Live, Work, & Thrive: 11 Perfect Cities for Digital Nomads

Sarah Lempa

Chicago, USA

Planes, trains, hammocks, and the middle of nowhere: we’ll work anywhere that works for us. The life of a digital nomad is certainly free spirited, but there are a lot of factors to consider when deciding where to be a nomad.

Towering mountains and white sand beaches certainly are an influence, but the cost of living, community, local culture, and work conditions are all practical key players. We chase proper WiFi like it’s our day job, because, well, it is—whether it’s in a quaint ocean side town or a major metropolitan city 8,000 miles from home.

Tallinn, Estonia

Estonia is fairly off-grid when it comes to tourism. When it comes to nomads, expect the unexpected. Tallinn has been growing a reputation lately, and even been described as Europe’s next Silicon Valley. Interesting, eh? In addition to innovation, Tallinn’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Gothic architecture, historical landmarks, and diverse dining options.

Cost of living: $2,214 USD per month

WiFi: 24 mbps

Da Nang, Vietnam

Although there are benefits to larger cities in Vietnam, such as Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang makes the list for its ease in livability while maintaining all that you could want in a big city. For starters, it’s relatively undiscovered, providing cultural immersion without excessive tourist traffic. Ride a motorbike over Hai Van Pass, buy a fresh coconut at the beach, and eat the world’s best pho all in the same day.

Cost of living: $1,063 per month

WiFi: 8mbps

Budapest, Hungary

Hungary’s capital is ideal for a metropolitan lifestyle: it has history, diverse culture, cheap and delicious kebabs, and a low cost of living compared to other cities with similar offerings. With ornate Neo-Renaissance architecture and bridges that make London jealous, it was voted one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. The famed thermal baths are another popular selling point.

Cost of living: $1,577 USD per month

WiFi: 34 mbps

Medellín, Colombia

Population is growing in Medellín, and so is the number of visitors from other countries. Digital nomads in particular have been flocking to the city for its year-round comfortable weather, outdoor workspaces, and rich Colombian culture. Prices are low, people are friendly, and arepas are available in abundance. What more could you want?

Cost of living: $1,193 USD per month

WiFi: 6 mbps

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai deserves to be called the epicenter of digital nomadism in Southeast Asia. This northern Thai city is top rated among digital nomads, which has resulted in even more local resources for the community. It’s a suitable place for beginners due to the ease of life, affordability, and community vibes. With markets, mountains, temples, and more, you won’t be bored on your days off. Be sure to check the air quality before planning your trip, as pollution levels have been elevated recently.

Cost of living: $1,059 USD per month

WiFi: 20 mbps

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Mexico has a lot to offer for digital nomads, and Playa del Carmen is just one of many cities where you can make a home. The beaches alone are enough to convince most, in addition to natural cenotes and mouth-watering cuisine. It’s much less touristy than Cancún, and has growing numbers of nomads. If you’re feeling spendy, you can escape to a nearby resort in Tulum.

Cost of living: $1,374 USD per month

WiFi: 6 mbps

Florianopolis, Brazil

Affectionately nicknamed “Floripa,” Florianopolis is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise: pristine beaches with great surf, ample opportunities for adventure sports, and a handful of day hikes. There’s a unique charm here: a mixture of the local soul coupled with expats who visited, fell in love with it, and never ended up leaving. In personal experience, the WiFi could have been better, but that’s nothing some trial and error can’t fix.

Cost of living: $1,418 USD per month

WiFi: 3 mbps

Valencia, Spain

Valencia is popular with the digital workforce for its affordability, public parks, long stretching beaches, and cafés to post up in for the workday (or night, whenever works). It’s slightly quieter than Barcelona and Madrid, making it easy to get stuff done, but also embrace Spanish culture. Tapas after work never sounded like a bad idea, anyway.

Cost of living: $2,389 USD per month

WiFi: 15 mbps

Kiev, Ukraine

Kiev receives praise from the digital nomad community for its vibrant IT industry, warm locals, affordability, and great workspaces. With colder winters, it’s a great place to get cozy and up your productivity. Fear not—the museum scene will keep you occupied and educated during the chilly days. Prices are far more affordable in comparison to Western Europe, meaning that you can treat yourself a bit more than you might in Paris or Amsterdam.

Cost of living: $1,334 USD per month

WiFi: 33 mbps

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon’s coworking community is on the up and up, and with good reason. It’s pretty hard to disagree with 300 days of sunshine per year, fabulous eateries, and killer nightlife. Community meet ups are common, making it easy to find your niche in the growing tech scene. It’s trendy and exciting, yet simultaneously laidback. Even if you’re not working over an espresso, you’ll probably end up hanging out at one of the enticing coffee shops regardless.

Cost of living: $1,970 USD per month

WiFi: 21 mbps

Canggu, Indonesia

Did the phrase “digital nomad” start in Bali? The jury’s out on that one, but it would make complete sense. One thing is for certain: this small Indonesian island has a massive population of expat workers. Canggu is a health nut’s dream, with yoga, surfing, vegan food, and fresh fruits. I won’t lie and say that it’s authentically Indonesian, but it’s definitely comfortable and fun, with a sturdy community vibe. It appears on 99.999% of nomad destination lists, but feels wrong to leave off the docket.

Cost of living: $1,317 USD per month

WiFi: 20 mbps

H/T: NomadList