- Several countries are trying hard to attract digital nomads. With their tourism industries hit hard, traveling professionals offer a glimmer of hope in a pandemic that seems to drag on forever. But while their tourism infrastructure may be ready to receive nomads, are their internet connections –literally– up to speed?
Fiber-optic: the new requirement
Sure, a slick marketing campaign may catch the attention of location-independent entrepreneurs, but getting them to travel to a country is a different story. You see, one of the first things digital nomads look at is the internet speed at a destination. For example Greece want to be a digital nomad spot, but Internet users’ landline connections in Greece are among the slowest and most expensive in the European Union, a study has shown.
Gone are the days in which ADSL connections were impressive or even desirable. Online professionals are used to fiber-optic back home, which allows them to stream high-quality Netflix and conduct Zoom calls. They need the same infrastructure when they travel abroad, and their destination choice will depend on it for a great deal.
The 10 hottest digital nomad destinations by internet speed
Yes, there are places with faster internet than the ones below. But would you really want to live in a city with an alcohol ban, crappy nightlife, and no other nomads?
Below is the top 10 of countries that combine a great lifestyle, ample availability of coworking spaces, and fast internet connections. Which ones have you traveled to already, and which ones are on your must-visit list?
The one-and-only, the original digital nomad hotspot, is Thailand. Choose between Bangkok’s metropolitan hustle and bustle, the hip cafes in Chiang Mai, and the beachside coworking spaces on the islands in the Gulf of Thailand. For maximum productivity, head to the big cities, where fiber-optic connections and air-conditioned coworking spaces are the norm.
The book and subsequent movie ‘Eat, Pray and Love’ put Bali on the map for solo travelers – and not only females. As it turns out, the island has more to offer than yoga, surf, art, and Hindu culture. The cafes are world-class, and the restaurants provide ample options for vegetarians and vegans.
Bali has been attracting digital nomads for the past few years, partly thanks to its relatively fast internet and hip coworking spaces. In these shared offices, 100 MBps fiber-optic connections are the rule, with some places even opting for 1 GBps symmetrical connections.
While not as exotic as Bali, Bulgaria is almost as affordable, has a surprisingly good cuisine, and is part of the European Union. Online entrepreneurs who become residents here take advantage of the 10% corporate tax rate and the 10% income tax rate. With daily flights to anywhere in Europe, the capital Sofia is a great place to be based while still being able to travel extensively.
Sofia’s thriving ex-pat scene is complemented by cool coworking spaces with blazing fast internet connections. Mountain resort Bansko also puts itself on the map as a digital nomad hotspot, with high-speed internet and lots of networking events.
Portugal remains Western Europe’s cheapest country. Its multicultural capital Lisbon has drawn in multinationals, start-ups, and online professionals. Hip cafes, sleek coworking spaces, and classy apartments make this city a delight for digital nomads. Expect internet speeds to average 30 Mbps in residential areas, while many coworking spaces are on 1 Gbps plans.
What is the only place in Europe you can swim in the ocean and walk around on flip-flops year-round? Politically, the Canary Islands are part of Spain, but they should be part of Morocco geographically. For inspiration and surfing, head to Lanzarote. For hiking, choose La Palma or Tenerife. And for a booming digital nomad scene, head to Las Palmas on the island of Gran Canaria. Between coworking spaces and residential apartments, the internet speeds here average 31 Mbps.
Berlin is one of the most exciting European cities. After the Berlin Wall came down, this city has seen, tried, and done everything. Every lifestyle is welcome here, which is perfect for digital nomads like you who want to break the routine. But beware: Berlin is best experienced in summer, when residents and visitors are out in full force, enjoying the parks and the festivals.
This is one of the more expensive destinations in the list, but hey, you wanted to know where the internet was fast. Fiber optic is the rule in Germany’s capital, so all you need to do now is find your favorite coworking space and an apartment.
Hot, humid, and expensive: Singapore is not your typical digital nomad destination. But what it lacks in nomad atmosphere, it more than makes up for in excitement. This is where big money is made and invested and where your ambitious plans can find funding. Add to this the lightning-fast internet connections, and you’ll feel on top of the world in Singapore.
In general, Sweden has some of the fastest internet connections in the world. But you’ll only really feel like a nomad –and not like an intruder– in Stockholm. This is where international students, artists, tech professionals, and angel investors combine to form a creative environment unlike anywhere else. Choose from the many coworking spaces or connect in Sweden’s answer to Starbucks: Espresso House.