Remote & Async Work 12 min

The best cities for remote work and attractiveness

Written by Rachel Mantock
May 27, 2024
Rachel Mantock


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Whether you're deeply immersed in remote work or just beginning to explore what it offers, you might be considering a change of scenery to a new city. You could be a digital nomad savoring the ability to work from anywhere at any moment. Or perhaps you're searching for a lifestyle that prioritizes balance over the relentless daily grind. For both paths, our Best Destinations for Remote Work tool is an invaluable resource, and the detailed report that accompanies it is crucial reading.

This tool has been used to assess various factors, extracting essential insights and identifying the prime cities for remote workers. Together with this, we've incorporated stories from members of the Remote team who epitomize the remote, asynchronous, and flexible work ethos — giving you a true glimpse into the experiences of those who live this lifestyle daily.

The top five cities for remote workers and attractiveness

From first to fifth place; Granada, Honolulu, Orlando, Rome and Lisbon are the world’s best remote worker cities, when attractiveness is deemed the most important factor (according to our data). Each of these cities provides remote workers with both idyllic scenery and rich cultural experiences.

From the Moorish palaces of Granada and Rome’s ancient ruins, to the tranquil beaches of Honolulu and the lively avenues of Lisbon, each city blends beautiful settings with the latest conveniences for work and life flexibility.

1. Granada, Spain

Beautifully positioned at the base of Spain's Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada is an enchanting destination for remote workers who are keen for both more beauty, and to elevate their work and life balance. 

Rich in history and culture, the city is home to the Alhambra, an intricate, Moorish fortress with precious architecture that has enchanted visitors for generations. When working against such a glorious backdrop, you almost forget you’re working and not permanently vacationing. 

The Mediterranean way

Not only are there picturesque landscapes to enjoy everywhere you turn, but the overall laid-back lifestyle culture of Granda naturally supports a flexible work rhythm. People do not live to work here; it's strongly the other way around. 

A small but mighty city, everything is within easy reach, minimizing commuting hassles and maximizing free time. Granada's charming cafes and sprawling, open parks can become your everyday office — calming, sunny and fully immersed in the Mediterranean way of life

Young, lively and social

The city's lively university and early careers community has created an undercurrent of vibrant energy with a dynamic social atmosphere, making networking and socializing easy too.

Granada’s must-see sites

Each of these areas within Granada add their own slice of charm and whimsy to the city, like a jewel box of discovery as you wander from one area, to the next. 

  • The historic Albaicín neighborhood: It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its narrow, twisting streets and charming white-washed houses. The Mirador de San Nicolás in this area also gives you an unforgettable sunset view of the Alhambra, splashed against a mountainous backdrop. 

  • Alhambra: An impressive complex of palaces and gardens, Alhambra is a labyrinth of intertwining Moorish art, straight from the source. This magnificent site of medieval architecture is adorned with elaborate tile work and pretty water features, making it a visual marvel.

  • Generalife: A lavish summer palace set among expansive gardens — it’s an instant, fantastic panorama with views of the city and the Sierra Nevada mountains. While in this location, you can also swing by the Granada Cathedral, a gem of Spanish Renaissance architecture that transports you back in time. 

2. Honolulu, Hawaii (USA)

An idyllic setting for remote workers to set up a permanent base, because the time to make your dream vacation a permanent lifestyle is now. Picture this — kicking off your workday with views of the majestic Diamond Head crater, or the serene waters of Waikiki Beach, is now your norm. 

Beyond its globally renowned beaches, the city comes alive in its downtown area, a melting pot of local and international cultures, with a twist. 

Embracing a beach-first lifestyle

The climate in Honolulu is one of its biggest pulls. With its consistently warm weather and abundant sunshine, it's ideal for those who'd rather work from a beach chair or a café terrace, rather than a traditional office.

Honolulu’s must-see sites

The area is home to a string of iconic and culturally significant sites, showcasing its distinctive island heritage and dynamic community. Most locations present opportunities for meaningful engagement with Honolulu's rich beauty, and cultural heritage.

  • Waikiki Beach: Famous for its stunning sandy expanses and superb surfing conditions, all under the watchful presence of the majestic Diamond Head crater. This prominent natural feature has hiking trails with expansive views of the surrounding coastline too.

