Ready to live your life instead of just getting through it? The number of people shifting to a digital nomad lifestyle has increased since 2020 because of the pandemic. The amount of people with the ability to work from home has greatly increased and enabled so many people to live a more fulfilled life. Think you're next but don't know where to start? We've put together a list of the best places you can live a digital nomad lifestyle.
Top 10 Places to Live as a Digital Nomad
Below we'll go into greater detail about how we chose our best places to live as well as more information about each destination. However, if you just want the list, here are our top 10 places to live as a digital nomad:
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand
- Canggu, Bali, Indonesia
- Warsaw, Poland
- Melbourne, Australia
- Cartago, Costa Rico
- Panama City, Panama
- Budapest, Hungary
- Capetown, South Africa
- Austin, Texas (USA)
Our Ranking Methodology
The best places to live for any list is going to be a very personal choice. We've tried to eliminate all personal biases from the equation by creating a matrix of data points that allows us to rank the right cities for your situation - the digital nomad lifestyle.
The top things we considered in ranking these top destinations:
- Affordability: It can be important for these destinations to be more affordable than the places most people are coming from.
- Things to do: The nomad lifestyle is chosen because people want to change their lifestyles and they want to explore interesting places around the globe.
- Access and speed of the internet: It's difficult to work abroad unless you're easily able to access high-speed internet.
- Weather: Most people don't start a nomadic lifestyle in order to live in the cold. Weather plays an important factor in where people choose to set up.
- Expat or Nomad community: Many people living this type of lifestyle are looking for a community of more like-minded individuals to learn from or communicate with.
Other things were considered in our rankings, such as local cuisine options, but the list above represents the top 5 criteria for our list.
Now, let's dive into the list.
1. Lisbon, Portugal
Coming in first on our list is Lisbon, Portugal for its location, great food, terrific weather, ease of access, and great extras like entertainment and the speed of the internet. Lisbon has a lively culture with enjoyable nightlife and as the capital of Portugal, there's a lot going on during the day too.
Affordability: Lisbon is not nearly as expensive as other capital or large cities in Europe, making it an excellent choice for digital nomads looking to be within close proximity of all of Europe. Someone who works from home and doesn't eat out a lot can get by on less than $1,000 per month.
Entertainment: Lisbon offers plenty to do as there is a thriving nightlife. The city also makes an excellent home base for you in order to take road trips around the country and see the many great places that Portugal has to offer such as Porto, Nazare, and Algarve.
Internet speed and access: There is plenty of access to high-quality high-speed internet throughout the city. Plus, there is plenty of access to not just coworking spaces but also coffee shops and cafes with strong internet connections. You're not likely to run out of strong working locations.
Weather: Lisbon has great weather for most of the year, but November to February can be windy, rainy, and cool. Don't expect snow but it can get pretty close to freezing at night during the winter.
Community: Lisbon has become a hotspot for digital nomads who are looking for a home in Europe over the last several years. There are several opportunities for coworking around the city and a community of like-minded people to be around.
2. Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand
Ko Pha Ngan is second on our list because of it's combination of beautiful beaches, access to high speed internet, and affordable living costs. The country itself runs on the hot side and is extremely humid, which may be an issue for some nomads looking for a more comfortable climate.
Affordability: Ko Pha Ngan is one of the most affordable places to live overall on our entire list, making it a good fit for nomads or expats. Local wages are low so nomads that can sustain themselves financially will find it a good place to set up a homebase get their business off the ground.
Entertainment: There is plenty to do in Ko Pha Ngan. It is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the region, and possibly all of the world. This makes the area great for water activites such as snorkeling or diving. There is also plenty of physical activites to participate in on land.
Internet speed and access: The internet available throughout Thailand is fast and getting access is easy. Nomads will find it more than adequate to build an online business.
Weather: The weather is good if you like hot and humid. While you won't have to worry about cold weather, you may get sick of the humidity.
Community: There is a community of nomads on the island that you can network with, however it isn't as strong as some of the other places on the list. You won't be alone but you may not see as many organized events or get togethers as you may find in Bali or other places around the globe.
3. Canggu, Bali, Indonesia
Bali has become a popular destination because of its excellent beaches, closeness to exotic locales, and amazing digital nomad community. Its popularity has been boosted by the number of digital nomads who have built video-based businesses and showed off the great Bali nomad community on YouTube. Canggu is the heart of this community and scores high across the board on things important to digital nomads.
