When you are among the digital nomads, you are always looking for the best place to live because you have the freedom to live anywhere. So, why not explore several corners of the world? Find THE place that thrills you and feels meant to be.
When picking a place to settle (for a few weeks or several months), you will need to consider the following criteria:
- The quality of Internet connection;
- The availability of co-working workspaces or cafes with Wi-Fi (free or not);
- Affordability and cost of living;
- Accommodation options available in the short to medium term;
- Ease of communicating in English or French (or any other language you speak) in the country;
- An environment that matches the lifestyle you want to have and the activities you want to do.
Whether you’re looking to get started as a digital nomad or already working remotely, here is our list (in no specific order) of the best cities to do so.
1. Medellìn, Colombia
Long known to be the site of frequent violent crimes (this is where the Pablo Escobar cartel operated…), the city of Medellìn in Colombia is now very safe and has since become a popular place for digital nomads. To cater to the growing population of entrepreneurs and startups, the city has invested heavily in technology and infrastructure, opening many coworking spaces. The cost of living in Medellìn is very affordable, the climate is pleasant all year round, and the local food is incredibly delicious.
2. Budapest, Hungary
The capital of Hungary is a constant on the list of favourite cities named by digital nomads, and it’s no surprise! Budapest is filled with history, spas, and grand architecture at a fraction of the cost of Western Europe. You will certainly enjoy yourself there. The cafes are all more charming than the next, and most have superfast Wi-Fi.
3. Buenos Aires, Argentina
If you are looking for a vibrant and colourful city rich in culture, where you can work hard play hard, Buenos Aires is for you! Besides offering easily accessible workspaces, Buenos Aires is full of things to do when you’re not working. You can learn to tango and practice on the dance floors of popular nightclubs, watch soccer games and relax in the parks that dot the city.
4. Lisbon, Portugal
More expensive than the other destinations on this list, but still more affordable than other major European cities, Lisbon is worth serious consideration. The infrastructure is modern, and Internet cafes won’t leave you with a connection where you can barely check Instagram. You will communicate easily in English with most locals, which makes the adaptation easier if this is your first experience working abroad. Here you can live in the sun, go for a sangria between customer calls and count on a large ex-pat community. This is the dream for any digital nomad!
5. Tallinn, Estonia
Estonia has an economic development program that makes it easier for non-citizens to open new businesses. This is the ideal country for nomads who work in tech or finance. Accommodation costs are a bit pricey, but there is a lot of choice for short-term rentals. On the other hand, it is not a sunny destination, and the winter is quite cold and humid, so you might want to consider leaving your swimwear at home.
6. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague, always popular with travellers in the high summer season, is also a top destination for digital nomads. The excellent public transport network, the captivating cultural scene and the reasonable cost of living are all reasons that will draw you in. It’s easy to find good Wi-Fi in one of the cafes along the Vltava River in the heart of the city. In Prague, you are always a few steps away from historic buildings with magnificent architecture or green spaces to take in the fresh air.
7. Chiang Mai + Koh Lanta, Thailand
Chiang Mai has long proven itself as the capital of digital nomads. This city has everything you need: plenty of space to connect and work efficiently, a reliable and easy-to-access health system, a welcoming network of nomads and expatriates, not to mention inexpensive Thai food.
With popularity comes some drawbacks. Chiang Mai is now crowded, and coworking spaces can get busy at times. If you have more of the hippie soul, move to Pai in the north. To get the Thai island experience without the crowds, try Koh Lanta instead, an island with a super chill vibe with some great options for remote working.
You would also like: The magic of the Sae Mo Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai.
8. Canggu, Bali, Indonesia
Who hasn’t dreamed of going into exile in Bali to do yoga, learn to surf, visit temples and bathe under waterfalls in the jungle? Digital nomads from everywhere have discovered the secret. They have been gathering in Bali for years to enjoy the attractions of this paradise island while earning a living on their computer.
By going to one of the popular cafes in Canggu, you will have no difficulty meeting other nomads and quickly forming a group of friends. After a while, when you muster up the courage to rent or buy a scooter, you will be able to go to the most beautiful spots beyond the busy streets. The Internet connection can sometimes be spotty and unpredictable but is faster and more reliable in collaborative workspaces. A victim of its own success, Bali is experiencing a higher cost of living, but the rates still remain very reasonable.
At the end of a working day, you will always find a good spot on the beach to watch the sunset with a Bintang in your hand.
You would also like: Bali: 5 things to know for a first visit
9. Hanoi + Ho Chi Minh City + Nha Trang + Da Nang, Vietnam
Vietnam’s culture, with its many cybercafés, promotes the establishment of digital nomads across the country. Those who favour the frenzy of the city will flock to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. The little less chaotic Nha Trang or Da Nang are booming cities where you will certainly be disoriented by culture, food and language. The nomad community is certainly expanding. The beaches just outside of town are a big plus when the temperatures rise! Located in the centre of Vietnam, these cities link you with a robust transport network, which provides an excellent base for exploring the rest of Southeast Asia.
You would also like: Vietnam: My first “travel crush.”
10. Mexico City + Playa del Carmen, Mexique
No, Mexico is not just a place for all-inclusives! If you venture outside the resorts, you’ll find an energetic culture with authentic restaurants and tempting street food. Accommodations are not too expensive. Mexico City is an amazing city, quite the opposite of any clichés that you’ve heard. Some neighbourhoods like La Condesa and Roma are filled with greenery and cute cafes populated by digital nomads. If you’re more of a beach bum than a hipster, head to Playa del Carmen and Tulum. The Internet is always reliable in coworking hubs. No need to tell you that the beaches are heavenly! It’s a trending spot for the digital nomads. Get there before everyone else!
The important thing is that you choose a destination that turns you on and that meets your needs and then build your professional life around it.
Which of these cities makes you dream the most?
You would also like: Nomadic destinations: 13 countries to visit for less than $ 35/day.
This article was originally published in French and adapted in English by Britney Claveau.