Spain Surpasses Portugal as Best Digital Nomad Retreat in 2024

by | Feb 25, 2024

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The lowest fees for a one-way ticket from the U.S. to Europe are at the end of April, they go as low as $175.

– According to the Digital Nomad Index for Best Places to Live this spring top 3 cities are in Spain.

– Spain’s digital nomad visa, introduced in December 2022, has a more appealing 24% tax on earnings up to $645,000. No taxes for revenue generated outside Spain.

 
 

As digital nomadism becomes increasingly popular, the quest for the best cities to accommodate this lifestyle intensifies.

The latest analysis by B2B marketplace DesignRush has considered several factors such as tax rates, legal obligations, healthcare services, internet quality, and living affordability to rank the most suitable cities for digital nomads.

Spain is at the forefront, with cities like Madrid, Barcelona, and Las Palmas offering an excellent balance of low legal barriers, quality healthcare, and high mobility scores. Digital nomads interested in Spain need to demonstrate a minimum income of $28,000 per year to qualify for a digital nomad visa.

 
 

Italy’s entries on the list, Bari, Bologna, and Rome, provide a combination of cultural offerings and coworking spaces, albeit with a higher minimum income requirement for digital nomads. The minimum annual income to secure a visa in Italy is set at $32,000.

“As work flexibility becomes increasingly crucial, digital nomads are fortunate to have the option to select destinations that elevate their living standards, a vital element for individuals embracing a nomadic work existence,” said Gianluca Ferrugia, General Manager at DesignRush.

Based on these considerations, the top 10 cities were ranked accordingly:

 
 

1. Madrid, Spain

Madrid stands out as a top choice for digital nomads, thanks to its rich cultural offerings, cost-effective living, and robust internet connectivity. The city’s stable political environment and high safety standards make it even more attractive, alongside a healthcare system that ranks well in Europe. The local atmosphere further enhances its attraction. To obtain a digital nomad visa for Spain, applicants need to show a minimum annual income of $28,000.

2. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona also offers a favorable environment for digital nomads, noted for its vibrant cultural scene, straightforward housing options, and efficient urban transport. The city’s living costs are offset by the high quality of life, advanced internet services, and comprehensive healthcare provisions. It’s also recognized for its political stability and a high degree of safety, adding to the city’s charm.

3. Tampa, Florida

Tampa is a compelling destination for digital nomads, characterized by a supportive legal environment and reasonable tax and housing costs that enhance its overall affordability. Safety and high-quality healthcare are among the city’s strengths, ensuring a secure and well-serviced stay for residents. While cultural offerings may be modest, the city’s transportation system is highly efficient, facilitating convenient navigation. The reliable internet access and pleasant climate further cement Tampa’s status as an accommodating city for those working remotely.

4. Las Palmas, Spain

Las Palmas is ideal for digital nomads looking for a sunny springtime retreat. Beyond its alluring beaches and pleasant spring climate, Las Palmas is gaining popularity among remote workers for its surf-ready coastline and numerous seaside coworking spaces. The city offers a perfect mix of leisure and adventure, with ample opportunities for café lounging or surfing classes.

5. Toulouse, France

Toulouse, situated in the heart of Southern France, presents a unique proposition for digital nomads with its blend of historical architecture and cutting-edge aerospace developments. Known as ‘La Ville Rose’ due to its terracotta buildings, Toulouse provides a scenic environment that’s conducive to creativity and innovation. It offers a thriving tech scene, various coworking spaces, and a robust transportation network for easy commuting.

6. Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, with its tropical setting in Hawaii, is more than just a vacation spot, it’s a

conducive environment for digital nomads seeking a balance between work and nature. The city combines the allure of clear blue waters and sandy beaches with the necessities of modern living, such as reliable internet and coworking spaces. Honolulu’s laid-back lifestyleand cultural diversity are especially appealing, allowing for a relaxed yet productive remote working experience. 6. Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, with its tropical setting in Hawaii, is more than just a vacation spot, it’s a

conducive environment for digital nomads seeking a balance between work and nature. The city combines the allure of clear blue waters and sandy beaches with the necessities of modern living, such as reliable internet and coworking spaces. Honolulu’s laid-back lifestyleand cultural diversity are especially appealing, allowing for a relaxed yet productive remote working experience.

7. Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon captivates with its historical appeal and panoramic views, offering a captivating setting steeped in tradition. Journey through the city in a classic tram, ascending its quaint streets to a lookout where the city unfolds below. Lisbon is also celebrated for its vibrant shared workspaces, making it a prime location for digital nomads who appreciate a setting that combines professional opportunities with the city’s enchanting character. To qualify for Portugal’s Digital Nomad Visa, one must show a minimum yearly income of $42,000.

8. Bari, Italy

Located along the shores of the Adriatic Sea, presents a harmonious mix of classic Italian allure and coastal serenity. Wandering through Bari’s historic center reveals a maze of intimate streets leading to waterfront dining where fresh seafood is abundant. The city’s coworking venues, often set within buildings steeped in history, provide tranquil spaces for work. Bari’s relaxed vibe is ideal for those wishing to decelerate and soak in the moments. The Italian Digital Nomad Visa mandates a minimum annual income of $32,000.

9. Bologna, Italy

Bologna is a gastronomic paradise that tantalizes the taste buds and offers an intimate atmosphere for culinary exploration. This city buzzes with scholarly and cultural energy, offering communal workspaces that appeal to the creative and scholarly digital nomad. Bologna is a city pulsating with academic life and cultural richness, home to the oldest university in the Western world. This intellectual heartbeat fosters a vibrant atmosphere that infuses the city with a unique blend of historical knowledge and contemporary thought.

10. Rome, Italy

Rome is abundant with coworking spaces, even within its ancient quarters, offering the unique opportunity to work amidst the echoes of history. The shared work environments are nestled among iconic landmarks, allowing digital nomads to type away on their keyboards with views of centuries-old architecture right outside their windows. When work is done, digital nomads can step out to sample a slice of Roman pizza, indulge in a plate of cacio epepe, or enjoy a gelato as they stroll through the same streets that Caesar once walked.

Methodology

The scoring methodology involves initially collecting raw data from the World Bank, Numbeo, World Economic Forum, World Health Organization, Workmotion, and speedtest.net. This data encompasses a range of factors, including tax rates, legal obligations, healthcare services, internet availability, cost, and living affordability.

The data was then standardized by calculating Z-scores for each metric and normalizing these scores to a 50-100 scale for comparability. Following standardization, weights are assigned to each metric reflecting its importance, and a weighted average for each location is calculated by multiplying each normalized score by its respective weight.

The locations are then ranked based on their final scores, with higher scores indicating a more favorable assessment based on the combined factors and filtered out the most romantic places by their frequency of occurrence in article rankings.

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