Ever day-dreamed about travelling the world, jet-setting on impromptu holidays throughout the year? Well, modern technology has made this dream more possible than ever. And, to help you get started on your adventure, we’ve listed the best countries to be a digital nomad in Europe.
Thanks to digital telecommunication technologies, and a world where working remotely has become the ‘new normal’, employees enjoy far more flexibility than ever before.
Now, more and more of us are packing our laptops, and taking our remote office global. And with coworking spaces around the world too, it’s never been easier.
If you’re ready to fuse your working week with a love of travel, this is the best place to start – inspire your search with our list of the best countries to be a digital nomad in Europe.
What is a digital nomad?
You may have heard the term ‘nomad’ used before, which is a general term for someone that travels as part of their life. A nomad tends to travel from place to place, without sticking to or creating fixed roots to one single spot.
It’s a term that has, conventionally, been used to denote a hippie lifestyle, and a laid-back approach to life. This includes seeing the world and swapping material possessions for life on the road.
In recent years, however, the nomadic lifestyle has taken an unexpected twist.
Thanks to the rise of digital and remote working – which was initially made necessary by the pandemic, now is a shift that seems here to stay – people have more flexibility to choose where they work. The work-life balance is being addressed, so that people have the opportunity to shape their working week in the way that works best for them.
For many, that means becoming a digital nomad.
A digital nomad is someone that is able to work on-the-go, travelling across the world, while working remotely.
A revolution in digital telecommunications technology and dedicated remote working applications has meant that it’s perfectly feasible to work remotely. So, these modern day nomads can continue working in their job, with their team, but do so from anywhere in the world.
As you can imagine, it’s becoming an incredibly popular lifestyle choice.
In fact, over three years alone, the number of digital nomads from America tripled, reaching 15.5 million in 2021.
According to recent figures, while 34% are self-employed or otherwise independent workers, a whopping 66% of digital nomads are remote employees, working in an otherwise traditional job.
It just goes to show, modern employers really are more willing to be flexible. After all, so long as you keep attending virtual meetings and hitting your deadlines, there’s no real difference at their end!
The benefits of being a digital nomad
But, is all this overhaul really worth your while?
Being a digital nomad certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted – your working week is constantly changing, and any semblance of a structured routine is thrown out the plane window. What’s more, there’s a whole lot to manage, as you have to juggle travelling with meetings and deadlines.
Having said that, if being a digital nomad fits with your mindset, the benefits are pretty major:
- You can have complete freedom to travel as you please, throughout the year
- You can make the most out of cheaper, non-peak flight times, and enjoy last-minute discounts
- You can travel without risking your career, or sacrificing your career advancement
- You can strike harmony in your work-life balance
- You can stay in countries with a lower cost of living, potentially saving you money(!)
- You can see the world, before other commitments or dependencies start to tie you down
- You can travel solo, without feeling lonely – your team is just a call away!
- With a decent WiFi connection, you can work anywhere in the world
If you’re keen to start unlocking these benefits, you’ll need to check out our list of the best countries to be a digital nomad in Europe. These are where you’ll get to turn this dream into a reality.
Our full list of the best countries to be a digital nomad in Europe, ranked
Below, we’ve listed the 8 best countries to be a digital nomad in Europe. Our criteria for ranking include cost of living, things to do and digital resources (most importantly, WiFi).
Keep reading, and find the perfect fit for your next adventure!
The warm sunshine and laid-back approach to life make Italy a great place to restore your work-life balance. You can fill your days with some of the finest food in Europe – if not the world – while soaking up the country’s rich cultural heritage.
What’s more, Italy is now planning to introduce a one-year working visa for “highly specialised” digital nomads. This gives post-Brexit digital nomads far more flexibility regarding the duration of their time working in Italy.
Much like Italy, Portugal’s stunning architecture and golden sunshine have made it a much-loved travel destination, the world over.
In terms of hosting digital nomads, Portugal remains an extremely popular choice.
You could visit Portugal’s coastal cities (Faro is an absolutely stunning city, and I’d highly recommend a visit), head to Porto, where you may get sidetracked by delicious port, or stick to the dynamic, vibrant capital of Lisbon.
In addition to its enviable tourist attractions, the country also ticks all the boxes for remote working, with a strong and dependable WiFi network across the country. And, similarly to Italy, Portugal is another European country that offers one-year working visas to British nomads.
The introduction of one-year working visas is a huge bonus for British digital nomads, and it’s definitely been a major influence in creating this list.
Not that Croatia needed any help getting here, that is.
