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As a remote worker and travel enthusiast, I’m always on the lookout for the best European cities to visit (and imagine moving to) while working abroad. Andrew Henderson, travel expert who works for… Bedouin capitalist Ranked the best cities for remote workers according to accessibility, affordability, logistics, and longevity.
The accessibility factor focuses on how easy it is to reach a destination. This is determined by flights to and from New York and Los Angeles to European cities, the average English proficiency in the city, as well as the ease of the entry process into a country. The Schengen Area currently allows visitors to stay a maximum of 90 days at a time. Starting in 2024, the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will require a visa, for a small fee, for stays of any length in all 60 European countries that do not currently require a visa.
Regarding the affordability factor, this is measured by how easily an American citizen can budget for their stay in Europe. This includes transportation costs, monthly accommodation rates, utility bills and typical food expenses. This is compared to the average American salary in the US, which is $4,588 per month and what’s left.
For logistics, this factor depends on the wifi and data connection, the time difference compared to America, and the size of coworking spaces and work zones available in each city.
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It is also important to consider travel insurance as you settle into a new country. Safety suite It offers special travel insurance for digital nomads called “Nomad Health”. With this plan, you can live anywhere and still have great health insurance. You can choose any doctor, claims are quick and easy, and there is 24/7 support in all time zones. Learn more here.
Finally, the longevity factor is calculated based on the value of long-term residence in each city. There is a metric called the Nomad Capitalist Passport Index that determines the extent to which Americans are culturally accepted and perceived by locals, the costs of income tax, and the ease of obtaining dual citizenship for a more sustainable transition.
So, which cities scored the highest?
1. Bucharest city, Romania
Bucharest ranks amazing on all factors and has a score of 33.4 out of 40. The average return flight from Bucharest to America is $544 which is much lower than the average return flight from Rome, Italy, at an amazing price of $1,031. The Schengen visa approval rate is 93% which means it is very easy for Americans to move for a longer period.
Bucharest is also very affordable based on rent, utilities, transportation, and food. It is estimated that the average monthly costs are around $3,739 which is $849 less than the average American salary. This allows space to save or to explore and travel around the city. 25 Best Hikes in Indonesia: Volcanoes, Waterfalls and Jungles
This city also has some of the best broadband speeds of any European country. There are 19 public coworking spaces in the city center alone. Even though it is 7 hours ahead of East Coast time, this still allows you to have later afternoon meetings versus early morning meetings for those in the US depending on which part of America it is.
Romania is one of the easiest cities to obtain dual citizenship with reasonable tax rates of up to 16%. The only downside to working in Romania is the number of English speakers. Currently, only 31% of citizens speak English, so it may be necessary to learn some basic Romanian to get around.
2. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen is another great city for remote American workers featuring high broadband speed and many available workspaces with 20 in the city centre. There are also public libraries and many cafés that make other great work areas. It also has a relatively low cost of living and a great public transportation system that is ideal for digital nomads and expats.
Copenhagen is known for its safety and security with countless exciting activities throughout the year. Another advantage is that 86% of citizens are fluent in English. The average monthly cost of living in Copenhagen is around $2,090, which is only half of the average American salary.
3. Dublin, Ireland
Dublin, Ireland is third on the list and is very suitable for long-term stays. It has a great expat and remote working community with relatively easy access to dual citizenship and lower taxes. For workspaces, there are a lot of great options.
There is a building called Tara Building which is a creative center located in the heart of the city. This coworking space offers great networking opportunities, plenty of good places to work, and a thriving like-minded professional community. Mesa, Arizona, offers more than just spring baseball training
There are also many cafes that provide a great working atmosphere. One of them, known as Kaph, is known for its minimalist design and is a favorite among many working professionals. The second most popular café is Vice Coffee Inc., located in the heart of Dublin’s creative corner. This features a comfortable work space and a nice ambiance. Naturally, both places have great coffee too.
Endless coworking spaces
Many parks offer free Wi-Fi and some have outlets, which is great if you like working outside in nature. A popular park for remote workers is called St. You can’t go wrong with a visit to the National Library of Ireland, a peaceful and historic place with many quiet spaces.
