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While many have been living the digital lifestyle for years, with the COVID pandemic, companies were forced to adapt, allowing staff to work remotely from home. Some businesses shut down altogether, and many of those newly unemployed used the opportunity to become self-employed. The combination led to the exponential growth of the digital nomad landscape, with a significant number of people exploring new destinations, often outside of their home countries, whether to enjoy a higher quality lifestyle, to be immersed in a different culture, or both. If you’re thinking of doing the same, consider one of these top cities for digital nomads that provide a haven for remote workers and the self-employed.
Once you visit Oaxaca you probably won’t want to leave, which is why it’s becoming an increasingly popular destination among digital nomads and expats of all types. The capital city of the state of Oaxaca in the south of Mexico, where the Eastern Sierra Madre and the Southern Sierra Madre mountains merge, it’s a cultural center with a thriving coffee culture, colorful markets filled with fresh produce, magnificent colonial-era churches, a world-class mezcal scene, and a mouthwatering food scene. From street foods to dishes served at rooftop eateries, you’ll have lots of fun sampling everything from Tlayuda, a Mexican pizza, to chocolate. Plus, it’s affordable, Wi-Fi is fast and reliable, and there are a variety of attractions and activities to help you get to know the city.
Beautiful Porto offers lots for digital nomads, from rich history to delicious eats and lively nightlife. Like most destinations in Portugal, Wi-Fi is good, and there are relatively affordable apartments, especially when compared to Lisbon. You’ll enjoy plenty of scenic beauty, including the Douro River with spectacular vineyards along its banks producing the city’s famous port wine. Porto has an artsy, hipster vibe, yet it’s managed to maintain its medieval history and cultural traditions, with a stroll through the winding streets like traveling back in time.
Ringed by the Chilean coastal range and the snow-capped Andes, Santiago is one of the safest cities in South America while coasting a dramatic setting for those who want to be immersed in natural beauty and culture. Art lovers can discover impressive works simply by wandering the cobbled streets of the older barrios, though there are plenty of modern cultural centers too, like Estacion Mapocho and underneath Palacio de La Moneda. There are countless eateries serving delicious eats and lively bars in the bohemian Barrio Bellavista, while the stunning surroundings provide opportunities for everything from wine tasting, hiking, and sunbathing to skiing. The Internet is fast, there are plenty of coworking spaces, welcoming locals, and a generally high quality of life too.
Portugal’s picturesque capital is a popular base for digital nomads bringing the opportunity to network with other remote workers. There are many cafes that are ideal for working from and a wide range of long-term accommodation options with modern facilities. When you aren’t working, you can explore Moorish history, gorgeous old architecture, modern art, and magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Sintra Palace nearby. Plus, there are some fantastic beaches within easy reach and a long beach season stretching from May through mid-October.
The capital city of Thailand is a bustling metropolis with a cheap cost of living and a massive expat community. While it is chaotic, once you peel back the layers, you’re likely to fall in love. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the food is incredible, affordable, and there is an abundance of reasonably priced accommodations. Getting around the city is easy with a modern train system and extensive bus services too. Those who want exciting nightlife will find plenty here, from street parties to chic rooftop bars and buzzing nightclubs. By day, enjoy sampling the wide range of foods and mingling with the locals in the markets, indulging in endless shopping opportunities and exploring the rich history, with gorgeous temples and palaces.
Berlin has been a hub for digital nomads for years as the country offers the German Freelance Visa, making it easy for the self-employed to live there. If you want to have easy access to countless destinations across Europe while enjoying a safe base with an abundance of culture, art, and history, it’s one of the best European cities to land. There’s lots of cool street art, many excellent museums, cheap eats at outdoor markets, opportunities for five-star dining, and world-renowned nightlife too. Plus, rent, groceries, and utilities are more affordable as compared to other cities of similar size, while public transport is cheap and convenient, making it easy to explore the entire country and beyond.
