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What is a digital nomad village?
Digital nomad villages are locations where digital nomads and remote workers from around the world come together to live and work in a community of like-minded individuals. The villages are usually formed via a collaboration between local governments and one or more entrepreneurial organizations. The active collaboration between the organizing entities makes them different from communities that attract digital nomads simply for their low cost of living and scenic locations. The goal of these projects is usually to boost local economies.
The villages foster an energetic culture reminiscent of a university. People are more open to new friendships, experiences, and adventures. The organizers of the villages provide plenty of social and leisure activities. You’ll also find networking opportunities and community-building events to facilitate social interactions. Living, working, and playing amongst other well-educated people can stimulate an exchange of ideas and new business opportunities.
Because they are designed for remote workers, digital nomad villages also provide services remote workers need. The villages usually have workspaces, wifi, and meeting facilities so remote workers can continue to be productive in their jobs.
Visitors may stay in the villages between a few weeks to a few months. Some villages have fixed dates for participation.
The promise of digital nomad villages is similar to work and travel programs like Remote Year. They are a way to actively explore new surroundings while you continue to work. But unlike other remote work and travel programs, digital nomad villages are fixed in one place. Participants may also need to secure their own flights, visas, housing, and rental cars. Luckily the villages often partner with local companies and landlords to help people settle in.
What are the benefits of digital nomad villages?
The digital nomad lifestyle can be lonely. It can be difficult to establish friendships when you arrive in a new location, especially when the people you meet don’t always understand your unconventional lifestyle. Making personal connections while living a nomadic lifestyle is such an important issue for digital nomads that I wrote a separate article on how digital nomads can prevent loneliness while traveling.
While there are plenty of ways to meet other digital nomads, digital nomad villages provide a nurturing community and a safe place for like-minded people. The villages can serve as a places digital nomads can return to regularly as a sort of temporary home base. They are also great stepping stones for new digital nomads to try out the lifestyle.
Digital nomad villages serve an important role in helping local communities weather the seasonality of the tourism market. Areas that face low seasons with little to no tourism revenue can find new economic stimulation by attracting digital nomads during the off-season. This is an especially attractive benefit to help economies recover from the drop in tourism seen in many places during the pandemic.
Digital nomad villages are also a more sustainable and eco-friendly way to travel because they encourage slow travel in the off season. Digital nomads generally stay in villages for longer periods of time, rather than moving from destination to destination, lessening their carbon footprint.
What are the downsides of digital nomad villages?
For introverted digital nomads, digital nomad villages can feel overwhelmingly social. There can be so many activities offered that it becomes exhausting trying to keep up with the local social life. Some people may experience a fear of missing out on the daily offered social activities. It is important to strike a balance and make a conscious effort to take a break.
There is also the risk of digital nomad villages becoming bubbles of wealthy tech workers seeking a hedonistic lifestyle. The villages may be separated from local communities with digital nomads rarely integrating into the local culture. Of course, this is dependent on the individual digital nomad. But village organizers can provide opportunities for remote workers to give back to communities through volunteer projects.
An influx of wealthy remote workers can also have the negative effect of pushing up local housing and rental costs. If remote workers are willing to pay higher prices than locals it may put pressure on local rental prices.
Finally, you may not be able to stay in digital nomad villages for as long as you’d like. If you are traveling on a tourist visa, your stay in the village will be limited to the length of your visa, typically 30 to 90 days. To stay longer you might consider applying for a digital nomad visa. Although these programs have their pros and cons, they are a great way to stay in one place longer to slow travel.
Where are digital nomad villages located around the world?
The most well-known digital nomad villages today can be found in Zadar, Croatia and Madeira, Portugal. But there are also several lesser-known programs with similar philosophies. It is likely that as remote work grows in popularity, more and more remote work villages will be organized in new locations around the world.
Zadar, Croatia (Digital Nomad Valley Zadar)
The Digital Nomad Valley at Zadar had its first run from October 10, 2021, to March 31, 2022. GrabAHome CEO Mario Mrksa masterminded this “first digital nomad village in Croatia.” Remote workers could stay for two weeks or the entire season. You can sign up for updates on future projects on the Work Remotely Croatia website.
