Taking a break from your usual place of work can do wonders for your productivity and wellbeing. Warm climates with plenty of sunshine can easily make us feel more active and alert even if we’re not aware of this. With the addition of an alpine landscape or a tropical paradise you’ll be motivated to hit productivity targets in your waking hours, leaving room for exploration during your downtime.
For those who aren’t familiar with the term ‘workation’, simply put, it’s an opportunity to hit the refresh button on your routine and escape your home office for a short period of time. This is slightly different from a digital nomad, who is more mobile and inclined to see the entire world as their office.
The 10 cities were chosen from a recent study by Preply, which compared 75 cities around the world to determine which were the most suitable for a workation. Some of the main factors taken into account included travel time within the city, climate, level of safety as well as English language proficiency.
Here are the top 10 workation destinations to consider this year.
Price of Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle): US$2.82
Livability: Brisbane is nestled between the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast with a population of 2.5 million. While it may be one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities, it’s still the most budget-friendly option, compared to the more southern cities of Sydney and Melbourne.
With plans to increase its green space over the coming years, Brisbane is ideal for nature lovers. The city’s mild winters and 250-plus days of sunshine are suitable for year-round outdoor activities such as hiking, sailing, picnics and even a dip in the ocean.
The city’s mild winters and 250-plus days of sunshine are suitable for year-round outdoor activities.
The subtropical lifestyle attracts a diverse mix of people, creating a cultural melting pot. With its reliable transport system, you’ll also want to make the most of Brisbane’s colorful cultural events calendar. Why not kick off your weekend with a visit to Eat Street Northshore or a fine dining venue overlooking the Brisbane River?
If you’re visiting Brisbane from overseas, some of the costs of medical care are covered if your country of residence has a reciprocal health care arrangement.
- Renting in Brisbane is around 27.3 percent lower than in Sydney.
- The city has an extensive public transport system of buses, trains and ferries.
- With the exception of its natural disaster risk, Brisbane scores low in most areas relating to personal safety.
- The city’s average age of 35 is reflected in the vibrant nightlife and underground music scene.
Price of Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle): US$1.64
Livability: Beyond its cobblestone streets and colorful neighborhoods, The City of Light is ideal for budding entrepreneurs. Success stories of tech startups have highlighted the Portuguese capital’s flair for innovation and tech talent. With foreign companies also setting up offices (due to favorable tax conditions), it’s hardly surprising that Lisbon has become a popular destination for remote workers. Fast internet speeds, multiple transportation options, 300-plus days of sunshine and cheerful co-working spaces could tempt you into making Lisbon your chosen destination for regular workations.
- The shoulder seasons (spring and autumn) are ideal for experiencing the city with fewer tourists, milder temperatures and lower prices.
- Like most popular European destinations, Lisbon provides fertile ground for pickpockets and scammers. Beware of additional charges on your restaurant bill or receiving a meal you never ordered.
- In 2022, Portugal ranked first in the Work from Wherever Index by Kayak for its safety, cost of living and good internet connections.
- In the English Proficiency Index 2022, Portugal ranked ninth out of 111 countries, ahead of Germany, Croatia, South Africa and Poland. These countries were all categorized as having a very high English proficiency.
Price of Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle: US$1.46
Livability: The Eastern Mediterranean island is an attractive destination for beach lovers, investors and solo travelers. Recognized as one of the safest countries in the world, the island has a strong military presence and a low crime rate. It also boasts one of the lowest tax rates in the European Union, which is good news for international companies and foreign investors. The business climate is known to be welcoming, with English widely spoken. Compared to other European nations, Cyprus is also an affordable destination with a mix of cultural influences from Turkey, Greece and the Middle East. This is expressed in the multicultural architecture and culinary flavors.
Cyprus is also an affordable destination with a mix of cultural influence from Turkey, Greece and the Middle East.
The capital, Nicosia, has been divided since 1974. However, you can spend your euros in both parts of the city. As an inland region, temperatures can climb to 37 degrees Celsius during the summer months, so it’s best to take your workation during spring or autumn.
- For a workation, a European Health Insurance Card or travel insurance are good options.
- If you intend to turn your workation into a permanent home, there are two options: a Yellow Slip for European Union Nationals or a Cyprus Digital Nomad Visa for non-European Union Nationals.
- Short-term accommodation sites worth noting include Airbnb, Bazaraki and Facebook Marketplace.
- Consider taking your scuba diving or snorkeling skills to the next level. Cyprus has some of the purest waters in the European Union as well as underwater archeological sites to explore.
- The intercity buses are the most budget-friendly way to navigate Nicosia, however a rental car is advisable for exploration beyond the city.
