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Choosing The Best Cities For Digital Nomads

With the increasing popularity of remote working, more and more people are looking to take advantage of their flexible circumstances by travelling more or moving somewhere new.  There are already 35 million digital nomads worldwide, and the trend is being driven by technology, growing demand for flexible workspaces, and the increasing adoption of hybrid work.   Which are the best cities for digital nomads?

With that in mind, digital nomad publication Freaking Nomads created an index of the best cities for digital nomads according to relevant criteria, such as broadband and mobile speed, cost of living, rent, and other expenses, proximity to co-working spaces and accessibility to remote working visas.  

Each city was scored on each factor and an appropriate weighting was applied to create a total index score out of 100. 

Coming out on top was Hoi An, Vietnam, with a score of 73.94 out of 100. A hidden gem on Vietnam’s coast, Hoi An ranked 3rd for cost of living with a score of 85.48 out of 100, and joint 34th for visa accessibility with 77.78 out of 100. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient city is home to well-preserved old buildings, colourful lanterns and winding streets that create a magical atmosphere. Hoi An’s quaint historic charm will appeal to digital nomads wanting to start afresh in a unique corner of the world. 

In second place was Delhi, India, with 73.77. India’s capital placed 1st for cost of living with 89.03 out of 100, and joint 34th for visa accessibility with 77.78. Delhi is a dynamic melting pot of culture that has something for everyone – from its vast historic attractions, such as the majestic Red Fort, to markets offering local artisan products and diverse food from all over India. 

Ranking third was Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with 72.02 out of 100. Malaysia’s capital city ranked joint 19th for visa accessibility with 83.33 and 21st or cost of living with 76.06. Known for its instantly recognizable skyline and the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur will appeal to digital nomads seeking a friendly and invigorating atmosphere that features traditional monuments and an impressive shopping scene. 

Da Nang, Vietnam, followed in fourth with an index score of 71.32. The busy metropolis ranked 10th for cost of living with 80.72 and 34th for visa accessibility with 77.84. Da Nang is popular for its dazzling coastlines and striking natural beauty, with landmarks such as the Marble Mountains providing breathtaking views for digital nomads to enjoy. 

Rounding out the top five was Mumbai, India, with a score of 69.81. The financial hub placed 18th for cost of living with 77.21 and 24th for coworking spaces with 61.15. As India’s most populous city, Mumbai is beloved for its expansive beaches, bustling street markets and delicious cuisine, cementing it as the perfect choice for digital nomads wanting to immerse themselves in a different environment. 

Placing sixth was Buenos Aires, Argentina, with a score of 69.40 out of 100. The capital city is known for its lively neighbourhoods and its delicious food, offering a haven of passion and excitement for residents and tourists alike. The city will appeal particularly to those looking for somewhere with a distinctive Latin American flair.  

Following in seventh place was Bangkok, Thailand, with a score of 68.15. The capital of Thailand is home to ornate temples, delectable cuisine, and energetic street life. Bangkok’s dynamic atmosphere makes it a coveted hotspot for any digital nomad looking to embrace a heritage-rich city that uniquely blends modernity and tradition. 

In eighth was Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, with an index score of 68.14. Tenerife’s cultural centre boasts a warm climate and relaxed island vibe ideal for any digital nomad wanting to indulge in sub-tropical surroundings. Santa Cruz is particularly notable for its annual carnival, which showcases colorful parades, music, dancing and costumes. 

Ranking ninth was Bucharest, Romania, with a score of 67.99. An artistic hub, Romania’s capital has plenty for digital nomads to explore, such as its elaborate and diverse architecture, an arts scene featuring some of the world’s best galleries, museums and theatres, and tranquil parks ideal for nature lovers. 

Completing the top ten was Las Palmas, Spain, which had an overall index rating of 67.89. Located on the island of Gran Canaria, Las Palmas boasts vibrant beaches, beautiful weather and stunning cultural attractions, such as the historic district of Vegueta, making it the perfect place for someone hoping to experience new surroundings while they work. 

Commenting on the findings, Irene Wang, co-founder of Freaking Nomads, said: 

“While it may seem daunting at first, living a digital nomad lifestyle gives people the freedom to forge their own paths and enrich their lives with cultures they wouldn’t otherwise experience.  

“Some people are put off by expenses and accessibility, but there are plenty of places with a lot to offer working professionals. Many of these will welcome remote workers with open arms and a sense of community. 

“Cities such as Hoi An, Delhi and Kuala Lumpur are ideal spots that have an ease of access and won’t break the bank. Their internet connection and co-working spaces also provide an infrastructure that allows digital nomads to flourish. 

“The monotony of day-to-day life can leave people feeling stagnant and uninspired, but travelling more, exploring curiosities or expanding our horizons doesn’t have to be limited to a vacation. Being a digital nomad provides endless possibilities, and these cities are sure to make anyone feel at home, no matter where they’re from.” 

In another analysis the team at Instant Offices have ranked 61 locations based on affordability, weather, broadband speed, and other factors to reveal their view of the best places to be a digital nomad in 2024. Their conclusions based on different criteria rank different cities in their top three.

Dubai Leads as prime destination for digital nomads with over 23,000 Wi-Fi hotspots.  Outranking every other city analysed, the study concludes that Dubai stands out as the number one destination for digital nomads. This UAE city has a strong reputation as an international business hub with excellent infrastructure. The UAE also offers a special one-year Virtual Work Residency Visa. 

You’ll have no worries about connectivity while working in sunny Dubai – there are over 23,000 wi-fi hotspots throughout the city, with an average broadband speed of 230mbps. Dubai also has a climate that attracts digital nomads from around the world, getting an annual average of 3,500 hours of sunshine. This makes it an excellent place to work from the beach! 

Lisbon is ranked as the second most popular place for digital nomads to work.  With over 7,000 wi-fi hotspots and an average broadband speed of 98mbps and as one of the sunniest places in Europe, they point to the Portuguese coastal capital as a food-lovers haven, with local markets and freshly caught seafood available on virtually every corner.  

With more than 7,000 wi-fi hotspots and an average broadband speed of 98mbps, the city is ideal for enjoying the sun and surfing while still working productively. A cappuccino in Lisbon will cost you just £1.66, and an Airbnb will cost you £115 a night. 

They rank Madrid as the third most popular city for digital nomads. Its blend of affordability, robust infrastructure, burgeoning startup ecosystem, central European location, and reputation for safety make it a prime destination for remote workers seeking a dynamic and convenient base. 

 From its lively cultural scene to its plethora of coworking spaces and excellent connectivity, Madrid offers digital nomads a well-rounded experience that balances work and exploration seamlessly. 


Depending on the methodology used different rankings will be reached.  Such rankings can be useful but as a digital nomad you will have your own priorities and preferences that will determine where you want to go: you may want to focus on Asia or on Europe, prefer beach resorts or major cities etc.

The ease of access to digital nomad visas, the cost of living including property costs, food and drink, restaurants and entertainment will all be factors you should consider when choosing where to go.  The availability of coworking or coliving spaces as well as mobile data and broadband speeds are other things that will be important to most. For many the lifestyle, culture and other intangibles will also be persuasive.  There are many attractive options and if the life of a digital nomad is part of your plans it is up to you where you choose.