The Digital Nomad Valley was located in the Borik neighborhood, about 30 minutes walking distance from downtown Zadar. It consisted of two hotel resorts, the Falkensteiner Funimation Hotel and The Falkensteiner premium camping Zadar. Accommodation choices included coliving or single occupancy in studios, 2-bedroom or 3-bedroom apartments, or modern glamping-type mobile homes. Prices included wifi access, utilities, coworking spaces, community events, gym, and wellness center access.
The area around Zadar is ideal for water activities like stand-up paddleboard and kayaking. It is also a 40-minute drive to Paklenica National Park with its excellent rock climbing and hiking trails. Zadar itself is a very progressive city in Croatia, with lots of young people attending Zadar University. There is a thriving restaurant and nightlife scene.
Croatia is particularly attractive for remote workers. They now offer a digital nomad visa which permits digital nomads to stay for a year without paying local income tax.
Ponto do Sol, Madeira, Portugal
Located on the lush tropical Portuguese island of Madeira, the digital nomad village at Ponto do Sol officially kicked off in Feb 2022. Gonçalo Hall, the chief executive of NomadX, developed the project in partnership with the local government and Startup Madeira, a local entity supporting entrepreneurs.
Madeira is an ideal location for a digital nomad village. It is a tropical island destination with a distinct European culture. There are 1,200 miles of trails with hikes varying from mountain peaks to flat wooded and waterfront trails. The “Levada” hikes are some of the most popular. These trails run along levada irrigation canals built to bring water to the south side of the island. There are also gorgeous beaches and a thriving gastronomic culture.
The first Madeira digital nomad village in Ponto do Sol was designed to be a one-stop shop. The village helped aspiring nomads settle on the island, get to know the local community, and begin remote working. Up to 100 people at a time could enjoy everything the village had to offer. Visitors had to commit to staying for at least a month. A free co-working space for remote working was located in a repurposed municipal building that overlooks the ocean. There were workspaces with fast wifi that accommodated up to 25 remote workers.
Registering with the village came with a discount on rentals through Flatio. It also provided access to a slack group that kept remote workers up to date on all of the village activities. Community managers organized events like mindfulness sessions, hiking, water sports, yoga, coffee clubs, dance music events, and open mic nights. There were also educational workshops on how to navigate digital nomad visas and tax arrangements.
Startup Madeira has now expanded to several locations throughout Madeira, including Funchal, Santa Cruz, Porto Santo, and Machico.
Nomad Escape is hosting a digital nomad conference called Nomad Island Fest at the village in December 2022.
Lagos, located on the Algarve coast of Portugal, is a resort town popular with tourists year-round. The city boasts more than 300 days of sunshine, beautiful beaches, and a welcoming atmosphere. It is quickly becoming one of the newest hotspots for digital nomads.
The Lagos digital nomad village offers a loose network of coliving and coworking spaces and a Facebook group to organize meetups. There are also plenty of wellness activities including meditation, yoga, and ecstatic dance. Whether you are looking for a workation package or a longer remote work stay, Lagos is a great option with every amenity digital nomads might need.
Portugal offers a visa for digital nomads who’d like to stay and enjoy the country longer.
Sintra, Portugal (Boundless Life)
Boundless Life is a new company marketing travel and work packages to digital nomad families. In general, working parents have been excluded from the digital nomad trend but Boundless Life aims to change that. They offer accommodation in long-stay furnished residences that essentially create a digital nomad village within a local community. Remote workers and their families live in individual apartments within a shared building that houses other digital nomad families.
The Boundless Life properties are located within a few minutes of the Boundless Life Co-working Hub which provides high-speed internet, meeting pods and work areas, and a kitchen/break area. Remote workers have the opportunity to work on complementary projects and exchange ideas.
One of the unique perks of this program is the rigorous academic program they offer for children of digital nomads. They also welcome pets to their residences so the entire family can travel together.
Boundless Life’s packages include support from a community manager, return airport transfers, accommodations, weekly cleaning services, childcare, access to the co-working space, and activities.
Boundless Life has plans to add new communities in Italy and Spain.
