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Top 10 cities for digital nomads and expats in Europe in 2024

2. april 2024 · 15 minute

After Top countries for digital nomads and expats in 2024, we've prepared a list of 10 best cities for digital nomads and expats in 2024, where the mix of work and wanderlust creates an unrivaled lifestyle. In this list, we not only explore the dynamic cultures and thriving communities that make these cities ideal workplaces for remote workers, but also pay tribute to the global nomad's most important companion: coffee.

Since your office is wherever you open your laptop, the importance of a cozy café and the perfect cup of coffee cannot be overstated. In each of these top 10 cities - Lisbon, Prague, Budapest, Malaga, Madrid, Valencia, Rome, Funchal, London, and Istanbul - we embark on a caffeinated journey to discover the different coffee cultures that fuel the lifestyles of digital nomads.

From the laid-back atmosphere of Lisbon to the historic charm of Rome and the great energy of Istanbul, we'll not only guide you through the intricacies of each city, but also show you how to order a coffee like a local.

After all, what would the life of a digital nomad be without the perfect cup to accompany their adventures?

Let's take a sip together through the 10 best cities for digital nomads and expats in 2024.

Lisbon, Portugal

digital nomads accommodation, rentals in lisbon, portugal

Situated on the banks of the Tagus, Lisbon attracts digital nomads and expats with a beguiling mix of historical and modern charm. Soon after landing in the Portuguese capital, you'll realize that Lisbon isn't just a city, but a canvas waiting for your unique story.

The Baixa district in the Lisbon city center area combines with the enchanting old town Lisbon - a maze of cobblestone streets and pastel-colored buildings - to create a special experience. With nearby beaches, Lisbon offers a perfect blend of city life and coastal relaxation, making it a great choice for those seeking a dynamic yet peaceful lifestyle.

How to order a coffee like a local in Lisbon

For digital nomads navigating the streets of Lisbon and preparing to work remotely from a cafe or co-working space, starting the day with a cup of coffee is not just a routine, but a cultural experience.

Portugal's rich coffee culture, rooted in centuries-old roasting expertise, offers a variety of unique flavors. Let’s delve into the art of ordering coffee in Lisbon like a local.

Glass of water, yes or no?

Portuguese espressos have a distinct thickness, leading many to accompany their coffee with a glass of water. While not everyone minds the lasting aftertaste, it's a personal choice

Additionally, you might be asked how you want your coffee - normal, cheio (full to the rim), or curto (half cup).

Sugar or black?

By default, coffee comes with sugar, and sweetener is available upon request. Both are complimentary, with café owners including them as part of their deal with suppliers.

The amount of sugar is a matter of personal preference, ranging from none at all to meticulously calculated portions.

When to drink coffee in Portugal?

In Portugal, anytime is a good time for coffee based on your caffeine tolerance. However, it is most commonly drunk in the morning or after lunch and dessert, as it provides a caffeine boost to counter the heaviness of traditional Portuguese meals. 

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Types of coffee

  • Café (bica in Lisbon, cimbalino in Porto): The go-to term for ordering an espresso.
  • Descafeinado: A decaf espresso, ideal for those wanting coffee without the late-day caffeine kick.
  • Italiana (ristretto): A very short espresso, similar to what Italians call a ristretto.
  • Carioca: A hint of espresso with lots of water in a small cup.
  • Abatanado: A large coffee, akin to an Americano but distinct from a double espresso.
  • Café duplo: A double espresso, two shots served in one cup.
  • Pingado: Espresso with a drop of milk, hot or cold.
  • Garoto: A weak, milky espresso that is usually given to children.
  • Meia de leite: Equal parts coffee and milk, served in a large cup.
  • Galão: A tall glass of ¼ coffee and ¾ milk, similar to a latte, with options for light or dark coffee based on preference.

Prague, Czech republic

living in Prague as digial nomad

Prague is considered one of the best cities for digital nomads, captivating with its diverse districts spanning 1-22, from the busy city center to the serene expanses of Ujezd and Vinohrady

The iconic Charles Bridge connects history with the present, offering breathtaking views of the Vltava River. 

The streets of Michalska and the enchanting Old Town Square reflect Prague's rich culture, while the city's pulse resonates at the Prague main railway station. 

With the prestigious Charles University and Czech University of Life Sciences contributing to the city's intellectual vibrancy, Prague seamlessly blends urban dynamism and residential charm.

How to order a coffee like a local in Prague

Starting the day with a cup of coffee is a cherished ritual for many, especially for digital nomads navigating the dynamic landscapes of different cities.

