Digital nomads have been banging on about Berlin and Barcelona for years, but have you ever considered remote working in Bucharest?
Working remotely is the new normal. While working from the comfort of your home has its benefits, staring at the same four walls day after day can get tedious. You can start crawling the walls. A change of environment can do wonders for your mind and for your work output too.
Many countries have introduced new digital nomad visas to encourage professionals to come live in their country temporarily. Why work from your cramped apartment when you could access your virtual office from somewhere far more interesting? And, in some cases, pay a fraction of the price?
As well as offering a change of scenery, working remotely can be an opportunity to explore a new culture and way of life.
Here are 5 remote working locations in Europe worth considering if you’re ready to switch things up and experience life as a digital nomad!
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Balkan beauty Croatia is one of the exciting countries encouraging remote workers to come set up shop for a while.
Providing you don’t need a tourist visa to enter Croatia (if you’re American, Australian, or British for example), remote workers can apply for a 1-year residence permit after arrival.
Remote employees don’t have to pay income tax, and rent prices are much cheaper than other popular digital nomad destinations. In Split, Croatia’s second-largest city, rent prices are 96% lower than in Barcelona.
Croatia is one of the sunniest destinations in Europe, so if working from a sunny balcony sounds like bliss to you, Croatia could be an appealing option. You can use your spare time to breathe in some Adriatic air and explore the country’s beautiful coastline. There are more than 1000 islands found along the eastern coast, and a year will give you plenty of time to discover a number of them!
The country also boasts 8 national parks, and its natural landmarks are some of the best protected in Europe. The lifestyle here is relaxed and many young people speak English, so you should be able to make connections with locals easily.
You can apply for residence after you’ve arrived, at the closest police station to your temporary address in Croatia. The great thing about applying from within the country (if you can enter Croatia visa-free), is that you stay for up to 15 months at a time. 90 days as a tourist, plus 12 months on the digital nomad residence permit.
Estonia’s Digital Nomad Visa allows remote workers to live and work in this northern European country for up to 1 year. You must meet a minimum income requirement (the current monthly income threshold is 3504 EUR) and work for or with a company that is registered outside the nation.
So why should Estonia be on your radar? Well, it has been dubbed by some the next Silicon Valley of Europe. It has a dynamic start up scene, ranking third in Europe for number of startups per capita. Skype and TransferWise were both invented by Estonians, and Wired Magazine previously named Estonia the world’s most digitally advanced society.
Accommodation is economic too (rent prices in Tallinn are 74% lower than in London) and it is common for apartments here to have a private sauna! Furthermore, the cost of living is approximately 30% less than that of the US, and you are never more than a 30-minute drive away from a forest or a lake! Sounds ideal right?
And if you fall in love with the country and don’t want to leave, you can easily become an e-resident! The e-residency issued by the Estonian government enables digital entrepreneurs to start and manage an EU-based company 100% online.
How to apply for a Digital Nomad visa: complete the visa application form on the website of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and take it to the nearest Estonian Embassy. If you are already in the country, you can apply at a Police and Border Guard Board office.
The ‘Remotely from Georgia’ program is aimed at all types of remote workers who can drive money into the local economy. The scheme allows citizens from 95 countries including Americans, Brits and Canadians to travel to Georgia and work remotely.
You must intend to stay in Georgia for at least 180 days and if you’re accepted onto the program, you’ll be allowed to remain in the country for 360 days without a visa or work permit.
Although there are earnings criteria (at least 2,000 USD per month) you have to meet to be eligible for the Digital Nomad visa, once you’re in Georgia you will find the cost of living super cheap! Rent prices in the capital, Tbilisi, are 54% lower than in Budapest, for example. In general, prices are comparable to Thailand.
So why else should Georgia be on your remote working radar? According to a recent International Crime Index ranking, it is one of the safest countries in the world! The food and drink are also divine. If you like a tipple after work, you’ll love the bio wine from the world’s oldest wine-producing region. Not to mention dumplings and cheese bread (‘khachapuri’) that will take you to comfort food nirvana.
Applying for the program: The application form asks for contracts and bank statements from the last 12 months as proof of income. You must also show evidence of travel insurance for the duration of your stay. If you’re accepted, you’ll be issued an invitation letter from the Georgian government that acts as an all-access pass to enter the country.
Spain has long been attracting digital nomads, particularly in Barcelona and Madrid. But what about its Iberian neighbour Portugal?
Portuguese island Madeira has recently launched a pioneering project to welcome digital nomads. The government has collaborated with long-term nomads to create a ‘Nomad Village’ in Ponta Do Sol. The idea behind the program is to create harmony between locals and remote workers. Nomads can take advantage of daily activities and complimentary access to a coworking space.
With mild temperatures all year round and the nickname the ‘Hawaii of Europe’, you can see how a temporary move to Madeira can appeal!
If you prefer city life, Lisbon and Porto are also very attractive places for remote working. Both have strong cafe cultures with plenty of spaces to work from. You can rent an apartment in the city for a decent price, and the cost of living is cheap. The self-employment visa will allow you to enjoy the delights of living and working from beautiful Portugal as a digital nomad for 1 year.
How to apply: You can apply for the self-employment visa at the Portuguese embassy or consulate where you live. There are 2 different types: the residence visa for independent workers and the residence visa for entrepreneurs. If you apply as an independent worker, you must prove that you own a business.
Today all you need is an internet connection and you can work from anywhere in the world. However, if you’re going to be dialling into important meetings or delivering presentations online, you need to ensure that your connection is fast.
Romania has one of the highest fixed internet speeds in the world and also one of the cheapest.
Not only this, but the rent is cheap too. Rent prices in Bucharest are 57% lower than in Berlin and 56% lower than in Barcelona. The cheap monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment (less than 300 EUR per month for a flat in the capital) is just one great reason to consider Romania as a remote working option.
If you like to mix up working from home with working from other spaces, there are lots of cafes with excellent wifi serving up delicious lattes. Outside of the capital, there are plenty of good remote working options too. Cluj Napoca, a university town located in the heart of Transylvania, is an up-and-coming remote working hub. It has a dynamic IT scene and a friendly collaborative vibe.
During your leisure time, you can explore the EU’s most bio geographically diverse country and experience firsthand the great Romanian hospitality!
The World Is Your Office
Flexible working and workcations are here to stay and Europe is leading the way when it comes to working remotely. Whether you’re looking for the next country to make your temporary home or have not considered working abroad until more recently, we hope this article has given you some food for thought. These up-and-coming destinations are all great options depending on what you’re looking for! And if you’re not quite ready to take the leap yet, you can always take a vacation there to help you decide.