With nearly 100% of the current workforce expressing a strong desire to work remotely at least some of the time, it comes as no surprise that digital nomadism is skyrocketing in popularity.
However, with the freedom of working from home comes one great responsibility – choosing where to reside.
As countries all over the world start to welcome digital nomads with open arms and social programs designed to make their lives easier, deciding where to live can often feel overwhelming.
That’s why IWG, a flexible work company, took it upon itself to compare 26 of the most popular cities in the world for digital nomads and grade them on a scale from 1-10 on criteria such as availability of flexible workspace, accommodation, culture, climate, and more.
In the end, there was one city that clearly outperformed the rest.
Why Barcelona Is Currently the Best City For Digital Nomads
According to the study conducted by IWG, Barcelona is currently the best city for digital nomads.
The Spanish hotspot, renowned for its natural beauty, gorgeous weather, and lively cultural scene, also boasts an affordable cost of living (at least compared to other similar cities) and plenty of opportunities for remote workers.
As the report concludes, Barcelona provides the perfect blend of work and leisure.
Easily Attainable Visa
At the start of this year, Spain introduced a new Digital Nomad Visa that would make it much easier for remote workers to come to the country.
The newly launched act allows all non-EU/EEA residents who meet certain criteria (more on that below) to live in Spain for up to five years at a time.
Upon first release, the visa can only be valid for up to a year. After that, it can be renewed for up to five years as long as the recipient:
- Has a minimum monthly income of 2,100€ ($2,285).
- Has a stable contract with a company that allows them to work remotely.
- Has a clear criminal record.
You can find the complete list of requirements for attaining and renewing the visa in the link embedded above.
Generally speaking, the prerequisites are reasonable and not too difficult to meet, so most digital workers should have no issues obtaining the visa.
U.S. citizens can apply at the Embassy of Spain. Beware, though, that it might take up to 45 days for the visa to get approved, so plan in advance.
Moreover, set aside around $200 for the application process. Procedures like getting an FBI background check and paying for official translations of your documents cost money, so budget accordingly.
Reasonably Affordable Cost Of Living
Though there certainly are some cheaper digital nomad destinations you can consider, when you compare Barcelona with cities that offer the same advantages of living in a major Western European city, what you’ll be paying to live here seems reasonable.
According to Numbeo, a Barcelona resident can expect to pay 793€ ($863) in living expenses and between 874€ ($952) and 1,155€ ($1258) in rent for a 1-bedroom apartment, depending on location.
In comparison, the same source estimates that living in Paris would be roughly 25% more expensive while renting the same 1-bedroom apartment in London would cost almost 55% more.
Barcelona is famous for its fantastic Mediterranean weather, boasting sunny summers and mild winters.
Great weather can have a notable impact on your mental and physical health, so don’t discount its importance.
Immersive Cultural Experience
One thing’s for sure – being in Barcelona will never leave you bored.
Few places in the world strike the same type of balance between natural allure and a cosmopolitan atmosphere, so no matter their personalities, most digital nomads will find themselves at home here.
The numerous galleries, restaurants, clubs, and cultural venues are open all year long for residents to enjoy.
When it comes to seasonal activities, your choices are vast, too.
In the winter, I recommend heading up north to the Pyrenees mountains and going skiing there. Come summertime, you can take some well-deserved time off on some of Europe’s most stunning beaches.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com