In Prague, where the love for hot drinks is universal, understanding the local coffee culture adds a delightful touch to your morning routine.

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Types of coffee

  • Turek (Turkish coffee): A traditional Czech choice, Turek introduces you to a unique brewing method. Hot water is poured over finely ground beans, creating a distinct sludge that settles at the bottom of your cup. This rustic, intense coffee is a bold start to your Prague mornings.
  • Espresso: For enthusiasts of strong, concentrated coffee, Espresso is the go-to choice. A black coffee with a touch of Italian sophistication, it's a quick and powerful sip that energizes your day.
  • Vídeňská káva (Viennese coffee): Indulge in the Viennese coffee experience, where your cup is graced with whipped cream atop a rich coffee base. This luxurious combination offers a sweet and creamy start to your day.
  • Překapávaná: Reflecting modern coffee trends, překapávaná is a drip coffee prepared by pouring hot water over ground coffee beans allowing it to brew.
  • Cappuccino and latte: Dive into the world of finely crafted coffees with options like cappuccino and latte available in many local cafés and restaurants. These variations offer a balance of coffee, milk, and foam, catering to diverse preferences.
  • Decaffeinated coffee: Decaffeinated coffee remains a rarity in Prague. The city predominantly favors the invigorating kick of caffeinated options.

Budapest, Hungary

coffee culture in Budapest, living in Budapest as digital nomad

Budapest is a fantastic choice for nomads and expatriates as it combines rich history with modern comforts. The city center, with its stunning architecture and vibrant atmosphere, serves as a magnetic hub for those seeking a dynamic urban lifestyle. 

The downtown area encapsulates a fusion of traditional Hungarian culture and contemporary conveniences, providing a perfect balance for residents. Expats are drawn to Budapest not only for its affordable cost of living but also for the thriving expat community that fosters a sense of belonging. 

Moreover, the renowned Sziget Festival, hosted on the enchanting Obuda Island, adds a distinctive touch.

How to order a coffee like a local in Budapest

For digital nomads working remotely, a cup of coffee is often the anchor that gets their day going. Apart from its aromatic wake-up call, coffee serves as a companion during the concentrated hours of work and as a calming break in the midst of a new environment. 

In Budapest, the coffee culture is interwoven with the city's rich history. Learning how to order a coffee in Budapest like a local not only enhances the caffeinated experience, but also opens a window into the city's authentic flavors.

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Types of coffee

  • Espresso (kávé): A strong, concentrated shot of black coffee.
  • Cappuccino: Espresso with equal parts steamed milk and foam. Request a "cappuccino" for the classic blend of bold coffee and creamy texture.
  • Flat white: Similar to a cappuccino but with a higher coffee-to-milk ratio. Ask for a "flat white" if you prefer a smoother, velvety coffee experience.
  • Macchiato: Espresso "stained" with a dollop of frothy milk. Opt for a "macchiato" if you enjoy the boldness of espresso with a hint of creaminess.
  • Turkish coffee (török kávé): Finely ground coffee simmered with water and sugar. Indulge in the rich cultural experience of sipping "török kávé" served with a touch of sweetness.
  • Einspänner: A Viennese-inspired coffee, featuring black coffee topped with a thick layer of whipped cream. Embrace decadence by ordering an "einspänner" for a delightful blend of bitterness and sweetness.
  • Ristretto: A shorter, more intense version of an espresso. If you crave a potent coffee kick, ask for a "ristretto" for a concentrated burst of flavor.

Malaga, Spain

coffee culture in Malaga, Spain, living in Malaga as digital nomad

With its inviting Mediterranean climate, abundant sunshine and picturesque beaches, Malaga offers a welcoming backdrop for those seeking a work-life balance. The city has a rich cultural offering, with historical landmarks such as the Alcazaba fortress and the Picasso Museum blending seamlessly with a contemporary art scene. 

Malaga's well-connected infrastructure and cosmopolitan atmosphere make the city an ideal hub for remote workers, as it offers a variety of co-working spaces and a growing digital nomad community. 

The local gastronomy with its Andalusian flavors complements the lifestyle, while the affordable living adds an extra appeal. Whether strolling through the charming old town, enjoying the diverse culinary offerings or tapping into the city's creative energy, Malaga is an exceptional destination that effortlessly blends tradition and modernity, making it an intriguing choice for nomads and expats alike.

How to order a coffee like a local in Malaga

In Malaga, people start their day with a hot cup of coffee and a light breakfast, followed by a heartier second breakfast and a coffee break around 11:30 a.m. The coffee love continues into the afternoon and even evenings for enthusiasts. Despite the constant coffee buzz, ordering in Spain can be tricky.

