Following on from our best cities according to bloggers, we’re looking at the best cities for digital nomads.
If the bulk of your work can be done from a laptop then you probably already know the world is your oyster. The digital nomad is a modern invention, bought about by the combination of fast internet, freelancing platforms like UpWork or Fiverr and the rise of digital jobs as viable options.
Choosing a place to live as a digital nomad comes down to a few simple factors.
- Cost of living.
- Quality of life and lifestyle.
- Access to wifi and transport.
- Other digital nomads.
You’re just as likely to spot digital nomads working on their laptops in Nepalese mountain huts as in Silicon Valley these days. So if you think its time to pack up your laptop and seek out a better view for your office, these are the best digital nomad locations around the world today.
1. Chiang Mai, Thailand
This will come as no surprise to anyone as Chiang Mai regularly tops the best digital nomad cities lists. Why? The cost of living is incredibly cheap, decent WiFi is easily accessible and a co-working space can be rented for under $100 a month.
You’ll also be able to benefit from a great expat network, awesome food, a largely pleasant climate and very cheap rent. Decent apartments can be found for around $300-400 per month, or if you live in a hostel you can go even cheaper.
Bangkok is also very popular with the digital nomad who prefers that faster pace of life. Like Chiang Mai you’ll find cheap food and good weather, although the cost of living is slightly higher.
2. Medellin, Colombia
Forget the Escobar stuff. Medellin has become the go to digital nomad city in South America. Fast internet, a great tourism and nightlife scene, reasonably cheap rent and low cost of living mean this city is a serious contender for remote working. You can find hot desks from $70 a month, or office space for around $150.
Medellin’s climate is a fairly consistent and pleasant 22C and it’s easy to travel the city with the inexpensive public transport. You also have the hills on your doorstep for outdoor activities. Rent isn’t the cheapest on this list though, expect to pay around $700 per month for a one bed apartment in an edgy part of town.
3. Lisbon, Portugal
Europe’s number one digital nomad spot has been coaxing tech startups over the past few years. Although it isn’t as cheap as Thailand or Colombia, it’s probably the cheapest country in Western Europe to set up as a digital nomad.
Coworking spaces in Lisbon can be found from around €80, rent for a one bed apartment can be found from around €650 a month and the lifestyle is second to none. Excellent nightlife, great (and cheap) food, surfer beaches, rolling hills packed full of wineries… Check, check, check and check.
Porto is a good second option if you’re looking for a similar vibe but less saturated with tourists and expats. Cost of living is slightly less, but the air connections are still decent.
4. Georgetown, Malaysia
It featured on our list of ‘best cities’, I rate it highly as a food destination and it’s definitely a solid choice for digital nomads. Georgetown is the main city on Penang island and is thriving hub for digital nomads, Malaysian commerce, tourism and transport. Strangely though it is often under represented on digital nomad lists.
Coworking spaces are under $100 per month, rent for around $350 for a one bed pad and transport and food are super cheap. Penang island makes a great place to explore and has decent air links to the rest of Asia.
Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, is also a great option with plenty of cheap digs. You get more of that big city vibe, but rent is actually a little cheaper in KL. Probably due to Penang’s limited land space (being an island and all).
5. Budapest, Hungary
One of Europe’s most popular, and cheap digital nomad cities. It might not be as cheap as it once was but it’s still a bargain. The attractions of Budapest are the super cheap rents and great social culture, such as the nightlife and bars. Food is getting steadily better (it’s not all borscht and paprkia chicken any more) and the beer and wine are great.
In terms of costs, reports of rental prices come in between €400-€600 for city centre apartments including utilities. You’ll find a great choice of co-working spaces, with many under €100 a month, and the city is well connected to the rest of Europe by air and land.
6. Bali, Indonesia
Rolling rice paddies and incredible beaches tempt many a digital nomad to set up camp in Bali. And for good reason. It is dirt cheap and the amount of nomads here means you’ll do well for networking. Add in the ultra low cost of living, surfer lifestyle and exceptional nightlife and it all starts to make sense.
Ubud is the town that has the biggest draw. You’ll find pads for all budgets, from around $300 to, well, the skys the limit. Co-working starts at around $50-60 per month.
7. Bansko, Bulgaria
Hang on. Isn’t that a ski resort? Yes it is. We’re snow fans here at Gone Travelling and the opportunity to hang out slope side is definitely tempting. Bansko has started to attract the digital nomad set and with rents as low as €150 per month and co-working around €100, it’s an option that snow heads will flock to.
Add in a vibrant nightlife scene, dirt cheap food (€5 meals are easy to find) and a good digital nomad community and it becomes a real option. Oh the season pass? As of 2019 you can hit the slopes every day for approx €770, a daily pass is €33 or a week is €195.
There are several spots which are becoming popular with digital nomads in Morocco, so we’ll sum them up under the catch all country heading. Marrakesh is of course one of the main places, but Casablanca, Essaouira, El Jadida and Taghazout also make the list.
So why Morocco? You’ll be able to find a decent apartment for around €200 in most places, and even a relatively luxurious pad will set you back around €600. Co working spaces are plenty, with options from around €100 a month in cities such as Marrakesh, Casablanca and Tangier. On your days off go mountain hiking, surfing or explore the exotic souks.
9. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Like Thailand, Vietnam attracts those seeking a cheap place to live with a fun lifestyle. HCMC delivers with top notch nightlife, food and access to a vibrant expat network. If you’re not a fan of noise and traffic you might want to move elsewhere, but theres no denying Ho Chi Minh City’s popularity.
Co-working spaces are plentiful, with prices starting around $50-60 per month. And like most places in Asia rent is dirt cheap, with apartments from around $300-400 per month with utilities.
10. Florianapolis, Brazil
There are cheaper places to live in South America, but Floripa is racking up a rep as a great place for the international set to go. Rio is done, SP is dangerous, but on this island city you can find a place to rent for around $800-1000 (although I spotted some shared houses for dirt cheap, think $150 per month) and co working space from around $150 per month.
The appeal of Florianapolis is the great weather, surf culture, lower costs of living for Brazil and general safe vibe. Its also become a bit of a tech hub in recent years and attracts lots of international workers.
Other Digital Nomad Cities
Of course this list isn’t definitive and you can set up to work wherever you can afford and find a wifi connection.
Some other cities for your remote working consideration include:
- Tbilisi, Georgia
- Cape Town, South Africa
- Barcelona, Spain
- Taipei, Taiwan
- Bucharest, Romania
- Prague, Czechia
- Krakow, Poland
- Split, Croatia
- Nairobi, Kenya
- Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
- Sihanoukville, Cambodia
The best digital nomad city is wherever you feel comfortable, and of course the standard procedure is to change cities every few months as visas dictate.
Let us know your thoughts on our list of the best locations for digital nomads (and book your next flight below), and don’t forget to comment and share.