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4 Digital Nomad Destinations In Europe With Cheap Rent You’ll Actually Want To Live In

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Other than a wide availability of foreigner-friendly services, a lively social scene, and of course, the cultural aspect, affordable accommodation is a key factor for digital nomads heading to Europe, as it is possibly the most expensive destination for long-term travelers… or is it?

There's no denying rent across parts of Western Europe is incredibly expensive, with tenants expected to fork out a shocking monthly $2,600 for tiny flats in central London and anything between $1,200 and $1,800 for a one-bedroom apartment in a non-glamorous arrondissement of Paris.

Aerial View Of A Sandy Beach In Portimao, A Beautiful Resort Town In The Algarve, Southern Portugal, Atlantic Ocean, Southern Europe

Luckily, options are not limited to your typical touristy cities: in these four alternative destinations, you'll experience all of that Old World charm and get a taste of the Old Continent's famous quality of life without spending half or more of your income on rent.

Don't worry, we're not sending you off to an unheard-of, backwater country in the Eastern flank where of course house prices will be cheaper due to the low living standards.

No, no, no: there are truly exciting places you'll actually want to live in, starting with…

Portimão, Portugal

Historical Old Town Of Portimao, A Leisure Destination In The Algarve, Southern Portugal, Southern Europe

If you're an avid Travel Off Path reader, you've probably heard of The Algarves already.

A sunny region in Souhern Portugal with an extensive sandy coastline, bright-blue oceans, and year-round balmy weather, it is one of the trendiest spots for sunseekers this spring.

Something you might not know, however, is that Portimão, a small seaside resort straddling a particularly warm stretch of the Atlantic, is a digital nomad haven offering a lower cost of living than other Southern European hotspots and some laid-back living for those who need it.

Modern Palm Tree Lined Boardwalk Lining The Atlantic Ocean In Portimao, The Algarve, Southern Portugal, Southern Europe

Renting a one-bedroom apartment away just outside the city center, you can expect to pay an acceptable $727 per month, while a well-equipped, three-bedroom apartment in the cobbled Old Town sets you back by $1,831 (see here what two grand a month would get you in the British capital).

Other than affordable housing, Portimão residents enjoy cheap groceries, a plethora of inexpensive restaurants to pick from on a night out in town, with simple yet delicious meals in traditional Portuguese cafeterias costing as little as $10.78, and three-dollar beers.

Wooden Staircase Leading Down To A Sandy Atlantic Beach Near Portimao, The Algarve, Southern Portugal, Southern Europe

Not only will it not break the bank to call Portimão home for between one and three months, but the endless miles of thin, white sands, the architectural wealth, and the thriving expat community make it an incredibly exciting place to be.

Budapest, Hungary

Why take your chances working remotely from crowded, overpriced Paris when you can live a comfortable life, eat lavishly paying only a small fraction of what you would in France, and admire buildings that are just as grandiose in the Paris of the East instead?

budapest parliament building

Budapest indisputably sits in a Pantheon of Europe's most beautiful cities, home to a Neo-Gothic Parliament with an iconic red dome reflecting on the fast-flowing Danube River, a monumental Buda Castle, and a number of stately opera houses and ornate medieval churches.

Between the cozy internet cafes serving delicious traditional pastries and the seriously underrated nightlife that could put Berlin's to shame – picture underground raves and exclusive parties in ‘ruin' bars – you'll find there are plenty of reasons to love Budapest as a digital nomad.

Fisherman's Bastion In Budapest, Hungary, Central Eastern Europe

The best thing is, you can have all of this while spending only $496 on accommodation per month, making the Hungarian capital one of the most affordable ‘workcation' destinations in the European Union (in a way, you have the forint and Hungary's protective policies to thank for).

Hungary retains its own national currency, and it hasn't yet been Euroized, which means wages are lower and consumer prices aren't as high; inflation seems to be better controlled, too, not to mention it is much safer than the average Western European country.

Sofia, Bulgaria

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral In Sofia, Bulgaria, Eastern Balkans, Eastern Europe

Located at the south-easternmost edge of the European Union, sharing borders with Greece and Türkiye, and straddling the trendy Black Sea, Bulgaria is one of those countries you might have heard being mentioned recently, but you don't know an awful lot about.

