The rise of digital nomadism has transformed the way people work, leaving travelers around the world at a crossroads when it comes to choosing their next destination of choice.
While the likes of Chiang Mai, Lisbon, and Mexico City have now become globally renowned digital nomad hotspots, modern wanderers are looking for other interesting, lesser-known cities where they can build the life of their dreams.
One particular city in northeastern Europe has recently started gaining traction and making a name for itself among remote workers as one of the best places to be right now.
Low Cost of Living
Riga encapsulates the essence of what the digital nomads of 2023 seek: affordability, high-quality infrastructure, cultural richness, and a sense of community.
Though the Latvian capital is the largest city in all of the Baltic states, its prices rival even those of its smaller, humbler neighbors.
Here’s what you can expect to pay in Riga for basic necessities:
|Rent (1-bedroom apartment in the city center)||350€ – 450€ ($368 – $473)|
|Rent (1-bedroom apartment outside the city center)||260€ – 300€ ($273 – $315)|
|Monthly internet subscription||14.5€ ($15.24)|
|Monthly public transit pass||30€ ($31.5)|
|3-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for two||60€ ($63)|
As you can see, the median U.S. salary of roughly $3,800 a month can go a long way in Riga, where most will only need to budget around $780 to cover their living expenses for 30 days.
Easily Attainable Digital Nomad Visa
No city, no matter how cheap or well-connected, can make a decent digital nomad hotspot if remote workers have to jump through hoops to get there in the first place.
Luckily, that’s not the case for Riga, or any other Latvian city for that matter.
That’s because the country has recently launched a digital nomad visa that can be held by international citizens employed by a company registered with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an organization of which the US is a proud member.
For the full list of requirements you’ll need to meet in order to qualify for said visa, you can check out this resource.
What you need to know for the time being is that you’ll be required to prove that you have a monthly income of at least 2.5 times the median Latvian income, about which you can find more information here.
As long as you meet that and a few other pretty basic criteria, the application process will be a breeze.
You can either apply online or at your closest Latvian Embassy, and you can expect to pay 60€ or $63 for the procedure (120€ or $126 if you’re looking for an expedited review of the application).
Once you get your first digital visa, the document will be valid for a year. After that, you can apply for a renewal, which can last even longer.
High-Quality Infrastructure and Connectivity
While there’s no shortage of cheap, culturally rich cities in the Baltics, Riga comes with one major advantage that sets it apart from neighboring destinations – its famously high-speed internet connection.
For digital nomads, the quality of their internet connection is directly linked to that of their work.
Luckily, the Latvian capital is widely renowned for offering some of the highest-speed internet access in all of Europe, and for pretty cheap, too (refer to the table above).
Moreover, the city is dotted with co-working spaces equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, ergonomic workspaces, and a collaborative atmosphere.
This means that whether you prefer working in a bustling café or a dedicated office, Riga promises to provide just the environment you need to boost your productivity.
If you want, you can experiment with different working spaces until you find what works for you – after all, getting around the city is a breeze.
The excellent public transportation system and bike-friendly infrastructure make exploring the gorgeous neighborhoods that much easier.
Rich Cultural Heritage and Laid-Back Lifestyle
The main reason why there are so many trams, buses, and rental bikes in Riga is that there’s a lot to explore in the iconic Latvian city.
The Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a picturesque maze of cobblestone streets, medieval architecture, and inviting cafes.
However, don’t let the city’s old-timey charm fool you – digital nomads have ample opportunities to indulge in concerts, art exhibitions, and theater performances, too.
While the cold, windy weather is arguably one of the main downsides to living in a North European city such as Riga, the warmth that radiates off of the lovely locals here more than makes up for it.
Latvians are known for their genuine hospitality and friendliness, and engaging with the community will help foster a sense of belonging that will help even those with the most severe cases of homesickness.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com