Location independent movement is gaining traction and more people are considering this dynamic lifestyle. But what are the best digital nomad destinations? Where should you go in 2018?
Last year I traveled to 15 countries on four continents. 2017 was the best year so far and I met dozens of incredible people. This year, I’m taking over the Latin America where I’ll spend the first four months of the year.
Whether you’re looking for fellow nomads and tight communities, unique experiences, work-friendly environment with the fast and reliable internet, comfortable long-term living, budget options or something to nourish your soul these destinations have it all.
I reached out to 30 digital nomads, location independent entrepreneurs and travelers and asked them to share their top picks for the best digital nomad destinations to go in 2018.
Here’s the full list of 52 rising hotspots for digital nomads in no particular order.
1. Cape Town, South Africa
Jordan Bishop: Cape Town is a recent winner of the prestigious Design Capital of the World Award and known for its surrounding wine regions – not to mention the fusion of sea and sky that occurs on its front door. Cape Town is an excellent place to kick back for a few months and soak in that salty, ocean air.
When Jordan Bishop is not writing personal or company profiles, he contributes insights about the misunderstood to publications like Forbes, never-before-told travel narratives to a handful of in-flight magazines and enables international clients to tell transformative stories as a principal at STORIED Agency. He’s lived everywhere from New York to Buenos Aires, Berlin to Hong Kong, yet still feels most at home with pen and paper firmly in hand.
2. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Jordan Bishop: With the Dolar Blue continuing to fall relative to other global currencies, and the spicy South American summer around the corner, there are few better places to be right now than in the beating heart of Argentina.
3. Medellin, Colombia
Dean Leibowitz: In previous years, I would say a lot of Asian destinations like Bali in Indonesia and Chang Mai in Thailand have been the major destinations, but Medellin, Colombia can’t be far behind and if anything will eventually take the cake. An eternal spring, amazing food, is highly affordable and best of all has an amazing array of coworking spaces and a bustling digital nomad community and local entrepreneurship scene.
With an incredibly versatile and entrepreneurial career at his back, Dean came to Selina wide-eyed and amazed at the what he, and many others believed was an untapped space. Immediately after finding out about Selina, which at this point only had 2 location, Dean packed up his life in Los Angeles and was on the first flight down to Panama. As the Director of Cowork Dean has spent the last 12 months developing and overseeing Selina’s cowork products and has been with the company as they have now opened 16 new locations.
4. Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Sergio Sala: If the combination of authentic tacos plus beach is not enough, now imagine adding great workplace! The city’s becoming a trend of nomads because it’s affordable, has great meetup activities and shows you how Mexicans enjoy life.
Sergio Sala is self-taught web designer from age 14, started out charging a cheap hourly rate for minimal work to working on some of the biggest high-budget projects in the Spanish community. With his stable freelance work and the annual increase of income, now he’s able to travel the world with a backpack and share his vision, of independent work and living anywhere, on a weekly basis to his newsletter of creative nomad readers.
5. Lisbon, Portugal
Ivan Kreimer: Lisbon has good weather, delicious food, and a tight nomad community. A perfect combination that makes Lisbon a perfect hotspot for nomads to hang out. Add to that combination the fact it’s a city with a lot of activities to do, whether that’s going out, visiting museums, or hitting the beach.
Ivan Kreimer is a content marketing consultant who helps SaaS business drive qualified traffic and acquire leads through actionable, relevant, and interesting content.
6. Kiev, Ukraine
David Abraham: Kiev is a great place for the summer and is cheap.
Dave Abraham is the co-founder of Outpost, a coworking/coliving community with locations in Bali and Cambodia. Previously, Dave worked on Wall Street, in the White House budget office and at a non-profit based in Uganda. He is the author of a book, The Elements of Power, and his opinions have been featured in numerous outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times. He is Senior Fellow at New America Foundation.
7. Vilnius, Lithuania
David Abraham: Vilnius has a great tech scene and a stunningly beautiful city with lots of tech.
8. Tarifa, Spain
Chris Spiegl: Tarifa is a charming small town, very walkable, and incredible for kite surfers. I really enjoy the smaller cities for nomads. There are weekly meetups already, and I think it’s going to grow even more.
