Spain has launched a new visa program catering to digital nomads who seek to blend their remote work arrangements with travel. This program allows non-resident freelancers and remote workers to immerse themselves in Spanish culture, architecture, cuisine, and nightlife while staying connected to their jobs.
The new initiative is set to take effect this year, allowing digital nomads to leave behind the U.S. and temporarily relocate to various towns and cities across Spain. This move by Spain signals its eagerness to embrace the growing trend of digital nomadism.
How Does Spain’s Digital Nomad Visa Work?
Non-EU citizens can now live and work remotely for non-Spanish companies in Spain for up to five years with the new visa. To qualify, applicants must provide proof of employment and a local address and renew their visa annually.
In addition, digital nomads can earn up to 20% of their income from Spanish companies, which is an attractive opportunity to benefit from the country’s flourishing economy.
With its high-speed internet, the diverse international community, and tax incentives for digital nomad visa holders, Spain is a top destination for those with an itinerant lifestyle.
10 Best Spanish Cities for Digital Nomads
Spain offers a wealth of cultural experiences, making it challenging to determine the ideal destination for your digital nomad journey. That’s where Wise comes in with their list of the top 10 cities in Spain for digital nomads. Their rankings consider essential factors such as weather, safety, and cost of living and crucial considerations such as grocery expenses and dining options.
Situated along the Mediterranean coast, Malaga is a popular seaside resort town that doubles as a startup hub and home to many of Spain’s rising tech companies. The city boasts a thriving entrepreneurial community that regularly hosts trade shows, conferences, and networking events, providing numerous opportunities for digital nomads.
With a rich history dating back to its founding by the Phoenicians in 770 BC, Malaga also offers a remarkable culinary scene featuring espetos and sardines grilled over open flames by beach-side vendors. The city has a perfect combination of a booming startup ecosystem, career growth prospects, a fantastic Mediterranean climate, rich culture, and an affordable cost of living.
Madrid is an ideal destination for digital nomads seeking the buzz and excitement of a major global city. With a population of around 3.3 million people, the capital of Spain provides all the conveniences and amenities you’d expect from a metropolitan hub. It’s an economic powerhouse with a strong focus on banking and technology, and it houses several world-renowned universities, offering digital nomads excellent prospects for business and education.
Madrid is also home to world-class museums, including the Golden Triangle of Art, which consists of the Prado Museum, the Reina Sofia Museum, and the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, all situated along the Paseo del Prado.
Barcelona is an exceptionally international city, with one in every five residents born outside of Spain. As the center of Catalan culture, the city is renowned for its striking architecture, which includes several World Heritage sites such as the church of the Sagrada Familia and Palau de la Musica Catalana.
Digital nomads should note that Barcelona is the primary biotech hub in Spain, establishing itself as one of the top locations in Europe for doing business in this thriving industry. A trip to Barcelona is highly recommended for digital nomads who want to combine their work with the pleasures of beaches, nightlife, and culture.
For digital nomads who cherish their alone time, Alicante is worth considering. Despite not being a top-of-mind destination for many digital nomads, this Mediterranean coastal city is known for its relaxed atmosphere, pleasant climate, and stunning beaches.
The city’s nightlife scene is a major draw, as is the Explanada de Espana, a waterfront promenade shaded by palm trees and embellished with 6.5 million marble floor tiles. If your digital nomad travels bring you to Alicante during the summer, make sure to experience the Hogueras de San Juan. This festival marks the summer solstice and includes five nights of fireworks competitions between local companies.
Valencia, Spain’s third-largest city, may not have the same popularity as Madrid or Barcelona. Still, it offers digital nomads a diverse culture, an impressive food scene, and expansive sandy beaches without the hustle and bustle of bigger cities.
With over 2,000 years as a central trading hub, the city blends Catalan, Spanish, African, and Arab cultures, creating a unique and vibrant atmosphere. Valencia is still an important transportation hub today, allowing digital nomads to easily plan quick business trips to Madrid and Barcelona or explore other Spanish destinations during the weekends.
Murcia is a lively city inland and offers an abundance of culture, history, and culinary delights. The city boasts a flourishing arts scene focusing on design, architecture, and product design entrepreneurship.
For digital nomads who love outdoor activities, Murcia is an ideal destination, with its proximity to parks, orchards, mountain ranges, and rivers. The city hosts the Fiestas de Primavera de Murcia in April, a traditional celebration of the abundant orchard harvest where locals dress up in traditional clothing.
Seville, frequently regarded as Spain’s most beautiful city, is a top tourist destination and a major business center for the country’s southern region. The city is renowned for its culinary delights, sangria, and flamenco dancing, along with its stunning Baroque and Gothic architecture and abundant cultural heritage.
Digital nomads can enjoy the city’s vast array of tapas restaurants, music venues, and dance clubs well into the night before retiring to bed for a few hours before work the next day.
#8. Palma de Mallorca
Palma, the capital of the Mediterranean island of Mallorca, is renowned for its beautiful beaches and resorts. It’s considered a less crowded and expensive alternative to its neighbor Ibiza, making it ideal for digital nomads who want to experience history and culture combined with a calmer beach scene.
Additionally, the island is a short distance from Madrid, Barcelona, and other major business centers throughout Spain, making it a convenient location for digital nomads to base themselves on their business affairs.
#9. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Las Palmas, located in the Canary Islands, has become a popular destination for digital nomads, especially during the COVID pandemic, due to its separate digital nomad visa program. As a result, the city has a thriving community of co-working spaces and is easily accessible from major Spanish cities such as Madrid and Barcelona. For digital nomads who enjoy adventure sports, Las Palmas offers a great selection of activities such as surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, paddleboarding, and scuba diving.
Granada, situated at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains and the convergence of four rivers, offers a charming blend of cultural and architectural attractions with a small business community.
Digital nomads seeking an authentic cultural experience would find Granada an ideal destination. The city’s cuisine is a major draw, as it’s a hub for Arabic-Andalusian food that blends Arab and Jewish culinary traditions with flavorful condiments and spices.
Paying Like a Local in Spain
Working as a digital nomad in Spain is a great opportunity, especially with the new visa program. However, it is important to have a solid financial plan that allows you to live like a local in the cities you visit.
For adventurers, this means more than just relying on your U.S. bank account and credit cards, which often come with foreign transaction fees, high ATM withdrawal fees, and hidden markups in exchange rates. Unfortunately, opening a bank account in Spain can be challenging to do virtually before arrival.
Consider opening a Wise Account and card before your departure. Wise is a global money platform in 170 countries, supporting 50 currencies and a single card. With a Wise Account, you can easily send, receive, hold, and spend money without hidden fees. This makes it easy to pay for essentials like rent, groceries, and activities and send money to new friends, all in the local currency.
Spain for Digital Nomads
Spain offers a fantastic opportunity for digital nomads with its new digital nomad visa program. From the lively city life in Madrid and Barcelona to the coastal retreats of Valencia and Alicante, Spain can be the perfect place for digital nomads to work and play. And with the help of Wise, managing your finances as a digital nomad in Spain has never been easier.
This article Discover the Top 10 Cities in Spain for Digital Nomads originally appeared on Wander With Alex.
Alexandrea Sumuel is a travel writer and the founder of Wander With Alex, where she provides vacationers and travel enthusiasts with trip ideas, travel guides, news, and itineraries. She travels to experience, eat, and explore-- and, on occasion, escape! Alex’s mission is to help people travel a little easier.