Southern Europe for Digital Nomads (A Complete Guide)

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Wondering where to take your remote work in Southern Europe? It offers beautiful cities with a lower cost of living than their neighbours to the north, more sunshine, delicious food, friendly people, plenty of beaches, and a great work-life balance.

Let’s explore the best places in the south of Europe for a digital nomad to lay their laptop.

When to go?

Most of Mediterranean Europe is highly seasonal. High summer (July, August) is hot, busy, and expensive. Expect exorbitant price rises by the coast. This can be a good time to explore empty cities, although the searing heat will make it unpleasant for some. 

The shoulder season months of May, June, September and October offer the best balance of warm weather and reasonable costs. More southerly destinations tend to have a longer summer.

Winter (December – March) can be surprisingly cold, windy, and wet – see European Winter Sun 101 for more information on weather.

During the low season you can often find good prices for holiday lets in local Facebook groups, just be sure to check the heating is adequate for your needs.

The Downsides

Bureaucracy in southern European countries can often be stifling and off-putting to startups and those looking for longer stays. Corruption is an issue in some places. Outside the big cities communities tend to be traditional and conservative. Internet, public transport, and other infrastructure can be patchy.

Where to stay?

Platforms useful for digital nomads include:

FB Communities:

Shortlist:

  • Best for Fun: Spain, Portugal
  • Best Cities: Lisbon, Valencia, Las Palmas, Barcelona, Athens, Sarande, Lagos
  • Best for Beach: Algarve, Albanian Riviera, Greek Islands, Balearic Islands, Croatia
  • Best for Surf/Nature: Portugal’s Atlantic Coast, Canary Islands, Morocco, Madeira
  • Best for Registering a Business: Andorra, Cypress, Malta
  • Cheapest: Albania, Sicily
  • Best for Long-Term Nomads: Slovenia, Cyprus

For more information cost of living check Nomadlist.

Spain

Spain has a well-established Digital Nomad scene with plenty of coworking spaces used by both locals and internationals, particularly in large urban centres. Many of Spain’s big cities are located on the coast so you don’t have to sacrifice buzz for beach. They are also comparatively warm in European winter and don’t close down unlike more seasonal destinations. 

The Balearic Islands, particularly around Palma de Mallorca, are increasingly popular as a nomad destination although it can be very expensive and difficult to find accommodation in the summer months (June – September) .

If temperature is important to you then check out the Spanish Canary Islands located in the Atlantic Ocean, where the weather is mild year-round and outdoor activities (including surfing) are plentiful. Gran Canaria and Tenerife both have large cities with established DN communities. Fuerteventura and Lanzarote have less nomads but surf scenes, whereas La Gomera and La Palma are fantastic for hiking. Cost of living is not as cheap as you might expect though.

The Croissant app for finding coworking spaces has coverage in the Canary Islands, Barcelona, and Madrid.

Barcelona:

Mallorca:

Ibiza:

Madrid:

Rest of Spain:

Canary Islands:

Spain is a member of the EU and the Schengen Area.

Portugal

Portugal is rapidly becoming Europe’s answer to Bali! It’s home to some of the best value workspaces and accommodation on the continent. 

It has an obvious appeal for short term living – beautiful architecture and design, a great surf scene, and good value living. The nomad scene initially exploded in Lisbon fuelled by the Airbnb boom combined with great wifi and . It’s no longer as cheap as it was, but it’s still a great place to find your feet.

You’ll find many smaller local coworking spaces in Portugal. The hostels are also great value and you’ll find surf camps along the coast, many which also offer long stay packages and/or yoga. Nomad retreats and winter villas rentals are easy to find by keeping an eye on Facebook groups.

The Atlantic island of Madeira has recently become a DN hotspot thanks to its Digital Nomad Village concept. The weather is mild year-round and the hiking is incredible.

The downsides? The winter weather can be damp and buildings are not well insulated. Construction noise can be an issue in the cities.

For short terms lets try Flatio and Digital Nomads Portugal.

Lisbon:

Lisbon is one of the most popular Digital Nomad hotspots in Europe, although over the last year the Algarve region and the island of Madeira are rapidly catching up. 

Porto:

The Selina co-living hostel chain is well-represented in Portugal with locations in:

Cowork Surf has several locations in Portugal.

Algarve:

If you’re heading to the Algarve then Lagos is the main hub for DNs although there are smaller coworking and coliving spaces pop up frequently. Many surf lodges are also adding workspaces and offering longer stays.