Chris Spiegl is a relatively new nomad, compared to the 5-10-year nomads. He’s been traveling the world for the past 2 years creating videos for companies like Flaks and the Nomad Cruise.
9. Budapest, Hungary
Christopher Dodd: Budapest is a new summer favorite for digital nomads. The city is absolutely stunning yet the cost of living is inexpensive compared to the West of Europe and the coffee scene for nomads is great.
Christopher Dodd is a blogger and social media influencer who writes and creates videos about the digital nomad lifestyle. A digital nomad for almost 2 years, Chris shares his journey and experiences through his YouTube channel and blog, Chris the Freelancer.
10. Tallinn, Estonia
Maria Sirotkina: With its e-residency offer and a strong startup vibe, Estonia is becoming more and more attractive to nomads with tech and financial interests. Still a bit chilly in the winter, so not a great fit for beach bums, but Tallinn’s nightlife and the city can compensate for lack of tropical weather.
Maria Sirotkina is a serial entrepreneur with the majority of her projects laying in travel and education/edtech sectors. She is a founder of ReStation coliving and Nomad Train project, among others. Her big ambitious goal is to bring the entrepreneurial community to top lifestyle destinations all over the world.
Maria Sirotkina: With a lower taxation system compared to many EU destinations, Malta has a bit of everything. Coworking spaces can accommodate much more people that there are currently and the weather is lovely! It’s a short flight from many capital cities that makes it a great stopover for nomads.
12. Thessaloniki, Greece
Eli David: Thessaloniki is the most beautiful Greek city with a hilly city center that tells stories going back thousands of years. The beaches nearby, especially Chalkidiki peninsula, are extraordinary, and the Greek Frappe is at its best. The city has a few coworking spaces as well.
Eli David is a digital nomad who has lived in more than 60 countries since 2010. He is blogging and podcasting at BecomeNomad and is working on StartupBlink, a global startup ecosystem map and research center.
13. Krakow, Poland
Eli David: Krakow is an amazing city, with a beautiful river and many attractions around it. The startup ecosystem is buzzing and the city is just a great and affordable place to live in.
14. Xi’an, China
Jordan Bishop: China flies largely under-the-radar for nomads, though I’ll never understand why. The mountainous landscapes around Xi’an, including the renowned Huashan, is truly world-class, and the city itself, encased by a gorgeous ancient wall, is a spectacle in its own right. Get yourself a good VPN and embrace the wonder that is central China.
15. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Pete Rojwongsuriya: Bishkek is small enough that you don’t feel overwhelmed by it, it’s less than an hour away from stunning nature, the Ala Archa National Park, the internet is fast with 4G available all over the city, and many new and upcoming cafes and restaurants for you to explore.
Pete Rojwongsuriya is a travel filmmaker, UI/UX designer, entrepreneur and a solo traveler. Born in Thailand, a country where backpacking culture was nonexistent, he strives to become independent of everything except himself. He founded BucketListly, a travel achievement community and Travelistly, a Reddit for travel stories.
16. Bansko, Bulgaria
Uwe Allgäuer: The Balkans have much to offer; those countries are often very affordable to live, provide fun activities and high quality of life. Also, most of the Balkan countries have access to the fast and reliable internet, as a lot of the countries skipped the stone age internet systems and went straight to fiber cable and fast 4G networks.
When he’s not out exploring, Uwe can be found working on one of his many projects. He is the co-owner of Coworking Bansko, a coworking space in a Bulgarian Mountain Ski Resort. In addition, he also manages real estate, is an entrepreneur, a consultant, a mentor and skipper. His professional career is as colorful as you can imagine and has included working as a qualified electrician, IT services/system & support manager, development aid worker in Zimbabwe, and global support manager.
17. Playa Bejuco, Costa Rica
Emmanuel Guisset: Playa Bejuco is gorgeous, eco-friendly and affordable. It has reliable WiFi in most places.
A former digital nomad, Emmanuel Guisset was tired of staying at and working from impersonal hotels, isolated Airbnbs, loud hostels, or coffee shops. He decided to set roots in California and create Outsite, cool coliving/coworking spaces in beautiful locations.