Remote workers also enjoy working in hotel lounges and rooftop bars, which have many of the features of the workspaces above, some livelier and some quieter depending on the vibe you’re looking for.
There are also plenty of opportunities for communication between digital nomads and remote workers. There is a website called Meetup.com that is a great place to connect with similar professionals and work in a group space.
In addition to ample workspace, Dublin is a great city with lots of things to do. There are excellent options for both public and private healthcare at different price ranges. The downsides of living in the UK are not having EU status, which some people don’t prefer if they live in Europe. For stays exceeding 90 days, it is important to obtain an appropriate visa or permit. There are many options including an Essential Skills Employment Permit, specifically for highly skilled workers on a set salary. There is also a general work permit intended for occupations that fall outside the list of essential skills occupations. Finally, there is the Intra-Company Transfer Permit which is intended for employees moving to the Irish branch of an international company.
4. Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik, Iceland is not only known for its stunning landscapes and beautiful locations, but it is also one of the most liveable cities in the world for digital nomads and expats. It is one of the smallest cities in Europe, but it has the best selection of coworking spaces and public facilities.
Iceland is generally considered an expensive country, but there are several ways to lower the cost of living. Options include finding inexpensive restaurants, AirBnbs, and monthly hostels, as well as using free coworking spaces. What is VAT, and how can you get the maximum VAT refund?
Best places to work in Reykjavik, Iceland:
It is relatively easy to obtain visas in Iceland as an American digital nomad. When you get there, visit the Icelandic Embassy to make sure you are ready to live there. Since it is located in the Schengen area, you can stay up to 90 days without a visa, but as mentioned above there will be a small fee starting in 2024.
The cost of living in Reykjavik is around $2,000 per month with accommodation around $1,000, if you want to have a roommate.
5. Zagreb, Croatia
Affordability and accessibility are the main reasons why Zagreb is an excellent international community for remote working. Furthermore, the city is great with ample entertainment options including parks, museums and a nice nightlife. This Mediterranean paradise is hard to beat.
However, you can apply for another one after a period of six months. In order to qualify for the Digital Nomad Visa, you must be a citizen of a country A country outside the EU/EEA. You need a monthly income of around $2,300 per month and you must be self-employed or outside the Croatian workforce. This is a great visa to get because you will be exempt from double taxation and can be on your way to permanent citizenship.
6. Tirana, Albania
Albania is often considered an underrated country that doesn’t come to many people’s minds. However, this country has some wonderful natural wonders and a beautiful culture. Although it is not in the European Union, the cost of living is relatively low compared to other European cities.
Like the other European cities discussed in this article, there are plenty of coworking spaces, cafes, and hostels.
Best places to work in Tirana, Albania:
In terms of accommodation, there are good hostel options including shared rooms and private rooms. To obtain visas, a work visa is required if you are looking for work in the country. You will have to obtain this before arriving.
7. Riga, Lativa
Located in the Baltic region, Latvia is another underrated country that is a great place for digital nomads and expats. It’s relatively affordable, with the cost of living being $760 per month excluding rent. In its capital, Riga, rent for a studio or one-bedroom is around $530 in the city center or up to $370 in other areas.
Riga is rich in history and culture with its cobblestone streets and beautiful architecture. It has amazing bars, cafes and restaurants along with a great nightlife. There are many great co-working spaces spread throughout the city center along with cafes and restaurants that offer free Wi-Fi. A SIM card costs on average about 20 euros per month for fast and unlimited internet. It will cost another 10 euros for a mobile data plan.
Latvia is safe whether you are traveling with friends and family or if you are alone, but it is important to always be weary of pickpockets. This allows any international digital nomad to live and work in Latvia for up to a year and can be renewed for more. Find more information here.
8. Madrid, Spain
Like Latvia, Spain offers a digital nomad visa valid for a year if you match its qualifications. There is also a digital nomad residence permit valid for three years. Both accept renewals if you want to stay longer.
