When you envisage the digital nomadic lifestyle, you immediately think of white sandy beaches and idyllic waterfalls. But have you ever thought about Eastern Europe? Cities like Budapest and Zagreb are attracting more and more travelers who are looking to live cheaply while building their online empires. What makes this even more exciting is that these cities are now a hub for tech companies and co-working spaces.
So, if you are looking for an affordable cost of living, modern entrepreneurial drive, and both a buzzing social and cultural scene, Eastern Europe may be the perfect recipe for you.
Budapest, the capital of Hungary, often appears as a top player for digital nomads, thanks to its attractive combination of immersive and exciting culture and low cost of living. You won’t have much trouble setting yourself up for an efficient work day here, with good internet speeds and reliable service. There are plenty of co-working spaces, like the well-known Impact Hub, and the scene is continuously growing. These spaces offer both a quiet scene and a more sociable one, often with on-site cafes and meeting rooms.
Finding suitable accommodation here is relatively easy, with a plethora of beautiful and affordable apartments on Airbnb, and plenty of hostels and other communal arrangements. When you’re not working, Budapest offers up a distinctively Eastern European experience, punctuated with stunning architecture, medieval castles, and the famous thermal baths. The nightlife is vibrant, the cuisine is hearty and tasty, and people, although sometimes straight talking and introverted, are warm and friendly once you’ve won them over!
There is so much more to Croatia than the Dalmatian Coast, with Zagreb fast becoming a go-to destination for digital nomads. Catering to all cultural palettes, Zagreb is a dynamic and convenient city full of life, with a vibrant startup scene. With Croatia’s new residence visa, specifically aimed at attracting remote workers to the country, plenty of fantastic co-working spaces to work in and a low cost of living, you can see why Zagreb is pulling in more and more of the digital nomadic crowd.
When you’re not squirrelling away at your desk, you may wish to take in some of the quirky local sites that Zagreb has to offer. By day you can admire the beautiful architecture of the Lower Town or wander aimlessly around the cobbled streets and winding lanes of the Upper Town, catching one of the world’s smallest funiculars to get between the two. By night you can sample some of the lively and varied nightlife the city has to offer, or take a spin at the Diamond Palace Casino, which is one of the top casinos in Eastern Europe. Rich in energy and glamor, they are famed for their selection of slot machines, said to be some of the best in the world.
The capital of Romania is famed for its friendly people with an abundance of charm and an energetic, youthful energy. For digital nomads, it provides one of the fastest internet connections in Europe and a very affordable cost of living. Many Romanians are setting up businesses and creative spaces and thriving from it. Trendy coffee shops and co-working spaces are popping up all over the city, providing perfect spaces, and delicious coffees, for the day’s work.
The fusion of old cobbled streets and the rugged communist-era buildings creates a unique cultural contrast. Everything you need while living here is on your doorstep: museums, galleries, bars, and restaurants. The busy nightlife is something that makes Bucharest a little different from the rest – you can walk through the streets of Old Town at 1 am and you will find people just sitting down for dinner.
Krakow is one of the most fascinating and stunning medieval cities in Europe. Around every corner you will stumble across something enchanting. As a digital nomad there, you won’t need to worry about internet access, which is fast and reliable, with hotspots all over the city. With an abundance of co-working spaces, laptop friendly cafes, and even libraries, you won’t be short of finding somewhere to hunker down and work.
Officially acclaimed as the European Capital of Culture back in 2000, you can see the cultural DNA of the city everywhere you turn, so filling your leisure time with history and culture is easy. There’s also a busy festival calendar and an innovative food and drink scene to fill your boots with. Even though Krakow is a highly dynamic European city, the cost of living here is quite attractive too.
Ranking high in popularity, Belgrade attracts the crowds for its friendly people, the ease of getting around, and the good start-up and co-working scene. Several organizations in the Belgrade IT community alongside the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have launched a new digital platform, BelgradeGetsDigital, providing a comprehensive and helpful wealth of information for digital nomads in the city.
You can expect to find a reliable work environment with high-speed internet, co-working spaces to suit every budget, and hard-working, like-minded people to collaborate with. The exciting and affordable metropolis strikes a good balance between modern and old-world charm. With a very active nightlife, you will always find something available when you want it. This is pretty convenient for digital nomads, who don’t work the typical 9-5 schedule and often work across time zones.
So, while Eastern Europe may not immediately spring to mind when you are considering where your next destination is as a digital nomad, hopefully this guide has given you some food for thought. With a growing stream of digital like-minded people heading East, more countries jumping on the bandwagon of the “Digital Nomad Visa”, an array of co-working spaces, speedy internet, and a great cost of living, it might be worth booking that plane ticket now.