18. San Diego, CA, USA
Emmanuel Guisset: San Diego means endless summer as well as a growing tech culture rivaling Silicon Valley.
19. Rome, Italy
Jennifer Lachs: Rome is one of my favorite cities in the world and it’s actually much more affordable than expected.
Jennifer Lachs is a former chemist turned digital nomad and founder of Digital Nomad Girls, the largest community for location independent women in the world. She runs popular coworking retreats for women and is currently launching the DNG Inner Circle, an exclusive members network and virtual coworking community.
20. Paros, Greece
Jennifer Lachs: Paros is a gorgeous Greek island and much less touristy than many of its neighbors.
21. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Tal Gur: Chiang Mai is a dynamic city which perfectly balances the old and the new. It’s also inexpensive and has an abundance of healthy food and cool cafes.
Tal Gur is a blogger, lifestyle entrepreneur, and devoted adventurer, who has spent a decade pursuing 100 major goals around the globe. Find out more about Tal and his 100 life goals project at Fully Lived.
22. Porto, Portugal
Andrew Henderson: Porto is fast-becoming one of the top destinations in all of Europe. The city has won numerous awards as a travel destination and European cultural capital, and the hype is more than justifiable. Porto is rich in history and architectural patrimony and boasts numerous tourist attractions, restaurants, boat tours, and a lively nightlife.
Andrew Henderson is a world traveler, nomad pioneer, entrepreneur, investor and founder of Nomad Capitalist, a business consulting company that helps young entrepreneurs create their own nomad strategy, which often involves legally setting up foreign bank accounts, moving their business overseas, obtaining second passports/residency and investing in foreign markets.
23. Belgrade, Serbia
Andrew Henderson: Belgrade is one of the most underrated European capitals. The city has a unique vibe that easily puts it on my list of the hottest destinations for nomads. Belgrade is the perfect blend of entertainment, culture, cost of living, and all four seasons. There are fantastic co-working offices, cafes, bars, restaurants, a great nightlife, and beautiful tourist destinations like St. Sava’s Temple and Ada Ciganlija, Belgrade’s Sea.
24. Taipei, Taiwan
Dave Weatherall: Taiwan’s expats aren’t just English teachers anymore, Taipei has grown to become a huge contender as a digital nomad hotspot. It is a fast-paced, 24-hour city that is always on the move with convenient links to Japan, China, and Southeast Asia.
Dave Weatherall left school when he was 17 to pursue a life without an office. With his blog, That Travel Blog, he hopes to help people make money online, so they can travel.
25. Koh Phangan, Thailand
Jennifer Lachs: Koh Phangan might be known for the full moon party but when the party goers leave, it’s actually a really laid back island with gorgeous beaches.
26. Brasov, Romania
Eli David: Brasov is a majestic city in Transylvania. This low-cost city is small and cozy, surrounded by beautiful mountains. You are also a stone throw from some of Europe finest ski sites resorts.
27. Phong Nha, Vietnam
Jarryd and Alesha: Fast becoming the adventure capital of Southeast Asia, Phong Nha is also home to a small, yet growing digital nomad scene. Fast, cheap internet, coupled with a variety of restaurants and small-village feel adds to the gorgeous atmosphere, not to mention it is one of the most beautiful places in Vietnam.
Alesha and Jarryd are the professional travel writers and photographers behind Australia’s top adventure travel blog, NOMADasaurus. On the road since 2008, they search the world for adventure and culture in off the beaten path destinations.
28. Charleston, SC, USA
Melody Thomas: Charleston is a friendly, southern city that’s filled with art museums, local restaurants, and shops. A great place to vacation during spring and summer.
Melody Thomas is the founder of Black Digital Nomad, an online community that inspires people of color to work from anywhere in the world. She is passionate about STEM education, politics, and the latest social media marketing trends. She is a digital nomad, world traveler, international speaker, and Google-search wizard.
29. Mexico City, Mexico
Melody Thomas: The New York Times ranked Mexico City city as the #1 travel destination of 2016. It’s a great place for digital nomads to hang out while enjoying local Mexican food.
30. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Melody Thomas: The people are super friendly and welcoming! Even though I don’t speak Portuguese, almost every person I met was patient and helped me along the way. The food is delicious and most public places have WiFi, especially coffee and sandwich shops.
31. Joshua Tree, CA, USA
Chuck Melber: There is nothing like getting out of the city and into the wide open spaces of the desert. Joshua Tree might not be the ideal location in the summer, but in the shoulder seasons like spring and fall, it has a ton to offer.
Chuck Melber has been honing his skills as a digital nomad for the last five years. He began his remote career as a freelance UX designer working for companies like GoPro, Mozilla, and LG before branching out into the world of marketing and PR. Right now he runs marketing at Nomad Goods. He has lived in and traveled around the US and Mexico during this time but calls San Diego, CA home.
32. Canggu, Bali, Indonesia
Pieter Levels: Canggu is traditionally a surfer’s spot that is now transforming into a hotspot for nomads. Very hipster vibes on a tropical island.
Pieter Levels is the founder of Nomad List, which is a site for digital nomads to find destinations to go to, places to work and to meet other nomads on the road. He also made Remote OK, which is now the biggest remote jobs board that helps find people jobs they can do from anywhere.
33. Phnom Penh, Cambodia
David Abraham: Phnom Penh is a vibrant town with an amazing nightlife and restaurants. A buzz is all about the city and there is so much history and culture about and it’s cheap.
34. Hawaii, HI, USA
Amy Truong: Hawaii is simply a paradise.
Amy Truong is a digital nomad and world travel expert after living and traveling to 25+ countries. She has a background in IT consulting, business development, and quality assurance working for tech startups to fortune 500 companies.send
35. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Amy Truong: I am Vietnamese American so this is probably me being biased but Vietnam is really awesome. It’s a city that feels alive with so much character, history, and delicious food. The cost of living is rising but still affordable since it’s still Southeast Asia. The internet is getting better and internet cafes and co-working spaces are popping up all over.
36. Tbilisi, Georgia
Andrew Henderson: Tbilisi is one of the greatest hidden gems on the planet. Nestled between the Black Sea and the breathtaking Caucasus mountains, the country of Georgia offers everything from beaches to ski resorts. The capital city of Tbilisi is where most travelers go for the exotic flavor, fantastic restaurant scene, and the numerous cheap bars. The cost of living is incredibly low, the people are warm and friendly, and the city is among the safest in the world.
37. Dahab, Egypt
Orest Zub: Dahab is the closest warm place where you can get out European winter. Israel is just one hour drive away. It’s one of the best places to dive and kitesurf on Earth and it’s super cheap.
Orest Zub is an online entrepreneur, traveler, blogger and author from Ukraine. He visited over 100 countries working out of his laptop traveling the world with lovely wife Marta for 150+ days a year within last five years.
38. Lviv, Ukraine
Orest Zub: Lviv is one of the cheapest cities on Earth with an amazing city vibe with the rich history and developed bar culture. It’s located just one hour from Polish border and five other European countries are within three-hour drive, there’s an increasing number of budget airlines.
Melissa Ng: I might be biased because this is my home country, but I genuinely believe Singapore has a lot to offer to digital nomads. Singapore is a global city with a government supportive of new ventures, and it’s also chock-full of amazing cafes, meetups and events, as well as gorgeous coworking spaces. Plus, very objectively, we have the best food in the world.
Melissa Ng became a digital nomad by accident. She discovered that she could work from anywhere in the world 7 years ago when she was designing an app while on a boat in rural Vietnam for a client in Sydney. Since then, she has founded MELEWI, a location-independent Product, UX & UI design studio. With a globally-distributed team, MELEWI works with passionate businesses from around the world, in over 40 cities across 5 continents.
40. Tokyo, Japan
Melissa Ng: Japan is a place I find myself returning to more often than not. Besides their locals being incredibly polite and friendly, I’m fascinated by how organized and well-run everything in the country is, which has an unfortunate downside of also being very bureaucratic. There’s also a strong movement behind cryptocurrencies which seems well-supported by their government which makes being in Japan feel a bit like the future. Also, who doesn’t absolutely adore ramen and takoyaki?
