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Tired of the same old routine?

Picture this: Waking up to the sound of waves crashing on the shore. You go to a nearby cafe and do a few hours of work. Then, you explore the city and its culture and scenery. You have new and exciting experiences every day.

That’s the digital nomad lifestyle. That’s what semi-retiring and traveling the world is all about.

This sort of lifestyle is not as elusive as you think. With the right plan, you can make it happen. That begins with knowing where to go.

So, consider your destination. Consider the best cities for working remotely. The best digital nomad cities not only offer the chance to do lucrative remote work, but also enjoy life.

In this article, we’ll cover the best digital nomad cities. These destinations have it all: affordability, safety, convenience, and access to healthcare and other necessities.

How We Chose the Best Digital Nomad Cities

To determine the best digital nomad cities, we looked at a combination of factors, including:

  • Climate
  • Cost of living
  • Level of safety
  • Quality of internet
  • Entertainment and leisure activities
  • Ease of visa and residency requirements
  • Quality of medical care and other services, such as transportation

In short, we chose cities that offer a high quality of life along with affordability. After all, when you work digital nomad jobs, you don’t want to spend too much on rent and food. Certain destinations, such as New York City and Hong Kong, are too expensive to sustain a digital nomad lifestyle (unless you have a high income).

Some cities that make the list also make lists for the best early retirement abroad destinations. That’s because they’re affordable and have good amenities.

Without further ado, let’s get to the list of the best digital nomad cities!

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Why Ho Chi Minh City makes the best digital nomad cities list: Interested in the FIRE lifestyle? Then put Ho Chi Minh City on your list of destinations. As Lonely Planet states, Ho Chi Minh City is “a high-octane city of commerce and culture that has driven the country forward with its pulsating energy.” Dive in!

Ho Chi Minh City’s advantages: There’s a young, dynamic workforce. The city has fast internet and great transportation. Cost of living is also low. According to Numbeo, a cost-of-living database, you can rent a flat in the city center for about $530 per month and live off $490 per month outside of rent. That means your budget would be barely over $1,000 per month!

Lisbon, Portugal

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Why Lisbon makes the best digital nomad cities list: Lisbon has become an increasingly popular destination for early retirement abroad. With a rich culture and Mediterranean climate, the cosmopolitan city impresses at first sight. You’ll be wide awake at every turn, whether you’re riding the yellow tram or visiting ancient ruins.

Lisbon’s advantages: For the FIRE lifestyle folks, Lisbon offers easy access to the ocean and the rest of Europe. It’s also quite safe. The city boasts a world-class dining and nightlife scene. And, according to SmartAsset, you can live comfortably in Portugal on $1,600—$2,000 per month. How nice is that?

Buenos Aires, Argentina

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Why Buenos Aires makes the best digital nomad cities list: Buenos Aires gets you in touch with your senses. The city seamlessly blends Latin passion and European style. In one day, you could view mind-blowing street art, have the best steak of your life, and do the tango. Sounds like the place to be, right?

Buenos Aires’ advantages: The city offers a lot for digital nomads, including fast internet, exceptional public transportation, and incredible nightlife. This place has tons of energy and you’ll feel motivated to work and have fun each day. If you live in a one-bedroom apartment in the city center, you can get by on less than $1,000 per month, according to Numbeo data.

15 Best Semi-Retirement Jobs15 Best Semi-Retirement Jobs

The semi-retired lifestyle has been rising in popularity, and it’s easy to see why. Many people not only want to enjoy the benefits of retirement earlier, but they also want to maintain social and professional connections, challenge their minds, and maintain healthy personal finances. Semi-retirement offers a path to this sort of life. To help provide you with more ideas of what work you can do while semi-retirement, we put together this article of the best semi-retirement jobs.

Read the Guide

Budapest, Hungary

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Why Budapest makes the best digital nomad cities list: A gem on the Danube River, Budapest takes you back in time with its architectural treasures. The city also comes equipped with all you need to enjoy the digital nomad lifestyle, from bustling cafes and tasty Hungarian food to cozy thermal baths. Work, eat, relax, and repeat.

Budapest’s advantages: A very walkable city, Budapest features top-notch wifi, high-quality apartments, and plenty of entertainment. You also won’t have trouble finding work spots. If you want to semi-retire and live abroad, you can also stretch your dollar in Budapest. If you live in a smaller apartment, $1,000 per month should get you by, according to Numbeo data.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

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Why Chiang Mai makes the best digital nomad cities list: A calm, laid-back place, temples dot the city of Chiang Mai and jungles surround it. Chiang Mai provides so many unique things to do. Shop for veggies and spices at a local market, visit an elephant sanctuary, trek through Doi Suthep–Pui National Park, and more. Chiang Mai is simply a great place to enjoy a digital nomad lifestyle.

Chiang Mai’s advantages: A modern, pedestrian-friendly city, Chiang Mai has arguably the best mix of affordability, safety, and entertainment. You can live on a budget of $1,000 per month, according to an Investopedia report. One of the favorite destinations for early retirement abroad, Chiang Mai also offers access to great medical care.

