Living a digital nomad life is becoming more and more popular. Luckily, it is also becoming easier every year. Better internet, bigger communities, and more information about the nomadic lifestyle result in a growing number of people who decide that this is the way they want to live their life. Of course, you could live almost everywhere in this world and work in a remote job. But there are certain digital nomad cities, that are particularly popular.
Check out the following list if you are just about to start your new lifestyle and want to find great places to begin your journey or if you are already a nomad and want to get to know some new communities.
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What Makes a Great Place for Digital Nomads?
As already mentioned you could work in remote jobs almost everywhere. But there are some factors that make your location-independent lifestyle easier:
Internet. Fast and reliable internet is absolutely necessary. You need it to be able to do your work and also to communicate with your team or clients at any time of the day. It should be strong enough to keep internet calls working.
Low cost of living. I know, not all digital nomads are broke backpackers. But especially when you are starting out as a freelancer you might not want to spend all of your funds on accommodation and food.
Coworking & coliving spaces. Working from a hotel room is not the perfect thing for everyone. A coworking space is a great way to be productive and to meet other nomads at the same time. A co-living space is an even better way to meet like-minded people and spend your days or nights with them.
Other nomads. Some prefer to live with locals, others like to have like-minded nomads around. In the beginning, it can be nice to have someone you can ask for advice and help.
Visa. It’s nice to have at least 30 days in a country before you have to leave again. In case you like that place it is great if the visa can easily be renewed. That always depends on your passport and the country you want to stay, of course.
Climate. A warm and dry climate is the perfect combination for many of us. Others might prefer a colder mountain region. Much rain or blizzards or sand storms are probably not as appealing.
Safety. It goes without saying that you would want to live in a place where you can focus on your work without the constant fear of being robbed or kidnapped.
Entertainment / Culture. You don’t want to work all day, but also enjoy what the place has to offer. Nice restaurants, bars, theaters, and such are always a great benefit.
Popular Digital Nomad Cities Around the World
The following places attract a growing number of nomads due to the fact that they fulfill many of the above-mentioned factors.
Southeast Asia seems to be the favorite choice for many remote workers today. No surprise, the low costs of living, stable WIFI, and friendly people are the perfect conditions for fantastic digital nomad cities.
Chiang Mai might as well be the biggest digital nomad hub out there at the moment. Some estimations say that you can find more than 3,000 of them in a small city. You will definitely find a whole lot of coworking spaces and great cafes with free WIFI.
Chang Mai itself has a fantastic laid-back atmosphere, it is inexpensive and has delicious Thai (and vegan) food. There are also many beautiful temples and it is surrounded by mountains and lakes. The climate is milder than Bangkok and it is a great base to explore northern Thailand.
Despite its modernity, you can experience a traditional Thai culture with all its festivals and history. Plus, the visa options for foreigners are very decent in the country.
Although Bangkok is not too far away from Chang Mai, it is in stark contrast to it in terms of atmosphere. Here you can find all the big city perks, like exciting nightlife. Luckily, everything is still very affordable. It also is a great connection hub for international flights. Many start-ups are based here.
On the downside, the air quality is not necessarily the best and the climate can be very hot.
Phuket is mostly famous for its amazing blue water and sandy beaches. That and a tropical temperature makes it the perfect spot for all nomads who like to have a holiday-in-paradise-feeling while working. The internet could be better but is good enough.
Bali has been a famous digital nomad place for years. The cost of living is super affordable, it is easy to eat healthily and the scenic beaches and green hinterland make it the perfect island for any nature-lover.
Ubud as the spiritual and cultural heart of Bali is the perfect place to recharge your batteries and do some yoga. Canggu is a more relaxed alternative to Ubud and is a great place for surfing.
Unfortunately, the internet is not exactly the best outside of big coworking spaces.
Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh is the largest city in Vietnam and a new favorite spot for nomads. The place is busy and chaotic and full of thousands of motorbikes. The internet is mostly super-fast but can be spotty at times, and there is a growing number of coworking spaces. There are plenty of delicious street food stalls, great nightlife, and affordable housing.
Davao in the Philippines is known as an outsourcing paradise. Many freelancers, expats, and nomads are based here because of the low cost of living, good internet, and friendly locals. English is commonly spoken, which makes living very easy. The beautiful beaches are also a great benefit.
Taipei is already a popular place for American expats working in technology and professional service jobs. Due to the relatively low costs and great internet, it also makes a fantastic place for digital nomads. It has unique night markets, friendly people, and a brilliant public transportation system.
South and Central America don’t have as many popular digital nomad cities as Southeast Asia has, but they are surely in the right way. The countries share similar time zones with the USA, which makes them a great place for everyone who has US-based clients or team members.
Due to its violent past, many people think Medellin is still very unsafe. But in the last years, the city has seen a big turnaround and is now considered as one of the most innovative places in South America. The cheap cost of living, a year-round warm climate, friendly locals, and beautiful mountains make it a wonderful place for nomads. And there are also a few great coworking spaces worth checking out.
Ecuador is not only a fairly cheap place to stay, but it also operates on the American dollar, which is great since you won’t lose any funds on fluctuating exchange rates. The internet is surprisingly strong, there are some great coworking spaces and the weather is nice from June to September.
Florianopolis, short Floripa, is often described as the mini-Rio. No wonder, it has the same beautiful beaches, an active outdoor lifestyle, and vibrancy. But it is a lot safer than Rio and many say it also has a higher quality of life. As an emerging technology hub, you can find many coworking spaces and more common use of English.