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Ubud often tops lists of the best places for digital nomads in Bali with its tranquil setting and spectacular nature, as well as being the island’s cultural hub, home to many creative types from writers and artists to craftspeople. While the cost of living is a bit higher than Bali’s average, it’s still quite affordable and offers a wide range of things to do. When not working, you can take advantage of the wealth of yoga classes, hike through lush rice fields, visit temples, and delve into the fabulous food scene, which includes many outstanding vegan and vegetarian options.
Mexico City, Mexico
The “New York City of Mexico,” Mexico City has become a hotspot for digital nomads, balancing affordability with quality of life. There are lots of coworking spaces and networking events, so there’s no need to ever feel lonely here. Plus, you can easily fly anywhere in the world from here. When you aren’t working, check out the countless food markets, explore the wealth of museums and art galleries, and enjoy an oasis right in the city at Chapultepec Park, the oldest and largest urban park in Latin America, home to a zoo, a lake for paddle boating, an amusement park and nine museums. Frequent cultural performances are held here as well.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
If you’re looking for a low-cost city with a laid-back vibe for working and playing, the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai might be an ideal pick. It offers that and much more, from mouthwatering cuisine to magnificent temples and vibrant night markets while being surrounded by lush jungle. It’s often referred to as the world’s “digital nomad capital” with reliable Internet and cheap rent. While petty crime like pickpocketing is something to be aware of, it’s generally quite safe.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
A favorite among casual travelers and digital nomads alike, Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s primary financial hub and one of the most modern cities in the country, with endless shopping, dining, and entertainment opportunities. It’s been called a digital nomad’s dream, with a very low cost of living, coworking spaces, and great Vietnamese coffee whenever you need a quality caffeine hit. A wide range of delicious eats is on offer, and to scope it out, there are food tours available that will bring you to some of the best while riding on the back of a scooter.
The beautiful capital city of Czechia, known as the “City of a Hundred Spires,” is one of the most iconic in Europe with its stunning gothic, baroque, and Romanesque architecture while narrow cobbled lanes are lined with cafes, bars, and authentic eateries. The Old Town Square sits at the heart of its historic core, home to the famous medieval Astronomical Clock that delivers an animated hourly show. Enjoy strolls on the renowned pedestrian Charles Bridge, completed in 1402, with sunset walks particularly romantic. Beyond the many attractions, it’s one of the best for remote workers, with fast Wi-Fi and excellent local transportation.
Krakow is Poland’s second-largest city, and it’s been voted as the No. 1 in Europe for remote workers with a low average cost of living and good Internet speeds. An architectural jewel, it’s the country’s cultural hub and home to Europe’s largest market square. In the Old Town, the streets are lined with art nouveau masterpieces, and after dark, it’s transformed into a hot nightlife spot with more bars per square meter than anywhere else on the planet.
The capital of Western Australia, Perth is popular among digital nomads and backpackers. Located along the Indian Ocean, it’s the perfect mix of beaches and skyscrapers, with a thriving cafe culture, reliable Wi-Fi, and plenty of co-working spaces. There are many ways to get to know like-minded people from across the club here too, including regularly hosted trivia nights at pubs and bars. The surrounding area is home to many vineyards and wineries for sampling the region’s tasty wines, and you’ll find many beautiful beaches with pristine white sands contrasted by brilliant turquoise water ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Cottesloe Beach is easily reached by public transport just 20 minutes outside of the city.
While Tbilisi may not often be talked about, it’s an up-and-coming digital nomad hub as a progressive, hip city with a fun young vibe, friendly people, and a low cost of living. English is widely spoken, Wi-Fi is fast and reliable, and there are plenty of co-working spaces. There’s a picturesque Old Town with winding alleyways, art nouveau buildings, and traditional balconied homes along with many traditional markets filled with colorful produce. As there are people here from many different cultures, expect a wide variety of tasty eats that can be enjoyed with fabulous local wines.