In a post-pandemic era, an increasing number of individuals are forsaking early morning commutes in favour of the convenience of working from home.
The widespread availability of high-speed internet and collaborative tools has facilitated seamless communication and task management from any location. Even most companies recognise the benefits of remote work, such as increased employee satisfaction, access to a broader talent pool, and reduced overhead costs related to office space.
So, with remote work firmly established in the professional landscape, you might be contemplating the enticing prospect of embracing the digital nomad lifestyle yourself. Explore the top 10 European cities tailored for digital nomads, promising an ideal fusion of culture, the perfect work and social balance, new activities, and perhaps some better weather.
1. Krakow, Poland
If you’re considering becoming a digital nomad and are eager to explore a new destination, why not kickstart your journey in a place filled with discovery? Krakow, a city boasting an array of museums, galleries, and a meticulously preserved old town designated as the first UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an excellent option. Its rich medieval and WWII history ensures that digital nomads have an abundance of cultural activities to immerse themselves in.
To stay connected with local mobile internet, acquiring a prepaid SIM card is necessary, but the cost is quite reasonable. Krakow provides a decent average download internet speed of 43.42 Mbps and an upload speed of 11.22 Mbps, making it convenient for digital nomads to work from any of its numerous top-notch coworking spaces. Notable options include Yolk Workspace, Galeria Bronowice, and Cytat Café.
Moreover, Krakow’s proximity to beautiful and affordable neighbouring areas offers digital nomads the flexibility to find an ideal location that aligns with their preferences without straining their budget.
2. Vilnius, Lithuania
Vilnius emerges as a burgeoning haven for digital nomads, boasting several compelling features. Leading the global charts in public Wi-Fi speed, it stands out as an ideal choice for remote workers who value flexibility. Additionally, its commendable ranking on the National Cyber Security Index ensures a secure digital environment, offering peace of mind for any digital nomad.
For those aspiring to launch a startup, Vilnius presents itself as an enticing city. The startup ecosystem is characterised by a welcoming community, fostering not only networking and collaboration but also cultivating a dynamic and innovative ambience. This stimulating atmosphere can be particularly inspiring for digital nomads engaged in entrepreneurial pursuits.
Beyond its array of productivity-enhancing coworking spaces, Vilnius charms with its exceptional culinary scene, scenic parks, and a backdrop steeped in rich history and cultural heritage. The well-preserved old town, complemented by museums and cultural events, provides ample opportunities for exploration and relaxation during leisure moments.
3. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest emerges as a brilliant choice for seasoned digital nomads and an exceptional entry point for those new to the remote work lifestyle. The city’s attraction is heightened by its relatively affordable cost of living, making it the perfect destination for digital nomads of all backgrounds.
What sets Budapest apart as a digital nomad-friendly hub is its abundance of work-friendly cafes and bars. Establishments such as Kino Café Terrace and Magvető Café Terrace offer not only a pleasant place to work but also robust Wi-Fi with an impressive average download speed of 189.89 Mbps and an upload speed of 39.87 Mbps. This makes Budapest an ideal setting for digital nomads who prefer to work while enjoying a quick coffee.
Going beyond practicalities, Budapest seamlessly integrates work and leisure, crafting an environment that caters to the comprehensive needs of digital nomads. Amidst the city’s wellness offerings, nomads can relish in the therapeutic thermal baths scattered across its landscape, unwind in expansive green spaces, and explore easily accessible hiking trails via public transportation.
4. Glasgow, Scotland
Glasgow, Scotland’s second-largest city, is a compelling choice for any digital nomad seeking a settling spot. Renowned for its vibrant arts and culture scene as well as its gorgeous fusion of urban amenities and natural splendour, Glasgow offers a multifaceted appeal.
What may not be as well-known to you is Glasgow’s thriving startup environment. Coupled with a cost-effective lifestyle and excellent transportation links, this makes the city an enticing destination for digital nomads seeking a base in the UK.
For those interested in securing a digital nomad visa in the UK, eligibility is open to non-EEA nationals with the ability to work remotely. The visa is valid for up to two years and can be extended based on meeting specified criteria.
To qualify, applicants must provide evidence of remote work, such as employment contracts, bank statements, and tax returns. Financial self-sufficiency, exclusively online is also a requirement, and you must have valid health insurance throughout your stay in Glasgow.
5. Barcelona, Spain
It’s no wonder that so many digital nomads flock to Barcelona to settle in. While its average cost of living, ranging from £2,500 to £3,500 per month, might be slightly higher than some alternatives, the city offers compelling reasons to justify the investment.
Nestled along the Mediterranean coast, Barcelona exudes a vibrant energy while embracing a laid-back lifestyle, creating an ideal environment for both living and working. The city hosts a diverse array of co-working spaces and is surrounded by numerous beaches, parks, and outdoor areas, enhancing your social life.
So, regardless of your preferred work style, Barcelona provides a variety of options. And, with an average internet speed of 35 Mbps, you can seamlessly connect with the world from wherever takes your fancy.
Spain is also the latest country to introduce a digital nomad visa program, with applications opening at the beginning of 2023. These visas last one year but can be renewed, with a low necessary income of less than £2,000 a month. When applying, you must prove that you have worked with the clients or company for over three months. You must demonstrate this with a contract of employment proving that the work can be done remotely.
