Where to Live and Work as a Digital Nomad – Part V Europe

Live and Work as a Digital Nomad

Mighty Travels’ mission is to guide you with ways to go everywhere and live well anywhere. Digital nomads now have the opportunity to live and work from anywhere and live a nomadic lifestyle without leaving the world behind.

  • Part I Middle East and Central Asia
  • Part II South America
  • Part III Asia
  • Part IV Africa
  • Part V Europe
  • Part VI North America

Live and Work as a Digital Nomad

I have devised the following (very scientific) criteria for choosing the best places:

  • Cost of living (especially hotels, apartments, local transport and food)
  • Internet speed
  • Security situation
  • Language (how easy it is without knowledge of the local language)
  • Quality / diversity of food
  • Cheap flights (to and from your temporary home)
  • Friendliness of locals
  • Entertainment options – or how bored would I be after one month
  • General hassle factor (how much drama is involved in everyday transactions)

Since we do not cover employment on Mighty Travels, we are assuming you already have a digital job that you can do (for a limited time) almost anywhere.

Europe – the Old World – can be a fascinating discovery, as it blends lots of history with a modern economy. I grew up in Europe and was lucky enough to visit most European countries by the age of 23.

Europe has lots of places for you to live and work as a digital nomad and they all tend to be fairly safe and fairly similar. There isn’t that much difference between living in Amsterdam or Brussels or even Munich for that matter. While language is often different, the European Union economics have shaped the European landscape; you will always find a Spanish clothing chain and a German grocery discounter or chain restaurants all over Europe. While there are slightly contrasting work attitudes, daily life in many European cities is very similar.

I found it hard to make recommendations for this continent since the next city is often just as good, too, but here are my picks.

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Prague

Prague is a fascinating city with lots of heritage that has been enjoyed by tourists in the millions during the last decades. Winter is usually much quieter (and much colder) than summer.

Cost of living

Prague is not cheap anymore but still commands only about half of what we are used to in most US cities (or less if you go super-local).

Internet speed

Eastern Europe now has some of the fastest internet speeds in the world and boy is it cheap (usually).

Security situation

Not an issue unless you push it.

Language

English is quickly becoming the lingua franca here but learn some Czech – you might like it.

Work as a Digital Nomad

Quality / diversity of food

I’m not a fan of Eastern European food (and I had it served to me for a good chunk of my life). However, Prague’s food scene is diverse and sophisticated – there is no shortage of innovative restaurants and cafes.

Cheap flights to and from your temporary home

Prague is well-served by the major European discount airlines. Ryanair, easyjet and Wizz Air will get you just about anywhere in Europe for only a few euros. It is quite amazing!

Friendliness of locals

Czechs are more friendly than other Eastern Europeans, but the bar is low. In general, people are less friendly here than in most places in the US.

Work as a Digital Nomad

Entertainment options

Prague is a great city and if you are ready to venture into more local offerings, it won’t disappoint.

General hassle factor

Prague is crowded and the sheer amount of tourists can be annoying. Stay away from the tourist areas while you are in town and the hassle factor is minimal.

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Lisbon

Anyone who wants a slightly warmer option should head for Lisbon.

Cost of living

While the euro has made things more expensive, Lisbon is still really cheap.

Internet speed

For some reason, many Mediterranean countries now almost give away 100Mbit connections. Internet is a bit hard to find in coffee shops here, but residential internet is dirt cheap.

Security situation

Lisbon is fairly safe, despite some dodgy corners and areas that are not so well-lit.

Language

Portuguese is quite easy to learn (and will help tremendously in Brazil). There is decent basic English all over the city but it’s hard to find fluent speakers.

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Quality / diversity of food

Lisbon has some decent food options and Portuguese cuisine can be delicious. However, the city lacks the diversity of ethnic food; there isn’t much beyond Portuguese food in town.

Cheap flights to and from your temporary home

Flights in and out of Lisbon have gotten very cheap lately. Ryanair has a base there now and TAP has driven down costs to compete with the fares.

Friendliness of locals

Portuguese people aren’t as chatty as Italians. While I consider this a good thing, it’s also a bit harder to find the ‘friendly’ side of Lisbonians.

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Entertainment options

For a capital city and a lovely city of its size, Lisbon does not have too much to do. There’s tons of parks and castles, though, and Cascais is a fantastic weekend getaway spot.

General hassle factor

Pretty low; traffic can be a hassle and drivers are aggressive, but the town has come a long way and European money is clearly showing its ways into streets and buildings, as well as people’s attitudes here.

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Amsterdam

The capital of the Netherlands is a big city but does not feel one at all. Life here is done by bicycle (irrespective of the often miserable weather).

Cost of living

The best place to live here is in or around the Old Town and given that new construction is rare, prices aren’t exactly low. However, apartments are cheap compared to the mega boom cities like San Francisco and New York.

Internet speed

Internet access in Amsterdam is fast and available everywhere.

Security situation

There is a good amount of opportunity crime in the city, mostly targeting tourists and the unaware. Beyond that, I would not worry.

Language

It sometimes feels like the Dutch speak better English than Americans; it’s easy to forget here sometimes that there is actually a Dutch language.

Work as a Digital Nomad Quality / diversity of food

I actually like a number of Dutch food items and their cheese is just delicious. The Netherlands had a lot of immigration over the centuries and it shows; the diversity and quality of food is top-notch and it isn’t too expensive either.

Cheap flights to and from your temporary home

Flights to or from Amsterdam aren’t particularly cheap, but the city is plugged in to the European discount airlines, which often have incredible sales.

Friendliness of locals

Dutch people are a bit stoic and slow to respond to friendliness, but they are certainly friendlier than Germans or Scandinavians.

Entertainment options

Amsterdam has tons of options and it’s an entertainment capital of Europe.

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General hassle factor

Really low if you are OK using a bicycle in any weather. There is no traffic noise, no pollution and everything here works as you would expect.

Also-rans

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Most of Scandinavia

Most of Scandinavia (Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland) has great and very modern cities like Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo and Helsinki. However, they are punishingly expensive. Now you can make it work if you share an apartment, have no car and ride a bike and eat at home most of the time (no alcohol), but is that really what you want?

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Berlin

Berlin offers a similar range of options to Prague. It has better nightlife and better coffee, but the many grey days (people and weather) have spoiled Berlin for me somewhat. But it is still a great option.

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Edinburgh

Edinburgh almost made the cut; it’s somewhat touristy but still has tons of options for the long-term resident – a beautiful town, friendly locals and surprisingly good food, coffee and beer. And with the lower pound exchange rate, it’s cheap too.