With the resurgence of travel in 2022 (and the airport chaos that came with it), we’re looking forward to remote working once again from all corners of the globe in 2023. But if a return to travel normality taught us anything, it’s that the busiest destination is not always the best. 

From Paris and Rome to Lisbon and Madrid, the peak seasons (and even the shoulder months) in the most popular tourist destinations reached heights previously unseen in 2022. To avoid the crowds, the tourist traps, and the added expense of popular travel this year, we’re looking away from mass tourism and towards the lesser-known nomad hotspots popping up around the world. 

By comparing the cost of living, quality of life, visa availability, nomad communities, and so much more—we’ve created our short list of the must-visit destinations for digital nomads in 2023. From the Croatian capital of Zagreb to the smallest Indian state of Goa—check out our top recommendations for nomad travel this year!

Sofia, Bulgaria

Photo by Petar Avramoski on Unsplash

Often overlooked as a transit city by those heading to the ski resorts Bulgaria is known and loved for, Sofia is a hidden gem that’s well worth the time to explore. The city is far from a grand metropolis, but rather a youthful, exciting destination with a strong expat population and relaxed pace of life. 

From natural hot springs, the jaw-dropping Vitosha Mountain, and the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the countless museums dotted around—there’s plenty to see and do in Sofia. But it’s the cost of living that acts as the major pull for expats living and working in the city. Studies estimate the cost of living in Bulgaria at 44.5% lower than in the United States with rental prices coming in at 79.0% lower than American equivalents. 

As of current, Bulgaria has not launched a dedicated digital nomad visa and the majority of visitors are only permitted to spend 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. Despite Bulgaria joining the EU in 2007, the country is not yet part of the Schengen Area and operates independent entry/exit rules. 

Goa, India

Goa may be the smallest of the Indian states, but the minimal area is more than made up for with some of the best beaches, rainforests, and nightlife in the country. An experience in Goa depends entirely on the geographical decision for a stay. Choose to stay in Northern Goa and you’ll find a lively party town that offers some of the best nightlife in the country. Head south and you’ll find the opposite—idyllic beaches and a zen approach to life. Both directions offer fantastic experiences for very different reasons. 

Unfortunately for WiFi-dependent nomads, outages in both internet and power and common, and coping with the limited infrastructure in the villages can be a struggle. There is, however, consolation in your surroundings with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world—perfect for unexpected screen-time breaks. The best time to visit Goa is between October and March is what is known as “season time”. Outside of the capital (Panaji), few businesses open their doors in the off-season, resulting in minimal cafes, restaurants, and hotels to choose from during the monsoon months.

India is yet to launch a dedicated digital nomad visa. Instead, travelers looking to visit India can find documentation help in our India Visa Guide for Digital Nomads

Kathmandu, Nepal

Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash

Surrounded by the Himalayan mountains, Nepal’s capital of Kathmandu has long been a bucket-list destination for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure travelers. But as attitudes to work shift and the destination possibilities become more endless than before, Kathmandu is attracting a new kind of traveler—the digital nomad. 

Kathmandu has historically struggled as a sensible place for remote work with frequent power cuts regularly interrupting the working day. Thankfully, recent years have seen a rapid progression, and although a power cut isn’t out of the ordinary, these are now much more infrequent in the capital. The city is surrounded by some of the best mountain trails in the world. Whether you’re hoping to scale the tallest peaks with multi-day treks or head out for a stroll, you’ll want to have your hiking boots ready to go. 

Tbilisi, Georgia

Georgia is fast becoming a popular destination—not only for tourism—but for remote workers looking to plant loose roots in Eastern Europe. The country’s historic capital, Tbilisi, is becoming a must-visit location for tourists, backpackers, and remote workers. From Vera and Marjanishvili to Vake and Saburlato, there’s a neighborhood in Tbilisi to suit every traveler and every trip. There is also clear growth in the nomad world with spaces such as Impact Hub, Space Z, and Lokal Tbilisi all proving popular among international remote workers. It’s no secret that the low cost of living is one of the major selling points.

