With the only boundary to work being a good internet connection, digital nomadism is on the increase. Whether you’re a seasoned nomad or new to the game, Spain should be one of the top choices for your base.
Updated: 26th March 2021
Spain is a perfect destination for digital nomads. This multi-faceted country has an abundance of locations to choose from and many of them are recognised as top nomad spots by those in the know.
If you’re thinking, ‘that’s all well and good, but what is a digital nomad?’, let us explain. A digital nomad is someone who can and does work from anywhere. Those who are free from the constraints of public-facing roles, can pick up and set down roots wherever they please. Professions such as copywriters, UX designers, graphic designers and web experts are those most likely to carry their life and work in a suitcase and travel the world at the same time.
What makes the best location for a digital nomad?
There’s only thing a digital nomad must have to remote work – very good wifi and internet connection. But the nomad lifestyle desires more: coffee shops to work from, co-working spaces, networking events and an abundance of leisure opportunities. Nomads are combining work with travel, so they want more than just a sunny climate.
No internet, no work. That’s the golden rule. So, while a mountain retreat may sound great, if you can’t connect, you can’t earn. Nomads want to rent accommodation with a fast internet connection, and fibre optic is almost essential.
Cities with wifi connection at the street level score highly. An hour working in the park is a healthy and refreshing change of scene.
Birds of a feather flock together, and these birds like to perch in a coffee shop. Or rather several, each with a pleasant atmosphere.
Moving from one coffee shop to another, makes working remotely a great lifestyle option. Spanish life revolves around coffee shops and bars (for bar do not think pub). There’s a constant flow of people to keep the worker stimulated.
Malaga is a prime example with multiple bars and coffee shops dotted around the city centre, port and paseo maritimo.
One thing the COVID-19 pandemic has done is rethink working spaces. Hotels have shifted gear and many city-based properties offer co-working spaces at a reasonable price. With internet connection, meeting spaces and other office services, it provides the corporate feel when it’s needed.
Culture and Leisure
Once the working day is done, the digital nomad is out to experience their new, temporary home. Beach, museum, art scene or cooking lessons, the ideal work-life balance is achieved. It’s slow travel at its best.
Why Spain for the nomadic lifestyle?
Simple – it has everything a digital nomad is looking for in its cities and fabulous beaches and nature on the doorstep.
Madrid and Barcelona are start-up hubs. That means lots of business and networking opportunities. Spain’s relatively low-cost of living, if you exclude the big two, compared to other European cities makes it doubly attractive. Throw in great weather and you have the perfect combination.
Spanish digital nomad hotspots
The Canary Islands
Year after year, Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria have become firm favourites among the nomad community. Nomadalist, ranks them in the top 10 worldwide places for digital nomads to settle. Lonely Planet recently placed Las Palmas in the number 1 spot.
It’s a dynamic city with lots of activities and a top spot for co-working spaces. Finding a coffee shop for a few hours at the laptop is easy. Walk for 5-minutes and you’ll pass at least one coffee shop. Barcelona is also one of the top 10 start-up hubs in Europe. For the entrepreneurial, the vibe, infrastructure and networking opportunities allow them to succeed there.
Valencia is Barcelona’s cheaper sister – but only in cost-of-living terms. For everything else, she’s got it in spades – weather, opportunities, and paella! The city is surrounded by beautiful beaches and countryside. There’s incredible modern architecture and a great culture scene.
When digital nomads rank Madrid, it scores highly for being female friendly, easily walkable, great nightlife, city wide wifi and places to work. With museums like the Prado on hand, there’s an excellent cultural hit, too. You might want to join the Spanish migratory nomads and head south in the winter, mind you; it can get a bit nippy.
For the hot summers, mild winters and outdoor life, Malaga is one of the best cities in Europe. The cost of living is lower than both Barcelona and Valencia. The tech park is also booming, great for job and networking opportunities. And let’s not forget the ten day feria in August, one of the biggest fiestas in Spain.
UPDATE: Working as a digital nomad when a non-EU national, i.e. a freelancer or employee of a non-Spanish company, is now difficult to do legally in Spain.
A non-lucrative visa – a residency visa for people who are not working – is not appropriate for digital nomads. The alternative is a Business Activity Residence Permit, which requires a business plan, letters from future Spanish clients and more. If you’re only planning on staying for a few months, this is likely to be a lot of work and the permit is not guaranteed. InSpain.news recommends non-EU nationals to see legal advice before moving to Spain to work.