To make it easier, we've made a short guide on the types of coffee, so you can find your perfect match.

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Types of coffee

  • Un café solo: Bold and black, perfect for those who prefer the pure essence of coffee.
  • Un café largo: For those seeking an extra kick, this variety promises a robust and intense flavor.
  • Un corto: Resembling the intensity of an espresso shot, it's a concentrated dose of coffee goodness.
  • Un mitad (or “sol y sombra”): Strike the perfect balance with this delightful mix of half milk and half coffee, a harmonious blend of flavors.
  • Un entrecorto: A semi-short option catering to those who appreciate a nuanced balance in their coffee experience.
  • Un sombra: Literally, "shade" or "shadow." With approximately one-third coffee and two-thirds milk, this choice allows you to savor the interplay of shade and sun in your cup.
  • Un nube: Aptly named "cloud," this charming concoction features a generous amount of milk with just a splash of coffee, creating a comforting and velvety texture.
  • No me lo pongas: It humorously means "don't give me anything." It’s for those who prefer to skip the coffee altogether

London, United Kingdom

coffee culture in London, living in London as digital nomad

London, with its diverse city center, is an ideal destination for nomads and expats seeking a dynamic urban experience. From the iconic London Bridge to the bustling neighborhoods of Edmonton, Kennington and Vauxhall, the city offers a rich tapestry of cultures and opportunities. 

For academic pursuits, prestigious institutions such as Imperial College London, Queen Mary University of London, and King’s College London are scattered across the metropolis, attracting intellects and fostering a positive academic environment

The well-connected transport network, epitomized by London Victoria Station, efficiently links key districts.

How to order a coffee like a local in London

For digital nomads in London, starting the day with a good cup of coffee is a ritual embraced by many. As the UK consumes a staggering 98 million cups of coffee daily, exploring the diverse coffee options in the capital becomes an essential part of the nomadic experience.

Let’s take a look at the popular coffee orders that locals swear by, ensuring you can confidently order your morning brew just like a Londoner.

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Types of coffee

  • Flat white: A velvety mix of microfoam and espresso, offering a strong yet smooth flavor.
  • Latte: A milder option with steamed milk and a thin layer of foam, perfect for those who enjoy a creamier taste.
  • Cappuccino: Equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk, creating a balanced and rich coffee experience.
  • Long black: A double shot of espresso poured over hot water, providing a strong and aromatic black coffee.
  • Espresso: A concentrated shot of coffee, short and intense, for those who savor the pure essence of coffee beans.
  • Black Americano: Hot water added to a shot of espresso, resulting in a simple yet bold black coffee.
  • White Americano: Similar to the black version but with added steamed milk for a creamier texture.
  • Cortado: An espresso "cut" with a small amount of warm milk, striking a harmonious balance between strength and smoothness.
  • Cold brew coffee: Coffee brewed with cold water over an extended period, delivering a refreshing and less acidic taste, perfect for those warmer London days.

Madrid, Spain

coffee culture in Madrid, living in Madrid as digital nomad

Madrid is an exceptional destination for nomads and expatriates. The heart of the city, with its bustling city center, offers an atmosphere where historic landmarks, lively squares, and modern amenities coexist seamlessly. 

Madrid Atocha train station, a central hub connecting the city to different regions, represents the city's accessibility and strategic location. 

Nomads and expats are drawn to the dynamic rhythm of Madrid, which offers intellectual flair and a diverse community with its world-class universities such as the Complutense University of Madrid.

How to order a coffee like a local in Madrid

Starting the day with a cup of coffee is a cherished ritual for many, and for digital nomads navigating the busy streets of Madrid, understanding the local coffee culture is essential. In Spain, coffee is an integral part of daily life, with espresso reigning supreme. The coffee beans are often torrefacto, with sugar added during roasting, resulting in a bold, intense flavor. 

You can request your coffee in a taza (small mug) or vaso (glass), choosing the latter if you prefer a quicker cooldown. Decaffeinated coffee is available but often in instant form. 

Importantly, savoring coffee is a local pastime; take a moment to enjoy it in a café or bar rather than on-the-go. Read on to learn how to order coffee in Madrid like a local.

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Types of coffee

Basic coffee drinks

  • Café sólo: A single shot of espresso for the purists.
  • Cortado: Espresso with a splash of steamed or cold milk.
  • Café americano: Espresso with water for a milder flavor.
  • Café con leche: Spain's popular drink, with half espresso and half milk.
  • Café con hielo: Espresso with an ice cube for a cold option.