Taipei, Taiwan

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Why Taipei makes the best digital nomad cities list: Tamara Hinson, a travel journalist, describes what makes Taipei so great in a piece she did for The Independent. She writes that Taipei “feels like nowhere else on earth.” The city is “wonderfully accessible” and a mesmerizing blend of “fragrant night markets and skyscrapers.” Simply put, Taipei will pull you in for an amazing time, and you won’t want to leave.

Taipei’s advantages: Taipei is one of the best cities for digital nomads because of the world-class tech infrastructure, excellent public transit and walkability, tasty cuisine, and non-stop activity. The city is also safe and welcoming. Taiwan has a reputation as being friendly to foreigners and as one of the most LGBTQ-friendly countries in Asia and the world. Taipei does have a higher cost of living than others on the list, but many digital nomads report being comfortable with a total budget of around $2,000 per month, including rent.

Cape Town, South Africa

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Why Cape Town makes the best digital nomad cities list: There are plenty of reasons why Telegraph Travel continually votes Cape Town as the best city in the world. Cape Town wins folks over with its stunning nature, adrenaline-fueled activities, rich and raw history, and great dining and entertainment. Surf and hike, trace Nelson Mandela’s footsteps, and have fun along Long Street—all in one day. On top of all that, you get proximity to Africa’s Big 5. Lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffaloes…oh my!

Cape Town’s advantages: Talk about marvelous weather! In addition to warmth, sunshine, and beach vibes, Cape Town offers digital nomads spacious living, ease of transportation, cozy accommodations, and an abundance of spots to get work done. Imagine working with coastal views! Cape Town is an English-speaking city, which eliminates the language barrier for many travelers. The city is also quite affordable. According to Expatistan, a cost of living comparison site, you can enjoy a comfortable standard of living for about $1,300 USD per month.

Mexico City, Mexico

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Why Mexico City makes the best digital nomad cities list: A guide in Culture Trip sums up the charm of Mexico City well: The city boasts a thriving arts scene, delicious street food, a diverse nightlife, and lots of cultural sites. On any day, you can explore the country’s most important Mesoamerican ruins. And within Mexico City, you’ll find activity 24/7. As soon as you get a taste of the town, you’ll unpack your bags and stay awhile.

Mexico City’s advantages: Mexico City has speedy internet, solid healthcare, quality apartments, and good transportation options. The capital of Mexico is highly regarded among digital nomads for another big reason: It’s fun! Whether you’re partying in Zona Rosa or soaking in the buzz of the Zócalo (main square), you’ll be making lasting memories. And according to Numbeo, you can get by well with a budget of $1,300 USD per month. How awesome is that?

>> If you’re looking to semi-retire or retire abroad, check out our article on why people are flocking to Mexico!

Auckland, New Zealand

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Why Auckland makes the best digital nomad cities list: Auckland delights every step of the way. From the fine wineries on Waiheke Island to the stunning volcanic mountains to the shopping on Queen Street, Auckland offers a variety of things to do. When it comes to having a work-life balance, few places compare. Auckland is rated as the third most liveable city on the planet. So, obviously it deserves a spot on our list of the best digital nomad cities.

Auckland’s advantages: Auckland is safe, tolerant, and laid-back. The city has a warm and temperate climate, as well as great air quality. New Zealand is considered one of the freest countries in the world too. Within town, you have access to world-renowned healthcare and super-fast wifi. Your cost of living does get higher than most on this list, but the pros of living in Auckland make it one of the best digital nomad cities. It’s a good tradeoff. According to Numbeo data, plan for a budget of $2,100—$2,700 USD per month.

Medellín, Colombia

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Why Medellín makes the best digital nomad cities list: A striking hillside metropolis, Medellín has emerged as a popular destination for digital nomads in recent years. Called the City of Eternal Spring, thanks to its pleasant climate, Medellín comes ready to please. From nature spots like Arví Park to cultural gems like the Museum of Antioquia, this city has a lot to offer to any visitor. And when it comes time to let your hair down, Medellín sweeps you off your feet (and to the dance floor!).

Medellín’s advantages: El Poblado, a commune in Medellín, has become one of the famous neighborhoods among digital nomads. With chic cafes, nice apartments, and amazing restaurants, you have all you need right in this ‘hood. Overall, the city has what digital nomads covet: reliable internet, good food, plenty of social activities, access to nature, and affordability. You can live well on $900—$1,100 per month, according to Expatistan.

Montreal, Canada

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Why Montreal makes the best digital nomad cities list: This French-infused city lives life to the fullest. With an unmatched arts scene, festivals galore, happening nightlife, and good food (it’s time for poutine!), Montreal puts it all on the table. No wonder the Economist’s Global Liveability Index places Montreal among the 20 most liveable cities in the world. The city makes it easy for you to live well.