FB Groups:

Portugal is a member of the EU and the Schengen Area.

Andorra

The Principality of Andorra is a micro-state tucked away in the Pyrenees mountains. If you love mountains, skiing, and low taxes then you’ll love it here. It’s not part of the EU or Schengen, and has long been a tax haven so will appeal to those looking for favourable business rates – although the red tape can be time-consuming. There is talk of a future digital nomad e-residency.

There are several coworking spaces, primarily located in Andorra:

Andoria is not a member of the EU or the Schengen Area.

France

France is a large and varied country with plenty of appealing cities as well as beautiful countryside and coastlines. Capital city Paris is not short on charm or business infrastructure but it can be expensive.

If you’re planning to stay a while it does help if you known some French, particularly if you need to entangle yourself in the bureaucracy.

It gets warmer the further south you go. The French Riviera is very expensive in the summer but has relatively mild winters. For surfing, stick to the Atlantic Coast particularly around Hossegor and the Basque city Biarritz.

Top coworking spaces in France include:

France is a member of the EU and the Schengen Area.

Italy

Italy has a well-established tourist industry but the digital nomad scene here has yet to really get going. It does have plenty of gorgeous university cities surrounded by fabulous history, and these are your best bets for coworking spaces although these are geared towards locals and it might help to brush up on your Italian. The tourist season in Italy is longer than other countries in the region.

Independent nomads who enjoy local life will find plenty of bargains out in the countryside, in southern less-touristy cities, and on Sicily. Nomad retreats occasionally pop up in rural areas.

Top co-working areas in Italy include:

Facebook GroupDigital Nomads – Italy

Italy is a member of the EU and the Schengen Area.

Malta

Malta is an enticing option for digital nomads thanks to its combination of long summer season, beautiful medieval architecture, and fast internet. 

Prices aren’t as cheap as some of the other countries on this list but are still reasonable for Europe. A competitive tax regime has resulted in some industries relocating, in particularly gaming and online betting. It has a solid expat scene, lots of music festivals, cheap flight connections, and English is one of the primary business languages.

Downsides? It has a problem with corruption and overdevelopment. The food is not as good as Italy.

It’s ideal for a longer stay, particularly in shoulder season (Oct-Nov, April-May) when the weather is pleasant but not too hot.

Facebook groups:

Malta is a member of the EU and the Schengen Area.

Slovenia

Slovenia is often overlooked by nomads but this little Central European country really packs a punch.

Capital city Ljubljana is one of the loveliest capitals in Europe. It’s green and walkable with a youthful vibe, intriguing culture, excellent transport connections, good beer, a small start-up scene, and fast internet. The countryside is sublimely beautiful, with the coast and mountains easily accessible. Although the nomad community is not that extensive, it’s a great place if you’re looking for a longer-term home base.

Top coworking spaces in Ljubljana include:

Slovenia is a member of the EU and the Schengen Area.

Croatia

Croatia is a beautiful Central European country with a long Mediterranean coastline and bags of appeal for digital nomads, especially with news that a new digital nomad visa has been created (which is actually a 1-year temporary residence permit – for more info see this post on Expat in Croatia). 

It’s not part of the EU and is outside the Schengen zone so is handy for those approaching their 90 day limit. 

Most stick to the big-name coastal destinations like Split and Dubrovnik, although prices can go a bit crazy in the summer. There are plenty of smaller and more affordable options though, like Omis, Zadar and Pula. Port city Rijeka is an up-and-coming destination – it’s a university city with an alternative vibe and lower prices than more popular coastal cities.

Don’t forget inland capital city Zagreb which has excellent cafe culture, cosy architecture and is great value.

Top coworking spaces in Croatia include:

Croatia is member of the EU but not currently the Schengen zone.

Bosnia & Herzegovina

If you fancy getting off the beaten track then head to Bosnia and Herzegovina, a Balkan country with heart. Capital Sarajevo will surprise and captivate you – especially if you don’t need blazing-fast internet (speeds are generally middling).  It’s friendly and lively, a good option if you want to explore whilst making your money stretch a bit further.

Coworking spaces in Sarajevo include:

Bosnia and Herzegovina is not a member of the EU or the Schengen Area.

Montenegro

Montenegro has fast wifi and jaw-dropping scenery, a combination which is likely to appeal to digital nomads. 

