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The best cities to work in the world as a freelancer

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Based on the newest report that has been conducted in 2019, "Freelancing in America" created by Freelancers Union, freelancers' share in the job market increased from 17% to 28% in five years.  More interestingly, half of the workers made the professional transition by their choice since they prefer flexibility and income raise.  

As freelancing numbers rise, a digital nomad lifestyle has become popular since working from anywhere is exciting to many freelancers. Many freelancers started to ask themselves the same question: What are the best cities to work? If I can work from anywhere, where would I live? What are the best cities for digital nomads or best cities for freelancers?

How to choose cities to work in? 

Scientists researched many different metrics to determine the best quality of life for independent professionals. Because as you already know working remotely from another country can be challenging. After the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home became a new normal for many of us. 

The most critical metrics, however, are the ones directly have impacts on your professional and personal life. And these metrics should be evaluated according to your individual needs and expectations. 

For example, if you are looking for the best co-working spaces to work, Mumbai has the highest number of co-working spaces and can be a good option for you. However, if you are also avoiding traffic, you must look for another city to move to. 

Although the importance of the metrics changes from person to person, there are still essential metrics that can be suitable for everyone. If you are searching for the best cities to work in the world, you should consider your decisions based on the following metrics:

    • Internet speed

    • Cost of living

    • Climate

    • Lifestyle

    • Population

    • Air Quality

    • Co-working spaces

    • English speaking percentage 

    • Digital nomad community

The Best Cities to Work in the World

According to the analyses on Nomadlist, we curated a list of the best places to live for digital nomads. 

10- Chiang Mai, Thailand

You can be sure that working in Chiang Mai is a pleasant and rewarding professional experience for you, especially considering the city's expanding freelancer community. There are many advantages to working in Chiang Mai, Thailand as a freelancer such as the low cost of living and excellent tropical climate. 

    • Internet speed: Fast: 19.9 Mbps (avg) 

    • Cost of living: Pricey: $1,500 / mo

    • Climate: The wet season is oppressive and overcast, the dry season is mostly clear, and it is hot year round. 

    • Lifestyle: Very good

    • Population: 127,240 

    • Air Quality: The Air Quality Life Index ranks Thailand as the world's seventh-most polluted country.

    • Co-working spaces: Great

    • English speaking percentage: 27%

    • Digital nomad community: Great

 9- Oslo, Norway

Norway’s capital is a dynamic and multicultural city. Oslo provides many job opportunities and new business networks. 

Freelancing is a popular choice in Norway. If you are an EEA country citizen, the relocation process would be more painless. However, the cost of living is a huge negative aspect if you are less confident with your regular income.  

    • Internet speed: Fast: 38Mbps (avg) 

    • Cost of living: Pricey: $3,864 / mo

    • Climate: The climate is very cold in winter, with average temperatures below freezing (0 °C or 32 °F), and mild or pleasantly warm in summer. 

    • Lifestyle: Good

    • Population: 681,067

    • Air Quality: Great - 15 US AQI 

    • Co-working spaces: Great

    • English speaking percentage: Very high

    • Digital nomad community: Good

8- Budapest, Hungary

If you are a freelancer looking to explore a new city or relocate, Budapest greets you warmly! Hungary's capital has become a digital nomad destination in recent years due to the affordable cost of living standards. 

In addition to this, stunning buildings and exciting history help the city's exponential growth. If you are interested in Eastern European culture, this city is right for you. 

    • Internet speed: Fast: 44Mbps (avg) 

    • Cost of living: Affordable: $1,469 / mo 

    • Climate: Hot summers with low overall humidity levels but frequent showers and frigid to cold snowy winters. 

    • Lifestyle: Good

    • Population: 1.752 million 

    • Air Quality: Good - 55 US AQI 

    • Co-working spaces: Great 

    • English speaking percentage: Not very high but acceptable 

    • Digital nomad community: Good

7- Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is a great digital nomad destination. The digital nomad economy is booming in Lisbon, and the city is an excellent choice for an independent professional in any industry. If you are thinking about relocating to Western Europe, Lisbon is definitely a great option for you with its great expat community and plenty of connections.

    • Internet speed: Fast: 27 Mbps (avg) 

    • Cost of living: Affordable: $2,028 / mo

    • Climate: The climate is Mediterranean, with mild, rainy winters and warm, sunny summers. 

