Most digital nomads will agree that there’s no need to have a “home base” anywhere in the world, because the point of being a nomad is that of having the freedom to travel around wherever and whenever you want. However, many digital nomads and full time travelers prefer to take things slower – and I am also a fan of the concept of slow travel and having a home base for various reasons which I won’t list here, because having or not having a home base when you’re a digital nomad is not the point of this article. However, the point of this article is to share with you my opinion on the best cities in Europe for digital nomads to set up home base, and that’s exactly what I am going to do.
Before getting to the actual list, there are some things you need to know that were taken into account when creating this list of cities. There were several elements that I considered extremely important, and these were: cost of rent comes first (you need to pay lower rent because you won’t even be living in the place for probably half of the time anyway), closely followed by cost of living, easy connections to other European countries, decent weather and an existing digital nomading community. In other words, this list is mostly aimed at digital nomads who don’t have a limitless or huge monthly budget, but one that will still offer those who have the financial means to afford most things a great experience.
These being said, let’s find out the best city in Europe to set up home base in!
If you have nothing against slightly cooler weather and a language that seems absolutely impossible to learn, then Budapest might easily go to the top of the list. Extremely expat friendly and insanely beautiful, the Hungarian capital is one of the cheapest destinations for expats in Europe, while still offering great living quality and a lot to do when in the city. The food is delicious, the people are amazing, there’s a lot of options for fun and tons of stuff to visit, while the rent prices are really low: you can easily find a one bedroom apartment in a central area for 400 Euros per month. This is one of my favorite cities in Europe so far!
Few people recommend Slovenia as a destination, but you shouldn’t follow the crowd. The truth is the Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital, despite it’s tongue twisting name, is an amazing city to set up home base in Europe. It’s just a few hours away (by very cheap bus) to the beaches in Croatia or to Italy, it has an airport that connects you with most of Europe and an incredibly low cost of living. Slovenia is also extremely cheap and even though the expat/digital nomad community is not as huge as it is in other cities on this list, you will still find a lot of like-minded people and extremely friendly locals. Bonus? The food is absolutely amazing and cheap!
I would’ve loved to place Munich here because it’s an amazing city, but it’s also an extremely expensive one. So I moved a bit east to the similarly beautiful Salzburg in Austria. Even though the cost of living here might be higher than in all the other cities on this list, Salzburg has that Austrian charm that you need to experience, has great food and amazing connections to Europe – including a short train ride to Munich, since we were talking about it. The views you will get here are also breathtaking and you’ll love waking up watching the mountains and breathing the fresh air every morning.
If you want amazing weather all year long in Europe, forget about the more popular (and way more expensive) Barcelona and choose Malaga. This is a great hub for nomads and especially expats who run away from the harsh weather Europe throws at them, so you will have no problem finding likeminded people and new friends. The local people are extremely friendly and you’ll have a lot to do in the city, especially if soaking the sun is what you love. The food is great – who doesn’t love the Mediterranean diet? – and prices are still very low compared to the rest of Europe, even though all the tourists and expats are driving them up a bit.
So these are my recommended places to set up home base in Europe – I always think that you should stay a bit away from the beaten track (Berlin, Barcelona, Paris and so on) and opt for slightly less known places that are still amazing, but still have that local charm and a nice expat/digital nomad community. The cities listed above certainly tick all boxes and offer at least decent cost of living (although I’d go for “cheap”) and I am sure you will love them.
But, of course, if you have thoughts and other suggestions, I’d be happy to read them so give me a shout below with your thoughts on the best cities in Europe to set home base in as a Digital Nomad.