Digital nomads are a growing population of professionals who work remotely while traveling the world. The rise of remote work has enabled more people to live and work in any place they choose. With the digital nomad lifestyle, you can craft your ideal life. You can live and work in locales you only previously dreamed of visiting for a brief vacation.
For various reasons, hotspot cities have become quite popular with digital nomads. Destination choices for digital nomads often boil down to a few important factors:
- Cost of living
- Internet speed
- Connecting with fellow digital nomads
- Quality of life
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the 10 top cities for digital nomads and the factors that have made them so popular. I’ll also reveal 5 cities that have a lot to offer digital nomads and deserve more love. Whether you are looking for great coffee shops, coworking spaces, activities, cuisine, or just good vibes, these cities have it all.
Before you pack your bags and head to your next locale, take a look at these amazing destinations for digital nomads.
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The Top 10 Destinations for Digital Nomads
Canggu has a very low cost of living, excellent internet connectivity, a laid-back surfer and wellness culture, beautiful beaches, and delicious street food. These are among the many reasons this city always ranks in the top 10 of any list of digital nomad hotspots.
You can learn how to surf, visit the beautiful surrounding rice paddies, explore the rich cultural heritage, or just enjoy the luscious tropical climate.
The area is chock full of yoga and wellness centers where you can indulge in relaxation and self-care.
Canggu is such an ideal place for digital nomads there will be plenty of digital nomads for you to meet. You’ll also have no difficulty finding an affordable coworking space or coliving space.
Bali is one of many places now offering a tax-free digital nomad visa.
Bangkok is another city with a relatively low cost of living compared to other popular digital nomad destinations. The city generally has excellent internet speed to keep you connected as you work online.
A large and active community of like-minded digital nomads awaits you so you won’t get lonely on your travels. You’ll also find a wide range of budget-friendly accommodation options and coworking spaces.
Travelers flock to Bangkok for its delicious street food, historic temples and palaces, festivals, and shopping scene. The street markets and floating markets are experiences you won’t want to miss.
Local transportation is one thing that newbie digital nomads forget about. When you travel long-term, renting a car is not always ideal. Luckily Bangkok has a very affordable and efficient transportation system. The Skytrain, subway, and river taxi network make it easy for digital nomads to get around the city.
Lisbon’s popularity as a digital nomad destination has really exploded in the past year. The city has a wonderful Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm summers. It is a great place to escape the cold winter months in Europe.
While rent prices have been climbing recently, Lisbon still has a relatively low cost of living compared to other popular destinations in Europe. There are plenty of coliving spaces where you can live with other digital nomads and have an immediate sense of community. Portugal is a safe country with low crime rates and an excellent health care system.
Some of the most attractive aspects of Lisbon are its proximity to beautiful beaches and a range of landscapes, the nearby picturesque villages, and the abundance of amazing seafood. Make sure to take a side trip to visit the gorgeous beaches of the Algarve coast.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires is one of the cities with the lowest cost of living on this top 10 list. The unfortunate recent inflation issues have destabilized the local currency. The bright side is that this means that your dollar will go far here.
The gastronomic scene is a dream for meat eaters with hearty steaks, empanadas, and traditional dishes. In addition to its culinary delights, the city is well known for its lively nightlife. Any visiting digital nomad should make sure to spend a night out on the town at a milonga to learn the Argentine Tango.
Buenos Aires has a comfortable subtropical climate with warm summers and mild winters. For those looking to explore beyond the city, it is an easy flight to visit Bariloche in the Andes (one of my personal favorites). Or you can take a short ferry ride to the Unesco-protected colonial village of Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay.
Medellin was once viewed as a somewhat unsafe place to travel. It has since become more stable and an increasingly popular place for digital nomads. In recent years it has emerged as a digital nomad hub where it is possible to live the digital nomad lifestyle on a small budget.
The city is located in a valley, providing gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains. Its vibrant culture awaits you with a variety of festivals, museums, and historical sites to explore.
Mexico City, Mexico
Compared to other destinations in North America, Mexico City has a relatively low cost of living while maintaining a high quality of life. This is likely the main reason Mexico City reigns high on any list of top 10 destinations for digital nomads.
Each neighborhood has its own character and is full of restaurants, cafes, and street vendors. You can try traditional dishes from around Mexico or cuisines from around the world.
The city has an affordable and efficient transportation system that will help you explore the ancient ruins and vibrant contemporary art scene. The most difficult thing about visiting Mexico City is resisting the impulse to buy art, clothing, furniture, and everything else that will tempt you.
Remote workers have recently been flocking to Mexico City, increasing local rent prices but also attracting more amenities for digital nomads like coworking and coliving spaces.
Another benefit of Mexico City is that it is a short flight back to any major city in the US for digital nomads who need to return for corporate meetings or events. The city is also in the same time zone as Chicago, making it easier to match your zoom meetings to your sleep cycle.
Mexico offers a digital nomad visa so you can stay up to a year.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Yes, Thailand gets 2 spots on the list of top 10 digital nomad cities, but for good reason. Chiang Mai has a very low cost of living, allowing digital nomads to have a high quality of life. You can choose to live in luxury apartments for a fraction of the cost or in budget-friendly hostels that are still very clean and comfortable.
Vegetarians will find plenty of great options. There is a wide range of restaurants, cafes, and bars that cater to any dietary request.
The city is surrounded by beautiful mountains and villages with a rich cultural heritage. The tropical climate makes it a great place to escape the cold winter months, although summers can be uncomfortably hot.
Chiang Mai has long been a favorite of digital nomads. This means you will find an abundance of coworking spaces and cafes with excellent internet connectivity.
With its subtropical climate, rugged cliffs, lush landscapes, beautiful beaches, and quaint towns, Madeira is the paradise you’ll hardly believe is a part of Europe.