    • Lifestyle: Good

    • Population: 504,718

    • Air Quality: Great - 8 US AQI

    • Co-working spaces: Great 

    • English speaking percentage: High

    • Digital nomad community: Outstanding

6 - Singapore

Ready to relocate to the future? Singapore is a city of the future. The fascinating thing about Singapore is it is a meeting point of people from many different cultures. As a gateway to other Asian countries with plenty to explore, Singapore will amaze you with its people, culture, cuisine, and architecture.

    • Internet speed: Super fast: 72Mbps (avg) 

    • Cost of living: Affordable $2,755 / mo 

    • Climate: The weather's warm and tropical year-round. Rainstorms are possible at any time, but rainfall usually peaks Nov–Dec.

    • Lifestyle: Good

    • Population: 5.639 million

    • Air Quality: Moderate - 89 US AQI 

    • Co-working spaces: Great 

    • English speaking percentage: High

    • Digital nomad community: Great

5- Belgrade, Serbia 

Belgrade, Serbia's capital, is an energetic city with lots to offer but is still underrated. Historical buildings, exciting nightlife, cool neighborhoods, friendly people make Belgrade more attractive for digital nomads. Also, low costs of living are the preferable fact of living in Belgrade as a self-independent professional. 

    • Internet speed: Fast: 29Mbps (avg) 

    • Cost of living: Affordable: $1,439 / mo 

    • Climate: The summers are warm and mostly clear and the winters are very cold and partly cloudy.

    • Lifestyle: Good

    • Population: 1.374 million

    • Air Quality: Great - 45 US AQI

    • Co-working spaces: Great 

    • English speaking percentage: High

    • Digital nomad community: Great

4- Bali, Canggu

Ten years ago, Canggu was a peaceful surfer spot with its magnificent ocean views. Now, the city becomes a booming digital nomad hub. The best part of working remotely in Canggu is co-working spaces and cafes in the most favorable climate.

    • Internet speed: Fast: 19Mbps (avg)

    • Cost of living: Affordable: $1,264 / mo

    • Climate: Average year-round temperature stands at around 26-27°C with a humidity level of about 85-90%.

    • Lifestyle: Very Good

    • Population: 40,000

    • Air Quality: Great - 33 US AQI

    • Co-working spaces: Great 

    • English speaking percentage: High

    • Digital nomad community: Outstanding

3 - Barcelona, Spain

The most inspiring capital of the Catalonia region, Barcelona is one of the best cities to work in Europe with more than 300 co-working spaces. It's an international city that welcomes remote workers around the world. The most amazing cuisines and a rich cultural scene, Barcelona, is a great spot to work remotely in 2020. 

    • Internet speed: Fast: 40Mbps (avg) 

    • Cost of living: Okay: $2,904 / mo

    • Climate: The climate of Barcelona is Mediterranean, with mild, relatively rainy winters and hot, sunny summers.

    • Lifestyle: Very Good

    • Population: 5.575 million

    • Air Quality: Great - 29 US AQI

    • Co-working spaces: Great 

    • English speaking percentage: High

    • Digital nomad community: Great

2 - Berlin, Germany

If you are looking for high-speed internet and a digital nomad community that speaks English in West Europe, Berlin can be your new home. The city has gained popularity among digital nomads, entrepreneurs, and tech companies by providing new job opportunities and networks. 

    • Internet speed: Fast - 40Mbps (avg) 

    • Cost of living: Okay: $2,100 / mo

    • Climate: The climate is moderately continental, characterized by cold winters, with average temperatures around freezing, and moderately warm summers.

    • Lifestyle: Very Good

    • Population: 3.769 million 

    • Air Quality: Moderate - 54 US AQI 

    • Co-working spaces: Great 

    • English speaking percentage: High

    • Digital nomad community: Outstanding

1 - Austin, United States

Finally, the winner of the list, Austin, is known as the hottest spot for tech startups, digital nomads, and artists worldwide. 

What makes Austin stand out from other startup hubs is the cost of living when compared to Silicon Valley is nothing. Austin offers an outstanding professional network and a digital nomad community. Besides, if you like nature, Austin has 205 parks and 50 miles of hiking trails. 

    • Internet speed: Very fast - 143Mbps (avg)

    • Cost of living: Acceptable: $3,400 / mo

    • Climate: Humid subtropical climate, which means it has long, hot summers and typically mild winters. 

    • Lifestyle: Very Good

    • Population: 964,254

    • Air Quality: Good - 39 US AQI

    • Co-working spaces: Great 

    • English speaking percentage: Native language

    • Digital nomad community: Outstanding

author name

İpek Tüzün

İpek Tüzün is a human being, digital marketing person, writer, researcher on the future of work, and sci-fi fan based on earth. Read more...

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