Over the last few years, and especially since the pandemic, the competition among digital nomad destinations has been fierce.
Every day there is a new country issuing a digital nomad visa, or investing in its internet quality to attract nomads; marketing campaigns for nomads are booming, all to attract those remote workers who represent a significant share of tourism revenues and bring a degree of prosperity to local communities.
But what makes a great digital nomad destination?
Is it the landscape? the activities? the friendliness of the locals? The food? The history? The affordability?…etc
There may be 100 more elements, but the answer is a combination of all of these, with the priority arranged according to the specific nomad. And in the case of Croatia, this one country has it all.
Most liked destination
A yearly survey by Nomad List, a trusted source of digital nomadism data and insights on digital nomad communities, ranked Croatia as the most liked digital nomad destination, with a rating of 4.9 out of 5. The only country that had the same score was Japan.
Croatia also was named the 6th most popular destination among women, and the 24th most visited country in general.
Why is Croatia so popular?
Apart from being a top tourist destination, and one of the fastest recovering tourist destinations after Covid, being the most liked destination by nomads means Croatia is doing something right, and it’s more than one thing.
- A pioneer in issuing the digital nomad visa: Croatia was the first country in Europe to introduce a digital nomad visa, early in 2021. The fact that it understood the value and the needs of digital nomads so early on, gave it a great advantage. It was also one of the first countries to open its borders, when others were enforcing lockdowns during the pandemic.
- The infrastructure is ready: cities are equipped and prepared to welcome an influx of nomads. With good internet speeds, services and accommodation options.
- Long-term rentals: You won’t have a problem finding a long-term rental in Croatia, especially in cities like Zagreb, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik. The market is well accustomed to the demands of digital nomads.
- Coworking spaces and cafes are plenty: There are so many places you can work from if you don’t want to work from home. Work-friendly cafes and co-working spaces are available and affordable.
- Friendly locals: Locals are friendly, it’s not difficult to find someone who speaks English, and the population is open to hosting nomads.
- There is so much to see and do: Castles, greenery, amazing beaches, historical cathedrals and many national parks. You won’t get bored in Croatia.
- The weather: there is something for everyone, as Croatia has 2 climate zones. One zone has a mountainous climate, and the rest is all Mediterranean warmth.
- Good launchpad for a Balkan experience: you can visit nearby Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Herzegovina and Montenegro by bus, by flight or by car. This is plus its proximity to the rest of Europe and the international airports it has in different cities.
- Safety: Croatia was named among the top 30 safest destinations in the world. It ranks high on lists for female and LGBTQI+-friendly destinations.
- Affordability: you can get by in most cities on an average of $2,500 per month, according to Nomad List.
- The food: Croatian cuisine is ranked the 17th best in the world (the black risotto has international fame).
- So many cities to explore: Neo-renaissance feeling in the capital Zagreb? visiting the digital nomad village in Zadar? walking along the walls of Dubrovnik? The magical coasts of Split? Or experiencing the island feeling in Pula, Trogir and Hvar? So many options.
Croatia made it easy
Croatia has put a lot of effort over the last 3 years to attract digital nomads. The digital nomad visa is easy to apply for, most of the procedure is done online, and the fee ranges from $80-$150.
The minimum income requirement for the visa is also not high (a bit over $2000) which gives the chance to more nomads to experience Croatia. The duration is 1 year.
If you acquire the digital nomad visa, which is actually a residence permit, you will also be exempted from paying taxes for a year.
Croatia also introduced a ‘digital nomad village‘ called “The Valley” which was launched as early as October of 2021. The village is located in the port town of Zadar, famous for its markets, nice weather all year round and amazing beaches.
The digital nomad valley in Zadar has 2 resorts, at a 5-minute distance from each other and about a 30-minute walk to the centre of the town.
Now, Croatia is the top recovering tourism destination in Europe and had an increase of 132% in overnight stays in 2022. It continues to serve as a living example of how much a country can benefit from opening its arms to digital nomads and supporting this lifestyle.
Do you believe Croatia is the top destination for nomads? Let us know.