The 10 best cities for digital nomads

01.08.16
5 minute read
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It’s never been easier to see the world while earning money so the biggest challenge is deciding where to go.

Digital nomads enjoy the freedom to go almost anywhere and deliver work for clients around the world with just a laptop, internet connection and some clever apps.

Thinking of starting a new life on the road? You could spin a globe and see where your finger lands.

Or read on. We’ve chosen the best and most varied cities for international freelancers. It’s based on their connectivity, cost of living, freelance and entrepreneurial culture, climate and natural beauty.

And, of course, the fun you can have while not working.

10. Wellington, New Zealand.

wellington new zeland

The capital of New Zealand is miles ahead for international freelancers in the region.

Australia and New Zealand are top destinations for backpackers, but more challenging for digital nomads due to connectivity. The capital of New Zealand is setting a great example with fast internet and the continent’s most affordable cost of living.

As a result, the city has attracted the country’s top digital companies, as well as freelancers from around the world. There’s been a huge increase in co-working in recent years to keep up with demand, but Wellington also boasts more cafes, bars and restaurants per person than New York.


9. New York, USA.

new york new york

‘If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere’ sang Frank Sinatra about New York, and the same is true for international freelancers.

New York is one of the most exciting and globally connected places on earth.

Make no mistake, it’s a challenging city for digital nomads, but the opportunities here are endless. There’s no shortage of networking events for you to meet clients and partners who you could keep working with long after you’ve moved away to sunnier and more affordable cities.

Make your life there easier by downloading these must-have apps for expats in New York.


8. Cape Town, South Africa.

cape town from above

If you can’t choose between the beach, mountain or bustling city then this place has all three.

South Africa’s ‘Mother City’ is stunningly beautiful and enjoys nine months of summer.

The city has hugely improved as a destination for digital nomads, despite not having the fastest internet or the most reliable power supply at present. The region has even earned the nickname ‘Silicon Cape’ due its emerging tech scene.

There are new co-working spaces, but you can make your friends instantly jealous by posting pictures of you working with a pool, wine estate, beach or Table Mountain as your backdrop.


7. Tallinn, Estonia.

Tallinn

Internet access is a human right in this cool, entrepreneurial city.

Tallinn has emerged as one of Europe’s startup capitals and was recently named as the best city in Europe to find work. International freelancers benefit from its low cost of living, widespread use of English and fast internet.

Getting online is easy too as WiFi is available in a public network and almost all cafes, but there’s also great co-working spaces for you to choose from too.

After work, you can always find a party in the medieval Old Town or the hip Kalamaja district where you’ll meet other freelancers and creative professionals among the converted factories.


6. Berlin, Germany.

berlin

Berlin is friendly, trendy and affordable for international freelancers.

This once divided city is now very much open to the world and previously empty warehouses have been transformed into quirky places to live, work and party.

As a result, Berlin has emerged a creative international hub that is very welcoming to digital nomads. There’s plenty of affordable accommodation and co-working spaces, as well as a vibrant cultural scene and excellent nightlife.

Here’s your essential apps for expats in Berlin.


5. Barcelona, Spain.

barcelona

You’ll have no problem finding a desk and internet connection in Barcelona.

Necessity is the mother of invention and Spain’s international freelance community developed over recent years in response to the country’s challenging employment prospects.

There are great cities across the Iberian peninsula for digital nomads, but Barcelona is home to one of the world’s largest co-working populations where locals and foreigners work side-by-side.

It’s ideal for digital nomads looking for a better work/life balance. There’s a thriving cultural scene and almost year round sunshine for you to enjoy the surrounding beaches and mountains.


4. London, United Kingdom.

london skyline

It’s said that if you’re tired of London then you’re tired of life.

There is so much to see and do in this thriving city of nearly 9 million people. More importantly for freelancers, there are hundreds of creative agencies and countless global companies for finding work locally.

London is certainly not the cheapest place to live, but it provides great opportunities for digital nomads to build their experience and contacts. You will be more than welcomed with your laptop in cafes and trendy co-working spaces across the city.


3. Budapest, Hungary.

budapest

There’s much to love about Budapest, but international freelancers particularly enjoy its cost of living.

Budapest is one of the cheapest capitals in Europe and has lots of accommodation for international visitors. As a result, it attracts digital nomads from around the world, which has created a boom in co-working spaces.

It’s also a very sociable city with plenty of open air bars in summer for you to unwind with locals and other freelancers.


2. Florianópolis, Brazil.

brazil

Floripa, as it’s known locally, is an island paradise with a thriving entrepreneurial scene.

It’s not the biggest or the most well known Brazilian city, but it’s the most highly rated by digital nomads. It’s often described as a mini-Rio due to its beauty, vibrance and active outdoor lifestyle, although Floripa is also far safer and has a higher quality of life.

Floripa is also an emerging technology hub so international freelancers will appreciate the greater connectivity, more widespread use of English and abundance of co-working spaces.


1. Chiang Mai, Thailand.

chiang mai

This ancient city tops almost every criteria for international freelancers.

Thailand has a large digital nomad population due to its very low cost of living, fast internet, hot climate and great food. Bangkok, Pai and Ko Lanta are all very popular, but it’s Chiang Mai that takes the crown for international freelancers.

Chiang Mai is a city of temples in northern Thailand surrounded by mountains, lush forests and rice fields. It has a more traditional atmosphere and slower pace of life than the coastal cities, but the digital nomad population is thought to exceed 3,000.

It feels like there are more co-working spaces than temples, but the cafes are also have free WiFi and are packed with international freelancers. The digital nomads here even hold regular networking events.

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