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6. Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn, heralded as the first European country to pioneer an e-residency program for global entrepreneurs and the trailblazer in introducing the Digital Nomad Visa, has established itself as a beacon for digital nomads seeking a base.
Estonia offers two visa options: the short-stay C-Visa and the long-stay D-Visa. These nomad residency initiatives have catalysed a thriving startup scene, making Estonia an ideal destination for those looking to establish their businesses.
Amidst the picturesque scenery and wooded landscapes of Tallinn, residents can experience the charm of the city. Embracing the cold winter is rewarded with unique activities such as skating across frozen lakes and indulging in relaxing sauna sessions.
While Estonian is the primary language, the younger generation is becoming increasingly multilingual in various European languages, including English, Spanish, and German. This linguistic diversity adds to the cosmopolitan atmosphere, enhancing the overall appeal of Tallinn as a dynamic hub for digital nomads.
7. Valletta, Malta
Malta is swiftly emerging as a burgeoning digital nomad haven in Europe, and for good reason. A wave of of remote workers are opting for Malta to capitalise on the advantages this island has to offer.
Step into Valletta and navigate through its maze of ancient streets, recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Beyond its historical charm, Valletta, the fortified capital city, has transformed into a vibrant centre of creativity and innovation. The city’s coffee shops and co-working spaces create an ideal backdrop for the on-the-go work sessions of any nomad.
Malta boasts a robust and dependable internet infrastructure that effortlessly keeps you connected to the digital realm. Whether you’re in a co-working space or one of the charming street-side cafes, high-speed internet is readily available, ensuring a seamless remote work experience.
Although Malta has yet to introduce a dedicated digital nomad visa, it permits digital nomads to stay in the country for up to 90 days within a six-month period without a visa, depending on their nationality. For stays exceeding 90 days, individuals are required to apply for a residence permit, such as the Malta Residence and Visa Programme (MRVP) or the Global Residence Programme (GRP).
8. Plovdiv, Bulgaria
As one of Europe’s oldest cities, Plovdiv beckons to digital nomads seeking a spot steeped in culture and history. A well-kept secret on the continent, Plovdiv, while slightly off the beaten track, offers an appealing low cost of living, boasting the EU’s lowest personal income tax rates. This makes it an ideal fit for digital nomads aiming for a more budget-friendly lifestyle.
Besides being one of the best places in Europe in terms of value for money, Plovdiv offers high Wi-Fi speeds, with a fixed download speed reaching 92.15 Mbps, available for free in most cafes and restaurants. Plovdiv hosts a variety of unique food spots where a cup of excellent coffee can set you back as little as 75 euro cents. Notable work-friendly spots include BizLabs and Limacon, where you can immerse yourself in work while savouring delicious and healthy Bulgarian cuisine featuring fresh grilled meats, fish, and vegetables.
9. Lagos, Portugal
Lagos is a fantastic hotspot for both tourists and digital nomads to explore. For anyone who’d rather opt for all-year-round sun and beaches, this may be the European city for you. Renowned for its inviting ambience and completed by Portugal’s digital nomad visa, now is the opportune moment for those eyeing Portugal to make their move.
While Lagos may be among the more expensive locales on the Algarve, it compensates with a significant advantage for any beach-lovers – you can easily stroll from the town centre to the sea. Additionally, its proximity to the West Coast, a surfer’s paradise, adds to its appeal, fulfilling the preferences of any more adventurous digital nomads.
In recent years, Lagos has witnessed the emergence of numerous coworking spaces and coworking-friendly cafes, such as The Office, The Coffee Studio, and Centro.
To stay connected with the vibrant nomad community in the Algarve, consider joining the Facebook Groups Algarve Digital Nomads and Lagos Digital Nomads. These platforms offer ample opportunities to connect with fellow nomads in the region. Moreover, it’s worth extending your network to the Lisbon Digital Nomad scene while immersing yourself in the digital nomad experience in Portugal.
10. Prague, Czech Republic
Among the captivating cities in the Czech Republic, Prague invariably tops the list for digital nomads. Renowned as one of the world’s most beautiful and safest cities, Prague boasts a picturesque Old Town adorned with romantic cobbled streets and stunning architecture. This unique city extends a warm and welcoming atmosphere year-round, attracting a diverse array of people from across the globe.
Prague’s allure doesn’t stop at its aesthetics – it’s also celebrated for its affordable cost of living, not only in terms of accommodation but also budget-friendly culinary options. The city takes pride in its efficient public transportation system, allowing residents to easily travel internally but also into Europe by bus and train.
Language barriers generally pose a minor hindrance in Prague, as the city has witnessed a surge in expat numbers over the past few decades, making English communication more commonplace in the country.
For digital nomads, Prague proves to be an ideal hub with its abundance of coworking spaces, numerous cafes, and hostels featuring inviting communal areas for work. Noteworthy brands such as WeWork and Impact Hub have established a presence in Prague. With an impressive average internet speed of approximately 106.8 Mbps, Prague ensures a great environment for completing any digital nomad tasks.