  • Pearl Harbor: A site of profound historical importance, where the USS Arizona Memorial honors those who perished during World War II, serving as a somber place for reflection and education, rather than your typical “touristy” sightseeing. It’s essential this site is approached with respect, and a willingness to take in the gravity of a historical atrocity, plus considerations around the colossal imbalances of power at the time. 

  • The Iolani Palace: Unique as the only royal palace on U.S. territory, this palace opens a window into the rich history of Hawaii's monarchy through guided tours that honor and celebrate the land’s indigenous culture.

  • Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve: Located in a volcanic cone, this spectacular marine ecosystem is celebrated for its lush coral reefs and diverse marine life, with a focus on conservation and respect for the environment. 

3. Orlando, Florida (USA)

Orlando is more than just the theme park capital of the world: it's a thriving center for those looking for sun and flexibility across the work and play elements of their lifestyle. Famous for Walt Disney World, which has (more recently) featured in the likes of Disney’s “Tomorrowland” on screen — Orlando inspires creativity and wonder (and not just for the kids).

A growing nightlife and tech scene

Boasting an already lively nightlife (that’s on the up), an emerging tech industry and sprawling green parks, ideal for a lunch break or setting up outside for the work day — Orlando has plenty to offer remote workers (like a poolside work set-up becoming your everyday). 

The city also has a notable live music scene, ranging from rock to jazz and beyond, plus the annual Florida Film Festival with a focus on indie film, supporting local creatives. Combining work, leisure and a bit of enchantment, Orlando bakes in all angles of interest.

Orlando’s must-see sites

The city is celebrated for its famous attractions but also features beautiful, lesser-known spots for those who dig a little deeper.

  • Walt Disney World and Universal Studios: Capture the spotlight with their immersive worlds and adrenaline-boosting rides, perfect for those who love a dose of escapism.

  • Leu Gardens: This 50-acre botanical garden is home to a rich mix of Florida's native plants and frequently hosts art exhibitions. 

  • Kraft Azalea Garden: Located in Winter Park, this secluded garden is a tranquil retreat inside an already peaceful city, with lake views and breakout spots for privacy.

  • Orlando Museum of Art: For new exhibitions that feature a mix of local and international artists.

4. Rome, Italy

Where ancient history and contemporary comforts merge, Rome is an endless source of  inspiration for the remote workers who call it home. From the Colosseum to Vatican City, Rome is a vibrant, living museum. For those of us who are fully immersed in a remote, flexible work environment, spending your work hours sat in cafes overlooking age-old ruins, enjoying espressos in the piazzas (that graced our screens in “Roman Holiday” and “La Dolce Vita”) is a viable option (everyday if you fancy it).

Dreamy midday garden strolls

The Eternal City also offers calm, quiet and serene spots to get your head down among its bustling streets. Take Villa Borghese, a serene public garden ideal for focused work. Plus Rome's growing coworking community has seen a number of chic spaces pop up, one after the other, blending modern aesthetics with traditional Roman elements. This makes it great for networking and collaboration, especially for newbies to the city.

Always cafe-hopping and lunching

Authentic Italian cuisine is the stuff of home comfort, storybooks, and romance novels. You could quite literally be pizza and pasta-ing (the most delectable kinds) your way through the work day if Rome became your permanent base — the best productivity booster we can think of.

Living and working in Rome allows you to seamlessly integrate the joys of life (mainly food plus old-world architectural nostalgia) with your professional goals, all under the umbrella of historic, gladiator monuments.

Rome’s must-see sites

Where history and modernity are seamlessly woven together, Rome is home to some of the world’s greatest sites. 

  • The Colosseum: A testament to ancient Roman engineering (something we seemingly no longer have the skills to replicate) and the site of legendary gladiatorial contests. 

  • The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill: Just a stone's throw away from the iconic Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill offer a glimpse into the ancient city's life against the backdrop of Rome’s busy, modern city offering.

  • Vatican City: Where Catholic spiritualism and artistic history abound, including the majestic St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, renowned for Michelangelo’s famous frescoes.

  • MAXXI Museum: Where past and present gracefully collide, this museum showcases avant-garde art within a futuristic structure, designed by the legendary, late Zaha Hadid.

