Choosing a destination as a digital nomad is no easy task. You need to research not only the place you will go, but whether it has good internet, the rent is affordable, if there are activities to do or adjacent areas to discover and whether there is a digital nomad community to have company and share ideas and experiences with.
With the growing number of digital nomads worldwide, the need for places dedicated to them that fit their criteria and cover their needs became a pressing priority, thus came the idea of creating digital nomad villages.
What is a digital nomad village?
A digital nomad village is something like an organized community that covers the needs of digital nomads and their lifestyle. This can mean a certain area or small village with co-working spaces, co-living places or long-term rentals, strong internet and a variety of activities.
There are currently several digital nomad villages. The most famous was the one in Madeira (Portugal) which launched in 2020 and had more than 11,000 applicants by 2022.
Are there many nomad villages around the world?
Besides Madeira’s digital nomad village, which was the first one to be established, there are several ones around Europe:
- The Digital Nomad Valley in Zadar (Croatia)
- The Tallinn Digital Nomad Village (Estonia – in concept phase)
- Bansko in Bulgaria
- Trento in Italy
Earlier this year, Gonçalo Hall, the founder of the first village in Madeira, announced that he is working on establishing the first digital nomad village in South America, specifically in Pipa, Brazil.
There are talks of establishing digital nomad villages in the nomad hotspots in Asia, like Chiang Mai, Koh Phangan, Bali and Bangkok.
How can a destination become a digital nomad village?
The founders of several digital nomad villages all agreed on some common characteristics that are needed to make a village a digital nomad one, among these are:
1. Strong, reliable internet
If the village doesn’t have this one, there is no need to go further. This is the most important element for digital nomads to come. Not just any internet connection, it needs to be strong, fast and reliable, otherwise they can’t work, or have to pay high costs for satellite internet or mobile data, which is not convenient.
2. Digital nomad facilities
Like coworking and coliving spaces, where digital nomads can do their work and connect with other nomads. Having dedicated work spaces makes the likelihood of attracting digital nomads much higher.
3. Things to do
Digital nomads took up this lifestyle to experience and explore, so there has to be something for them to experience and explore. Even if the place is small and can be covered in a short time, organizers can plan activities like hiking, yoga, watersports, wine tasting or trips to nearby villages. Other events like parties or even speed dating can help the community connect and bond.
Might not be an obvious one, but digital nomads almost always report having a better time in a place that gives them a sense of authenticity. For example, in the nomad village of Tursi in Italy, they established a coworking space in an ancient monastery, in a rural traditional Italian village, this was a highlight for nomads who visited this village.
5. Connection with local community
It’s part of the culture of digital nomads to want to connect with the local community and to give back to it. Having joint activities with the local community, or creating opportunities for connection like events, seminars or even a beach cleanup together, will be a very interesting experience for nomads.
6. Support from private and public sectors
If the village project has support from local bodies, like a local tourism board or a local service provider, it is almost guaranteed to go well. Having support from private sector as well makes things much better! This means discounts and deals can be secured for nomads, paperwork can be easier and problems can be solved faster.
Since many problems are usually related to health insurance, make sure you have a travel medical insurance that covers you all over the world. For example, SafetyWing is a provider catered to digital nomads, with special packages covering their every need.
Are digital nomad villages good?
Digital nomad villages have a lot of benefits for all parties involved.
For nomads: It’s convenient. It’s a place where all your needs are covered, everything is catered to your lifestyle, you have activities to do and people to connect with. There are people to help you get your papers in order, help you when you arrive and keep you company throughout your journey. Things are easier, which is helpful especially for first time nomads, or for nomads who want a break from planning.
For the villages: The main benefit that hardly any other project can do, is that the concept of digital nomad villages can bring life to villages suffering from low population and/or brain drain. This is the case in Spain and Italy, where villages were chosen based on their need for visitors and newcomers.
Having services for digital nomads means creating job opportunities for locals, refreshing the real estate market and pumping money into the local economy.
As mentioned above, digital nomads like to give back. Whether that is in the form of their sustainable practices, or helping build, restore, clean or even teach something. It can also be in the form of sharing ideas that may inspire local businesses and startups.
What do you think of digital nomad villages? Have you been to one?
Tell us about your experience.