Last updated on September 13th, 2023
The best digital nomad destinations where you find groups of remote workers tapping away at their laptops all have certain things in common: community, infrastructure, reliable Wi-Fi, co-working spaces and cafes for working, and a won’t-scare-the-living-daylights-out-of-you cost of living. Many are tropical locales that sunseekers choose for the next-level beach potential without the hustle and bustle of city life. The following ten hotspots appear on lists of best digital nomad destinations time and time again. Which will you choose this year?
1. Bali, Indonesia
The Indonesian island of Bali is a digital nomad Mecca and its patrons are semi-seriously partitioned into “the Canggu people” and “the Ubud people”, who enjoy a more temperate lifestyle centered around yoga and wellness.
What draws digital nomads to Bali besides the tempting beaches and airy pool-having villas, however, is the promise of many other nomads and thus, the chance to grow their businesses. The regular nomad conferences held there are great opportunities for networking, potential fundraising, and skill sharing while co-working spaces host informative workshops almost daily. Bali nomads feel secure in the knowledge they’ll meet like-minded people and won’t be subjected to questions like “so do you actually ever do any work?” for the millionth time.
2. Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is Spain’s second-largest city. It’s home to around 1.6 million residents, 68 parks, and ten beaches. Almost no one goes to Barcelona just once. Barcelona is one of the best cities for digital nomads in Europe with its endless array of activities, cultural events, hip art scene, and tantalizing gastronomic offerings. It’s also relatively easy to meet other travelers at English-language events; there’s even an English comedy club with nightly shows and no shortage of coworking spaces. Barcelona may be a tourist hotspot but nomads love it too and it has been noted to be home to the third largest number of freelancers in Europe.
3. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Rumour has it there are over 3,000 digital nomads living in Chiang Mai. This northern Thai city is utterly attractive for this group due to the cost of living, safety, and lack of hustle and bustle that exists in other parts of the country. It’s easy for nomads to set up in Chiang Mai as there is already robust infrastructure to suit their lifestyle; abundant accommodation options, buddy networks to help them settle in, meetups, dinners, sports grounds, and even private members’ clubs. There are also dozens of social networks and groups that nomads can use to set up their trips long before they’ve whiffed the sweet scent of Thai breeze including Chiang Mai Digital Nomads.
4. Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon is much more affordable than European capitals like Paris, London, or Amsterdam. Generally speaking, the more affordable a town or city is to live in, the longer one can afford to stay there, and being able to travel longer and slower is definitely something digital nomads can get on board with. There’s also a thriving tech scene and weekly meetups specifically for digital nomads.
Overall, the Portuguese capital boasts incredible nightlife, fantastic local cuisine, a calendar of sunshine-filled days, and nearby beaches for weekend escapes, catapulting it to the top of the list of the best digital nomad destinations on Nomadlist.com. Nomads looking to work in Lisbon can travel there independently or join a group work and travel program for remote workers like Remote Year of Hacker Paradise which both make annual stops in the city.
5. Medellin, Colombia
Medellin is a stunning exposé of Colombia’s rich culture and heritage. Gone are the days of Escobar and his Narco trafficker friends. Medellin is a beautiful hilltop city with riveting nightlife and a happening ex-pat scene. Its proximity to the US and relative affordability are what invite and keep nomads in this city in Colombia’s Antioquia region. Medellin is well-developed with an excellent metro system. It’s known as “the city of eternal spring” and it’s laid back and cool all year round. Nomads are pleasantly surprised by the wide availability of Wi-Fi in Medellin that’s available for free in public spaces like malls and parks.
El Poblado is the neighborhood where most travelers start in the city owing to its numerous hotels, hostels, and leafy restaurant-lined streets. Laureles is another great neighborhood to call home in the city.
6. Bansko, Bulgaria
Many nomads arrive in Bansko with the one or two days they intended on staying rapidly transforming into months and seasons or even looking into buying apartments there within their first week. What draws nomads there en masse are the hiking paths, untouched nature, and ski slopes, and it’s also said to be one of the most spiritual places in the world. About two hours from Bulgaria’s capital Sofia, Bankso is now believed to have more co-working spaces per capita than anywhere else in the world according to Deutsche Welle.
7. Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain
Snow bunnies unite on Gran Canaria, one of Spain’s Canary Islands, for the milder winters, unassuming atmosphere, and small-town vibe. Nomads can enjoy great weather and good Internet, it’s not too far-flung either and it’s reasonably affordable by European standards. Las Palmas has a gaggle of co-working spaces, picture-perfect beaches, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites to occupy your downtime. Despite being about as far from Europe as you can go while staying in the European Union, great transportation links make this an accessible digital nomad destination.
8. Cape Town, South Africa
Working professionals love Cape Town. Music lovers are also jetting in to enjoy Amapiano music at pumping nightclubs and beachside bars. There’s just so much to see, do, and discover as well as cultural activities to sink your teeth into. While safety remains a concern, this picturesque city is becoming more and more popular for traveling remote workers. Digital nomads can also usually find a group work and travel program based there for around a month. Wi-Fi Tribe, for instance, hosts one of its chapters in the South African coastal city every year.
9. Panama City, Panama
Panama City is the most international (and safest) capital in Central America and it’s very remote worker-friendly. Various co-working spaces have popped up in recent years like Workings and My Office Panama. The city itself is visually arresting with a juxtaposition of a crumbling old town and then skyscrapers along the bay downtown. It’s not the most affordable city in Latin America, but it offers comforts, infrastructure, and access to Panama’s thousands of too-good-to-be-true islands and beaches on two coasts, and how can you go wrong with that? Read our full Panama City digital nomad guide here.
10. Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Playa del Carmen is a wonderful first digital nomad destination for new remote workers. It’s incredibly easy to meet people at the meetups and with all the Whatsapp groups – and there’s one for every niche and interest. Sunrise yoga? Vegan cooking? Spiritually? Sunday morning ecstatic dance sessions? You’ll find your people here. Located in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen is not just for spring breakers. It feels quieter than Cancun and it’s more pedestrian-friendly and less exorbitant than Tulum. Come for the endless networking opportunities, Mayan ruins, walkability, beaches, and sheer energy of the place.