There are a myriad of reasons why Europe is consistently one of the top home swapping and remote working continents in the world. But boasting beautifully preserved historical towns, the world’s most renowned art and every landscape you can dream of, are only the tip of this iceberg.
Europe is home to 6 of the 8 most convenient cities to stay in globally for digital nomads, accounts for 20 of the 30 top countries in the world for internet speeds, and 21 of the 30 safest countries in the world are in Europe. On top of this, Europe has a thriving cafe culture where free wifi is standard, and offers increasingly more community workspaces which provide a colorful mix of different workspaces to spice up your remote work days.
To make Europe even more welcoming to digital nomads from other continents, numerous European countries are currently issuing special digital nomad visas to make short stays and workations in Europe even easier–and this will be expanded to the entire Schengen Area next year. With so many reasons making Europe ideal for remote working and home exchanges, we figured we’d share with you our list of the top 6 unobvious European cities to home swap and work remotely from. Let’s dive in:
Georgia, a country at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, is rapidly becoming known as a great country for working remotely. Georgia welcomes most people to stay for up to one year on a tourist visa which is one of the longest tourist visas on arrival in Europe. Your hard-earned money will go far in Georgia–it is extremely affordable compared to the rest of Europe. You can have a hearty meal in a restaurant for less than €5, and a one-way public transportation ticket goes for less than €0.20.
Tbilisi is the capital and biggest city in Georgia, and is home to most foreign remote workers. The access to the amenities that many of the foreign workers would expect at home makes it a prime destination within Georgia. The capital offers many coworking spaces where remote workers can mix and mingle with other workers and build a local network. Impact Hub, Termnial Khorava and LOKAL Tbilisi are just some of the most popular places to cowork from.
Tbilisi is known for its vibrant nightlife, orange local wine, charming old town, stunning architecture and friendly locals that make adjusting to the new destination pleasant. One thing to keep in mind is that Tbilisi suffers from lots of automobile traffic and the air quality can be polluted in the winter.
The city ringed by ancient canals is known for its high quality of life. While accommodation tends to be expensive, you won’t have to worry about any costs as long as you use Swaphouse to swap your home with someone living in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is highly international, with overy 50% of the population being foreigners. Amsterdam is a welcoming place to people from all over the world, and the fact that most Dutch people speak remarkably good English makes it easy for people to live there without needing to speak a word of Dutch.
The Amsterdam airport, Schiphol, has been ranked one of the best airports in the world. When flying out of it, you won’t even need to remove liquids from your luggage as the airport is equipped with the latest luggage scanning technology.
Amsterdam is home to myriad co-working spaces and cafes that make meeting other remote workers and home swappers a breeze. Best laptop-friendly cafes and workspaces in Amsterdam
The Netherlands has been a leader in embracing flexible working. Before the pandemic, workers in the Netherlands were 4x more likely to work outside the office on a regular basis than workers in the US. It’s no surprise then that the Netherlands has the highest percentage of remote workers in the world! Amsterdam offers a pleasant work-life balance. Its network of bike lanes make biking around the city the most efficient and fastest way to get around. The city is dotted with parks and on nice days the picnic culture is vibrant. And if you fancy a different view of the quaint canal houses, you can get to any neighborhood by boat!
Zagreb, the capital and largest city of Croatia has been rated one of the more convenient cities for remote worker digital nomads. While not situated on the turquoise idyllic coast of Croatia, Zagreb offers plenty of reasons to make it a great remote working destination. This city is famous for its cafe and coffee culture. It offers a plethora of quaint cafes to work from, so you’ll never run low on coffee fuel for your work.
Working remotely from Croatia has never been easier. In 2021 the country launched a new visa for digital nomads which is valid for up to 1 year and includes tax exemptions from paying income tax in Croatia.
While Croatian is not the easiest language to learn, the good news is that you won’t need it for getting around as many people in Zagreb have a working knowledge of English. So you can enjoy the gothic architecture instead of being buried in Google Translate.
Cologne is the fourth largest city in Germany meaning it offers all the amenities and creature comforts that you can expect in a big city. It is well connected to the rest of Europe, and the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg are within a couple hours train ride away. Day trips to other countries, anyone?
Additionally, Cologne features reliable public transportation (including a network of U-bahn metros and streetcars) throughout the city. Or if you prefer using your own legs for transport, it’s also a very walkable and bike-friendly city. If you want to escape the city hustle and bustle for an afternoon, the S-bahn train will transport you outside the city for some fresh air in less than an hour. Cologne is bursting with sites to see. From one of the biggest cathedrals in Europe, (and one that took 600 years to build!) to the Ludwig Modern Art museum, and the charming beer hands and riverside restaurants, it is buzzing with places to explore.
Cologne is home to reliable internet–both at home and throughout the city. The city is peppered with wireless hotspots, including at most cafes. While ubiquitous, it’s always good to double-check the internet speeds at a cafe before getting cozy with a cappuccino. Germany has long been welcoming to foreign remote workers. It was the first country to create and issue freelance visas for foreign workers who want to work on their freelance projects from Germany– there is one for artists and another for other professionals.
Tip: In Germany, cash is still king. Even a global pandemic couldn’t sever Germans from their reliance on cash. So it’d be good to have cash handy when you arrive.
Krakow is one of the most visited cities by tourists in Poland, making it a vibrant international environment to work remotely from. Considering how much culture there is to explore in Krakow, it is an extremely affordable place to stay. For example, you can have a proper restaurant meal for less than €8 and a half liter of beer for less than €2. Being a large city, Krakow offers all the amenities and creature comforts you would need when staying and working remotely from there.
The city offers highly reliable and fast internet. The average fixed broadband speed in Poland for downloads is 120mbps and 41mbps for uploads. You can get mobile internet speed at 42 mbps for downloads and 10 mbps for uploads.
Come to Krakow hungry! Krakow offers a vibrant variety of activities and sites, and has won multiple cultural awards including the European Capital of Gastronomic Culture in 2019 and the European Capital of Culture in 2000. The main square in Krakow’s Old Town is one of the biggest in Europe and offers prime spots to work from outdoor cafe tables in the summer.
Krakow offers a feast for the cultural soul, featuring museums, art galleries, theaters, concert halls, restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs, and many historical sites such as castles, churches, synagogues, historic houses and charming squares. Consider visiting in Spring between March and May when there are fewer tourists and the city starts to become livelier with the locals.
Brussels in Belgium is a multicultural city that welcomes remote workers. The excellent metro and bus system makes getting around the bustling city a breeze. The city is home to a diverse and vibrant population of expats–not least due to it being the seat of the European Union. You’ll find it easy to meet people from all over the world while working remotely.
Located within a couple hours train ride to Amsterdam, Paris and London, Brussels is a great location for remote workers that would like to explore other top cities in Europe. But don't forget: Belgium is one of the largest historical refiners of chocolate. You'll enjoy this delicacy at its finest in Brussels – and don’t miss out on hot pressed waffles during your work break!
No matter which of these unobvious European cities you choose for your next remote working adventure, you can stay in home-office friendly accommodation for free with Swap House. Just imagine how many warm waffles and canal boat rides you could enjoy with all the money you save. We’re already jealous just thinking of it!
This guide is here to give you an overview of how to properly prepare your home for a house swap before guests arrive.
To help guide you while loading your backpack for a remote work adventure, be sure to consider the following items...