41. Paris, France
Melissa Ng: With all the Brexit insanity, a lot of eyes are turning to Paris, especially with their new president Emmanuel Macron who is a firm believer in innovation. Paris has all the old-world charm paired with a new wave of ambitious startups ready to shake things up. This for me makes Paris an exciting place to be at.
42. St. Petersburg, Russia
Pete Rojwongsuriya: One of the benefits of having a Thai passport is that we do not need the visa for Russia. St. Petersburg with its close tie to Europe gave me the opportunity to work with the European-level facilities while paying only half the price I would pay being in the Schengen zone. With cozy cafes equipped with fast free internet everywhere, surrounded by beautiful architecture, history and unique culture it’s hard not to feel inspired by the city.
43. Koh Chang, Thailand
Barbara Riedel: Koh Chang is an amazing little island. It’s less touristy than Koh Lanta and more off the beaten path. There are no coworking spaces yet but the internet is fast and most of the beach bars have WiFi.
Barbara Riedel has been a digital nomad for more than three years. She loves writing about her life of travels and her work experiences on her travel blog, Barbaralicious, where she highlights the ease of working on the road and tries to inspire people to begin their own journey of freedom with this beautiful lifestyle.
44. Kuching, Malaysia
Barbara Riedel: Kuching has already been called the next Chiang Mai. It has everything a nomad needs and the community starts to grow. Plus Malaysia has better visa regulations with the possibility to stay for three months without a visa and then do simple visa runs.
45. Palermo, Italy
Barbara Riedel: Palermo is the capital of Sicily and has surprisingly fast WiFi. There are 8 coworking spaces that are welcoming nomads. One of them organizes the Palermo Nomad Experience. Costs of living are low, food is amazing and it’s the perfect place in Europe if you’re searching for a city by the sea.
46. Azores, Portugal
Jared Stephens: The Azores islands have been rated some of the most remarkable islands in the world year over year by National Geographic and Lonely Planet. It’s unparalleled beauty and extreme bio-diversity amongst each of the islands makes it a hotspot for adventurers from all over the world.
Jared Stephens is an optimist that believes in a better world for all of humanity. He is a young entrepreneur and marketer that has owned and sold numerous online businesses. Currently, he spends the majority of his time working on his newest venture, Pangea that believes a unified world exists.
47. Canary Islands, Spain
Marcus Meurer: Gran Canaria has warm weather all year and is close to Africa. It also has fast internet.
48. Barcelona, Spain
Diego Bejarano Gerke: People seek out the community as they travel more permanently. They aim to find a way to replace the communities they were part of at home with an on-the-road community. Barcelona has it all.
Diego Bejarano Gerke has a fascination for intentional communities. He’s a co-founder of WiFi Tribe, a community of nomadic professionals who live, work and travel the world together.
49. Mallorca, Spain
Stuart Jones: Bed and Desk is set up for those nomads who want to spend time on this great island.
Stuart Jones is the founder of Coworkation, who has lived a location independent life for the past 15 years. Combining his passions of travel and business he has experienced the joy and the benefits of living a life of freedom as he traveled to over 80 countries whilst maintaining his entrepreneurial ventures.
50. Senderiz, Spain
Stuart Jones: Sende is a rural coworking and co-living space in northern Spain for those that want to be out in nature.
51. Seoul, South Korea
Amy Truong: Seoul is a modern and international city with fast internet speeds, amazing food, and things to do. Jeju island is also the perfect place for digital nomads who want to experience island life at a more affordable cost of living and there’s even a co-working space there that’s free!
52. Sydney, Australia
Jacob Laukaitis: It’s relatively expensive, but there are tons of interesting things to do there, the local people are really nice and there are a lot of places to go to for a weekend get-away.
Jacob Laukaitis is a location independent entrepreneur who has been traveling the world for the past 4 years while running various online businesses. His goal is to inspire thousands of people to travel the world and he does that by making YouTube videos and sending emails on ways to quit the 9 to 5 and become a digital nomad.