The decision has finally been made, it’s time to officially dip your toe into the digital nomad lifestyle. Your bags are packed, your shoes are on, and you’re out the door. There’s just one, small, piece of the puzzle left to solve. Where to?
Choosing that first digital nomad destination is never an easier task for beginners and that initial commitment when booking flights and accommodation can be a little overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be! One of the main benefits of becoming a digital nomad is the ability to move around freely, see the world, and learn about new places. If there’s a particular country or city that’s piqued your interest, there’s no harm in boarding a plane and going to check it out for yourself. For those in need of a little inspiration, these are our top beginner digital nomad destinations that are remote-work-friendly and perfect for new digital nomads.
Is Europe’s most prominent digital nomad destination, Lisbon was once widely regarded as one of Europe’s unknown gems. However, Portugal has seen a sharp rise in tourism, and the cobbled streets are well-trodden by tourists all looking for that authentic Portuguese experience.
Lisbon offers a lot for foodies. Cervejaria Ramiro is the must-go place for top-quality seafood, Faz Frio proves a popular local dining experience, and Alma offers the best money-no-object meat, seafood, and wine selections. When stopping for espresso, a pastel de nata is almost mandatory. The bite-sized custard tart is a national treasure and while Pastéis de Belém is said to do the best, I’d put forward an argument for Manteigaria for a rival experience.
The yellow tram-lined city offers jaw-dropping scenery around every corner, but its recent popularity may prove its major downfall for beginner digital nomads. Rent in the city is high right now and where nomads may have been able to secure a one-bedroom Airbnb apartment for less than $1,000 per month just a couple of years ago, minimum central prices are creeping up to three times the value.
Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City has become a true hub for remote workers and digital nomads in recent years with more than 1.1 million ex-pats living in the country with the capital retaining the lion's share. With so many remote workers flocking to the city, accommodation prices have risen in recent years, although good deals are still available.
Coworking spaces, such as Centraal, Open Hub Coworking, and Homework Revolución are common with the majority located towards the East of the city center. These can be accessed with either day passes or monthly rolling contracts for long-staying digital nomads.
They say if you like a certain cuisine that you should head to the origin and that’s certainly true for Mexico. The food in the city is incredible with everything from tacos from Tacos Los Parados and tamales from Doña Emi’s giving your tastebuds a true workout. But the city also offers innovative food that you may not expect. The Italian-Mexican phenom Rosetta is one of the top picks for fusion done right whereas Cicatriz is the place to go for a fried chicken sandwich a glass of natural wine.
Prague, Czech Republic
As the largest city in the Czech Republic, Prague has long been a hotspot for European travelers and holidaymakers looking for long weekends away. Despite its popularity, the “City of a Hundred Spires” is one of the most affordable destinations in Europe. Quality accommodation, sourced via Airbnb, can be found in the city center with prices under $1,000 per month when booked well in advance.
Work Lounge, Coffice Prague, and WeWork prove some of the most frequented coworking spaces in the city. There are, however, plenty of other options (such as Impact Hub, HubHub, and Locus Workspace) available for digital nomads.
Food in the city is also great, particularly for meat eaters. Goulash, schnitzel, and grilled sausage and among the must-haves, but the Czech Republic is also great for sweet dishes such as kolache and buchty. Check out U Červeného Páva for some of the best stews in the city or try out U Kroka for the top local experience.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai is one of the most popular and very best beginner digital nomad destinations—in no small part thanks to the incredible cost of living that the city offers. Yellow Coworking Space is the main hotspot for digital nomads and can be found on the hip and trendy Nimmanahaeminda Road. There are coffee shops, espresso bars, and shopping malls that line the street, making it one of the most popular digital nomad locations.
Accommodation is cheap in the city with good-quality one-bedroom apartments available on Airbnb for less than $500. A modest budget can secure a modern building complete with a pool and gym in the center of the action. A morning at Chiang Mai Breakfast World (or the French Toast at The Hideout), lunch at SP Chicken, and dinner at Kao Soy Nimman (named after the local dish–a spicy noodle soup) make for an inexpensive taste sensation. If good, inexpensive food is high-up on your wishlist, Chiang Mai is a must-visit.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Argentina’s cosmopolitan capital of Buenos Aires is another top pick for beginner digital nomads looking for a change of pace.
Sightseeing in the capital is a must with charming architecture and incredible historic sites scattered about the city. A visit to Teatro Colon, a stop at Puerto Madero, and a look at Centro Cultural Kirchner should all be high up on the list for every visitor.
The city is home to countless coworking destinations ranging from Manawa Coworking Creativo to DECK-co, each with a unique vibe and culture. Accommodation and living expenses are low in the country, making for good options for digital nomads looking for an inexpensive base.
The top dishes in the city include Asado, milanesa de carne, and, of course, empanadas. Eating out is not only great fun but doesn’t have to break the bank with quality eateries such as La Choripaneria and El Hornero offering great cheap eats. Alternatively, fine dining can be found with El Mercado and A Fuego Fuerte offering some of the best luxury dining experiences.
