The Best Cities for Remote Workers and Digital Nomads in 2023

The Best Cities for Remote Workers in 2023

I had the idea of working on a list of the best cities for remote workers after seeing content creators that make over $2000 per month saying that they will abandon their projects and return to a 9-to-5 job because the money is not enough to pay for their expenses.

That surprises me for 2 reasons:

1st — I live in a city where $2000 is more than enough for a comfortable life. Only what Medium pays me would be enough. And it is in a safe, comfortable country bordering Germany.

2nd — When I check where those ranting content creators live, I see cities like London, Chicago, or Melbourne. Yes, it is complicated to pay the bills with $2000/monthly in any of these places.

But why do they live there?

One of the greatest benefits of content creation is that you can do your thing anywhere in the world, as long as you have a laptop, a good internet connection, and, at least in my case, decent coffee and a cup warmer.

Moving Out, Working Abroad and Keeping Your Sanity Cover
Moving Out, Working Abroad, and Keeping Your Sanity

If you are a content creator — like me — or planning to be a remote entrepreneur, this list of the best cities for remote workers is for you. I selected the best cities in the world for people like us to live in and spend little.

This list of the best cities to work remotely should be used together with the other one we prepared of the most business-friendly countries. Using both, you will have an ideal panorama of the entrepreneurial scenario.

To move from a business center like London or San Francisco to one of these places is the difference between living in a shared apartment in a crime-ridden district or in a spacious villa in a green neighborhood.

Below I give you the options — 4 cities in Europe, 3 in South America, and 1 in Asia. The choice is up to you.

If you only plan to visit Europe, check our list of the best places to visit in Europe from August to December. Also, take a look at the visa requirements for the Schengen zone.

The Criteria to Define The Best Cities for Remote Workers

Instead of just rewording some existing lists, I made this one of the best cities for remote workers from criteria carefully selected for Millennial/Gen X/Gen Z expatriates and remote workers. If you are already thinking about retirement, I prepared another list of the best countries to retire to.

A few years ago, the pandemic has made remote work a norm, and many employees took advantage of this opportunity to explore new places to work remotely. With the flexibility that remote work offers, it’s possible to choose a location based on factors such as weather, quality of life, and access to Wi-Fi.

In the USA, some cities stoof out among the best places to work remotely and young professionals escaped from the high costs of places like New York City or Boston.

Instead, they moved to different states where they found hubs for small businesses, with plenty of coffee shops and coworking spaces that provide fast Wi-Fi. Remote workers also privileged cities that also offer other perks, like access to national parks, making it easy to take a day trip or spend weekends hiking in the mountains. Additionally, the quality of life and small business opportunities make these locations even more appealing for remote workers.

But what are the criteria if we want to talk about the best cities to work remotely in the entire world?

Good Communication Infrastructure (A.K.A Fast Internet)

High-speed internet is crucial for content creators.
If you don’t have a connection, you can’t upload your content. If your connection is slow, it will demand much of your time — try to use cloud-hosted video editing tools with slow internet and tell me later how it feels. The best cities to work remotely must have decent internet infrastructure.

Slow internet makes it hard to even watch other people’s content, let alone create it. Your most important tool is a reliable, fast, and affordable connection.

In developed countries, high-speed internet is nearly everywhere, but this is not true in the rest of the world. More than once I saw remote entrepreneurs frustrated because they could develop nothing in the idyllic town they choose to live in Southeast Asia.

The indicator for this criteria is the average Internet speed — not the maximum speed — as assessed by engines like Speedtest.

Low Living Costs (Less than $1500 per month)

If the average living costs for an expatriate, as assessed by Nomadlist, is higher than $1500, I do not consider the city for this list.

More than criteria, this was a filter. In all cities mentioned below, an income of $1500 per month (sometimes, less than half of that) will be enough for a comfortable home, plenty of entertainment, and even to build some savings. The best cities to work remotely must not be expensive, and must be much cheaper than San Francisco or London.

The indicator for this criterion is the living cost assessed by NomadList, a portal where almost 30 thousand remote professionals describe their experiences.

Lower living costs were also a concern when we were writing one of our most visited articles, about the best places to retire in Europe.