Affordability: Indonesia ranks very highly for affordability as a whole and there are spots in Bali, including Canggu, that match that level. Canggu is hope to affordable housing, and you may even be able to room with other digital nomads who are living a similar lifestyle in order to drive down the costs even more.
Entertainment: Canggu is home to some of the best food in the region, and it is all very affordable. There are plenty of co-working spaces that you can join to network and connect with other like-minded individuals who are trying to live the same type of life as you. The nightlife and beach life is also plentiful and there is always something going on in the area.
Internet speed and access: While the internet speeds are not going to be as fast as many are used to, the bandwidth is more than enough to support many digital nomads building online businesses. You can stream or upload your content without any issues.
Weather: The weather is about as perfect as it can be year round, staying roughly within the same range of temperature (28-32 degrees celsius) no matter when you're there. It may be a bit humid for some, but the temperature itself is generally always nice.
Community: The community of the digtal nomad community in Canggu might be its biggest strength. It seems like there is always an event happening for the nomad community from drinks to a beach gathering or a networking event. There is not a shortage of like-minded people in the city.
4. Warsaw, Poland
For those that don't need to be in a area with a lot of beaches, or in the event you find them distracting from your work, Warsaw can be a good fit. It's an affordable location with a strong community of expats and nomads with some of the fastest internet speeds in the world.
Affordability: Warsaw is very affordable compared to many other desirable locations in Europe. You won't find Warsaw to be more affordable than some of the pacific island locales like Indonesia or Thailand, but it's great for this part of the world.
Entertainment: Warsaw has a terrific nightlife with a lot of things to do around the city. For individuals not wanting some of the more physically-demanding activities like many of the island locations on the list, Warsaw can be a great alternative.
Internet speed and access: Poland, and more specifically Warsaw, has some of the fastest interenet speeds in Europe and in all the world. It's a great place for a digital nomad who is looking to be serious about building a digital business to set up shop.
Weather: If there is one thing that many may not like about Warsaw it is the weather. Between the months of November and February it can get fairly cold with the possibility of snow. For nomads that want multiple seasons then this might be the best
Community: Warsaw is home to many digital nomads that work in the same spaces or live together in an effort to spark creativity or build their businesses better.
5. Melbourne, Australia
Australia can be a fun place to work and play. It's a progressive country and Melbourne is safe with terrific healthcare. Access to internet for digital creators is average compared to other options on the list but the access to necessities combined with entertainment makes it a promising option.
Affordability: Melbourne is average when it comes to most large cities but it shines when it comes to affordable rent for nomads. You can find a good place to live near the happenings of downtown Melbourne for less than other major citites around the world. You can even get fully furnished apartment for $300 - $500 per week.
Entertainment: Melbourne has an excellent live music community. There isn't a shortage of fun water, hiking, and other outdoor activities either.
Internet speed and access: Melbourne has above average access to mobile internet speeds and coverage. Broadband and WiFi access is below average, though.
Weather: If anything is bad on this list for Melbourne, it's the weather. The city has four full seasons and it can get pretty cold during the winter months. The weather in Melbourne isn't as good year round as it is in many of the other cities on this list.
Community: Melbourne is a very livable city and easy to get around and if anything in Australia is a melting pot then this would be it. This has helped to create an excellent community of digital nomads that sign up for local coworking spaces dedicated this type of work.
6. Cartago, Costa Rica
Costa Rica has a lush landscape where you can travel between a volcano and georgous beach landscapes. With plenty to explore, Costa Rica looks the part of a place that digital nomads want to live. There are still some struggles with internet speeds from time to time but overall it's a growing community that makes a nice choice for a digital nomad or expat.
Affordability: Cartago is an affordable medium-sized city compared to others on the list. Everything from meals to rent is pretty affordable for the size of the city, but it won't take the top billing for any single category on the list.
Entertainment: There is a lot of outdoor adventures to be a part of throughout Costa Rica and Cartago is within traveling distance to volcanoes, beaches, and plenty of other great outdoor activities.
Internet speed and access: Internet speeds for both broadband and mobile are slower than average for places that digital nomads choose to live. This may be a problem from time to time if you rely on internet access for your work but it isn't a complete dealbreaker.
Weather: The weather in Cartago is a dream, staying right around 18 - 27 degrees celsius all year long. If weather is one of your most important aspects of choosing a place to live as a digital nomad then this might be hard to turn down.
