Three years ago I decided to be a digital nomad. I wanted to live abroad and work online for myself. At the time, I really thought that due to budget constraints, my only options were going to be underdeveloped parts of the world. I never imagined that it could be done in mainland Europe. Turns out, it really can.

As a Canadian living the digital nomad lifestyle in Europe, I am constantly searching for new places to call home. I do 6 month stretches in each place. This gives me time to settle in and ample time to explore the area. Assuming there are others in this situation, here is my list of the 4 best options in Europe to live as a digital nomad. I will use 4 categories in each place so you can see both the pros and the cons. Pack your bags digital nomad! You’re moving to Europe!

Southern Italy

I have lived in Formia, which is on the coast between Naples and Rome. I have also lived in Nocera Superiore closer to Salerno and the Amalfi Coast. I highly recommend either place.

Beautiful image from Italy

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Southern Italy is low. Very low. I have paid €500 a month for a 2 bedroom apartment in Formia (in winter) and €600 for a 2 bedroom apartment in Nocera (in summer). These prices included everything except for the internet.

Food is extremely cheap, high quality and plentiful. That’s assuming you like pizza. A huge, well-made pizza will set you back €3-4.

Culture and Entertainment

It’s Italy. Do I really need to say more? You can visit small towns and big cities such as Naples, Rome and Salerno easily. You’re never going to run out of breathtaking views, hiking trails, museums and churches.

Accessibility

In the places I have stayed, I have been able to reach the airports of Rome or Naples within a reasonable time frame. Southern Italy, and Italy in general, get high points for their rail system. It is both reliable and inexpensive. For example, for me to get from Nocera to Naples it’s €3.90 each way. Formia to Naples is €5.10 each way.

Internet

The Internet in Southern Italy is fine but can be frustrating. It can be patchy, needs to reset occasionally and the speed is ok. At least the cost is low – around €20 per month. Since we need reliable Internet as digital nomads, I also have an Italian sim card in my phone with an internet plan for those patchy times. For an extra €10 you’ll never be without your precious Internet.

Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia represents an excellent opportunity for us digital nomads to live in a capital city without the expected added cost.

Church in Sofia in Bulgaria

Cost Of Living

The cost of living in Sofia will be the lowest on this list. Well-appointed, furnished apartments that are centrally located can cost you less than €400. The cost of living is low in Bulgaria so in addition to low rent, you will also reap the benefits of cheaper activities, food and utilities.

Culture and Entertainment

Although not on the same cultural level as Southern Italy (in my opinion), Sofia still has abundant opportunities to explore. You’ll find churches, museums, Vitosha Mountain and parks to name a few.

Sofia has a thriving food scene so you’ll be glad to dine out and not just because it’s cheap.

One thing to remember about Bulgaria is that you can’t flush toilet paper. This can be a shock for some people so just know this before you go. Also, prepare for snow from November to March.

Accessibility

Sofia has an international airport so it is accessible. Of course, you will have fewer choices of direct destinations than somewhere Rome. The train system in Bulgaria is good too – you can get to Romania, Turkey and Serbia directly from Sofia.

Internet

This category is where Sofia shines. The Internet in Bulgaria is one of the fastest and most reliable in the world. It is available free almost everywhere – airport, train station, cafes, restaurants, shopping malls, etc.

This fast and reliable Internet will cost around €10 per month if it is not already included in your rent. As digital nomads, the Internet is our money maker which is why Sofia is a great place to spend some time.

Southern France

I bet you’re surprised that you can be a digital nomad in the South of France. I know I was. You’ll find the best deals in winter when tourism is lower but it can still be done in the summer too.

Cityview of Southern France

Cost Of Living

I have stayed in the small town of Quillan, in the Languedoc-Rousillon region, in the summer and paid €700 per month. I also spent some time in the coastal city of Juan Les Pins in the winter for €600.  Yes, that’s the French Riviera, just down the road from glitzy locales like Cannes, Antibes and St Tropez. Crazy, right? Of course, you’ll get more space in a small town. In Quillan, I had a 3 bedroom apartment with a garden, whereas in Juan Les Pins, we stayed in a small one bedroom. At least it had an ocean view. It all depends on your priorities.

In terms of food, France is the most expensive place on this list. You’ll want to cook as much as possible and frequent the local produce markets in the summer. Even the smallest town will likely have one. The food is so fresh and very reasonably priced.

Culture and Entertainment

France, like Italy, is full of culture. Aside from the usual churches and museums, you’ll find many outdoor activities, especially if you’re in a smaller town. Try to stay in the Pyrenees where you’ll find caves, rafting, waterfalls, fishing and hiking among the charming French villages.

Accessibility

In Quillan, we had access to 2 airports – Carcassonne and Perpignan – within 2 hours and Toulouse at a stretch in 2 and a half hours. From Juan Les Pins we could be at Nice airport in under an hour. Trains and buses are reliable and somewhat prompt.

Internet

The Internet in France for me was both fast and reliable. As for the cost, it will likely be between €25 and €30 per month.

Bucharest, Romania

The pull of Eastern Europe is just too strong for us digital nomads. That’s why Bucharest is also on this list.

Cityview of Bucharest in Romania

Cost Of Living

The average cost of a one bedroom apartment in the city center is €350 per month. It doesn’t get much cheaper than that – especially in a capital city. Especially one as vibrant and exciting as Bucharest!

Like the price of accommodations, food is inexpensive too. While Romania is part of the EU, it doesn’t use the Euro. Instead, they use a different currency, called the lei, so be prepared to exchange your money.

Culture and Entertainment

Bucharest is full of parks, monuments, churches and museums. You’ll find good restaurants, cafes and even food carts. You won’t be short of things to do, that’s for sure. There’s always something happening in the Romanian capital.

Accessibility

Bucharest has an international airport but like Sofia, your direct destination options will be a bit limited. However, Bucharest Airport does offer direct flights to Italy, France, the UK, Spain, Greece, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Turkey, Ukraine, Portugal, the USA and many more. It’s just that you may not have as many options for the dates you want as you would in a city like London or Paris.

Internet

Bucharest boasts fast, reliable and cheap internet. Nothing negative to be said here. Expect to pay €10 or less for your monthly subscription.

Obviously, this is just a taste of what Europe has to offer the digital nomad. There are deals to be found in even the most expensive countries if you’re willing to be creative. Not many people can afford the rent in London, Paris or Barcelona, but there are plenty of other cities that are far cheaper. Or, you could consider staying somewhere a little off the beaten path, where prices will not only be lower but you will also get a more authentic experience of what a place has to offer.

I hope this has opened your eyes to new places to continue your digital nomad journey. Always keep moving!