Digital Nomad-Friendly Destinations to Work From

Digital Nomad-Friendly Destinations to Work From

Forget flip-flops and part-time freelancing – the new era of digital nomadism is all about moving your nine-to-five to an off-the-beaten-track co-working space or café in a stimulating destination. Ready to get packing, no office clothes required? Here’s where to consider.



Hands
up if you’re done with dialling into Zoom calls from your
cramped London bedroom. The pandemic might have left us in limbo as
to what an average working week looks like, but it’s also opened
our eyes to the possibilities of the remote working life. Workations are on the up, and the romance of heading
out with your laptop to find a new life in fresh pastures has never
been more alluring.

Let’s get one thing straight: we’re past the cliché of remote
workers being flip-flop-clad backpackers who occasionally whip out
their iPads between dips in a jungle-fringed Bali pool. An
unanchored lifestyle can still include your full-time nine-to-five;
you’re just calling in from Berlin, Brazil, or Barcelona, rather
than Blighty. That cool Kreuzberg co-working space? It’s a refreshing backdrop for your
colleagues after years of seeing your bedroom’s back wall. Just
check the visa situation before you head off into the unknown,
okay?

The way we work beyond borders is changing, too. Now, digital
nomadism is about immersion, and includes putting your pound to use
in a way that’s positive for local businesses. We’re conscious that
the influx of laptop-clutching free spirits isn’t without its own
problems – countries like Mexico have faced rising property prices
in areas popular with incoming nomads – but, by acknowledging and
mitigating the lifestyle’s potential pitfalls, and supporting
community-centric initiatives in your new home-from-home, embarking
on a stint in sunnier climes can still be as beneficial for your
chosen destination as it is for you.

Whether your trip is a magical one-month fling or a year-long
change-of-destination affair, these are the places to consider
before breaking free from your office gaol.

Out of office: seven switched-on destinations for digital
nomads

A sun-soaked doorway in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Mexico

Mexico’s cityscapes, golden beaches and jungle interiors have
become popular among digital wanderers – and not without
controversy. We would always recommend seeking out the nomadic
enclaves of this diverse country that encourage incomers to support
local communities. Free-spirited Todo Santos offers palm-fringed streets, independent
galleries, organic restaurants and boho beach outposts, along with
a welcoming cohort of offbeat creatives (think chefs from Mexico
City, Arizonan spiritualists, artists from Guadalajara and European
artisans). Oaxaca – with its colourful markets and
farm-to-fork menus – is an obvious choice for gourmands. More of an
arty soul? Try San Miguel de Allende’s vibrant cultural scene. Then,
for those less bothered about a high-speed internet connection,
there’s off-grid Yelapa – perfect for a distraction-free writing
retreat.

Discover more

Lakeside lounging in at a lake near Berlin, Germany

Germany

If there’s something we’ve picked up from our Berlin-based
friends, it’s that Germany’s work-life balance tends towards the
healthy side: wisely spent office hours are paired with sharpish
exits when the clock hits five, and the remote-working crowd tends
to follow suit. Post-Zoom calls and Slack chats, you’ll be sampling
the country’s best brews in the grounds of an old
airfield
, or heading to the pristine lakes that dot the country
for a summer swim. Most cities have accessible rivers, lakes and
baths. Berlin, with its hard-hitting wonderland wackiness,
might be the most obvious German city to make tracks to, thanks to
its diverse population and generous start-up culture, but you
should also consider Munich, for its elegant café culture with a
side helping of alpine proximity. The Bavarian capital isn’t cheap
(and neither is the capital, which is famed for its erratic rental
market), but you’ll have concept shops, galleries and a low-key
music scene at your fingertips.