This city may be smaller than Lisbon, but I’d argue that the capital’s smaller sister is a better bet. If you’re looking for a quieter Portugal, one without the busiest of streets and the highest rental prices, it’s Porto that should be on your radar. Famous for the sweet fortified wine shipped from the Douro Valley, the romantic city is perfect for wine and seafood lovers around the world.
Similar to Lisbon, Porto’s river splits the city in two with most of the action happening north of the water line. There are coworking spaces, cafes, beaches, good public transport, and affordable accommodation all offered within the city borders.
Porto’s cheap eats are some of the best places for food in the city. The carefully sliced hotdogs from Gazela and the famous Francesinha (a cheese-covered steak sandwich in a beer sauce) from Café Restaurante O Afonso are two of the must-visit food spots in the city. But top-quality restaurants are available, too. Taberna Dos Mercadores is the small side-street restaurant of dreams. Ostras & Coisas offer fresh oysters and incredible seafood dishes, while Pedro Lemos is perfect for impressing friends and family with an innovative tasting menu.
Slovenia is right on the verge of a remote worker and digital nomad takeover with the capital city, Ljubljana, proving the most popular destination. One of the most beautiful places in the world Lake Bled is a big attraction and located just a one-hour bus ride from the center. Those serious about outdoor trekking can head on single or multi-day trips into the Julian Alps.
At the center of the city is Ljubljana Castle, overlooking the cathedral, university, and some of the top food spots in the city. Kodila Gourmet is a popular choice among both locals and tourists, as is Čevabdžinica Sarajevo '84, just a short walk from the castle.
For something a little different, head over to Burek Olimpija, a hidden gem in the center of the Eastern European destination specilaizing in the fried filled pastries of the same name. The city is bursting with culture in a relatively unknown country.
Famous for its central thermal baths and pools, the Hungarian capital of Budapest is a popular European destination, often compared to Prague. The city, separated by the river Danube falls into two sides. The hilly Buda district to the East and the flat district of Pest to the West. It’s Pest that most tourist attractions, activities, and nightlife take place whereas Buda is more residential and may prove a better location for digital nomads visiting the city.
Coworking spaces are plentiful throughout the city with KAPTÁR Coworking, Kubik Coworking, and Loffice proving the most popular solutions. Cafes and other public workspaces are available, such as Kino Café Terrace or Massolit Books & Café Terrace.
Food and drinks in the city and closely related to neighboring countries with a heavy reliance on meats and cheese. Goulash is the famous local dish, but there are plenty of other popular dishes that can be found in the city. Chicken Paprikash, Jókai Bean Soup, and Palacsinta are all top must-haves when visiting the city.
The bustling heart of Thailand, Bangkok is a culture-rich city and sprawling metropolis that digital nomads adore. The city is often used as a stop-off for backpackers and holiday-makers making their way down the country to the tropical islands. But there’s much more to Bangkok than a gateway to Phuket and the chaos of Khao San Road.
The food, when you know where to look, is also incredible in the city. Jay Fai, Bangkok’s famous Michelin star restaurant ran by the goggle-wearing owner of the same name. Thipsamai, just a couple of doors up, is home to one of the very best Pad Thais in the world. Away from the geographical center is where you’ll find Sri Trat Restaurant and Bar, with some of Bangkok’s highest-quality food and drinks at those low Thai prices.
Remote workers are also spoiled for choice with a long list of coworking spaces and laptop-friendly cafes throughout the city. The Work Loft and JustCo are just some of the countless options available for remote workers.
Bali has become a bit of a cliche when talking about the best beginner digital nomad destinations, but there’s a reason that the Indonesian island is just so popular. Canggu is among the very best options for remote workers visiting the island and the area continues to grow into a nomad hotspot. Echo Beach is the hub of Canggu and offers adventurous travelers the opportunity to surf the island's famous waves or simply chill by the beach.
It’s the cost of living that proves to be one of the most popular reasons for the rise of Canggu and Bali as a whole with accommodation prices being among some of the most competitive globally. A quick search on the main booking sites shows top-quality accommodation for a fraction of the price that you may expect. There is a good selection of coworking options available to visitors, too. Dojo Bali Coworking, B Work Bali, Tropical Nomad Coworking Space, and Tribal are all fantastic choices with good proximity to the center. Bali really is a must-visit for every beginner digital nomad.
Top Beginner Digital Nomad Destinations
The perfect digital nomad destination is out there for everyone. Whether it’s living on the beach in Bali, wandering the romantic streets of Porto, or getting the absolute most for your money in Chiang Mai–the borders are open and visitors are welcomed.
We’re always eager to hear from our readers and learn more about the best digital nomad destinations around the world. If you’ve got a country, city, town, or village that you feel really needs to make the list, let us know! Our emails and socials are always open.
Adam Mace is Nurall's Lead Contributing Writer and a full-time digital nomad in search of the best hikes, unique stays, and local delicacies. When he’s not exploring far-flung places he can..
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