Syros, Greece (Boundless Life)
Boundless Life’s second location is Syros, Greece, a small island where you can relax on beautiful beaches, learn the principles of sailing, improve your Greek culinary skills, and experience real Greek island life. As with their Sintra location, Boundless Life offers a turnkey solution for families that comes with everything families need to feel at home upon arrival.
Tallinn Digital Nomad Village, Estonia (Concept phase)
The Tallinn digital nomad village is still in the concept phase. It will be the first remote work village within a large European city. This village concept is a collaboration between WIP and Tallink hotels. The organizers aim to connect remote workers from around the world with local service providers. The project will create 100 on-demand workspaces, meeting rooms, and other work amenities for 1000 remote workers. The services will all be within close proximity to transportation hubs and social events.
With its proximity to forests and other natural areas, Tallinn is an ideal location to experience the culture of a European city while still being able to escape the modern world.
Estonia’s e-Residency Visa Program makes this another attractive option for digital nomads who want to stay in one place longer.
Bankso is a ski resort in the Pirin mountains of Bulgaria. The area offers numerous outdoor activities including skiing in the winter and mountain biking, climbing, and hiking in the summer. There are plenty of nearby lakes and even hot springs for your indulgence. Plus, it is a mere 2.5 hours to the turquoise waters of Kavala, Greece beaches. The resort now has multiple coworking and co-living spaces. With all of its amenities and low cost of living, it is no wonder Bansko has become one of Europe’s top digital nomad communities.
Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, Spain (Nomad City)
Nomad City is an organization facilitating remote work on the island of Gran Canaria, Spain. Their website acts as a hub for the digital nomad community on Gran Canaria. You can find information on accommodation, workspaces, events, and relocation. Like Madeira, Gran Canaria is a tropical island destination with European culture.
One of the accommodation options highlighted on the Nomad City website is the village of Maspalomas. This is a resort of over 60 villas hosting remote workers. There is a community coworking space with high-speed internet as well as the usual resort amenities. Each villa includes a kitchenette, living room, and private workspace.
There are also smaller, more loosely organized digital nomad villages in Tenerife and Fuerteventura worth exploring. The villages in Tenerife and Fuerteventura offer organized events, coliving spaces, and coworking spaces with fast wifi.
Spanish rural villages welcoming digital nomads
While not technically just for digital nomad villages, there are rural villages in Spain that welcome digital nomads. They offer furnished short-term housing and coworking spaces to attract remote workers. The program is called The National Network of Welcoming Villages for Remote Workers, or Red de Pueblos Acogedores. The program aims to boost local rural economies and repopulate rural villages at risk of being deserted. The website showcases the various villages offering housing, workspaces, and fast internet.
Spain will soon be offering a digital nomad visa with attractive tax benefits.
Homberg, Germany (Summer of Pioneers)
The Summer of Pioneers was a program that first ran from April to September 2021. It offered 20 digital nomads furnished apartments with internet and access to coworking spaces in Homberg. The program was such a success that it was rebooted in 2022 and offered another 20 digital nomads the chance to experience living in Homberg for 6 months. Keep an eye on the website to see if they will continue the program in 2023.
Homberg, Germany is a small historic town of only 15,000 inhabitants. The initiative is marketed mainly to German remote workers. All of the available online material is in German (but you can translate it with google translate on chrome).
There is also a similar program in Altena.
Bad Belzig, Germany (Coconat)
Located just over an hour outside of Berlin, the “workation retreat” by Coconat is in a cluster of renovated farm buildings. Freelancers, digital nomads, creatives, and entrepreneurs can find refuge and relaxation in country living while working remotely.
There are a variety of packages for accommodations ranging from camping and dorms to premium private rooms. Food options include the use of a shared kitchen or a full vegetarian pension. There is also a pub serving coffee and tea all day long. To make sure you get some work done there are multiple indoor and outdoor workspaces with fast internet.
Trento Remote is an organization facilitating digital nomad life in Trento, Italy. They offer services to help you find housing, get a visa, pay taxes, learn Italian, and find schools for your children. There are also outdoor activities, dinners, and excursions to help you meet locals and make friends with other digital nomads. Trento Remote is currently accepting reservations for the spring program from April 1 – June 30.