In addition to the ease of getting the right to remote work here (thanks to Croatia’s nomad-friendly visa scheme), Croatia is one of Eastern Europe’s crowning jewels.
There are the mesmerising coastal destinations of Dubrovnik, Opatija, the Dalmation Coast and the Istrian Riviera, plus numerous easily-reachable islands, for you to escape the hustle and bustle. Or maybe you want to live your life at sea and work and sail your way around the Croatian islands.
Plus, Croatia is also one of the most affordable destinations on our list, with an average cost of living that is 28.98% lower than that of the UK.
Although Germany may not be your immediate thought for a sunny holiday destination, it makes an excellent choice for digital nomads.
Germany is a country that is filled with charm, culture and youthfulness.
Plus – from the urban artistry of Berlin, to the lush rural beauty of its countryside towns – there are destinations to suit everyone’s fancy. You could opt for a busy city trip, immersing yourself in the culture of Berlin, or opt for a re-energising trip to the famous German countryside. As much as we love the Peak District, the Black Forest is a very strong rival!
The people are wonderfully friendly, and you’re sure to feel welcome almost immediately upon your arrival.
Germany also ticks the box of offering one-year working visas, giving you plenty of flexibility regarding the length of your stay.
A digital nomad stay in Estonia is a wonderful opportunity to experience the beauty and charm of Northern Europe.
This extraordinary country is renowned for its alluring architecture, and delightfully peaceful vibe.
In addition to its 1,500+ islands (you’ll never be short of places to explore!), Estonia also has a wide range of natural landmarks and beautiful cities.
There’s Tallinn, with its famous Old Town, the grand city of Tartu, and the resort city of Pärnu (made famous for its stunning timber villas and old-world vibe).
Plus, unlike its other Northern European counterparts, the cost of living in Estonia is very affordable, being around 19% lower than that of the UK.
Estonia also offers the one-year working visa, which is a big bonus for digital nomads. But, there is a catch – applicants will need to earn a minimum of €3,504 per month, in order to qualify. So, unless you’re happy making it a short-term trip, you’ll need to bear this in mind.
What’s great about being a digital nomad is that you can experience the authentic lifestyle of a country first-hand, far more so than if you were visiting on a short minibreak.
Hungary is a magnificent country, with a fascinating history, which has created its own distinctive cultural style.
Of course, its most famous tourist destination is the city of Budapest.
In recent years, Budapest has been one of Europe’s most up-and-coming holiday destinations, and it’s easy to see why. With the river snaking throughout the city, there are mesmerising views wherever you look. The architecture and famous sights (not to mention the glorious outdoor spas) fill Budapest with opportunities to explore.
It’s also a city where you can get an awful lot for your money, with notably low rental, food and drink costs.
Spain is a country that is filled with diversity, historic beauty and nature at its most magnificent.
Thanks to its diverse landscape, you can pretty much take your pick! There’s the glorious sunshine, azure coastline and traditional architecture of Andalucia, and the awe-inspiring drama of the Sierra Nevada National Park.
Or, there’s a huge number of busy Spanish cities filled with life, energy and gorgeous design. These include (but aren’t limited to) Barcelona, Malaga, Nerja, Seville, Granada, Valencia, Córdoba, San Sebastian, and many, many more.
Spain is an absolutely unmissable destination for explorers. If you’re keen to really immerse yourself in Europe’s culture, Spain is a fantastic place to start your journey.
Although Paris does have a notoriously high cost of living, we still think it firmly deserves a spot on this list.
This is primarily because, if you’re travelling from the UK, it’s super easy to reach Paris. Thanks to the high-speed Eurostar train, you’re able to get from Pancras to Paris in less than two and a half hours.
This makes it an ideal option for a last-minute trip. Plus, since you’re travelling by train, it’s a great option for eco-conscious nomads.
And we haven’t even gotten started on how stunningly beautiful Paris is. Once you get there, you’ll be able to embrace the laid-back Parisian lifestyle. On your lunch breaks, you can sample the country’s exceptional food, and during the evening, you can sight-see to your heart’s content.
Since you’re saving considerable sums on travel, and there are plenty of affordable work-friendly cafes for you to visit during the day, you can easily counteract the higher cost of living here.
If Paris isn’t your thing, maybe do some digital nomading in the Alps, like Courchevel.
We hope you enjoyed our round-up of the best countries to be a digital nomad in Europe. If you end up visiting any of these locations, be sure to let us know!
Or, if you have any experience of being a digital nomad yourself, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us in the comments, or through our socials.