Madeira is well known for its outdoor activities like hiking, surfing, and windsurfing. You can easily stuff yourself silly every night with traditional Madeira cuisine and wines.
The island is also home to the world’s first digital nomad village. You can live amongst a community of like-minded individuals looking to connect with other digital nomads. The area hosts a digital nomad conference where you can learn about issues important to digital nomads, network, learn new skills, and make plenty of new friends.
Portugal also offers a digital nomad visa so you can stay for up to a year.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town has become a popular destination for digital nomads because of its natural beauty, diverse culture, and growing start-up scene.
You can find plenty of coworking spaces that provide a supportive environment for remote workers and entrepreneurs. If you are in the early phases of growing a startup or your freelance business, this is a great digital nomad community to collaborate and make connections.
The town offers easy access to outdoor activities like hiking, surfing, and exploring the surrounding wine country. Travel a little further and you can visit national parks and go on photo safaris.
5 Destinations Digital Nomads Should Check Out Next
Now let’s discover 5 destinations you really should check out on your digital nomad journey.
When compared to other European cities, Ljubljana is relatively inexpensive. The city has a strong infrastructure for digital nomads with high-speed internet and plenty of coworking spaces.
Ljubljana’s historic center is small but charming. You can hike, ski, or take part in other outdoor activities in the surrounding Julian Alps. Outdoor enthusiasts will delight in the many opportunities to get out into nature.
The city is extremely walkable and prides itself on being a leader in sustainable travel. Ljubljana makes a great hub for exploring the rest of Slovenia and neighboring Croatia and Austria. The benefit of staying in a base like Ljubljana for exploration, rather than constantly moving around, is one of the many secrets I wish someone had told me in advance about long-term travel.
Digital nomads looking for an inexpensive city to stretch their budget will find Quito to have an excellent quality of life on even the smallest of budgets. Accommodation, food, transportation, and other living expenses are all very affordable.
One of the many misconceptions about digital nomads is that digital nomads need a lot of money to travel long-term. Quito proves otherwise and is one of the cheapest places for digital nomads on a budget.
The city boasts many historic sites and museums as well as a vibrant arts and music scene. It is easy to visit a variety of nearby landscapes including the coast, Galapagos islands, Andes mountains, and the upper Amazonian rainforest.
Quito has a growing number of coworking spaces to keep you productive on the road. In your free time, you can volunteer at a number of conservation organizations to give back to the community.
Ecuador offers a digital nomad visa so you can stay for up to 2 years.
By far, Antigua is one of my favorite remote work destinations. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, it has well-preserved colonial architecture including churches, convents, universities, monuments, fountains, and squares. Walking the streets feels like walking back in time.
You can work in a coworking space or any number of cafes with internet connectivity and endless cups of excellent local coffee. The food is eclectic and delicious. Make sure to try some of the dulces tipicos (traditional deserts)
Long before digital nomads found Antigua it was a hub of Spanish language schools and has an established infrastructure for ex-pats, tourists, and people who follow the slow travel movement. There are plenty of local excursions you can book to hike volcanos, stay on Lake Atitlan, visit Mayan ruins, or hike in the jungle.
For accommodations, you will find coliving spaces, furnished apartments, or budget-friendly options like homestays.
Guatemala has a long-stay visitor visa so you can stay for up to 6 months. The initial entry visa is 90 days and once you arrive you can get a 90-day extension.
Denver has a thriving tech and start-up scene with a very supportive ecosystem for remote workers and entrepreneurs. The city is home to many startup incubators, accelerators, and coworking spaces that provide numerous resources and networking opportunities.
But what really sets Denver apart for digital nomads is the access to outdoor activities. Denver is home to many parks and bike trails. The Platte River Bike Trail runs 35 miles along a greenway through the city. The Clear Creek trail runs from north Denver to Golden. Finally, the Denver High Line Canal trail runs 71 miles through the city.
Outside of the city are numerous ski resorts, lakes, hiking trails, rock climbing crags, rivers to raft, Rocky Mountain National Park, and so much more.
Denver’s international airport is easily reached on the excellent public transportation and rail system. For accommodation, digital nomads can rent an Airbnb long-term or check out Sentral or Hello Landing for short-term furnished apartments with fast reliable internet.
The region of Trentino is home to the city of Trento, in the northeastern part of Italy known for its picturesque Dolomite mountain and natural beauty. The region offers many outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, windsurfing on Lake Garda, and mountain biking.
Trentino is heaven on earth for digital nomads who enjoy being active and love the outdoors. It is no wonder that Trento was voted as having the best quality of life in Italy in 2022.
Trento has fast and reliable internet, good public transportation, and a growing number of coworking spaces. Imagine grabbing an espresso before walking to your workspace surrounded by 15th-century buildings. Trento is home to a growing digital nomad community where you can meet like-minded digital nomads who also enjoy the outdoors.
I highly recommend asking your boss to go remote so you can stay here for a while, explore the area in depth, and enjoy the benefits of location independence.
I hope I’ve convinced you that there are many cities around the world that are great options for digital nomads. The cities I discussed offer vibrant cultures, beautiful scenery, a strong sense of community, and so much more to suit your needs.
While many of these cities are located in countries offering digital nomad visas you’ll want to make sure you understand the pros and cons before committing. You might not even need a digital nomad visa depending on your circumstances and planned length of stay. Make sure you understand the tax implications of working abroad so you can plan ahead and avoid any headaches.
The opportunities for travel and work are endless. As more and more cities become digital nomad-friendly, I anticipate that the list of the “top cities” for digital nomads will evolve. The cities I highlighted in this post are just the tip of the iceberg. Whether you are just starting out as a digital nomad or you are a seasoned pro, remember to keep an open mind and explore the numerous options available to you. You only live once!