I have been a fulltime digital nomad for a few months now, and as you may have noticed – I’m liking it a lot. But what you may not know is I’m the founder of the largest community for female digital nomads. Fun, huh?! The group grows like crazy, and that made me think that I should dedicate a blogposts to some of the most discussed topics. Today I’m discussing the most popular destinations for digital nomads to live & work, based off of the destinations I see mentioned in the group most often.
I’m sharing destinations in almost all continents, because unfortunately there are not too many digital nomads who travel to Australia and New Zealand. They are gorgeous countries to travel, but the high cost of living makes it unsustainable for most digital nomads, and they prefer to live somewhere else where their money stretches further.
1. Bucharest, Romania
This may surprise you, but the Romanian capital is very popular for digital nomads. Bucharest is known for its super fast internet (twice as fast as Amsterdam, for example). In addition, it is a nice city with beautiful sights (the parliament building is one of the largest buildings in the world), good food, and a great cost level. It gets cold in the winter, but during the summer you can go out and discover the beautiful country.
2. Gran Canaria, Spain
A sunny island in Europe, where you can enjoy the varied nature, good internet, Spanish food, and affordable living? That is Gran Canaria. This is probably the most popular spot in Europe for Digital Nomads. And there are many nomads who, after they are done traveling through Asia, go to Gran Canaria, where they can lead a similar kind of lifestyle. Other popular destinations in Spain for digital nomads are Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona and Tarifa.
3. Budapest, Hungary
One of my friends now lives in Budapest. Just like many other nomads. Budapest is a beautiful city full of great sights and fun things to do. It feels like a very western city, apart from that crazy language they speak (did you know that Hungarian is one of the most difficult languages to learn)? It really reminded me of Paris in terms of architecture. Combine that with fast internet, lots of hip initiatives and a good airport, and you have a popular destination. Read my Budapest tips for a nice weekend in the city here.
4. Berlin, Germany
You might not expect the capital of Germany to be on this list, because in terms of costs it is slightly higher than many of the other places mentioned in this article, but I see a lot of of my friends moving to Berlin. It’s not hard to see why: you live very centrally, almost in Western Europe, and that for a considerably lower price than you would have to pay in Amsterdam, Paris or London. Berlin is bursting with hip hotspots, and all the best startups are from Berlin. To be very honest, the idea of a few months in Berlin has hooked itself in my brain.
5. Bali, Indonesia
Bali is currently the most fashionable destination for digital nomads. And not just because I’m there (kidding). Really … Bali is paradise. The nature is beautiful, people are so nice, the food is delicious, and you have lots of nice cafes to work at. There are also co-working spaces especially for digital nomads. And to finish it off, it is also really cheap. The most popular places to live are Canggu and Ubud.
6. Chiang Mai, Thailand
The other popular hotspot for digital nomads in Asia is Chiang Mai, a city in northern Thailand. I have also spent three weeks there, and I can tell you: it is indeed a wonderful place. Less hot than Bangkok, relatively quiet, with some really nice nature, good food and again a very cheap cost of living. It is easy to live here. Trendy cafes are filled with people working on their laptops. I did not write much about Chiang Mai (I was especially busy with work). Bangkok is also a popular destination for digital nomads by the way, but I personally found the city a bit too hectic and warm to live.
North / Central / South America:
7. Nosara, Costa Rica
You see the trend that people mainly go to slightly smaller towns and cities in the Americas, since large cities are generally quite busy and chaotic and do not necessarily have the quality of life that digital nomads are looking for. San José in Costa Rica is fairly popular, but I see most of the nomads chose to live in beach towns. A number of popular options are Tamarindo and Puerto Viejo. The Costa Rican members in my group were mostly located in the area of Nosara. Although the internet is not that great here, you can surf, enjoy the beautiful surroundings and live cheaply.
8. Medellín, Colombia
Medellín in Colombia is also called the Chiang Mai of the south, which says enough. This place has many great places to work, amazing food, lots of things to do in Colombia, and a good expat scene. There is free WiFi in many places. Moreover, it is not that expensive to live here. I would love to go here. Joris has been in Colombia before, and it looked so beautiful.
9. Buenos Aires, Argentina
After Medellín, Buenos Aires appears to be the most popular option for digital nomads in South America. Not so strange … great weather, fantastic food, beautiful architecture .. The city is seen as a very European city. And although it is not true that European is always better, European cities often have a higher standard of living than the chaos of South American or Asian cities. Buenos Aires is one of the more expensive locations in South America, but that also adds something to a comfortable lifestyle.
10. Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Mexico, together with Thailand and Indonesia, is one of the most popular destinations for digital nomads. I can imagine why… life in Mexico is pretty cheap. If you combine that with nice weather, and the amazing Mexican food, then there are a large number of people who work online that move there. The area around Tulum and Cancun is popular for living and working. Especially Playa del Carmen is popular. I also saw a lot of nomads living and working in Mexico City.
11. Taghazout, Morocco
Morocco may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of popular destinations for digital nomads. Which is not too surprising. Internet in Morocco isn’t that good. But along the coast you will find a number of digital nomad places, such as Essouira. Most nomads go to Taghazout, a surfing village north of Agadir. Here you also have a co-working hub, for example. This is especially popular with people who find surfing an important part of their lifestyle.
12. Cape Town, South Africa
In recent years I have seen more and more people (temporarily) moving to Cape Town. And to be honest: we have been contemplating a long time whether or not to make this the first destination for our digital nomad adventure. It is still very high on the wish list. The city has affordable living, and is full of trendy cafes and restaurants. It is located next to the beach, surrounded by beautiful nature, and it is a great base for visiting the rest of South Africa (and the African continent).