The number of digital nomads has exploded over the last few years and, according to a 2022 study, now hovers around 35 million globally. These are often young professionals, freelancers, or entrepreneurs, who change locations every few months. But if they have work flexibility and lifestyle freedom, which countries and cities do they prefer?
According to the same study, Mexico, Thailand, and Indonesia are currently the most preferred digital nomad destinations, while the only featured European country is Portugal in 6th place. Considering Europe is generally safe, compared to most of the world at least, has stable, high-speed Internet, as well as hundreds of exciting places to visit, it seems a bit unfair. So, our team at SuperCasinoSites decided to take a look at some of the most visited European cities and pick the best destinations for digital nomads.
Since cost of living is one of the main factors when choosing a place to live and work, we focused on the local prices of food, accommodation, public transport, and Internet. Along with major cities like London and Paris, we also analysed destinations that are often quite underrated; it turns out some of them are perfectly positioned to become popular hubs for digital nomads.
The Best European Cities for Digital Nomads
Living a nomadic lifestyle involves travelling from one place to another while working remotely, and of course, it is an appealing concept. However, despite being glamourised on social media, it remains incredibly complicated for most people. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, remote work has become more common. The costs associated with travelling and living abroad, however, remain important factors when deciding if a digital nomad’s lifestyle is the right thing for you.
Based on current prices of food, accommodation, transport and broadband Internet, below are the top 10 European cities for digital nomads.
For centuries, Krakow, the second-largest city in Poland, has been a political, cultural and economic centre. Today, it boasts beautiful architecture, plenty of parks and green spaces, as well as a thriving startup community. The city is easily accessed from the airport while an extensive network of buses and trams link the many districts and neighbourhoods. Public transport is affordable but it is not what helps it rank first on our list – Krakow ranks second for cheap food, third for affordable accommodation, and fifth when it comes to safety and Internet costs.
According to our research, Latvia’s capital and largest city is the second-best city for digital nomads in Europe. Riga’s population of 600,000 people makes it the largest city in the Baltic states. There is not a lot of sun and the winters are especially cold and snowy but the low cost of living, combined with the vibrant culture and active night life can easily compensate. A UK salary here buys much more than it would back home or in Germany, for instance. Rent is much lower, food and transport are cheaper, and there is plenty to see and do in and around the city.
Connecting Europe and Asia, Istanbul is one of the most diverse and interesting cities on our list. It is a large city with a population of around 15 million people and despite its ancient origins, it boasts an impressive modern infrastructure. Its extensive public transport system comprises buses, trams, trains, metro lines, funiculars, and ferries. The city is well connected through its two international airports, one of which, Istanbul Airport, was the busiest airport in Europe in 2022. The cost of living is relatively low compared to other large cities; food is incredibly varied, and there is cheap accommodation in hundreds of hotels, guest houses, short-term rentals or Airbnbs.
Budapest is the capital and largest city in Hungary but despite its size, it is easy to navigate even for expats who plan to stay for a short period of time. Budapest has a convenient and affordable public transport system, a beautiful and walkable central part, as well as countless restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy traditional Hungarian cuisine. It is also the perfect place for digital nomads because of cheap Internet and mobile packages. Additionally, in 2022, Hungary introduced a residency permit for digital nomads that allows citizens from third countries to reside in the country for up to one year as long as they work for a foreign company.
Home to more than 300,000 people, Varna is the largest city on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. It is one of the oldest European cities (nearly 3,000 years old) but today, it is known for being a busy resort city in the summer. Apart from the beaches, nightclubs, and museums, Varna is a large business and startup centre, attracting thousands of expats and digital nomads with its low cost of living, delicious traditional food, and affordable public transport. Free Wi-Fi is available in practically every hotel, restaurant or large shopping mall. Of course, the hot, sunny summers are a great plus, too.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, has a rich history and unlike most of Western and Central Europe, it survived most of the destruction caused by the Second World War. Many historical sites and beautiful architecture still stand and are worth visiting, which is probably why Prague is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe; in 2022, it had just over 9 million visitors, making it the fourth most visited European city. Digital nomads can also enjoy the relatively low cost of living, convenient public transport, and great Internet coverage.