The Argentinian capital combines the South American temperament with a European style. You get to enjoy nice food, coffee, and football. There are many coworking spaces and the start-up scene is ever-growing. A great place to start your South American experience.
Playa del Carmen
This place is often referred to as the Chiang Mai of Latin America. The relatively small town has some lovely coworking spaces and great weather for most of the year. It has much potential to become one of the most popular digital nomad cities in South America. On the downside, the internet is not exactly perfect and the cost of living are rapidly growing.
Oaxaca is another little nomad paradise in Mexico. The weather is very pleasant, locals are friendly, it is rich in culture and cost of living is low. Great fresh food, ok internet and the option of visiting some smaller towns along the Oaxacan coast makes it a nice place for many remote workers.
Europe is surely not as cheap as Asia or Latin America, but it makes a great base for exploring various different cultures and countries.
Berlin is not only hipster heaven, but also one of the most creative digital nomad cities worldwide (I’m sitting in Berlin right now, writing this). You find countless start-ups and solo entrepreneurs, coworking, and coliving spaces.
It also has relatively affordable accommodation and many vegan restaurants. A quirky and vibrant cultural scene keeps you busy during the day, while an ever-changing nightlife guarantees the right party for everyone.
Enjoy the special community vibe along with artists, musicians, writers, and academics. Berlin seems to have a place for literally everyone.
The capital of Serbia might not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of great digital nomad cities. But Belgrade has much potential: the city is safe, locals are friendly and speak good English and there is a great nightlife.
Free WIFI is also available in most cafes and places in public. In addition to that prices are very reasonable and there is a mild climate.
Hungary’s capital is one of the cheapest capitals in Europe. The low cost of living attracts many digital nomads, which in turn results in a booming coworking scene. Being a very sociable city you can find many bars and open-air locations to hang out with fellow nomads in summer. Budapest is also rich in history and incredible architecture. Well worth checking out.
Very similar to Budapest, Prague has a low cost of living and a lovely city vibe. Stroll through gothic architecture while checking out pretty cafes and small bars. If you are into beer, you have a massive selection to choose from in the Czech capital.
Needless to say that you can also find plenty of new coworking spaces here and it is slowly but surely becoming one of the most popular digital nomad cities in Europe.
There is sunshine almost all year round, beautiful beaches and lovely mountains make Barcelona a great nomad hub. It ha, in fact, one of the world’s largest co-working populations so you can be sure to find the right spot to work right next to locals and other foreigners. Be aware that during the summer the crowds of tourists can be a bit overwhelming.
Extra Tip: A beautiful Spanish alternative for digital nomads is definitely Valencia. Check out this Valencia guide for digital nomads.
If you are into small-town vibes, excellent restaurants, tasty beer, and legendary surfing, Porto in Portugal might be the perfect choice for you. It is less crowded with tourists than Lisbon and has lovely weather all year round. Many digital nomads have taken notice of that, so today there are some fantastic co-working spaces in town.
Who would’ve thought that Estonia has one of the fastest-growing digital nomad cities in Europe? Tallinn is the favorite spot for many start-ups and it is also a great place to find work. There is a public network that makes it easy to get WIFI. Coworking spaces keep you connected with like-minded people during the day, while the Old Town is a perfect place to party in converted factories.
Croatia might be still a hidden gem in terms of digital nomad cities, but watch out, Split is on its way. With some great flight connections and direct links to the islands, it makes a perfect location in the country.
The cost of living is very low for Europe, it’s safe, locals are helpful and you can enjoy a long and warm summer in one of the stunning national parks outside of the city. There are some fabulous coworking spaces already, such as WIP by Remote Year, and I’m pretty sure there will be more to follow in the next years.
North America is not the first place that pops into your head when you think of digital nomad cities. The living costs are very high and visa regulations strict for most passports. But there are a few locations where nomads and expats come together and enjoy their lifestyle despite the difficulties.
Austin in Texas is becoming more and more popular with nomads, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. Especially internet marketing professionals enjoy the modern atmosphere. In comparison to other American cities, Austin has a relatively low cost of living. There are many friendly people around and it has a great vibe to it.
Portland is a bit more expensive than Austin but has a similar entrepreneurial mindset. The “World Domination Summit”, one of the biggest events for lifestyle design enthusiasts, takes place there. Similar to Berlin, Portland seems to have a place for everyone and supports all types of communities. There is a reason why they embrace their mantra “Keep Portland Weird!”.
Vancouver ranks on top of the best places to live lists for years. And it truly has a lot to offer: a picturesque city, mighty Stanley Park, sandy beaches and not too far outside of town snow sports, forest trails and kayaking routes. Nature at its best! With the lovely Canadian mentality and the option of work & holiday visa, it makes a brilliant spot for many digital nomads.
How to Choose the Right Place?
As you can see, there is a lot to choose from. While Asia has probably the cheapest digital nomad cities to offer, Europe has many cultures to keep you entertained. Latin America is a great place for those who want to escape the party or mainstream nomad places and North America is a great option for everyone with a bigger budget who wants to enjoy western amenities.
I’ve dedicated an entire blog post on the topic of how to find the right place to live as a digital nomad, so check that out, too!
If you are still struggling to decide where to go next, check out Nomadlist. This is a fantastic free online tool, which lists you your perfect city based on chosen metrics such as cost of living, internet quality, weather, and much more. A very handy starting point!
I hope this list gave you some inspiration on where to find other nomads and popular nomad hubs. I’m always on the look for new trending places. So in case you know another perfect digital nomad spot, let me know!