Montreal’s advantages: Yes, it’s cold. But the cold brings the fun in Montreal, as residents and visitors ski and snowboard by day and sit around the fireplace at night. Overall, the city offers a high quality of life. Digital nomads enjoy pedestrian-friendly streets, fast internet, high-quality housing, plenty of green space, and world-class healthcare. You have everything you need—and more—in Montreal. And compared to Toronto and New York, Montreal is quite cheap too. Expect to spend around $1,800—$2,100 per month.

> Looking outside of Montreal? Check out our guide to the best breweries in Quebec City!

Casablanca, Morocco

Why Casablanca makes the best digital nomad cities list: Casablanca is a city that brings together tradition and modernity. The economic heart of Morocco, it offers a wide range of amenities for digital nomads. You’ll find the city alive with activity, from busy markets to high-rise buildings.

Casablanca’s advantages: Casablanca has reliable internet, affordable living costs, and a fantastically diverse food scene. The city is well-connected with public transport and offers plenty of coworking spaces. According to Numbeo, you can live comfortably in an apartment in the city center—and enjoy all the amenities of your nomad escape—on around $1,200 per month, making it a cost-effective destination for digital nomads.

Bali, Indonesia

Why Bali makes the best digital nomad cities list: Bali is a hotspot for digital nomads due to its serene environment, vibrant and welcoming culture, and active expat community. The island provides a perfect balance of work and relaxation with its many beaches and coworking spaces. During your free time, go snorkeling or diving, take yoga classes and immerse yourself in other wellness activities, and try amazing dishes like nasi goreng.

Bali’s advantages: Bali offers affordable living, with plenty of budget-friendly accommodation and food options. The internet speed is decent, and there are many cafes and coworking spaces where you can work. According to Numbeo, you can live comfortably on around $1,300 per month.

Phuket, Thailand

Why Phuket makes the best digital nomad cities list: Phuket is known for its beautiful beaches and lively atmosphere. It’s an excellent place for digital nomads looking for a mix of work and leisure. There are tons of activities here for adventurous travelers, like jet skiing, exploring caves and inlets, trying out the nightlife and eats along Bangla Road, and much more. And if you’re looking for a laid-back stay, check out the many beaches along Phuket’s coasts, from Kata Beach, to Patong Beach and beyond.

Phuket’s advantages: Phuket has good internet connectivity, a variety of coworking spaces, and affordable living costs. According to Numbeo, living in Phuket can cost around $1,200 per month, including rent.

Lima, Peru

Why Lima makes the best digital nomad cities list: Lima combines rich history with modern conveniences. As the capital of Peru, it offers a dynamic environment with plenty of cultural and recreational activities. More of an urban, coastal environment than Cusco to the south, Lima is a great place to be if you’re looking for more modern nightlife, shopping, international restaurants, and amenities.

Lima’s advantages: Lima has reliable internet, a wide range of dining options, and affordable living costs. The city is also known for its diverse neighborhoods and good public transportation. According to Numbeo, you can live comfortably on around $1,000 per month in Lima.

Istanbul, Turkey

Why Istanbul makes the best digital nomad cities list: Istanbul is a city where East meets West, offering a unique blend of cultures. It’s a vibrant metropolis with a rich history and plenty of modern amenities for digital nomads. There’s a ton to see and do here, and if you’re a history buff, Istanbul might just be calling to you! While here, don’t forget to take a trip to the otherworldly Cappadocia region, where you’ll see fairy chimneys reaching toward the sky toward the colorful hot air balloons that float above them.

Istanbul’s advantages: Istanbul has excellent internet connectivity, numerous coworking spaces, and a variety of affordable living options. The city’s extensive public transportation network makes it easy to get around. You can rent a one-bedroom apartment in city center for about $800, with the rest of your living expenses totaling to about $600—a great option for nomads working remotely!

Read Connie’s story about connecting across cultures in Istanbul.

Valencia, Spain

Why Valencia makes the best digital nomad cities list: Valencia offers a Mediterranean lifestyle with a mix of modern and historical elements. The city is known for its pleasant weather, beautiful beaches, and vibrant social scene.

Valencia’s advantages: Valencia has reliable internet, affordable living costs, and a good public transportation system. The city also offers plenty of coworking spaces and a lively expat community. Valencia is on the more expensive side of the cities in this list, with a one-bedroom apartment in city center renting for about $1,100 and monthly living costs outside of that totaling about $750—but still could be a wonderful option for nomads who earn a good salary and want that Mediterranean lifestyle.

About the Authors

Nick Callos: Nick has always had a passion for reading, writing, and discovering the new and unknown. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Nick holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Boston College. He currently splits his time between his hometown, Chengdu, China, and the open road. A full-time travel writer, Nick hopes his work can inspire others to explore the world more deeply and enjoy the digital nomad lifestyle.

Sarah Stone: As the editor-in-chief of Frayed Passport, my goal is to help you build a lifestyle that lets you travel the world whenever you want and however long you want, and not worry about where your next paycheck will come from. I’ve been to 20+ countries and five continents, lived for years as a full-time digital nomad, and have worked completely remotely since 2015. If you would like to share your story with our community, or partner with Frayed Passport, get in touch with me at!

Featured image via Unsplash.

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