Community: Costa Rica has a growing community of digital nomads but it still isn't on par with other more established communities on this list.
7. Panama City, Panama
Panama City is one of the most popular spots for expats and has a growing digital nomad community as well. The views are tough to beat and the city is one of the largest in central America. This brings a lot of amenities for the area plus Panama is home to some of the best remote beaches in this part of the world.
Affordability: Panama City has recently gotten more expensive to live thanks to its popularity for expats to retire there but it's still more than affordble for digital nomads. It's affordable to eat and get around in the city but rent could be expensive if you don't find the right place to live.
Entertainment: Panama has a big city list of amenities but it really shines if you're able to attend the many beaches on both the north and south part of the country.
Internet speed and access: Panama City has excellent access to high-speed internet with WiFi availability all around the city. Where it struggles, however, is with mobile internet access as the internet is still being beefed up.
Weather: Panama City is a little on the hot side but the weather is very consistent overall and doesn't have dramatic changes in either direction.
Community: The community of expats in Panama City is large and still growing. You won't find as many people that come here to build their business as you will the ones that came to retire but there are still plenty of opportunities to meet like-minded people.
8. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest offers all of the comforts of home while getting an affordable place to live. The weather can be rough, however, and may not be what digital nomads think of when they are looking for a destination to work. The city itself shines with its culture and beauty, making it a place that most will not tire of.
Affordability: Budapest is on the top half of this list for affordability. This is impressive considering you won't feel like you're doing without any normal amenities in order to live in a more affordable location.
Entertainment: Budapest has a thriving night life and its very easy to get around the city, day or night. It's also incredibly safe so it helps make this a very enjoyable place to live. If there is one gripe with entertainment it would be that the food is more of n acquired taste, though good.
Internet speed and access: The city ranks high on the list for access to high-speed internet but it still struggles compared to other options on this list in mobile data speeds.
Weather: The weather would be one of the hardest things for noamds to live with. It can gret below freezing, making it less than comfortable for many looking to get away from bad weather and live somewhere nice year-round.
Community: The digital community isn't yet thriving in Budapest like it is in other locations. This may have something to do with the weather, but there are similar-focuesd individuals in the area to network with.
9. Capetown, South Africa
Cape Town is a city hub in South Africa that ofers many of the same amentities and luxuries that you've become accustomed to in your home. It's beautiful, with a lot to do, and provides a growing community of locals that can work with you in your online endeavors.
Affordability: Cape Town isn't the most affordable option on the list, but the prices for rent and food are low. It really depends where you choose to live but the locations closer to coworking spaces or simially-minded people will be a bit more than if you live on the outskirts of town.
Entertainment: There is plenty to do in the town. While the beach is a way of life locally, there is also a ton to explore.
Internet speed and access: Internet access for Cape Town, in both mobile and broadband, is average. You won't struggle to get online but you may not be able to stream in HD, for example.
Weather: Cape Town has a nice range in weather, staying between 12 and 26 degrees celsius. This keeps the climate warm with a little variety.
Community: Cape Town is the most popular African city for digital nomads because of all the things discussed above.
10. Austin, Texas, USA
For nomads looking to stay in within the confines of the U.S. then Austin is a great place to be. It's a town that has has been built up by small businesses, startups, and creators. Austin is home to the annual South by Southwest conference every spring that brings so many business leaders to town to teach individuals from all over the world how to start, build, and scale businesses. Needless to say, the atmosphere is great for nomads and digital creators.
Affordability: Austin is affordable for a large U.S. city but it doesn't compare to many of the other options on this list. The biggest expense that will cost you more than other great locations is rent or home prices, but again the city's costs are better than other large cities in the U.S. like New York or San Francisco.
Entertainment: There is no shortage of things to do in or around the city. From major conferences to local music and amazing restaurants with a terrific variety of foods, Austin has a little bit of something for everyone.
Internet speed and access: Being a major city in the U.S., there is plenty of access to high-speed broadband internet. The mobile internet speed is a bit slower than expected for a large city, though.
Weather: Austin has a warm climate with highs ranging from 18 to 42 degrees celcius.
Community: There is a great community of young working adults as well as startup founders and entrepreneurs.
No matter where in the world you want to live there are plenty of excellent places to live for digital nomads to build their businesses. All of the locations on our list are affordable, fun entertainment options, an active nomad community, and access to fast internet options throughout.