.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Located in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai was founded in 1296, (then the capital of the independent Lanna Kingdom). The old walled city area still retains walls and moats from its history as a cultural and religious center.
It’s also home to a wide variety of co-working spaces including Hub 53 located in North Nimman, Punspace in Nimman, and Starwork in the Old Town to name a few. Away from work there are hundreds of elaborate Buddhist temples to explore, including the Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang.
Phuket City is located in southern Thailand. Which is also the capital of Thailand’s Phuket Province.
Built on the prosperity of tin mining, Phuket Old Town reflects the mixed influences of various cultures.
Thalang Road in the Old Town, is one of the many examples. Dotted along it’s streets are colourful 19th-century Sino-Portuguese buildings, and shophouses.
Being an island has meant that many cultures have left their own marks. Baan Chinpracha mansion, built in 1903 by a wealthy merchant, has Italian influences. Including the floor tiles, shuttered windows and antique furniture.
There is also a strong Chinese influence, in both the island’s history and cuisine. Amongst the narrow streets of the Old Town, food stalls, hawker hubs and centuries-old family-run restaurants remain.
Hanoi, the bustling capital of Vietnam, known for its rich culture is also a remote worker favourite. At its heart is the chaotic Old Quarter, where a number of co-working spaces can be found including Toong, Moonwork and Hatch Nest.
Amongst the old narrow streets there are a number of little temples, including Bach Ma, honoring a legendary horse. Finally not forgetting Dong Xuan Market, located in the center district of Hoan Kiem, originally built by the French in 1889.
Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is a modern metropolis with a skyline crowned by the 509m-tall, bamboo-shaped Taipei 101 skyscraper. Connect, Digiquarters, Futureward and Impact Hub are great examples of co-working spaces that will resonate with digital nomads and remote workers alike.
Whilst not the most obvious of digital nomad friendly destinations at first glance, Taipei is also known for its lively street-food scene, night markets (including the expansive Shi Lin market), great digital nomad places to stay and open culture.
Where are the best places for digital nomads in the Middle East?
Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and straddles both Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait. As a remote worker you will be spoiled for choice, in terms of co-working spaces including Workhaus, Impact Hub, and Kolektif House. With regards to cafes also check out Swedish Coffee Point, Journey and Federal Coffee for a more relaxed vibe.
Once the laptop lid is down, it is time to visit the old city and marvel at the cultural influences of previous empires. In the Sultanahmet district, you will find the Roman-era hippodrome, which was for centuries the site of chariot races. Finally, the iconic 6th-century Byzantine Hagia Sophia is also a must.
Where are the best places for digital nomads in Europe?
Which cities come to mind when you think, Europe? London, Paris, or Rome? Whilst Paris is very seldom a bad idea, remote workers are starting to look at other digital nomad friendly destinations within Europe.
Lisbon is Portugal’s hilly, coastal capital city.
The view from the São Jorge Castle, encompasses the old city’s pastel-colored buildings, the river Tagus and Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge. A huge plus for Lisbon is that it is one of the cheapest capital cities in Europe with an espresso starting at just 60 cents.
The areas of Alcantara, Santos, Sao Bento, Bica, Cais Do Sodre and Principe Real are the places to head for digital nomad friendly cafes and co-working spaces.
Copenhagen Coffee Lab & Bakery, Manifest Lisbon, Comoba, and Outside Lisbon are all great remote working options.
All of Portugal’s coast either touches the Atlantic Ocean or the Mediterranean Sea, which is perfect for that post work swim (in the warmer months) at the string of available beaches, including Cascais which is only 30 minutes away by train.
The cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region is Barcelona. The Sagrada Família church designed by Antoni Gaudí is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Europe. Barcelona is also a great place to base yourself as a remote worker with its year-round sunshine, great food and affordable co-working options. Cahoot Coworking, One CoWork, and La Vaca are three great options to consider.
The largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, Tenerife is located off the coast of West Africa.
Tenerife is best known for its Carnaval de Santa Cruz, a huge pre-Lent festival with parades, music, dancing and colourful costumes.
The island has many beaches (with sands from yellow to black) and resort areas, including Los Cristianos and Playa de las Américas.
Remote working friendly, the island has everything you need. Top-quality broadband, connections to major airports, and a business-friendly time zone.
Berlin, Germany’s capital city (which dates back to the 13th century), has had a pretty turbulent time over the last 100 or so years. Its recent history includes the Holocaust, being divided during the Cold War, and finally, its reunification with its 18th-century Brandenburg Gate (and more recently the Berliner Fernsehturm) becoming the symbols. The city is also known for its art scene, and still being the premier European destination for remote workers, especially in the tech sector. B+Office, Sankt Oberholz, and CRCLR are three of the best co-working options.
Budapest is Hungary’s capital city, bisected by the River Danube,
Located in the heart of Central Europe, with a population of under 2 million, the capital consists of 23 districts.
With its 19th-century Chain Bridge connecting the hilly Buda district with flat Pest.
Visitors can experience the history of the city, by jumping on the funicular. Which runs from Castle Hill to Buda’s Old Town.
Budapest is a unique blend of Roman, Turkish and European cultures.
Home to 1.7 million inhabitants, Belgrade is the capital city of Serbia.
It is also one of the cheapest places for digital nomads to be based in Europe.
The city lies right in the heart of the Balkan Peninsula. Its proximity to the sea makes it a popular stop for those visiting the nearby countries of Greece, Croatia, and Montenegro
This enchanting city of Tiblisi fascinates the visitors at a first glance.
A harmoniously integrated city made up of both ancient and modern aspects. It is home to people of multicultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds.
Especially evident in the city’s Old Town, where a mosque, synagogue and Christian church stand side by side.
The southern Polish city of Kraków is known for its well-preserved medieval core and Jewish quarter.
Head to the Kazimierz (or Kazi) district and look out for the following Kalafiornia, iTechcloud Coworking, and Yolk are great co-working options to consider. For post-work activities, Eszeweria, Les Couleurs and Omerta are perfect for a quick drink or two.
Where are the best places for digital nomads in South America?
The Americas is a huge and diverse land mass. With more than 1 billion people calling it home, remote workers have a variety of options between countries such as Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil.
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Playa del Carmen is located along Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, in the state of Quintana Roo. The following three options are worth checking out for your co-working space needs, Enlaces Corporativos, Selina, and Bunker. In addition to the Quinta Avenida pedestrian thoroughfare which runs parallel to the beach, has great food options and laid-back nightspots.
Colombia continues to grow in popularity for remote workers, with Medellin the capital of Colombia’s mountainous Antioquia province coming up. With a range of affordable co-working options, Tinkko, Circular and Kamado are three good options to get started with.
Due to Medellin’s temperate weather, it has the nickname of the “City of Eternal Spring”. Metrocables link the city to the surrounding barrios (or neighbourhoods), which you can discover during your days off, along with the amazing views of the Aburrá Valley.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Exploring new places and experiencing new cultures is a must in any new city you visit. Finally, make sure you visit the following Buenos Aires neighbourhoods, San Telmo, La Boca, Puerto Madero, Palermo and finally Almagro.
Where are the best places for digital nomads in Africa?
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town has become the mother city for digital nomads and remote workers. This stunning South African town offers white sandy beaches, endless hiking trails, epic sunsets and wild city life.
As remote working rises in popularity, more destinations will develop to meet the needs. All that is needed is a sense of adventure. So take those first bold steps towards becoming a digital nomad, remote worker or freelancer. Good luck and get exploring.