There are entire articles detailing how Bulgaria is the perfect digital nomad destination, but when it comes to Sofia specifically, we feel it hasn't been given its flowers or appreciated enough for the incredibly diverse, quirky, exciting capital it is.

Trams In Central Sofia, Bulgaria

With a History of three millennia, Sofia is the third or fourth-oldest city in Europe, depending on the source you're pulling from, and it has an eclectic architectural heritage like no other, with Thracian, Roman, Ottoman, and Soviet-inspired structures combining to form a unique cityscape.

It is probably the only place where you could admire medieval Orthodox churches, explore archeological zones lying just beneath the modern city, and stroll communist-era boulevards lined by Brutalist palaces and apartment blocks in the same day.

Digital Nomad Working on Laptop

Additionally, Sofia has a strong cafe culture: our fave coworking spots are Cafe 1920, a boujee, vegan-inclusive eatery facing the famous Lions' Bridge, and The Apartment, housed in an actual fully-furnished apartment, where you can relax in a homely environment and taste home-cooked morsels.

Speaking of apartments, let's not forget the most important bit: there are one-bedroom flats in residential areas for renting from $378 per month, and taking into account Sofia's efficient metro system and extensive bus network, chances are you'll be a short half-hour commute to the center, tops.

Athens, Greece

aerial view of Athens, Greece

We know what you're thinking: ‘Athens is a dump', ‘it's jam-packed with tourists', ‘you'd be bored to death spending longer than two days there', or ‘good luck making it out of scammer-ridden Monastiraki Square unscathed', and basically every other apocalyptical warning.

Now, listen. We get it.

Athens may be a bit disappointing if you're visiting as a tourist, particularly when there's excess littering involved, visible illicit drugs, and an irregular migration problem, and you're averse to waiting in lines to access all of the main points of interest.

A busy street of outdoor eateries in Athens Greece

As a digital nomad spot, however, it can be surprisingly pleasant:

The point of long-term travel is not to tick off as many attractions as possible in the shortest amount of time – in Athens, that won't take you longer than a couple of days, anyway – nor retrace the steps of fellow Instagrammers all the way to the nauseatingly-pink Fairytale Cafe.

Living and working remotely from Athens, away from the tourist-dominated districts of Plaka, Monastiraki, and Syntagma, you have an actual shot at experiencing life in a Greek metropolis beyond the ruined temples and bustling central bazaars.

The Caryatid Porch In The Erechtheion, Acropolis Hill, Athens, Greece, South Eastern Europe

Picture yourself going for a cup of morning coffee in a Greek-frequented kafenio, where English chattery is rare to overhear, or walking the rather peaceful, tree-lined avenues of Koukaki as you munch on some freshly-baked bougatsa, petting passerby cats and watching local scenes unfold.

Elsewhere in Metaxourgeio, hippy cafes, artful streets oozing character, and tspirou bars await discovery, and it's in youthful, student-dominated Keramikos and Exarchia where Athenian nightlife is at its most vibrant.

Did you know also that Athens is a stone's throw away from the sand-fringed Attica coast, where waters are crystal-clear and warm throughout most of the year, except winter? Lucky you those Kalamaki Beach-bound M2 buses leave from Omonia, in the city center, multiple times every hour.

Digital Nomad At Cafe

Oh, have we already mentioned how affordable Athens can be? Forget your popular cruising port calls of Mykonos, Santorini, and Rhodes, where renting an Olympian-divine, whitewashed villa long-term is an unattainable dream for mere mortals like us:

In the capital, comfortable, centrally-situated flats cost an average $597 to rent per month.

As you'll soon learn, there is an entire 3-million-people-strong cosmopolitan hub lying at the foot of Acropolis Hill, and it's truly got a lot going for it on the digital nomad front.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Muhammad Anwar

Sunday 25th of February 2024

Of course, I am willing to migrate Purtagal, tha,s my choice to live. Because, Historic buildings, oceans, landscape all are good to see....I want to work there...