On average, the cost of living is 46% lower than in the United States with the rental prices estimated at 58.6% lower than equivalent properties in the States. With affordable accommodation, great food, and a long visa-free stay (up to 365 days), Georgia is starting to look like one of the best countries for long-term digital nomad stays and remote workers can also apply for the Georgia digital nomad visa. It allows freelancers, business owners, and remote employees to live and work for a 12-year period.

Medellin, Colombia

Photo by Reiseuhu.de on Unsplash

The second largest city in Colombia doesn’t shy away from its history. As early as the 1990s, Medellin was ranked among the world's most violent cities, with much of the violence attributed to Pablo Escobar and his cartel. Three decades later and the violent crime rates have since dramatically reduced.

Nicknamed the “City of the Eternal Spring”, Medellin is now packed full of the stuff digital nomads love to see—namely, the fantastic year-round weather that nomads often crave. It ticks every box—a low cost of living, fast internet, and quality accommodation—but it’s the unique neighborhoods that make Medellin such a vibrant and exciting place to live. Nomads looking to plant roots in the city can benefit from the Colombia digital nomad visa, launched in October 2022. The remote working visa allows nomads to live and work in Colombia for a maximum of two years, quadrupling the typical tourist visa length in the country. 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Home of the iconic Petronas Towers, Batu Caves, and the Petaling Street flea market, Kuala Lumpur is one of the fastest-growing cities in Asia. From the high-end luxuries of Bangsar to the hustle and bustle of Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur has a perfect neighborhood for every digital nomad. Remote workers looking for long-term stays in South East Asia can apply for the Malaysian digital nomad visa. The official visa, open to global remote workers earning a minimum of $24,000 USD per year, permits an initial one-year stay.

With a standard tourist visa of just three months, the Malaysian digital nomad visa is a fantastic solution for those really looking to immerse themselves in a new country and a new culture. 

Zagreb, Croatia

Photo by Kristijan Arsov on Unsplash

Croatia is a top vacation destination and although digital nomads have been known to create homebases in Rijeka and Split, the coastal cities are more catered toward mass tourism with lots of cruise ships on their way in and out. For a true taste of Croatia, it’s Zagreb that you have to visit in 2023. A bit far from the Dalmatian coast, the capital city of Zagreb is usually overlooked, but it’s one the least expensive destinations for nomads to live within the Croatian borders.

Affordable rental prices are matched with reasonable cafes, restaurants, and bars—the likes of which are almost impossible to find in Dubrovnik. However, these prices may not stay too low for too much longer—Croatia has now entered the Schengen Zone, meaning the introduction of the Euro and the 90-day maximum stay enforced for visitors. If you want to get the most for your money, there’s never been a better time for a workcation in Zagreb!

Remote workers are also spoiled for choice in the office department with BIZkoshnica, HUB385, and SPACES all offering great examples. Full-time nomads looking for a destination to call home may want to look into applying for the Croatian digital nomad visa.

Chiang Mai, Thailand 

The unofficial capital of Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai has earned a near cult-following by laptop-wielding travelers. Second in size only to Bangkok, Chiang Mai offers a slow, subdued pace of life, unrecognizable to the capital. With temples on every corner, neighborhoods to suit every individual, and buildings surrounded by mountains, Chiang Mai is an easy place to spend a long time in. Not to mention, you have a lot of options when it comes to working spots, from coworking spaces like Yellow space to countless laptop-friendly cafes. There’s also many fantastic long-term accommodation options to be found.

Those looking to plant roots Thailand are now able to do so with the Thai digital nomad visa. Open to “high-performance individuals”, the digital nomad visa is perfect for professionals looking to spend up to 10 years living and working in the country. There is, however, a strict list of qualifying requirements. It’s crystal clear that Thai officials are only searching for those heavy hitters to boost the country’s economy. 

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