Specialty drinks

  • Carajillo: Espresso with liquor like Bailey’s or whiskey.
  • Trifásico: Carajillo with a splash of milk.
  • Café bombón: Sweet treat with condensed milk.
  • Café manchado: Espresso with a dash of milk or vice versa.
  • Café vienés: Café con leche with a generous serving of whipped cream.

Rome, Italy

coffee culture in Rome, living in Rome as digital nomad

Rome, with its rich history and modern charisma, is a sought-after destination for nomads and expats seeking a captivating experience. The city center, adorned with iconic landmarks like the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain, provides an immersive journey through time. 

Roma Termini train station serves as a central hub, effortlessly connecting residents and visitors to the city's various corners. Meanwhile, the spiritual and cultural heart of Vatican city beckons, offering a unique blend of art, history, and religious significance. 

How to order a coffee like a local in Rome

With a plethora of coffee options to choose from, ordering in a Roman café can be an adventure in itself.

Let's delve into the nuances of how to order coffee in Rome like a local, understanding the distinctive flavors and preparations that make each cup unique.

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Types of coffee

  • Caffe/espresso: A single shot of intense and slightly bitter coffee, best enjoyed without any added sugar.
  • Cappuccino: Espresso with hot milk and milk foam, with the option to request "latte scremato" for low-fat milk.
  • Caffe ristretto: An espresso with a thicker and more intense flavor, as the water is stopped before completion.
  • Caffe lungo: An espresso with an extended water drip, resulting in a more liquidy and less intense flavor.
  • Caffe corretto: An espresso with a shot of alcohol, a less common but invigorating option.
  • Caffe macchiato: Espresso "stained" with a drop of milk, available with hot or cold milk.
  • Caffe schiumato: Espresso with foamed milk, offering a perfect balance between a macchiato and a cappuccino.
  • Caffe latte: Coffee with a generous amount of hot milk, ideal for mornings.
  • Latte macchiato: A lot of milk with a drop of espresso, creating a slightly off-white color.
  • Marrocchino: Served in a small glass, this delightful concoction includes foamed milk and a generous amount of chocolate, making it a perfect indulgence or dessert-like coffee experience.

Valencia, Spain

coffee culture in Valencia, living in Valencia as digital nomad

Valencia, gracefully situated on the stunning Mediterranean coast, is a captivating haven for nomads and expats seeking an exquisite blend of culture, relaxation and academic pursuits

With golden beaches such as Patacona beach just moments away from the bustling city center, Valencia offers a tranquil retreat to those yearning for a harmonious coastal lifestyle.

The historic old town showcases a rich Spanish heritage, complemented by the architectural marvels near the University of Valencia

Whether you prefer the lively ambience of the city or the tranquility of life near the sea, Valencia effortlessly captures the hearts of nomads and expatriates alike.

How to order a coffee like a local in Valencia 

When venturing into the coffee culture of Valencia, ordering your daily dose of caffeine can be an artful experience. Locals take pride in their coffee rituals, and embracing the terminology adds an authentic touch to your morning routine.

Here's a quick guide on how to order coffee like a true Valencian.

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Types of coffee

  • Café Solo: Dive into the essence of simplicity with a "café solo," which is a single shot of espresso. Savor the concentrated flavors and kick-start your day with this strong, bold choice.
  • Café Americano: If you prefer a milder option, opt for a "café americano," which is espresso diluted with hot water. It offers a smoother taste without compromising on the aromatic richness.
  • Café con Leche: For a classic and comforting choice, order a "café con leche," a delightful combination of equal parts espresso and steamed milk. It strikes the perfect balance between robust coffee and creamy indulgence.
  • Cortado: Join the locals in their love for the "cortado," an espresso "cut" with a small amount of warm milk. This harmonious blend preserves the intensity of the coffee while providing a subtle, velvety texture.
  • Carajillo: To add a touch of spirit to your coffee experience, indulge in a "carajillo." This invigorating concoction combines espresso with a splash of brandy or rum, offering a flavorful kick and a hint of warmth.

Istanbul, Turkey

coffee culture in Istanbul, living in Istanbul as digital nomad

Istanbul, a transcontinental city in Eurasia, is one of the cheapest digital nomad locations and a popular destination for expats, weaving together a rich history and contemporary appeal.

From the city center to the neighborhoods of Aksaray, Bebek, Besiktas and Kadikoy, each district of the Istanbul province offers a unique charm and cultural experience. 

The iconic Blue mosque and the historic Grand bazaar stand as testaments to the city's deep-rooted heritage, while modern hubs like Maslak and Nisantasi showcase Istanbul's dynamic and cosmopolitan character. 