Price of Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle): US$1.03
Livability: Known for its high-speed internet, which is free in many spots throughout the city, Taipei has much more to offer beyond bubble teas and tofu. It’s often referred to as the heart of Taiwan and a playground for epicureans for good reason. The global street food scene is evident on almost every corner and the array of night markets will leave you feeling full without draining your wallet. A visit to one of the many Taiwanese tea houses is a must during your downtime, and the mountain town of Jiufen should definitely be included in your itinerary.
The global street food scene is evident on almost every corner and the array of night markets will leave you feeling full without draining your wallet.
The most eco-friendly and convenient way to get around is by bike via the YouBike share program. There are more than 200 stations dotted throughout the city. The best times of the year to visit are during spring or autumn, when the weather is less humid and you’ll be able to comfortably visit the local temples, beaches and national parks without building up a sweat.
- A single person can expect to pay around US$870 per month without taking rent into account.
- Accomodation options include Airbnb, Agoda and hotels.
- Trains are recommended for day trips beyond the city center to places like Wulai, a popular hot springs destination.
- Taiwan was named the third-safest country in the world in Numbeo’s Crime Index 2023, with a score of 83.8, behind Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
- Taiwan is prepared to invest US$982 million to meet the goal of increasing the nation’s English proficiency by 2030. The four official languages – Taiwanese, Mandarin, Hakka and the Formosan languages – don’t include English.
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Livability: Ljubljana is known for its temperate climate with Mediterranean summers and cool winters. For this reason, the best time of year to visit the capital is from April to October. Ljubljana was named European Green Capital 2016 and is home to picturesque landscapes – karstic plateaus, alps and valleys – that are perfect for day trips and make for a stunning backdrop while you type away.
Ljubljana was named European Green Capital 2016 and is home to picturesque landscapes.
A classic example is the nearby Bled Lake, which boasts a small island and is bordered by lush green mountains. Lesser known towns are accessible via train, which enables visitors to use Ljubljana as a springboard for exploring Slovenia’s rich culture. If you’re staying for a few months or longer, consider familiarizing yourself with the local language: Slovenian.
- Unless you’re a citizen of Croatia or a holder of the European Health Insurance Card, consider taking out international travel insurance to access Slovenia’s health services.
- If you’re struggling with an unreliable wi-fi connection, the city has a wide selection of cafes and coworking spaces to choose from, with wi-fi included.
- When it comes to safety, the only real threat is petty theft, which means that pickpockets should be on your radar.
- Consumer prices, including rent, can be considerably lower compared to other European cities like London (46.6 percent higher) and Berlin (26.2 percent higher).
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle): US$2.59
Livability: Finns didn’t need the pandemic to introduce an entirely new level of flexibility to their work day. Since the 1990s, employees have benefited from the Working Hours Act, which introduced the freedom to work earlier or later in the day. Many companies offer jobs that are location-independent, so you’ll be able to adopt some of the local traditions for work–life balance while you’re visiting.
The capital is teeming with spectacular examples of Finnish design and more than 300 nearby islands to choose from.
As a compact city, Helsinki is easy to navigate by foot. However, you’ll be able to immerse yourself better in the culture by choosing a rental bike; during spring or autumn is best. Be aware that the cost of living in Helsinki is higher than destinations like Lisbon and Nicosia, but if you love design and nature you’ll be in for a treat. The capital is teeming with spectacular examples of Finnish design and more than 300 nearby islands to choose from.
- Finland consistently ranks at the top of the Global Peace Index.
- The hottest month of the year in Helsinki is July, with an average temperature of 21 degrees Celsius, while the winters are typically long and cold. Bear in mind that the sun in Helsinki sets at around 11pm in June.
- For those who don’t possess a European Health Insurance Card, travel insurance is advisable. The exception is permanent residents and citizens of Australia, who are entitled to public health care with the same rates that apply to Finnish residents.
- The right to broadband access was introduced in 2010. This is good news for visitors who can use Finland’s free public wi-fi network.
Price of Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle): US$2.78
Livability: Considered one of the most refined cities in Europe, Austria’s capital understandably attracts a large volume of tourists every year. Travelers will find some breathing space during spring and autumn when temperatures are mild and the crowds are less intense. The continental climate means you can expect cold winters and hot summers.
Whether you’re seeking to experience the luxurious Viennese way of life or sticking to a budget, Austria won’t disappoint.
Whether you’re seeking to experience the luxurious Viennese way of life or sticking to a budget, Austria won’t disappoint. While the city’s thriving tech scene and startup culture are good enough reasons to network while you're visiting, finding long-term accommodation may be your biggest challenge. The most cost-effective and easiest way to navigate the city is via bus, tram or bike. The good news is that you’ll easily be able to get by with speaking English.