Croatia is one of the best destinations for digital nomads who want to explore Europe for several reasons – affordable food and accommodation, a great expat community, and plenty of beautiful, yet cheap resorts. Dubrovnik, in particular, is a charming town that sits on the Adriatic coast and is known for its medieval architecture and stunning Old Town. It is a popular tourist site but also attracts digital nomads from all over the world. In 2021, the Croatian government introduced a special visa for workers from outside the European Union, allowing digital nomads to live and work for up to one year while also being exempt from income taxes.
Another often underrated city for digital nomads is the Estonian capital of Tallinn, home to roughly 450,000 people. It has a rich history, which can be seen in the well-preserved medieval Old Town, but it is also a modern city with a thriving technology sector. Moreover, Tallinn has adopted smart technologies and has free Wi-Fi practically everywhere in the city. Estonia was one of the first countries to allow and regulate remote work, and in 2020, it also launched a digital nomad visa.
Valencia, the third most populous city in Spain ranks 8th on our list due to its affordability, low levels of crime and sunny weather. Over the years, it has been a preferred city for expats, particularly because it is cheaper compared to most of Western Europe, the weather is warm, and locals enjoy a great quality of life.
Lisbon, Portugal’s capital and largest city, ranks 10th on our list and is one of the best places in Europe for remote workers and digital nomads. It is a global city and an important financial, cultural and economic centre while still being home to only half a million people. This makes it a charming, walkable place and with its cheap, convenient public transport, it is also easy to navigate and explore. Since 2022, Portugal has offered digital nomad visas for those who wish to work remotely using only a laptop and Internet connection.
A digital nomad’s lifestyle is much more than travelling to exotic destinations and living an adventurous life. More often than not, digital nomads, especially freelancers who do not have a steady income, are forced to cut expenses and look for affordable places to stay, eat and work. For this reason, we focused on costs; for accommodation, we checked the average Airbnb rates in all 30 cities ranked at the time of writing. Rates are based on single-night stays per person per room.
For food costs, we looked at the prices cited on the MyLifeElsewhere website, which provides price comparisons between cities. We checked a list of several basic grocery items and for the sake of simplicity, we combined them into a virtual shopping basket. The groceries included are:
Bread – 1 loaf
Local cheese (500 grams)
Milk (1 litre)
Eggs (1 dozen)
Boneless chicken breast (1 kg)
Apples (1 kg)
Bananas (1 kg)
Oranges (1 kg)
Tomatoes (1 kg)
Potatoes (1 kg)
Onions (1 kg)
For the Internet costs, we looked at the latest data available in the Worldwide Broadband Price Research 2023 by Cable.co.uk. It looks at the prices of broadband packages across 219 countries; for the average price we used in our ranking, a total of 3,703 fixed-line broadband packages were analysed.
We also checked the cost of public transport in each of the cities, so we looked at the official cities’ websites or the metro and bus operators’ sites. Note that for many of the destinations, we used the average price of a monthly transit pass, based on several different transport passes and cards. For London, for instance, we calculated the average transit fare based on the monthly prices of six different adult Travelcards, each available for one, two or more zones (up to six).
The fifth criterion we included in the ranking is not cost-related but it is equally important, or maybe more so: safety. There are various safety rankings and indexes but the vast majority of them focus only on the 50 or 100 largest cities in the world. So, we used the Numbeo Crime and Safety City Index for 2023. The website provides indexes for thousands of towns and cities around the world.
Room Costs (average rate per room per night, airbnb)
Food Costs (per shopping basket)
Internet Costs (average price for broadband packages per month)
Monthly public transit pass