Ease to do Business

As a content creator, often you will need to incorporate a company to issue invoices and receive payments. But even if this is not the case, still you will need to deal with government bureaucracy wherever you live. It is unavoidable, but the less, the better.

This is why I counted among the criteria the presence in the Ease to do Business ranking, measured by The World Bank (almost) every year.

To calculate the easiness of doing business, the World Bank considers factors like:

  • Dealing with permits
  • Getting utilities like electricity
  • Registering property
  • Getting credit
  • Trading across borders — this is especially important for remote workers dealing with clients abroad.
  • Enforcing contracts, among others.

The position considered is of the country where the city is located, since the Ease to do Business is on a national level.

My Own Experience In The Best Cities to Work Remotely

I write from experience.

I only added places I had been personally. This still allowed me to select it from a large pool: during the last 10 years, I went to hundreds of cities in over 50 countries in every continent except Antarctica.

Therefore, I am not writing something based on random articles from the Internet. The data here is from reliable, proven sources, and the subjective opinions are personally witnessed by me and hundreds of expatriates.

For every city, based on my observations and of my peers, I gave a grade from 0 to 10. To understand the score, read the description below each city.

Check also: From Austria to Uruguay, retirees who want to live abroad may look for THESE countries offering retirement visas

Best Cities for Remote Workers in Europe

Krakow, Poland

  • Average Internet speed: 43Mbps
  • Average living cost for a single expatriate: $1,122 / month (A studio rent in the city center is on average $565 per month)
  • Position in the Ease to do Business ranking:40th.
  • My own experience (from 0 to 10): 8
Krakow, Poland.
Krakow, Poland.

Krakow is the second-largest city in Poland, only behind Warsaw (where I live). Its metropolitan area has almost 1.5 million people, and the city has all services that an expatriate needs, like a high-speed railway connection to the capital and to the largest national airport.

One could ask why I listed Krakow instead of Warsaw. The answer is simple and relies on 2 things: 1st — Krakow didn’t suffer as much as Warsaw during the II World War and has a well-conserved old town that is among the most beautiful I ever saw. 2nd — Warsaw is 10% more expensive than Krakow. In fact, the higher cost of living in Warsaw is one of the main reasons that left the capital out of the 10 best cities in Poland to live in.

The city has a considerable international community, but I would rather recommend any expatriate to mingle with the locals: the well-educated Cracovians frequently speak English. It is also one of the most charming-yet-inexpensive cities to visit during Winter.

Lisbon, Portugal

  • Average Internet speed: 26Mbps
  • Average living cost for a single expatriate: $1,477 / month (A studio rent in the city center is on average $753 per month)
  • Position in the Ease to do Business ranking: 39
  • My own experience (from 0 to 10): 8
Lisbon is one of the best places for remote working in Europe
Lisbon is one of the best places for remote working in Europe

Lisbon is perfect for remote workers and digital nomads because the cost of living is low by western European standards, and it’s well connected by air, land, or sea. It is one of the cheapest cities in Europe to fly to if you are departing from America, one of the best destinations in Portugal for expatriate retirement, and of the 7 most beautiful European capitals.

The average daily cost of living in Lisbon is ~$50. To put it into perspective, compare that with the average cost of living in Madrid ($100) or Paris ($134).

Another plus is that the Portuguese capital has a vast community of digital nomads and the Mediterranean climate guarantees pleasant weather almost year-round. Finding an office space or a coworking environment is relatively easy. Public transit is reliable and even large cities like Lisbon have low crime rates.

Coffee shops that are friendly to customers performing remote jobs such as teaching English are abundant and the Portuguese bica is a delicious way to consume the dark beverage.

The relatively small size of the country also allows multiple weekend trips to places like Algarve, Porto, or even Spain.

Read also: Europe’s top destinations for each month of the year.

Tbilisi, Georgia

  • Average Internet speed: 13Mbps
  • Average living cost for a single expatriate: $760 / month (A studio rent in the city center is on average $192 per month)
  • Position in the Ease to do Business ranking: 7th.
  • My own experience (from 0 to 10): 7.5

Georgia is one of the easiest countries in the world to do business — thanks to consecutive reforms that turned them into the most business-friendly of the former Soviet Union members.

Tbilisi is also an inexpensive capital to live in. You can find a nice studio in the business district for less than $200. Add the exquisite food and you have the recipe for a fine spot for someone earning in foreign currency.

