Want to Work Remotely Abroad? Try These 15 Cities for Digital Nomads
Try the digital nomad life on for size.
If there's one silver lining to the colossal garbage explosion that has been the past few years, it’s that many of us learned—and, more crucially, our bosses learned—we can work from just about anywhere.
Maybe it’s from a swanky Airbnb for a week in a different city. Maybe it’s rollin’ in your rental RV with a Wi-Fi hotspot. Or maybe it’s in the cerulean-hued paradise of the Caribbean, where islands are beckoning visitors with “workcation” packages and special tourist visas that let you hang out for months.
Craving even more freedom? Join up with an international community of expats and remote workers who’ve been living the nomad life for years. Cities across the globe let you stay plugged in with fast internet and free Wi-Fi flowing like wine (and just as often, fantastic wine flowing like wine).
Reasonable living in the majority of these cities won't run more than $3,000 a month, they're all deemed generally safe for women, and they have high marks for racial tolerance and friendliness to foreigners. (If you’re interested, Nomadlist is a solid resource for digital nomads). Look to any of these cities for a month of working vacation—or for that open-ended stint of earning and wandering.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Thailand, with its natural splendor and nonsensical exchange rate, is one of the most well-established hubs for digital nomads. And it’s never been easier to temporarily relocate: Special tourist visas now allow non-residents to stay anywhere from 30 to 270 days (just under nine months).
Opportunities for networking in Chiang Mai are everywhere, from Facebook groups to vegan cafe meetups to cool new coworking spaces like Punspace and Hub 53 (which average around $90 a month). Those expenses balance out mighty quick when you’re only paying $2 for a mouth-watering bowl of khao soi on your lunch break.
Compared to busy Bangkok, Chiang Mai’s slow pace of life makes it hard to leave—except during the burning season (January to April), when poor air quality drives many people south to the capital, or to Koh Samui or Koh Lanta for some tropical beach action. —Katie Lockhart
The Canary Islands, Spain
Spain’s self-employment work visa is ideal for freelancers and entrepreneurs who want to work from this dreamy archipelago off Africa’s northwest coast. In Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Canaria, stylish coworking spaces like The House, repeople, and Soppa de Azul pair high-speed internet with near-instant access to soft, golden beaches. A lively nomad scene makes it easy to meet fellow international creative types who’ve rejected ye olde nine-to-five.
When you sign off, there are secret coves, lush forests, volcanic craters, and trippy moonscapes to explore—even in winter, when temperatures don’t stray far below 65 degrees. Cheap public transit makes it easy to bike, bus, or ferry around the seven islands. Drinking and dining are also super affordable, and tasty local delicacies at the farmers' markets don’t require much elbow grease in the kitchen. —Barbara Woolsey
Over the course of the last two years, countries across the Caribbean—including Antigua and Barbuda, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Anguilla, and Dominica, among others—have been quick to adopt digital nomad visas. Given one literally could not ask for a better backdrop to the workweek, we, personally, will be making haste to apply.
Of all the sun-drenched shores where you could spread out on the sand—perhaps whilst sipping a rum cocktail!—as the breeze off the cerulean sea washes over you and balmy palms sway overhead, easing you into total bliss you haven’t known since…where were we? Oh, right. Of all the places to set up shop, Barbados sits at the top of the list.
The Barbados Welcome Stamp allows you to stay in the country for twelve months and make a home for yourself on these shores where, at this point, you’re probably as likely to run into cheery locals as you are repeat visitors-turned-permanent remote workers, all of whom are enjoying paradise.
While Bridgetown marks the country's capital, you could realistically set up shop anywhere on the island, which one can loop around completely in under three hours by car. Best of all: some of the beaches have Wi-Fi. The future is now! —Tiana Attride
Wellington, New Zealand
There are no less than 22,050 free Wi-Fi hotspots in Wellington, and seemingly endless cafes in which to get very, very caffeinated. You’ll bang your work out with remarkable efficiency and spend the rest of the day high on life because, dude, you live in New Zealand.
The bustling capital city is a welcoming home base for 18- to 30-year-olds taking advantage of New Zealand’s Working Holiday Visa program. With a population of laidback Kiwis, indigenous Māori, and backpackers from all over the world, you’ll live and work alongside a diverse group of people with the green hills of Mount Victoria as your backdrop.
Cheaper than Auckland, a one-bedroom here won’t set you back more than $1,300 a month. And while the occasional earthquake may keep you on your toes, Wellington is safe, walkable, and worldly. —Kaeli Conforti
Buenos Aires, Argentina
OK, so you’re not moving to Buenos Aires for the internet speed. But at 20mbps, on average, it gets the job done. A recent surge in well-appointed coworking spaces means a chill office environment can be had for about $100 a month.
