An affordable cost of living. A vibrant city. Opportunities to travel, discover and explore hidden gems. These are qualities that might describe some of the best cities to work remotely.
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work exploded in popularity. While companies are slowly transitioning to hybrid work, remote work is still popular, especially among freelancers.
Whether you’ve graduated or are a soon-to-be-graduate, here are some of our top picks of cities to live and work remotely:
Seven best cities for international graduates to live and work remotely
1. Chiang Mai, Thailand
With its bustling streets filled with some of the best foods in Asia, Thailand is one of the most well-known hubs for digital nomads. The Special Tourist Visa allow non-residents to reside in Thailand for up to nine months. While the visa prevents you from being employed in Thailand, it does not explicitly say that you are restricted from living and working remotely in the country. You should, however, do your due diligence by researching what type of employment you can and cannot do in the country.
Chiang Mai offers plenty of opportunities for digital nomads to network and build their net worth. You can choose to find a remote working buddy through active Facebook groups or switch up your working environment to cheap and unique co-working spaces such as Punspace, with prices starting from as low as 68 US dollars a month.
2. The Canary Islands, Spain
Feel like sipping a cold and refreshing Sangria from a dreamy archipelago off Africa’s northwest coast? Spain’s self-employment work visa can help make that dream come true. This only applies to citizens of a country that is not a member of the European Union (EU). EU citizens can enter Spain and work without a permit.
Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Canaria, houses stylish co-working spaces such as The House, Soppa de Azul, and Ingenio, which have high-speed internet and access to beautiful views around the island. This exotic seven-island archipelago — Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Palma — is also an affordable travel destination that will allow you to drink, eat, and explore to your heart’s content.
3. Wellington, New Zealand
Wellington is one of the world’s top destinations for remote workers and digital nomads to live and work. Big 7 Travel ranked the capital at 50 on its list of best places for remote working in 2021. The list considers affordability, internet access, and whether visas are available for remote workers.
International graduates should take advantage of the Working Holiday Visa available to young people aged 18 to 30 to travel and work in New Zealand for up to 12 months, or 23 months if you are from the UK or Canada, as stated in the New Zealand immigration website.
4. Berlin, Germany
Amazing local food. A rich history. A buzzing metropolis with a killer nightlife scene. These are some words to describe the sixth-best student city in the world, according to the QS Best Student Cities 2023 and one of the best cities to work remotely. Like many cities on our list, Berlin is also remarkably affordable compared to other capital in Western Europe.
Berlin’s residence permit is a golden ticket for those who want to live and work remotely in the country. The permit can be issued to freelancers if it is expected to have a positive economic or cultural impact.
5. Hanoi, Vietnam
Hanoi offers an excellent balance for those looking at a sweet spot between a low cost of living and high quality of life. Take a stroll through the French Quarter during your lunch break. Or head to the Hanoi Weekend Night Market to try some of the best Vietnamese street food, such as Pho (beef noodle soup), bun cha (grilled pork with noodles), or goi cuon (spring rolls).
Currently, remote workers can live and work in Hanoi through a tourist visa that grants them a “temporary resident” status for a month, which they can extend every 30 days for a small fee. As such, most expats use this opportunity to visit other great countries around the region.
6. Bali, Indonesia
With stunning beaches, magical temples and scenic landscapes, Bali’s island life has helped remote workers such as Gred Rodgers, a freelance writer and photographer from Kentucky, to experience a surge in productivity with a lower cost of living.
The best part? Indonesia plans to introduce a new “digital nomad visa” which will allow remote workers to live and work in this popular tourist destination, tax-free, for up to five years. If plans for this special nomad visa pull through, it will be one of the longest in the world, with most countries only offering up to 90 days for digital nomads.
7. Reykjavik, Iceland
Last on our list of the best cities to work remotely is Iceland. In 2022, the digital nomad visa introduced by the Icelandic government will allow remote workers to live and work in the Land of Fire and Ice for up to six months.
For those who plan to stick around in the highly-walkable capital Reykjavik, there are plenty of cosy cafes and quiet eateries within the neighbourhood. Here, you can enjoy fantastic mountain views and a tranquil atmosphere for a relaxing working environment. Or take a break by soaking yourself in one of the many natural hot springs available throughout Iceland.