There are, however, downsides. The share of the population that speaks English is tiny, and there is a considerable amount of scams targeting foreigners.

Brasov, Romania

  • Average Internet speed: 34Mbps
  • Average living cost for a single expatriate:$1,074 / month (A studio rent in the city center is on average $518 per month)
  • Position in the Ease to do Business ranking: 55th
  • My own experience (from 0 to 10): 7
Brasov, Romania
Brasov, Romania

Brasov has a spotless old town, surrounded by medieval walls. It is a fairy tale scenario that attracts crowds of tourists every year. Many of them fall in love and decide to stay for longer. Much longer.

The tourist vocation results in a large share of the population speaking English. Internet is fast; roads are good and the costs are low considering European Union standards. Romania is also among the cheapest EU countries.

The biggest downside of Brasov (and anywhere else in Romania) is the post-communist bureaucracy. On the other hand, is a lovely city to stay in for some time, especially for people that want to travel somewhere but dislike beaches.

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Best Cities for Remote Workers in South America and Asia

Florianopolis, Brazil

  • Average Internet speed: 14Mbps
  • Average living cost for a single expatriate: $631 / month (A studio rent in the city center is on average $229 per month)
  • Position in the Ease to do Business ranking: 124
  • My own experience (from 0 to 10): 8
Florianopolis. Source: oscar fava, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Florianopolis. Source: oscar favaCC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Florianopolis is the capital of the state of Santa Catarina in southern Brazil and has a population around 1.3 million residents.

It is a “planned city”, meaning that rather than being built from scratch, it was laid out according to a plan that used modern ideas about what city development would be. The city is built around several parks, including one with a large lake, and there are several beaches.

The climate is mild, and people spend time doing activities outdoors. Locals (IMHO) are among the most healthy and good-shaped people in entire Brazil — and that is not a small thing, and the island is a top spot for sports like surf or sandboarding. During winter months, however, the city is a bit empty.

But Florianopolis is not just a place to live. It is also a good place to work, and one of the favorite spots for foreign students in Brazil.
Today, Florianopolis is often called the “Silicon Valley of Latin America.” The epicenter is an area called PJ, for Pontal do Jaraguá, a bay just south of the city center.

The expatriate community soared in the last years — one could even say that Floripa, as it is also known, is nowadays the best city in the world for Digital Nomads. Certain everyday expenses like water and garbage collection are really cheap in Brazil, however, but it is good to notice that the country has some pretty bizarre laws.

Bangkok, Thailand

  • Average Internet speed: 33Mbps
  • Average living cost for a single expatriate: $1,068 / month (A studio rent in the city center is on average $619 per month)
  • Position in the Ease to do Business ranking: 21
  • My own experience (from 0 to 10): 8
Bangkok is one of the best cities for remote workers due to good connectivity and a large digital nomad community
Bangkok is one of the best cities for remote workers due to good connectivity and a large digital nomad community

I had been to Thailand a few times, and in all of them, Bangkok dazzled me.

The Thai capital is the hub of Southeast Asia. Thailand had until a few years ago many social tensions, but Bangkok itself is a relatively safe area populated by wealthy and well-educated people.

It is easy to get around and the best way is their modern subway system. Most of the population speaks English, and foreigners find a curious mix of friendliness and caution. It is a cosmopolitan city, with people from everywhere.

The city is clean and safe, and traffic is generally light. The cost of living is low and affordable rent is easy to find. A nice studio with internet and cable is about $600 a month. Coffee is about $.30. Beer is around $.50. You can find restaurants with full meals for less than $10.

The low prices also made it a center for medical tourism and attracted people looking for things like bariatric surgery for lower prices abroad, or expatriates that consider Thailand a good retirement destination.

The warm weather for some may be a pro, for others, a con, since often it gets too warm and too humid.

The country is well connected with the world thanks to the enormous Suvarnabhumi Airport. Roads, however, are still dangerous. Another potential downside is the sweaty, humid climate year-round.

Curiously, Thailand is also one of the easiest countries in the world to adopt a child.

Santiago, Chile

We wrote a special coverage about life in Chile since many of our readers are interested in this South American country.