There’s also an ever-growing start-up sector here, supported by government-backed accelerators, and many work-away programs such as Remote Year and Unsettled have added Buenos Aires to their core cities list. Plus, Baires (as the locals call it) is only an hour ahead of the East Coast, meaning no Zoom calls at odd hours.
The best reason to move here? The US dollar is absolutely killing it against the Argentine peso and has been for years. If you earn $1,500 a month, you can afford to rent a swanky furnished apartment in a hip neighborhood, lease a coworking space, frequent speakeasies and steakhouses, and still have money left over to hop on the ferry for a weekend in nearby Uruguay.
You can also plan easy getaways to bucket-list destinations like Mendoza for wine, Patagonia for hiking or skiing, or Iguazu to see some of the most spectacular waterfalls on the planet. —Cathy Brown
Berlin’s residence permit is like a golden ticket for the self-employed, especially artists, academics, and freelancers who just want to relocate and make cool shit for a while. Just be sure to start on your paperwork as far in advance as possible—there’s a lot, because Germany.
Berlin’s booming start-up culture lures ambitious young professionals, while its inclusive creative spirit embraces alternative types. Sehr cool if you speak German, but those who don’t needn’t worry, as it’s easy to get by with English.
You’ll find history on almost every street corner, with around 170 museums, public parks by the thousands, and dozens of beautiful lakes just a quick train or bike ride away. And despite its legendary coolness, Berlin remains remarkably affordable compared to other capitals in Western Europe. —Cindy Brzostowski
Cape Town, South Africa
Artists, designers, winemakers, and gastronomes have fallen in love with this multicultural city on the coast. The cost of living is in your favor—a centrally located one-bedroom can be had for about $700 a month. Internet speeds are just okay, but distinctive neighborhoods like Woodstock are full of cafes with free WiFi. The sheer volume of things to do in town (think art galleries, vintage shops, craft breweries, and seriously good restaurants) might make it hard to get work done.
Those who prefer outdoor adventure over nightlife will find themselves at home here, as things tend to close early and crime is prevalent in certain areas after dark. But with year-round sunshine, a quick drive to wine country, and natural wonders at every turn, Cape Town is pure heaven for hikers, day-drinkers, and beach bums alike. —Kastalia Medrano & Barbara Woolsey
As far as digital nomad infrastructure goes, plenty of places are still getting their feet wet—but Portugal is an OG remote work destination, one that’s long drawn the freelancers, the sabbatical-takers, and the wannabe EU citizens to bask in the glory of its elaborately-tiled architecture and seaside vistas…so long as you have the means to make money independently and remotely rather than with local businesses. If you can, all the pasteis de nata you want are yours for the taking.
Often, when you see people humble-bragging about their work-from-Portugal situation, they’re sending a postcard from sunny Lisbon, whose hills are as large as its expat community—in other words, big. Even better, despite the recent spike in tourism—and thus a spike in places charging out the ass for food and drink in tourist centers like historic Baixa—the cost of living in Lisbon (and throughout the country) has remained relatively cheap compared to other Western European capitals. –Tiana Attride
Vietnam’s capital is popular with expats and remote workers who want to nail that low-cost, high-quality-of-life sweet spot. You’ll make fast friends in the Tay Ho neighborhood, packed with expats and digital nomads who trade contact info at organized beer crawls, in cheap coworking spaces like Toong Embassy, and over coconut coffees in the city’s many hidden cafes.
Damn good food, interesting architecture, kind locals, and ultra-affordable accommodations more than make up for the near-constant din of honking motorbikes. Seriously, the square footage of a $400-a-month apartment in Hanoi will cause an audible gasp. Your kitchen won’t have an oven, but honestly, with meaty, comforting dishes like bún chả (grilled pork with noodles), chả cá (grilled fish with noodles), and phở cuốn (beef pho in spring roll form) everywhere, you won't care. —Katie Lockhart
The most remote city in Australia is pretty far off the beaten path, but therein lies the key to its greatness. You’ll soak up unvarying sunshine alongside good-humored locals and an international crowd taking advantage of Perth’s laidback, beach-town vibe and big-city comforts.
The food is excellent, largely due to its blend of cultures, so get your fill at one of the weekly sunset markets. Nomads under 30 with a Working Holiday Visa will appreciate the variety of tourism and hospitality jobs available here, as well as its proximity to farms and wineries for anyone interested in agricultural work.