  • The Trastevere neighborhood: Known for its quaint cobblestone streets and exuberant nightlife, Mercato Centrale Roma at Termini Station is likely to be a frequent hangout in particular. It’s a contemporary food market set within a historic locale — a taste of Rome’s culinary innovation paired with its classical heritage and tastes.

5. Lisbon, Portugal

The sun-kissed capital of Portugal has surged in popularity with remote workers, who come for the sites, sun, laid-back vibes, and obviously — the food. The historic Alfama district is a favorite among locals and expats alike, with the soulful sounds of Fado music ramping up the ambiance, even in the daytime (but this really comes into its own across the rooftop bars in the evening). 

Movie scene wander 

The city's iconic yellow trams, reminiscent of those in the Night Train to Lisbon film, weave through the seven hills, offering up whimsical rides and idyllic views that spark creativity, motivation, and relaxation. More than just its picturesque charm, Lisbon is a thriving center for digital wanderers, bolstered by a strong tech industry and a network of coworking spaces. 

Lisbon’s must-see sites

Some of the city’s most charming attractions capture a distinctive fusion of the old and new — a cultural current that sits at the heart of what makes Lisbon pulse.

  • Belém Tower: An iconic landmark from Portugal's Age of Discoveries and a UNESCO World Heritage site, with beautiful views along the Tagus River.

  • The Jerónimos Monastery: Just a short distance from the Belém Tower, and a gem of Manueline architecture, this building has an intricate design and deep, historical roots.

  • MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology): Its bold, futuristic architecture starkly contrasts with the city’s ancient areas, showcasing state-of-the-art exhibitions.

  • The Alfama district: Where the narrow, meandering streets are alive with the soulful strains of Fado music. 

  • São Jorge Castle: You’d climb up here any time you fancy a panoramic view of the city. 

  • The Príncipe Real neighborhood: Renowned for its unique boutiques, craft eateries and lively nightlife. 

Honorable city mentions for attractiveness 

Nashville, Tennessee (USA)

Affectionately dubbed "Music City", Nashville has multitudes to offer remote workers, beyond just hitting the spot with the country music fans among us. Although, the city's legendary music scene does give it an “anything’s possible” feel.

Home to the Grand Ole Opry and countless honky-tonks, creativity and innovation is everywhere. This is where Johnny Cash and Taylor Swift laid their tracks and where every bar could be the first to hear the next big country hit. This city came in just behind the top five best cities for remote workers and attractiveness, taking the sixth spot on the list.

A booming music and tech scene

Beyond music, Nashville's rapidly growing tech scene and entrepreneurial spirit make it a prime location for digital nomads and freelancers (not just remote employees). The city has embraced new developments like the Nashville Yards, a huge downtown redevelopment project that combines indie shops, growing tech hubs and co-working spaces. Yet, it still retains its Southern charm with historic sites like the Ryman Auditorium.

Whether you're coding in a café or brainstorming in a brewery, doing it all under the Tennessee sun is easier and smoother and plays into an idyllic way of life.

Athens, Greece

Athens seamlessly marries its ancient heritage with a lively modern pulse, making it an exciting setting for remote workers. Responding to emails with the Acropolis, a timeless, classical, and symbolic monument in the backdrop, suddenly doesn’t feel so tedious. Coming in at number 12 among the best cities for remote work and attractiveness, the city’s historical significance sets it apart. 

Cafe culture among mythical architecture 

Charming coffee shops are scattered throughout the city, with a classic, strong menu offering and reliable wifi. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center puts a contemporary spin on Athens with its cutting-edge library and opera house, nestled by expansive gardens and water features. It’s a perfect example of how Athens skillfully blends the grandeur of its past with the colorful vibrancy of its now.

Methodology and the best cities for remote work

The dataset used for Remote’s global destination rankings pulled from a 25 series of information, across countries globally and from individual U.S states, using eight categories. 

Discover more best destinations for remote work

Use our Best Destinations for Remote Work tool to find the cities that meet your top priorities. You can choose from openness, attractiveness, quality of life, internet, safety, cost of living, inflation and incentives. It’s easy to use with a toggle feature to set the level of importance for each element. Once you’ve done this part, the tool will auto-generate a list of 100 cities that are great for remote working, ranked in consecutive order for the priorities you’ve selected.

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