Deciding on a Christmas destination as a digital nomad is always tricky. There are countless questions that come with picking the best destinations for the month of December. Is it wise to head somewhere warm or visit somewhere cold? A popular tourist destination, or a hidden gem away from crowds? A country that celebrates the festivities, or one that’s simply business as usual?
Ultimately, these questions can only be answered by the individual deciding on their next village, town, or city. But with some careful thought, a little logistics, and a plan made well in advance, every remote worker can get the very most out of the year’s final weeks. To help with the inspiration, we’ve created our very own list of what we believe are the very best destinations for digital nomads in December. From Budapest and Prague to Cape Town and the Canary Islands—check out our top ten Christmas destinations for digital nomads.
Budapest is quickly becoming one of the key destinations for digital nomads looking to explore Central Europe, in no small part thanks to the launch of the Hungarian digital nomad visa. Budapest is known as the spa capital of the world with central thermal baths that prove one of the most popular attractions. Also worth seeing are the city's ruin bars, underground caves, and jaw-dropping architecture.
During the colder months, Budapest changes dramatically with the influx of Christmas markets lining the streets. The markets bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Hungarian capital, all looking to explore what are often billed as the best Christmas Markets in the world. The largest and longest-running of the Budapest markets can be found in Vörösmarty Square with more than 100 different independent stalls selling everything from sausage and goulash to handmade ornaments and decorations. This is the place to spend a Christmas workcation.
Prague, Czech Republic
The capital and largest city in the Czech Republic, Prague is one of the most magical destinations in Europe and ranks as the fifth most visited in Europe. Nicknamed “The City of a Hundred Spires”, Prague is a fantastic European hub for digital nomads that has seen a recent spike of long-term remote working visitors. This rise comes in no small part thanks to the introduction of the Czech Republic digital nomad visa.
Known as Zivnostenske Opravneni (or colloquially as the Zivno), the digital nomad visa allows remote workers to live and work in the country for up to one year. With the Christmas period one of the very best times to visit the Czech Republic, there’s no better time to apply for a remote working visa.
The Prague Christmas markets (Vánoční trhy) are some of the best in Europe and stretch from the end of November to the beginning of January. Classic wooden huts are decorated are filled with traditional Christmas treats with everything from gifts and toys to local sweet treats available to purchase.
The food stalls are among the most popular attractions in the markets with traditional food dished out to locals and tourists alike. Some of the must-try dishes are Pražská Šunka (spit roasted ham), klobása (barbecued sausage), knedlíky plněné uzeným masem (smoked meat dumplings), and palačinky (classic pancakes).
Scotland's capital is another must-visit destination during the holiday months with the city transforming into a true winter wonderland with narrow streets, towering monuments, and medieval architecture. On a Christmas trip, you can explore Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, stopping off for a life-affirming coffee at The Milkman, before continuing on to Edinburgh Castle before heading down to Grassmarket and maybe an ice cream at Mary’s Milk Bar.
No trip to Edinburgh is complete without a walk up Arthur’s Seat for the best views of the city, although Calton Hill may give the viewpoint a run for its money. But if there’s one thing that Edinburgh does better than anywhere else, it’s whisky. There is no shortage of pubs and bars to try a dram—from the charming and brooding Devil’s Advocate to the award-winning speakeasy of Panda & Sons, the whisky really makes the city.
Tenerife, Canary Islands
Digital nomads looking to escape the cold weather of the winter months should look no further than Tenerife—one of Spain’s Canary Islands. The island is horizontally split by the highest mountain and active volcano in Spain, Mount Teide, into two main halves. The south of the island is dry and desolate, predominantly made up of holiday resorts.
Meanwhile, Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the north is the perfect hub for digital nomads. Coworking spaces such as Espacio Kernel, and Workeamos Coworking are two of the most popular in the city and prove to be a fantastic way to find a digital nomad community.
Accommodation is inexpensive in the city center and can be readily booked with Airbnb and there are plenty of great places for food and drink. For lunch, Tasty Poke Bar is always great, but a freshly made salad from Salzza Salad Bar will change your life. But you’re really spoiled for choice when it comes to dinner with gems including Santo Pecado Gastrobar, Quebracho Asador, and Pizzería Manammé Santa Cruz highlighting some of the city's best.
Not far from the German border, Strasbourg is an idyllic European destination that comes alive during the holiday period. The city blends French and German culture and architecture. The imposing cathedral is juxtaposed by the petite houses intertwined along the picturesque canals, creating fairytale scenery that flourishes in the winter months.
A tradition since 1570, the Christmas markets (Christkindelsmärik) in Strasbourg are among some of the most popular in the world with more than 2 million visitors reported each year. In addition to the shopping opportunities, visitors can expect to find shows, concerts, and other activities throughout the festive period. With so many visitors expected in the region during the month of December, it is recommended that digital nomads book their Christmas accommodation early.
