The last twelve months have proved to many that they do not need to be in the office to fulfil their work duties, and that has opened up a wealth of new opportunities for those ready to embrace the digital nomad lifestyle. From the UK, we are lucky enough to have all of Europe on our doorstep, and whilst moving there may not be quite as easy as it was while we were member of the EU, most EU nations are opening their doors to young entrepreneurs and digital nomads looking for a new place to call home.
Whilst many European countries offer a welcoming mix of reliable local services, good healthcare, and fast internet infrastructure, Spain is quickly becoming one of the top destinations with its unique combinations of historic culture, affordable cost of living, a laid back lifestyle, warm weather, sandy beaches, delicious food, and a young, friendly population. Indeed, Barcelona was recently voted the number one “tech city” in southern Europe in the recent Tech Cities of the Future 2020/21 report by fDi and TNW, thanks to its innovation and tech investments and reputation as a start-up hub.
Madrid, the Spanish capital, is also gaining a reputation as a European start-up hub with Bipi, OnTruck, and Woom all based in the city and getting significant traction in the marketplace and with investors. According to research by Startupxplore there are more than 1,700 start-ups in Spain at the moment, 468 of which are based in Catalonia and 443 in Madrid.
Brexit uncertainty and digital nomad visas
Brits who were legally residents in Spain before the end of the transition period on 1 January 2021 will be able to stay as long as they correctly register as a resident. However, for those looking to make the move today the situation is more uncertain. The UK and Spain are expected to come to a bilateral agreement for those wishing to travel and move between both countries, but the terms of such a deal are currently unknown. Luckily, however, Spain offers a “self-employment work visa“, often referred to as a digital nomad visa, so that those looking to live and work in the country for under 12 months can do so with relative ease as long as they fill out the right paperwork.
Internet speeds and mobile connectivity
Digital start-ups and remote work would not be possible without a reliable and fast internet connection and good mobile connectivity, and luckily Spain offers both.
Spain has good and reliable mobile connectivity, with its 5G rollout coming along much more quickly than in the UK, but it is the broadband speeds where Spain really shines today. According to Ookla’s latest monthly report, Spain offers the sixth fastest broadband speeds in the world, with an average speed of 189.50Mbps, which is more than double the speeds we get in the UK.
Thousands of digital nomads from the UK have moved to Spain in recent years, and a variety of companies have emerged offering broadband and mobile connectivity services designed specifically for those coming British shores, making the move even easier as explained in this article. These companies will setup up digital nomads with their broadband, phone sim card, and even an IPTV service to help them watch UK television shows whilst abroad, so they can stay up-to-date with the latest series of Line of Duty.
Spain welcomes digital nomads
As Spain has become an increasingly popular destination for digital nomads, the countries towns and cities have slowly adapted in recent years to provide young people with high quality co-working spaces alongside cafes and bars with good internet connections, so people can make the most of the area whilst still getting their work done.
The laid back and sunny atmosphere combined with the fast internet speeds and a startup-friendly experience makes Spain one of the best places for digital nomads to live and work today.
Photograph by Aleksandar Pasaric