- Like every other crowded European city, scammers and pickpockets are two main safety concerns. Paying for accommodation in advance or signing a contract without inspecting the property and meeting the owner are to be avoided.
- Visas are not required for visitors staying up to 90 days and European Union residents can stay in Austria for as long as they wish.
- Public healthcare is available to Austrian and European Union citizens, so it’s worth investing in travel insurance if you’re not a citizen or resident within these countries.
- Austria borders eight countries and consists mainly of mountains and forests, which are worth exploring during your downtime.
- Learn Austrian etiquette, which informs the way locals dress, behave in public and interact with others. Be aware that most people keep to a certain standard of dressing when leaving the home.
Auckland, New Zealand
Price of Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle): US$2.40
Livability: The City of Sails is New Zealand’s economic powerhouse and a lucrative choice for international luxury brands targeting the nation’s big spenders. More than a gateway for adventurous travelers entering the country, Auckland is the Southern Hemisphere’s Mecca for sailing and island-hopping. The islands are nestled in the Hauraki Gulf and are accessible via ferry or kayak if you choose to explore the volcanic island of Rangitoto. The pristine beaches and vineyards at Waiheke Island attract tourists and locals alike, particularly honeymooners.
Electric scooters and bikes are excellent options on a fine day in waterfront areas and the central business district.
Electric scooters and bikes are excellent options on a fine day in waterfront areas and the central business district. However, a car is recommended for day trips further afield, provided you’re game enough to navigate the city’s extensive freeway system. The high season for tourism stretches from December to February, during which prices across the board reach their peak. To avoid unpleasant spells of wind and rain during winter, consider visiting Auckland during the shoulder seasons in spring and autumn.
- While not a legal requirement, investing in short-term travel insurance while in New Zealand may be a good option. For accidental injuries, your medical care will be covered by the New Zealand government.
- Popular suburbs to explore include Devonport, Parnell, Ponsonby and Mission Bay, which offer some fine examples of early European settlement.
- While Auckland is generally safe, Karangahape Road and Queen Street are the main locations where you might need to exercise a bit of caution.
- Don’t be fooled by the city’s free library wi-fi access. Your daily limit is capped at 1GB of data, which will have you heading to a nearby cafe in no time.
Price of Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle): US$2.36
Livability: Located at the junction of three rivers and surrounded by wilderness, Ottawa is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts year round. With its extensive cycle pathways and efficient public transport options, navigating Canada’s capital is relatively easy without a car, provided you’re not living on the outskirts of the city.
Ottawa truly comes alive in the spring during the Canadian Tulip Festival.
The population is just over a million, with plenty of green outdoor spaces and culinary flavors from diverse cultural influences that have shaped this metropolis. The light-rail and buses are the main modes of transportation, which offer benefits for kids and seniors. While the winters can be severe, long with plenty of snow, the summers are typically humid and warm.
The city boasts the world’s longest naturally frozen rink – The Rideau Canal Skateway – which can be enjoyed during the summer via a cruise along the same river. Not only does it provide a gateway into a winter wonderland, but Ottawa truly comes alive in spring during the Canadian Tulip Festival, the largest event of its kind.
- Consumer prices are around 45 percent higher than in Lisbon.
- Ottawa is located between Montreal and Toronto, where both English and French are spoken.
- Ottawa has Canada’s lowest violent crime rate in comparison to the nation’s other major cities.
- It’s among the coldest capitals in the world alongside Tallinn, Reykjavik, Helsinki and Moscow. This means a host of winter activities await you that you may not have even considered, like staying overnight in a Wolf Cabin.
Price of Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle): US$2.56
Livability: As the economic center of Iceland, Reykjavik is where more than half the population resides. Since 1918, the nation has been recognized as a sovereign state which was, up until then, under Danish rule. Due to political, geographical and political factors, the price of goods can seem extravagant. The cost of importing many products is passed onto the consumer, accounting for the 24 percent value added tax (VAT) rate. However, overseas travelers can claim VAT on purchases that exceed US$42.85 which is paid in the currency of your preference.
As the economic center of Iceland, Reykjavik is where more than half the population resides.
For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of modern city living, escaping into the Icelandic wilderness in search of hot springs and geysers is possible here. Or catch a ferry to the nearby islands of Akurey and Engey to observe puffins nesting between May and August.
- Consumer prices in Reykjavik are around 28 percent higher than in the Finnish capital of Helsinki.
- Reykjavík was named a UNESCO City of Literature in 2011 and is home to original manuscripts from Icelandic Sagas.
- The best time to visit Iceland to view the Northern Lights is between September and March, or between June and August to experience the midnight sun.
- The famous Blue Lagoon, a milky blue geothermal spa, is around 50 minutes from Reykjavík by car. It’s one of Iceland’s most popular attractions.