Czech Republic

Ask someone heading overseas to ply their trade where they’re
going and, nine times out of ten, the answer will be Prague. Thanks
to a generous one-year freelancer visa, the Czech Republic has
become a popular home-from-home for Europe’s digital adventurers.
Prague’s romantic, gothic architecture and famously fast internet
speeds are reeling in immigrants from far and wide. Swerve the Old
Town for nearby Karlín district, popular for its independent
restaurants (try Bistro Proti Proudu and Eska) and offbeat
ambience. Beyond the capital, Brno offers intimate wine bars, a burgeoning
restaurant scene and modernist architecture aplenty, while the
formerly industrial enclave of Ostrava, in the north-east, is a
laid-back city defined by the vast struts and chimneys of its
factory backdrop. The largest, Dolní
Vitkovice
(or DOV, for short), is a maze of utilitarian
architecture transformed into a community hub, acting as a
modern-day furnace for the city’s creative endeavours.

A room at Cap Karoso in Sumba, Indonesia
Image credit: Alex Grabchilev

Indonesia

We know, we know – we rolled our eyes, too, but the Canggu crowd
has done a disservice to this beautiful country, and there’s far
more to experience than just buddha bowls, coconut cappuccinos and
dodging influencer selfies. Look east, away from Bali, to the
blissful island of Sumba, for an off-beat location to suit your
nomadic peregrinations. There’s less of a café culture between the
undulating hills and the golden sand coast, so you’ll likely need
to rely on a retreat for remote-working facilities, but this region
has several responsible resorts with an ethos firmly rooted in
supporting – and preserving – local communities and landscapes. Try
the 47-room, 20-villa Cap
Karoso
for a short-term escape: the artistic enclave rallies to
support the craft culture of the region (including hosting
residencies for rising stars in order that they might collaborate
with craftspeople based nearby).


Bulgaria

For the adventurous soul on a budget, Bulgaria is an exciting
option for mixing work and play. While Bulgaria’s cities are often
overlooked by those planning a remote-working getaway, they have
much to offer, from the bohemian neighbourhoods of Plovdiv, to Sofia’s emerging co-working spaces
and buzzy nightlife. At the weekend, or when the “out of office” is
on, you can hit the ski slopes of Bansko, or head out to the
Meadows in the Mountains music festival, where soul
food, yoga classes and barefoot dancing collide amid the Rhodope
peaks.

Speightstown on Barbados' eastern coast

Barbados

Forget the Barbados “scene” – if you’re planning on taking up
the Caribbean island’s new offering of a year-long visa for remote
workers, you’ll want to avoid the deck-shoe crowd and explore the
island’s quieter side. Most digital nomads join communities strung
out along the south and west coasts, enjoying postcard-perfect
beaches and ample accommodation offerings, but the rugged east
coast, which faces out across the Atlantic, is the preferred choice
for surf enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. This is an active
island. Expect invites from locals and expats alike to dawn yoga
sessions, fitness classes on the beach and weekend hikes
circumnavigating the island. Life moves at a softer, slower pace
than in the west coast resorts, but with the same speedy fibre
optic internet connection. Of the handful of co-working and living
spaces on the island, we love the ECO Lifestyle
Lodge
in Bathsheba – a tree-cocooned enclave run by two ex-New
Yorkers.


Croatia

Dotted down the Dalmatian coast, Croatia’s coastal cities are
where Europe’s edgiest remote workers are heading. Top of their
calling card? Split. Croatia’s second-largest city is a portrait of
balance. While home to lofty Adriatic architecture influences (a
touch of Rome here, a gothic cornice there, plus wonky terracotta
roofs and lopsided 14th-century walls) and a sophisticated cultural
scene, visitors only have to duck down any of its narrow, medieval
alleys to discover a hedonistic bar scene packed out with the fresh-faced crowd
lured in by the recent launch of a digital nomad permit. Beyond the
city limits, there are cinematic coastal landscapes to explore and
excellent vineyards to taste-test your way around. Balkan bins will
be the next big wine trend: you heard it here first.

Hotel_San_Cristo_bal_Todos_Santos_by_Nick_Simonite

Discover More
Where to Go in Mexico if You’re a Digital Nomad