Long term travel is all well and good, but can be tiring. If you are a digital nomad it’s difficult to get work done when you are constantly on the road. With the rise of location independent jobs, bloggers and remote working several excellent digital nomad cities have sprung up around the globe.
What makes a Good Digital Nomad City?
These digital nomad cities have several things in common. Good WiFi is a must – it’s no good being a remote worker who cannot get online! It also cannot be a place where there are frequent electricity blackouts. Digital nomads usually have a cheap cost of living, good cafe culture and a decent social scene to meet people. They are often on main train routes or airports or at least accessible to other places by road so that travel bloggers can use them as a base. Without hesitation, let me introduce you to the top digital nomad cities of the world.
10 Amazing Digital Nomad Cities to base yourself
Chiang Mai – Thailand
Chiang Mai an amazing city for Digital Nomads to call home. I spent almost three weeks based here when I was in Thailand and I could have happily stayed for months. Individuals come from all over the world for the world-class food, cheap cost of living, fast Internet speeds, active community of people who work online and interesting culture. It also has one of the lowest costs of living compared to other cities, including minimal rent for good apartments. With a variety of great co-working spaces on the rise, not to mention the number of coffee shops with decent Wi-Fi, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Nimmanhaemin Road is the most popular area for digital nomads. Check into a hostel near there or even consider an Air BnB or apartment if you are staying longer.
Consider staying at – ALEXA Hostel in Nimman – Free Breakfast and WIFI!
Ubud – Bali
Ubud is digital nomad heaven, it is buzzing with wannabe digital nomads and highly successful entrepreneurs who have come to live the island life, and benefit from the solid Wi-Fi connection and lively digital nomad scene. It is located among rice fields and jungles, with magical waterfalls just waiting to be discovered. Ubud is the spiritual and cultural centre of Bali, you can try one of the famous Balinese spa treatments and massages, which can be found on virtually every street. You can even align your chakras at the world’s best yoga schools.
Consider staying at – Praety Home Stay – Free Breakfast and WIFI
Cebu – Philippines
Located in the middle of the Philippines in what is known as the Visayas region, Cebu is the second major metropolitan location in the Philippines. The best thing about Cebu is that it is located right on the coast and you can actually swim in these coastal waters, unlike Manila Bay. This hidden gem is located in the northern tip of the island of Cebu. It is where land, sea and sky meet and blend seamlessly to form the postcard-perfect backdrop of Kandaya Resort, which is a 3-hour ride from Mactan Airport.
Plovdiv – Bulgaria
For digital nomads, the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv ticks a lot of boxes. From the low cost of living and high quality of life, to the hiring & business opportunities (lowest taxes in EU) there are many reasons why it’s a great option for those with a nomadic lifestyle. Plovdiv boasts very fast WIFI, the healthy lifestyle options, great food, nature and warm weather during summer. All of these factors make it a simple choice for a home base within Europe. It’s also a main sports centre and possesses one of the biggest sports complexes in throughout Europe, with a stadium, soccer fields, tennis courts, gyms, a rowing channel, and many other things. I loved the cafe culture in Plovdiv – such a shame that I was passing through on a day trip. I would certainly consider it as a European home base.
Budapest – Hungary
Budapest possesses the features of a tropical digital nomad hideaway, if you visit in the hotter months: the climate can be almost as warm in Bali in June/September, although mornings can be refreshing! And there’s a plethora of spas, thermal baths and swallow lakes with water-skiing and boarding amenities throughout the country which is easily and quickly accessible by the grid of well-maintained highways. The style and street scenery spans somewhere between Berlin and Barcelona because of the scope of culture and art and the plentiful nightlife programs.
Tallinn – Estonia
Tallinn’s history is captivating, the cost of living is reasonable, and every inch of non-commercial land is covered in beautiful green forest. The medieval towers surrounding Old Town, the architectural remnants of the Soviet era, and the stunning cleanliness of the city makes it feel exotic. Tallinn has a TV Tower which gives a futuristic vibe from the lookout area and the Seaplane Harbour which has over 6 ships to explore and a submarine. Tallinn is walkable, clean, safe and has great weather during the Summer. If you want to see the sites of Tallinn at a discount, consider purchasing a Tallinn Card from the main tourist information desk in the Old Town.
Lisbon – Portugal
Lisbon is one of the best-kept secrets of Europe —warm, stunning, and packed full of friendly Portuguese people living by the sea, it’s easy to see why tons of digital nomads find themselves living in Lisbon. Thanks to its stunning location, Lisbon provides the perfect mix of city-meets-beach vibes. If you’re a surfer, Lisbon is known for both its giant and beginner-sized waves, although it may be a struggle fitting your board on the train. Public transport here is fantastic, which makes it even more digital nomad friendly. Another lovely Lisbon thing to note; the weather. It stays fairly mild year-round with the hottest months occurring in July/August. I’d happily live in Lisbon! Remember to take a Sintra Day Trip from Lisbon to see the amazing Pena Palace while you’re there.
Medellin – Colombia
This destination is an increasingly admired choice for digital nomads. Two of the main criteria nomads have are good coffee and decent Wi-Fi, and Medellin can definitely offer these. The city is more cosmopolitan than ever, and over the last ten years or so, countless cafes, restaurants and bars have popped up. Nightlife is a big here, and people love music and dance. The city is relatively inexpensive, so it won’t dent your budget to kick back and relax. The people of Medellin are known as ‘paisas’ and they are renowned for being incredibly friendly and helpful; this significantly affects the friendly vibe of the city and as Medellin is now safer than ever, it is one of the most popular Colombian destinations for solo travellers.
Merida – Mexico
Merida is becoming one of the most talked about destinations for digital nomads in the western hemisphere. The combination of rich local culture, big city comforts, and exciting things to do ensures that you won’t quickly become burnt out and start searching for someplace new. Merida is the kind of place that tempts you to stick around for a while. It’s impossible to be bored here, that’s why so many digital nomads are making it their home base. There is always something going on, whether it’s a religious festival, cultural exposition, or just one of the many weekly fiestas that happen around the city. You’ll never be short of exciting things to do and enjoy in Merida.
Taghazout – Morocco
Taghazout is a perfect spot for Digital Nomads. Based in Morocco, my favourite North Africa country, it is cheap, beautiful and adventurous. The co-working spaces are small, have fast internet and there is a great little community.The town is tiny and the locals are extremely friendly and playful. For everyone in Europe who’s looking for the perfect spot to work, eat well, sober up for a while (it’s tricky to find booze) and save some money while making some new friends and learning to surf, this is your place.
Further Reading and More Digital Nomad Cities
If you are looking at basing yourself in the Nordic Countries, Copenhagen and Reykjavik are both extremely Digital Nomad friendly. The reason that they have not made the list is due to the high cost of living in these countries.
This is a similar situation with the UK – housing and food can be more expensive than in Eastern Europe. However, if you are interested in a UK Digital Nomad base, I recommend my current home town – Liverpool! Housing can be a quarter of the price of housing in London and in some areas even half the price of Manchester, it’s Northern rival. Here’s my Digital Nomad Guide to Liverpool.