In 2019, Trento was named Italy’s top city for quality of life. The city is nestled in the gorgeous Dolomite mountains. There are numerous lakes, hiking and mountain bike trails, and some of the world’s best rock climbing nearby. There is a thriving gastronomic scene and plenty of year-round cultural events. All of these characteristics make Trento an attractive option for digital nomads to explore.
Two locals founded Start Working Pontremoli in 2020 after spending years watching fellow villagers leave for jobs in big cities. Pontremoli is a cute village of around 7,300 residents located in the rolling hills of Tuscany. To attract digital nomads, the group offers welcome services and free tours to remote workers who want to join the community. They help set up meetings with real estate agents so you can easily find a place to live. There is also a coworking space with wifi in a former seminary.
Italian rural villages welcoming digital nomads
Italy now has a similar program to Spain to welcome remote workers to small villages that have declined in population. Headquarter Village aims to boost local economies and showcase the beauty of rural Italian village life.
The initiative partners with a network of private property owners to provide housing. They also offer a wide range of services including internet and coworking spaces. You can browse the various villages and available local services for each village on their website.
KINO is another organization bringing remote workers and digital nomads to the hidden gems of Italy. Their website says they “create communities of people who share a passion for location independence, picturesque Italian villages, and all the sweet things in life.” Their communities are currently located in Santa Fiora, Tursi, Puglia, and Sicily.
Italy is working on a digital nomad visa which will make working remotely from one of their rural villages even easier.
CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA
NomadX, the company that developed the digital nomad village locations in Madeira, Portugal, has partnered with Pipa’s local tourism board and the Brazilian government to market Brazil’s first digital nomad village. Pipa is located in Brazil’s northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte just 90 minutes from Natal International airport.
The Nomad Village is one resort option that provides coworking spaces and coliving-style accommodations. Remote workers can rent private rooms and socialize in shared common kitchens and lounge spaces.
The village is accepting bookings for October 15 through December 15, 2022. The project is projected to boost the local economy by as much as $36 million per year. Brazil also offers a digital nomad visa which will make it easier to spend several months in the village.
Placencia, Belize (Umaya Village)
Umaya village is currently run by Noma Collective. Located in Placencia, Belize, Umaya village is the first dedicated digital nomad remote working village in the Caribbean. The village is in a former hotel made up of modern one and two-bedroom apartments. Each apartment comes with a fully equipped kitchen, private balcony, living area, and weekly cleaning with fresh toiletries. There is a bar, restaurant, private beach, and a swimming pool. The village also offers wifi, workspaces, yoga classes, paddleboards, kayaks, daily shuttle service to the grocery store, weekly excursions, and airport shuttles.
Belize is an ideal tropical location for digital nomads. It has the second largest coral reef in the world, great for diving, snorkeling, and water sports. Belize also offers a digital nomad visa.
Nomad Gao, India
Nomad Gao, is a digital nomad village in India made up of a group of coworking and coliving spaces. They offer a range of accommodations including private villas, private rooms, and shared dorms. There are workspaces with high-speed internet suitable for remote working as well as quiet zen spaces for relaxation. To access the services you must purchase a sort of subscription plan or individual passes.
Where can you find other digital nomad communities?
Attending a digital nomad conference is a great way to start exploring the global digital nomad community. Conferences are offered throughout the year in various locations.
There are a number of cities around the world that are considered digital nomad hubs. While they generally do not have a coordinated network of services, these locations have plenty of amenities marketed toward digital nomads:
- Split and Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Canggu, Bali, Indonesia
- Barcelona, Spain
- Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Medellin, Columbia
- Tbilisi, Georgia
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Valencia, Spain
If you are interested in traveling and working remotely, digital nomad villages are a perfect option to connect with the digital nomad community. They are great places to meet other digital nomads, share resources and knowledge, and make the transition to the digital nomad lifestyle as easy as possible. Before you choose to stay at a digital nomad village and work remotely, make sure you understand the tax consequences. Learn more and plan ahead with our digital nomad tax guide.
Are you looking for locations in the United States welcoming digital nomads? Here are the places in the US paying remote workers to move.