It’s worth noting that most of the hotspots are along the coast and as such get very busy (and correspondingly expensive) in the summer, particularly around the famous Kotor and the more exclusive Tivat. It can feel as though half of the Balkans are partying in Bar and Budva during July and August. Outside this period prices are good value, especially on the south coast.

The interior is mountainous and quiet with unreliable internet outside capital Podgorica, which is very cheap but lacks the appeal of the coastal towns.

Coworking places in Montenegro include: 

Montenegro is not a member of the EU or Schengen Area, however it does use the euro.

Albania

With its low prices, cafe culture, friendly people and beautiful beaches, it’s no wonder Albania is rapidly becoming a DN hotspot. Particularly around the coastal city Sarande in the south.

This part of the coast is known as the Albanian Riviera and it’s home to an established expat community. Apartments in Sarande are cheap and the wifi is fast. It doesn’t have the easiest connections to other Europeans countries but the Greek island of Corfu is just a short ferry ride away from Sarande (in normal times) – this is often the cheapest point of access. For chilled out summer vibes head up the coast to Himare and Dhermi.

Capital Tirana is offbeat and lively, with  access to fantastic hiking areas. 

Albania is one of the cheapest countries in Europe. It’s outside the Schengen zone and it offers 1-year visas for Americans. However it is a country still getting on its feet, so pack your sense of adventure. 

Coworking spaces in Albania include:

Facebook group:

Albania is not a member of the EU or the Schengen Area.

Greece

Greece is increasingly popular as a DN destination thanks to its fantastic lifestyle and weather – although it’s worth noting that it doesn’t have the same level of digital nomad community or infrastructure as Portugal.

There are a few coworking and coliving spaces in the main cities Athens and Thessaloniki, but otherwise remote workers tend to spread themselves out over the many islands. Athens has the bonus of easy access to most of the islands, plus a large international community and growing tech scene. Whereas Thessaloniki is smaller, friendlier, more creative, and cheaper. It’s right on the sea and isn’t far from the beautiful Halkidiki coastline.

Greece is packed with work-friendly cafes – those who don’t require super fast internet will probably be happy enough cafe hopping around the country. Internet speed can really vary on the islands.

The much-vaunted ‘Digital Nomad Visa’ is a bit of a misnomer – it is intended to attract long-term settlers and entrepreneurs happy to relocate their business in return for tax breaks.

Athens:

Thessaloniki:

Crete:

Of all the islands, Crete is probably the best for digital nomads. It’s the largest Greek island and has longest summer season, a variety of landscapes, an international airport, a large expat community spread across several cities, and generally strong and reliable internet (depending on your location). The island has recently launched a campaign to attract digital workers – Work From Crete – and is in the process of improving internet speeds across the whole island.

Other initiatives include:

Lesvos

If you’re looking for a spiritual community then consider Lesvos. The yoga vibes are strong in alternative Skala Eressos, and there’s a coliving space in Petra (Digital Nomads Lesvos), plus opportunities to get involved in volunteering.

On the mainland, there’s also Selina Centavros Pelion located in the stunning Pelion region – perfect for a rural getaway.

Facebook groups:

Greece is a member of the EU and the Schengen zone.

Cyprus

Cyprus is an island nation in the Eastern Mediterranean country with plenty of beach resorts as well as a spectacular interior.

The coastline is built-up rather than tranquil, but if you’re looking for city vibes you’ll be happy in Paphos, Larnaca, or Limassol.

Prices more expensive than Greece but it has appeal for long-term relocations. The climate is excellent with one of the longest summer seasons in Europe. Beach weather in November is not uncommon, yet skiing is possible in the winter.

It does have problems with overdevelopment and corruption, but corporate taxes are low and the work-life balance is good. There’s a large EU expat community and great healthcare.

Coworking spaces on Cyprus include:

Cyrpus is a member of the EU but not currently the Schengen zone.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria boasts a lively capital (Sofia), an outdoorsy DN hotspot (Bansko), varied landscapes and adventure activities, low prices (and taxes) and fast wifi. What’s not to like?

Sofia is a great base for exploring the Balkan region. It’s cheap and vibrant. The climate is decidedly eastern European though, it’s not as warm as other places on this list.

But it was the Bansko that really put Bulgaria on the DN map. A small mountain town which is a a ski destination in the winter, it has cheap prices, big nature, year-round appeal, and one of the most established DN communities in Europe.

If you want to meet other DNs then Bansko is a great option. The downside is that it’s a bit bromad-heavy.