With neighborhoods like Esenyurt and Uskudar offering a mix of traditional and modern and famous areas like Sultanahmet and Taksim square, the province of Istanbul, with the city of Istanbul as its administrative center, is a captivating destination that blends old and new, making it an ideal retreat for nomads and expatriates. 

How to order a coffee like a local in Istanbul

In Turkey, coffee holds a special place, evident in its UNESCO recognition as an Intangible Cultural Heritage

Reading fortunes in coffee grounds is a unique aspect of Turkish coffee, and its popularity led to the creation of the first coffee houses in Istanbul, eventually spreading to the rest of Europe.

A traditional Turkish proverb says, "Every cup of coffee carries 40 years of memories," highlighting the cultural significance of this beverage.

Now, what sets Turkish coffee apart? It's not about the beans – any type can be used. 

Instead, Turkish coffee is finely ground and left in the coffee when served. Boiled in a special pot called a Cezve with sugar already inside, it froths, often multiple times, giving rise to various types of Turkish coffee.

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Types of coffee

  • Turkish coffee: Finely ground coffee, boiled in a special pot called a Cezve until frothy, often with sugar already inside, it's a symbol of Turkish hospitality and culture.
  • Menengiç: Made from the beans of a Pistacia terebinthus tree, native to southeastern Turkey, Menengiç coffee boasts a caffeine-free, fruitier flavor, offering a unique local delicacy.
  • Dibek: Stone-ground Turkish coffee, beaten with a stone pestle, resulting in a slightly lighter and thicker brew, often preferred when a milder cup is desired.
  • Mırra: A stronger, slightly bitter coffee, Mirra is roasted twice and less finely ground, common in Turkey's southeast, particularly in Urfa, often flavored with cardamom.
  • On sand/coals/ashes: Turkish coffee can be cooked in different ways, on sand, coals, or ashes, each method infusing a distinct taste, adding to the overall coffee experience.
  • Damla Sakızlı (with gum mastic) and other aromatic coffees: Various flavors like chocolate, cardamom, vanilla, hazelnut, and caramel can be added to Turkish coffee. Damla Sakızlı, with gum mastic, provides a unique and delightful twist to the traditional coffee, enhancing its flavor profile.

Funchal, Portugal

coffee culture in Funchal, Portugal, living in Funchal as digital nomad

Funchal, on the stunning island of Madeira, is often at the top of the list of best places for digital nomads, not just in Europe but worldwide. The capital boasts a mild climate all year round, making it an ideal getaway for those in search of comfortable living conditions. 

The picturesque landscapes of Funchal, with its lush gardens, scenic coastlines and charming streets, provide an enchanting backdrop for exploration. The city is peppered with historical landmarks, markets, and cultural festivals that give an insight into Madeira's traditions. 

With a diverse culinary scene, friendly locals, and a relatively low cost of living, Funchal is an attractive destination for those looking to live the nomadic or expatriate life

How to order a coffee like a local in Funchal

Coffee, often considered the catalyst for a productive day, holds special significance for the digital nomad community in Madeira.

Understanding how to order coffee in Funchal like a local becomes a delightful exploration of flavors, traditions, and unique brews that characterize this charming city, one of the best digital nomad locations in the world.

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Types of coffee

  • Bica: Similar to Italian espresso but slightly larger, with a milder taste, and served without milk.
  • Bica cheia: A larger variant of bica, filling the espresso cup, comparable to a "long espresso," and served without milk.
  • Italiana/bica curta: Smaller than bica, akin to a "short espresso," and served without milk.
  • Chino: With more water than bica, similar to an "Americano," served without milk in a larger tea cup.
  • Garoto: Translated as "a little boy," it's a small coffee with milk served in an espresso cup.
  • Chinesa: Similar to garoto but twice as large, served in a larger teacup.
  • Galão: Resembling "café au lait" or "caffè latte," it's a weak coffee with frothed milk, served in a tall glass, often enjoyed in the mornings.
  • Cappuccino: Comparable to a local Chinesa, a regular coffee with milk, or, for some, a coffee with an added taste, usually instant coffee. To order a regular coffee with milk, asking for a Chinesa is recommended.

Flatio: Rentals for your next caffeinated adventure

Begin your next caffeinated adventure with Flatio!

Whether you're envisioning the charming streets of Lisbon, the historic vibes of Rome, or the dynamic vitality of Istanbul, Flatio has the perfect accommodation rentals waiting for you.

From short stays to longer escapes, discover your ideal home in the top destinations in Europe and beyond.

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