  • Average Internet speed: 12Mbps
  • Average living cost for a single expatriate: $773 / month (A studio rent in the city center is on average $241 per month)
  • Position in the Ease to do Business ranking: 59
  • My own experience (from 0 to 10): 8

Santiago is the first city I lived in after moving out of Brazil. To understand the Chilean capital, you should know first that it is the most unequal capital in Latin America. My homeland (Brazil) has high inequality, but still, Santiago surprised me on this point.

You can divide the city into 2 parts: West and East. The eastern part has the living standards of a very developed country and a well-organized urban plan. Meanwhile, the western portion is like other chaotic Latin-American large urban zones.

With almost 6 million residents, Santiago sometimes feels overcrowded, and not many people speak good English — which can lead to moments where you get lost unless you understand some Spanish.

Despite all those cons, the city has a lovely climate (it is a weekend trip away from lovely attractions like Viña del Mar on the pacific coast), good entertainment options, excellent transport infrastructure, and many business opportunities. With cool things like all this, it’s clear why Chile is a top pick among the seven best Spanish-speaking places to visit. It is also safe (for Latin-American standards) and affordable — Santiago’s Uber prices are among the lowest in the world.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • Average Internet speed: 26Mbps
  • Average living cost for a single expatriate: $385 / month (A studio rent in the city center is on average $86 per month)
  • Position in the Ease to do Business ranking: 126
  • My own experience (from 0 to 10): 7.5
Buenos Aires, in Argentina, is one of the best cities for remote workers in South America due to the good exchange rates.
Buenos Aires, in Argentina, is one of the best cities for remote workers in South America due to the good exchange rates.

Most people familiar with the economical turmoils in Argentina would think that lost my reason to include Buenos Aires on this list of the best cities for remote workers.

Indeed, if you are looking for a city to work in and earn in the local currency, I would not recommend you to go there. However, this article is for creators with income in foreign currency. If this is your case, the Argentinian capital is an attractive destination due to 1 single factor.

The exchange rate.

There is a scene in the movie Eurotrip where the main character ends in East Europe and with a few dollars he stays in a 5-star hotel and feasts with all his friends. In Argentina you could try something (almost) alike — and Buenos Aires is full of good restaurants and entertainment options. Despite a crime increase in some districts, Buenos Aires is still safer than Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo.

Eight years ago, 1 dollar bought 5 Argentinian Pesos. Now, one dollar buys almost 100 pesos. This drastic currency devaluation is the reason you can rent a good studio in a nice district for less than a hundred dollars, and have a comfortable life with less than four hundred USD.

The devaluated local currency is also a strong reason (among others) for people to consider retiring in Argentina.

The Best Places For Remote Workers: Conclusion

I made this list of the best cities for remote workers also with entrepreneurs in mind, meaning anyone who does not need to commute into an office, and instead works from a location of their choosing.

As the number of individuals who work remotely continues to increase, the demand for the best cities to work remotely grows. Cities that provide fast Wi-Fi speeds, public libraries, cafes, and coworking spaces are becoming more appealing to remote workers.

Additionally, pleasant weather, proximity to hiking and outdoor activities, and the availability of food options are also factors that can draw remote workers to a particular location.

The best places to work remotely do not include major cities such as New York, Boston, Washington, Atlanta, Portland, Austin, and Miami, because they are expensive. This is not what a remote worker looks for. If you can work from anywhere, why choose expensive places?

If you can work from anywhere, why live in an expensive city and burn your income when you could be in a nicer and inexpensive area? These are among the questions that all types of expatriates should answer.

Instead, look to leverage your income, choosing places with high quality of life and low costs.

No matter what type of location you prefer, there are plenty of remote work destinations to choose from.

Yes, there are reasons people move to large metropolises. Before, for example, I made a list of the best places in the world to start a new career with no money, and for this purpose, larger cities are the best option. But if you are a remote entrepreneur or professional, you don’t need to tolerate astronomical prices or hours in traffic. The list of the best cities for remote workers above is for you.

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Ps: If you are interested in retiring abroad (or just live in a good place with low living costs), our consultancy’s team wrote a few articles about hot retirement destinations, such as:

Levi Borba is CEO of, creator of the channel The Expat, and best-selling author. You can check his books here, his other articles here, or his Linkedin here.

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