Five of the best places to work remotely
Set up your office in one of these far-flung destinations, be it the cobbled streets of Guatemala or beach-side in Bali.
Gone are the days of watercooler small talk and crowded commutes — the pandemic left a legacy of flexible working that’s here to stay. Liberation from the confines of the office has resulted in a surge of digital nomadism, with advances in technology and an increasingly remote-friendly job sector making it easier to work anywhere in the world. It’s not just a scenic backdrop that boosts job satisfaction — studies have shown that working from abroad can equip employees with skills such as adaptability, creativity and a willingness to take risks, which can boost innovation and professional growth. And once the nine to five is done, the opportunity for exotic exploration promises a fulfilling work-life balance.
Companies such as Remote Year help you land on your two feet in a new location. The bespoke service helps professionals find accomodation and workspaces with strong WiFi, as well as facilitating meet ups with a like-minded global community. Read on for our pick of the best remote working spots to consider.
1. Palermo, Sicily
Best for culture lovers
With a healthy, relaxed lifestyle, warm Mediterranean climate and a lower cost of living than most parts of the UK, Sicily’s scintillating capital, Palermo, offers young professionals a real slice of la dolce vita. Home to a thriving piazza culture, professionals can sit, work and watch the world go by at one the city's many magnificent squares, ringed with laptop-friendly cafes, street vendors and boutiques. On your lunch break, walking the historic streets feels like stepping onto a stage set: narrow souk-like lanes are crammed with Arabic cupolas, decorative baroque facades and luminous Byzantine mosaics that tell of the city’s chequered, multicultural past. Turn a corner and you’re equally as likely to discover an opulent chapel as a spouting fountain or a dilapidated piazza left untouched since the Second World War. It’s not all historic relics, though. You’ll find sensory overload at the bustling Vucciria market, which is the best place to sample local Sicilian delicacies, including meat-filled arancini, cannoli and pasta alla norma (rich pasta with vegetables and cheese). A cutting-edge cultural calendar and sizzling nightlife bring further dynamism to the city and plenty of entertainment for the weekends.
2. Bali, Indonesia
Best for surf and soul-searching
Palm-fringed beaches, lava-spewing volcanoes, emerald rice paddies and lush jungles buzzing with wildlife; no wonder Bali is nicknamed the Island of the Gods. The tropical idyll has long been a haven for sun worshippers and soul searchers seeking self-improvement, many flocking to the island’s spiritual centre, Ubud, to live and work remotely. With an extremely low cost of living and a laid-back, eco-friendly charm, Canggu is also home to a thriving expat community. Gone are the days when the internet connection here was unbearably slow due to the underdeveloped infrastructure: most of the cafes have gotten faster, better and cheaper, with laptops, mobile devices and advanced technology available at reasonable prices. What’s more, many of these cafes have stunning beach and jungle views. Elsewhere, the island is scattered with sacred splendours that can’t fail to lift the spirits, such as thousands of Hindu temples redolent of mystery and ritual, plus a slew of bamboo and thatch retreats offering every kind of yoga and meditation imaginable. At the weekends, surfers should head to the west coast for year-round waves in warm, tropical waters, while calmer seas to the east are great for scuba diving and snorkelling.
3. Lima, Peru
Best for culinary delights
Peru's reputation now extends well beyond Machu Picchu, thanks to the country's booming contemporary food scene. It exploded a decade or so ago and continues to gain global acclaim. The cosmopolitan capital of Lima, home to the country’s finest restaurants, is ideal for gastronomes. Miraflores, a coastal suburb, is the city’s culinary hub, where abundant eateries create innovative menus that combine Peru’s rich, native ingredients and traditional flavours. A variety of coworking spaces here provide stunning views overlooking the Pacific Ocean, where you can sip pisco sours with new friends and sample the freshest ceviche (raw fish marinated in lime juice and chilli), before taking a breezy, postprandial stroll along the clifftop promenade known as El Malecón. The neighbouring town of Barranco has a more bohemian vibe, where impressive colonial houses — once built for the city’s richest families — are now home to colourful street art, quirky bars and a plethora of laptop-friendly cafes.
4. Cape Town, South Africa
Best for hiking
A thriving coastal city — surrounded by majestic mountains, vibrant multicultural neighbourhoods and extraordinary nature and wildlife — Cape Town is arguably one of the world’s most spectacular cities for remote working and living. The imposing, flat-topped Table Mountain is the city’s most iconic landmark, meaning nature-loving professionals are never too far from a hiking trail. In fact, there are some 350 different paths weaving to the mountain summit (as well as a highly popular cable car), which is set in 85sq miles of national park, stretching just west of the city all the way to continental Africa’s most south-westerly tip. Early risers can head to the dauntingly named Lion’s Head for sunrise, an accessible hiking spot with panoramas of the beaches and city below. Culture aficionados, meanwhile, are spoilt for choice with a plethora of art galleries, museums, trendy bars and concept stores in the city centre. There are other natural draws further afield to explore on the weekends, too, from the vine-clad valleys producing world-famous vintages (such as the Stellenbosch region) to the shell-strewn beaches of Muizenberg and Llandudno in Western Cape.
5. Antigua, Guatemala
Best for all-round adventure
Nestled in the central highlands of Guatemala, Antigua is matched by few Latin American cities for its aesthetics. Here, cobblestoned streets, flanked by vibrant colonial buildings, are set in the shadow of the imposing Acatenango volcano. The historic plazas boast thriving street markets selling diverse Indigenous wares, as well as farm-to-table restaurants, contemporary art galleries and design studios — all ripe for exploration on lunch breaks. At the weekends, adventure awaits beyond the city — including Mayan ruins, coffee plantations and overnight volcano hikes, such as trekking around Lake Atitlan for its landscapes and local villages. Add to this a mild year-round weather, myriad language schools and a low cost of living, it’s not surprising that Antigua is a magnet for travellers, expats and young professionals alike.
Plan your trip
Remote Year offer three types of memberships to help professionals plan adventurous work-abroad itineraries. Their flexible travel programmes include a one-month, four-month and 12-month journeys in all five destinations mentioned in this article and more.
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