The exchange rate is in your favor, and since you’re paying less than $1,000 in rent, you can put your spare change toward road trips to Western Australia’s best national parks, as well as cheap flights to Bali or Bangkok. —Kaeli Conforti
Iceland recently joined the scores of other countries looking to get their slice of the nomadic pie. In 2022, the Icelandic government unveiled a brand new digital nomad visa that allows online workers from abroad stints of up to six months in the Land of Fire and Ice.
The country is known for its colossal, unrelentingly beautiful landscape—which we’ll get to momentarily!—but those who plan on sticking around for a while will be more than happy to settle down in the highly-walkable capital of Reykjavik. Anchored by the jagged Hallgrímskirkja Church, there are all kinds of cozy cafes, quiet eateries, and abundance of mountain views. And although it’s not the most inexpensive place to live—shipping goods to the near-top of the Earth isn’t exactly cheap, after all—you’ll find your days are rich with ease, given the city’s generally tranquil vibes (not to mention the widespread hot springs culture).
Of course, you’re not going to miss out on a chance to explore one of the most geologically-hypnotic places on Earth. If you ever need a break from the screen, a litany of thunderous waterfalls, black sand beaches, and immense, mossy mountains await just outside the capital.
Just don’t expect to head into the Highlands and find great Wi-Fi; given the majority of the nation’s mere 300,000 residents—that’s about 1/30 the population of New York City spread across an entire country—live in Reykjavík, it’s likely you’ll find that amenities like strong internet connection are a liiiiiiiitle sparse. —Tiana Attride
Tech types and the otherwise permanently employed might be tempted by the recently launched Digital Nomad Visa, which not only lets you stay in Estonia for up to 12 months, but grants you travel access to the entire EU Schengen zone. Your calendar will fill up fast with long weekends in Helsinki, Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Berlin.
Do plant a few roots in Tallinn, though. The seaside capital has made huge strides in the creative/cool department lately, with impressive new cultural institutions, avant-garde restaurants, and a ridiculous number of breweries.
Just outside the gothic Old Town, Telliskivi Creative City packs art galleries, design showrooms, vintage boutiques, and chic cafes into revamped warehouses. And while it’s not the most affordable city on this list, it’s still a bargain by Scandinavian standards. Also, Christopher Nolan filmed Tenet here, so there’s that. —Daniel Cole
Canggu, Bali, Indonesia
In Bali's youthful hipster enclave—the “Brooklyn of Bali,” for better or worse—a day at the office might mean posting up at a dapper coworking space with surf and beach breaks, fueled by a steady diet of smoothie bowls, raw desserts, and cold drip coffee. Rates at coworking staple Dojo Bali start at $75 a week, and your facilities include an onsite cafe and pool. Your two-bedroom villa will also clock in well under $1,000 a month.
This is a colony of bespoke bikini and jewelry designers, startup gurus, and full-time Instagrammers whiling away the days at perky beach bars and yoga studios. There’s Deus Ex Machina, a motorcycle-cum-surf shop that’s more like an entertainment compound with food; there’s Pretty Poison, a bar with a skate park hosting regular music gigs. You get the idea. —Barbara Woolsey
Gone are the days of Narcos and the tyranny of Pablo Escobar. Not only is it safer than you think, but the mountainous city of Medellín is pretty much the perfect Latin American city to post up in. There’s no special paperwork for a 90-day stay, and it's a small fee for a 6-month tourist visa. The Wi-Fi is perfectly adequate at 14mbps, with plenty of coffee shops serving some of the world’s best beans and lick-drips-off-the-cup juices.
The low cost of living (about $400 a month for a studio) and gorgeous weather (like 77 degrees every day, all the time) has already drawn a fair number of expats, which is helpful for networking and making friends.
Assuming your Spanish is strong enough, you’ll find locals ridiculously welcoming—they’ll feed you, buy you shots of aguardiente, take you to fútbol games (vamos Nacional!), and spin you around the dance floor in a sweaty salsa mess. And there’s endless beauty to explore in Colombia, from coffee plantations to beaches to gorgeous tropical parks. —Joel Balsam
This tightly bunched nest of glass high-rises and trim bungalows feels like the edge of the world, where Canada plugs into the Pacific Rim. The tech scene caps a belt of information workers that reaches through Seattle and Portland and Silicon Valley; the sheer quantity of TV and film made here has earned it the nickname "Hollywood North."
If you're the type who likes to work hard and play hard, who’s given to slacklining and beach yoga and trail-running, you'll love it here in the mild North. Knock off work at 5 and go savor the sunset from above the clouds on a 4,000-foot mountain, or night ski with birdlike views of the ships anchored in English Bay.
The cost of living isn’t the lowest, but earning US dollars will take you far, and your passport is license to play both sides of the border. And given the state of things, it feels safe to assume you've Googled “how to move to Canada” more than just a few times lately. —Sam Eifling