The best (and worst) cities to be a digital nomad

A new survey takes the things that make a city most attractive to digital nomads — cheap rent, fast internet, nice weather, and more.

Photo: rawpixel.com

Which cities fare best for digital nomads to work and play? Online home rental company  Spotahome has created a “Digital Nomad” index, comparing 56 cities across the world on how well they welcome this growing untethered workforce. In a recent study by MBO Partners, 4.8 million independent workers consider themselves to be digital nomads.

The criteria

Everything you need to be a digital nomad — a home-free globetrotter who makes their living via their connection to the internet — was evaluated against the cities.
Essential categories used to evaluate were cheap beer and an even cheaper place to sleep. For plugging into work, fast internet and access to co-working spaces (or just cafes with wifi). For entrepreneurs, the presence of startups. And for the mind, acceptance of transients, plus plenty of green space and sunshine.

The top

For all of that, Belfast turned out to be the number one city for digital nomads. Though low on sunshine, it has plenty of cheap apartment rentals, was named the best place to visit by Lonely Planet, and has a fast-growing economy. Lisbon came in second, followed by Barcelona, Luxembourg, and Madrid.

Those cities should watch out, though: Tulsa, Oklahoma, is offering remote workers $10k and membership at a remote working space if they’ll move there and Vermont and Maine have also recently offered incentives.

The bottom

The worst places were more expensive cities like Hong Kong, Singapore, New York City, and Tokyo. New York ranked particularly low in apartment pricing, internet speed, and the number of startups.

Here is the full “Digital Nomad” list

  1. Belfast, United Kingdom
  2. Lisbon, Portugal
  3. Barcelona, Spain
  4. Brisbane, Australia
  5. Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  6. Adelaide, Australia
  7. Madrid, Spain
  8. San Francisco, United States
  9. Wellington, New Zealand
  10. Miami, United States
  11. Auckland, New Zealand
  12. Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  13. Perth, Australia
  14. Lyon, France
  15. Vancouver, Canada
  16. Toronto, Canada
  17. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  18. Geneva, Switzerland
  19. Montreal, Canada
  20. Melbourne, Australia
  21. Berlin, Germany
  22. Vienna, Austria
  23. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  24. Chicago, United States
  25. Dublin, Ireland
  26. Rome, Italy
  27. Sydney, Australia
  28. Los Angeles, United States
  29. Munich, Germany
  30. Bern, Switzerland
  31. Prague, Czech Republic
  32. Vilnius, Lithuania
  33. Stockholm, Sweden
  34. Helsinki, Finland
  35. Bratislava, Slovakia
  36. Brussels, Belgium
  37. Warsaw, Poland
  38. London, United Kingdom
  39. Frankfurt, Germany
  40. Tallinn, Estonia
  41. Santiago, Chile
  42. Seoul, South Korea
  43. Budapest, Hungary
  44. Osaka, Japan
  45. Zürich, Switzerland
  46. Copenhagen, Denmark
  47. Milan, Italy
  48. Paris, France
  49. Oslo, Norway
  50. Athens, Greece
  51. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  52. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  53. Tokyo, Japan
  54. New York, United States
  55. Singapore, Singapore
  56. Hong Kong, Hong Kong