The Black Sea coastline is mainstream beach destination and gets very busy in the summer but there’s bargains to be had in the shoulder seasons.

Coworking spaces in Bulgaria include:

Facebook group: Foreigners in Sofia & Friends

Bulgaria is a member of the EU but not currently the Schengen zone.

Just outside Europe:

Turkey

Turkey is a large country with a wealth of history and landscapes to discover, one of the world’s great cuisines, one of the world’s great cities, friendly people, laid-back coastal resorts, and appealing prices for digital nomads. 

The largest concentration of coworking spaces is in Istanbul but there is another cluster at Izmir. The Mediterranean and Aegean coastlines are the most liberal areas of Turkey and are home to large expat communities and excellent tourist facilities. If you don’t require a dedicated workspace then Turkey is your oyster as there are cafes everywhere.

Drawbacks? The conservative nature and blocked access to some sites. Unwanted male attention can be off-putting to solo females.

If you’re looking to get off the beaten track then the Black Sea Coast is quiet and unspoiled.

Top coworking spaces in

Facebook group:

Georgia

Georgia has rocketed to the top of many a wanderer’s bucketlist lately as digital nomads started to discover its beautiful capital Tbilisi. The streets are lined with picturesque and intriguing buildings, hipster cafes, and a packed social schedule.

Formerly part of the USSR, Georgia is a young country which is changing rapidly. It’s safe and there have been huge investments in infrastructure (including internet). Georgia has also been quick to capitalise on its popularity with visas tailored to digital nomads. 

Beyond Tbilisi you’ll find has a Black Sea coastline, vast mountains, and excellent food and wine.

Top coworking spaces in Georgia include:

Israel

Israel may not be the first destination that springs to mind for digital nomads. But did you know that Israel is home to one of the largest tech and science hubs in the region? It’s known as Silicon Wadi.

Tel Aviv is one of the best places in the world for start ups. Buzzing Tel Aviv is a liberal beachside city with incredible cultural scene, nightlife, and hummus. The weather is pretty great year-round. It is digital nomad paradise – if you afford it.

Cost of living is on a par with London and New York. And it’s not a country without its issues.

Top coworking spaces in Israel include:

It’s also well-represented by the big shared-office companies such as WeWork.

Egypt

The laid-back bohemian Red Sea town of Dahab is where digital nomads congregate in Egypt thanks to its low prices, hot weather, bohemian vibe excellent diving and windsurfing. Dabab has always been a backpacker enclave, whereas the bigger Red Sea resorts Hurghada and nearby Sharm-el-Sheik cater mainly to package tourism.

Coworking spaces and nomad initiatives come and go in Dahab. It seems to be hit or miss whether you find much of a nomad community there at any particular time. Ditto reliable wifi (a data package is recommended). You’ll always find friendly locals and  expats though, and plenty of cafes to work from. 

Morocco

Morocco is a country with classic travel appeal, but it also draws digital nomads in with its sunshine, Atlantic surf, and excellent value. Most choose to head to the coast where daily life is more laid back, particularly in port city Essaouira and surf village Taghazout. There are plenty of surf camps and schools in the area which can be a good introduction to the scene.

The main coworking/coliving spaces are the long-established SunDesk and CoWorkSurf.

Read more:

Selina Athens Theatrou – A Review

10 Best Places for Solo Travel in Portugal

10 Best Places for Solo Travel in Morocco

10 Best Places for Solo Travel in Turkey

10 Best Places for Solo Travel in Croatia

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Image credits:

Laptop in Sifnos: © The Mediterranean Traveller

Poros coast: © The Mediterranean Traveller

Selina coworking space: © The Mediterranean Traveller

Palma beach: © lunamarina / Shutterstock

Ibiza: © pkazmierczak / Adobe Stock

Ursa, Portugal: © alexanderkonsta

Biarritz, France: © Dutourdumonde Photography / Shutterstock

Matera, Italy: © rudi1976 / Adobe Stock

Gozo, Malta: © Fred / Adobe Stock

Slovenia: © RossHelen / Shutterstock

Vis, Croatia: © xbrchx / Shutterstock

Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina: © Nightman1965 / Shutterstock

Ksamil, Albania: © upslim

Crete, Greece: © gevision / Shutterstock

Limassol, Cyprus: © f8grapher / Adobe Stock

Kalkan, Turkey: © Kvitka Fabian / Shutterstock

Taghazout, Morocco: © a-frame images / Shutterstock