The European capital Madrid is Spain’s largest city, hosting a lively culture, great work spaces and a relatively low cost of living. Renting a room in Madrid costs between $460 and $950 per month. Naturally, the closer you are to the city center, the more expensive the apartment will be. If you choose cheaper accommodations, you can expect your monthly budget to be $1,440 per month.
9. Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm, Sweden is a great place for digital nomads because it is one of the most innovative and creative capitals in the world. Outside of Silicon Valley, Stockholm has more startups valued at at least $1 billion than anywhere else. Thanks to its thriving economy, Stockholm is very attractive to digital nomads and remote workers.
according to World Happiness Report 2023Sweden is considered the sixth happiest country in the world, which is another great incentive to start life there. Wi-Fi and public internet connection are extremely fast (3rd fastest in the world) and free almost everywhere. Stockholm is also a digital nomad country, with hotels, cafés and plenty of coworking spaces to suit anyone’s needs. It also helps that Stockholm is a very modern city that embraces technology of all kinds.
The culture in Sweden is generally very tolerant, safe, and with minimal corruption. Public transportation is fast, efficient and punctual. In addition, exceptional air quality and a very healthy population with access to first-class healthcare contribute to the overall well-being of the area.
10. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is another ideal place for digital nomads and remote workers due to its high quality of life, low cost of living, and access to endless activities. There are plenty of hotels specifically for remote workers, so you can see for yourself what things are like before committing to a permanent move.
If Budapest steals your heart, there are plenty of options for long-term accommodation such as renting apartments or rooms. Rent usually costs between $500 and $700. If you want a property closer to the city center or directly on the Danube River, expect to pay a little more.
There are a variety of coworking spaces in Budapest, each with different perks that cater to different professions. Some charge fees depending on the services provided, others are open 24/7. Most of these spaces are integrated into the city centre, and there is great public transportation to get there.
Other top contenders
11. Bern, Switzerland
Bern is the capital of Switzerland and a UNESCO World Heritage Site with stunning landscapes and stunning historic architecture. Although it’s not known for its affordability, this destination has plenty of great coworking spaces and is great for longer stays.
12. Warsaw Poland
Poland certainly has a dark history and is still recovering from its Soviet past, but modernization has become very rapid and diverse. Pair that with the low cost of living and you have a great home for digital nomads. There’s also great internet and public transportation.
13. Vienna, Austria
Vienna is a wonderful city that is often considered the cultural capital of Europe. It has amazing infrastructure, it’s clean and safe, and it has great public services. There are plenty of opportunities for digital nomads and they are relatively affordable.
14. Lisbon, Portugal
16,000 digital nomads already live in Lisbon, with more on the way. The rent is reasonable and the internet is fast and affordable. It is considered one of the best cities in the world to live and work at the moment. The people are inclusive and friendly and the nightlife and partying are rampant.
European capitals that are Not suitable for US remote workers
Paris has a very low affordability score and offers no incentives or visas for remote workers. Also, many French people do not care to speak anything other than French.
Similar to Paris, London has a high cost of living. Food and rent are expensive and public transportation is not excellent. London has also become unsafe over the years due to gang violence and stabbings. The government is also inefficient due to slow bureaucratic processes, so it is not easy to move there. It’s also a big scam now that it’s no longer part of the European Union.
Rome is also an expensive city and does not offer many attractive features for digital nomads. There are not many co-working spaces or cafes that offer Wi-Fi.
The prevailing theme among these cities, which are not recommended for digital nomads, is the high cost of living. Amsterdam is no different. There are a lot of coworking spaces out there, so there are definitely great options for digital nomads. It may not be worth the cost for some.
With a staggering average monthly cost of living hovering around $7,000, Monaco is impractical for most people, even outside of digital nomads. There are limited accommodation options and the visa process is difficult. There are also not many co-working spaces with limited opportunities for networking.
Maybe one day, these cities will invest in developing more attractive incentives for remote workers and expats, but for now, they are great vacation destinations. There are many viable options for digital nomads to settle down permanently and enjoy an exciting new life that blends perfectly with their work life.