Following the German Capital of Munich, Nuremberg is the second-largest city in the state of Bavaria with a population of a little over 500,000. The city is one of the top destinations for digital nomads looking for a quieter alternative to Munich and Berlin. Historic architecture, cultural history, and a range of museums can all be found in the city—but it’s the Christmas markets that bring the most visitors.
The Nuremberg Christmas Markets are some of the oldest in the world and typically run between the end of November and December 24. Famous for their gingerbread treats, but even more famous for the sausage—a trip to Nuremberg might be just the adventure for foodie-inclined digital nomads at Christmas. The small, partially boiled and grilled sausages are a delight year-round in the city with vendors such as Bratwursthäusle bei St. Sebald, and Bratwurst Röslein dishing out some of the best.
Although rarely considered by Christmas-loving travelers, Krakow offers a traditional European holiday destination at a fraction of the price, drawing in a younger crowd compared to neighboring Germany. Poland is one of the cheapest European destinations for digital nomads to live, with a cost of living estimated at $520 USD per month (without rent) for individual nomads—more than 50% lower than in the U.S. It’s quickly proving a popular destination among budget-friendly travelers, although a lack of remote working visas means that tourists are at the mercy of the Schengen visa.
During the holiday period, there’s a 50% chance of snow during any week-long visit to Krakow, which will set a lovely scene perfect for exploring the city, and of course and sampling the local vodka from a cozy spot indoors when the temperatures drop. Nomads will find the festivities in the main old town square (Rynek Glowny), a 13th-century square transformed during the holiday period. The markets run between the final week in November until December 26th at the earliest—depending on the year, this can be delayed until January 6th to celebrate the Epiphany festival.
New York City, U.S.
There’s nothing quite like the Big Apple during the festive period and although it may be the most expensive destination on our list, it’s one of the very best. From Brooklyn and Queens to Manhattan and the Upper West Side, New York City is full of entrepreneurs, freelancers, and remote employees all working on personal and professional projects. The city that never sleeps is always alive with something to do and somewhere to be at every hour of the day.
During the Christmas month, the city is transformed into an iconic metropolis wonderland with everything from the Central Park ice skating rink to the Rockefeller Christmas tree. It’s like something out of a movie—and with so many holidays flicks based in the city, it’s easy to see why.
Digital nomads can live out their very own versions of Home Alone 2, Miracle on 34th Street, Elf, and countless others. It’s a wonderful time of year to visit the city, but it’s also one of the most popular. If you’re thinking about visiting this year, be sure to book a trip well in advance to secure the best deals.
Austria’s capital and largest city, Vienna is one of our top picks for digital nomads searching for the top Christmas destination. The city is one of Europe’s most beautiful with architectural gems including Schönbrunn Palace, Kunsthistorisches Museum, and Rathaus all gracing the city. There’s never a bad time to visit Austria, but it’s during the holiday season that the city shines brightest.
The Vienna Christmas markets are some of the world’s most picturesque located in front of some of the city's most important buildings. The most popular include the Viennese Dream Christmas Market, held in front of the city hall, Christmas Village, held in front of Belvedere Palace, and Christmas Village Campus, held in front of the University of Vienna. Grab a drink and a bite to eat at the famous Café Sacher Wien and watch the swarms of tourists pass by during your winter workcation. If you’ve got the time, take the famous Transalpin Express train up to the mountain village of Innsbruck, perfect for skiing during the winter months.
Cape Town, South Africa
Searching for something a little different from the norm (see: warm) for your Christmas workcation? Look no further than Cape Town, South Africa. With warm weather throughout the month of December, Cape Town might just be the perfect Christmas workcation for sun-loving nomads.
One of South Africa’s three capital cities, Cape Town is arguably the most beautiful, offering a range of beaches and mountains to spend the winter months exploring. The famous mountain “Lion's Head”, found between “Table Mountain” and “Signal Hill” makes for a conquerable holiday hike and offers panoramic views of the city below. Christmas is a public holiday in South Africa and nomads will still find plenty of festive activities to keep themselves busy with over the holiday period. From the Festival of Lights to the Kirstenbosch Carols, there’s more than enough to keep you in the holiday spirit.
The Best Christmas Destinations for Digital Nomads
From New York City and Vienna to Budapest and Edinburgh—there are countless magical holiday destinations for digital nomads to choose from. Whether you’re searching for a hot chocolate in a winter wonderland or a private beach with a cocktail in hand, the perfect December destination awaits. With the digital nomad lifestyle, there’s no limit to how you can spend your next Christmas.
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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