The Best Cities for a Workation
If you have found yourself working from home over the last 18 months, no matter how serene your home office is or how many exotic plants you’ve planted in your garden, you might be really, really eager for a change of scenery.
Enter the workation: an exciting combination of working and vacationing. A trip where you travel to a new destination and work from there for at least part of your stay.
It’s not quite a fully-fledged holiday where you can start on the cocktails at 11am, because you will still have emails to do and tasks to action, but it does offer a change of scenery and the chance to relax away from home outside working hours.
A workation allows you to spend more time visiting faraway family members or really exploring a destination without having to drain all of your annual leave.
And, whilst the concept was a ‘thing’ long before the coronavirus pandemic, it’s now become an option for more people with the rise in remote working.
That’s why we have put together our brand new ‘Workation Index’, ranking the best cities around the world to both work hard and play hard.
We compiled the index by analysing a variety of factors that every wanderlusting remote worker will deem important, and we then identified which cities around the world rank the best for these factors.
This included the monthly cost of a one-bedroom apartment, the number of things to do rated 4-stars and above, the cost of after-work drinks, the average hours of sunshine and, most importantly, the wi-fi speed.
Read on below to find out the full results of the Workation Index.
The Best Cities In The World For A Workation
The Best Cities In The World For A Workation – Green & Amber List Countries Only
Below you can find a ranking of only destinations which appear on the government’s green and amber travel lists, with green list countries highlighted, making it easier to see exactly where British people can travel to right now.
Sitting in the top spot is the capital and one of the most populous cities in Thailand. Whilst the internet speed might not be the fastest in the world (the average is 28 Mbps), there are more than 450,000 free Wifi spots in Bangkok.
The cost of living is one of the most affordable in the world – although accommodation might be expensive, a decent meal costs next to nothing. Other selling points include the fact that most people in Bangkok speak English and the boom of Asian investment has led to many multinational companies relocating to Bangkok, meaning that the city now offers high-class facilities to international entrepreneurs and businessmen.
And in the downtime, why not visit some of the hundreds of palaces across the city, with the most famous being the Grand Palace and Wat Po?! It also offers a variety of shopping centres with high street boutiques and the morning floating markets are perfect for sampling local food.
New Delhi is not just India’s political centre, the capital city also holds historic significance as a dominant trade, transport, and cultural hotspot. The Asian city boasts an abundance of bazaars, museums, historic forts and memorials, libraries, and places of worship, meaning that there is something to explore around every corner.
And as for basing yourself for a period of time, New Delhi is one of the cheapest capital cities in the world for accommodation, coming in at an average of £179.25 for a 1-bedroom apartment for a month. It is also home to 165 co-working spaces, giving workationers the opportunity to meet other like-minded individuals. Hopefully, you don’t need quick internet if you work in Delhi though, as the city only has an average Wifi speed of 12 Mbps per second.
Lisbon takes third place in the best cities for a workation, taking the top spot in the European standings. Whilst Portugal’s capital didn’t rank in the top 10 for any of the individual categories, its culmination of relatively high scores across the board has earned it its bronze medal position.
And for good reason too. Lisbon is many things – home of the delicious pastel de nata, great cheap wine, and buzzing with energy as the sounds of Fado fill the streets. The city also offers remote workers easy access to a number of beaches just outside its parameters, perfect for an early morning or late afternoon dip with taxi’s costing just the equivalent of £0.40 per km.
Coming in at fourth place is Spain’s second-biggest city, Barcelona. The city’s unique architecture from designers like Gaudi has earned it a position in the top 10 cities for Instagrammability with over 62 million photos having been posted with #Barcelona. Gaudi’s impressive buildings such as the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell are truly worth seeing along with the 2,737 other 4-star and above rated things to do in Barcelona.
For cracking on with work, the city had the second biggest number of co-working spaces in Europe after London and ranked seventh overall. The internet speed in Barcelona is also impressive considering its population of over 5 million, with the city offering remote workers an average of 37 Mbps.
Similarly to Lisbon, Budapest didn’t rank in the top 10 for any of the individual work or vacation categories but strong scores across the board meant that the Hungarian city took the joint-fifth position. If you’re looking for warm weather, Budapest isn’t the best bet with the city getting less than 2000 hours of sunshine on average each year.
But from what it lacks in rays, it certainly makes up for in beverages. For coffee lovers, Budapest is a great base as a frothy cappuccino only costs £1.20 on average. The city is also a good choice for anyone who enjoys an after-work tipple, with two pints of local beer costing roughly £2.40.
Tying with Budapest is the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires – a South American city that has a lot to offer for both business and pleasure. The performing arts scene is a big part of the Latin American city, so much so that it is home to more than 280 theatres – it is hardly surprising then that it ranked so highly in the ‘things to do’ category.
Buenos Aires is also a great option for remote workers looking to secure some cheap accommodation with the monthly average for a one-bedroom apartment coming out at £229.55. Coffee is also an absolute bargain at £1.22 for a cappuccino on average – the perfect pick-me-up after a late-night theatre show.
The Best Cities In Europe For A Workation
Europe’s top three cities for a workation also made the cut for the top five cities in the world, so we’ve already explained what’s on offer to remote workers in Lisbon, Barcelona and Budapest. But what about the offering of Europe’s fourth and fifth-placed cities?
Istanbul is a controversial fourth place on the European list, with the city technically being split over two continents – Europe and Asia. However, Turkey’s capital city was named a European Capital of Culture in 2010, which we think makes it deserving of its place on this list. Last year, over 31.4 million tourists visited the city, which explains the huge number of Instagram photos using the #Istanbul hashtag – over 116 million, in fact.
In fifth place on the top five European cities for a workation is Bucharest. Romania’s vibrant and busy capital has seen a big come-back in recent years, and has a lot to offer remote workers: one of the fastest Wifi speeds in the world at 54 Mbps, cheap taxi fares at £0.35 per km on average and two pints of local beer at around £2.78 – bargain!
To compile the Workation Index, we first collated a list of over 150 countries using ‘The world’s 100 best cities’ from bestcities.org and other various sources.
We then analysed each city on the below factors:
Remote connection: Average WiFi mbps per second
Co-working spaces: Number of co-working spaces
Caffeine: Average price of buying a coffee
Travel: Average price of taxi per km2
After-work drinks: Average price for 2 beers in a bar
Accommodation: Average price of 1 bedroom apartment per month
Food: Average cost of a meal at a local, mid-level restaurant
Climate: Average number of sunshine hours
Tourist attractions: Number of ‘Things to do’ on Tripadvisor
Instagramability: Number of photos with the #cityname
We used a variety of credible sources to find data for each of the above categories and then ranked the countries from first to last based on this data, giving.
As some factors are more important than others, the scores from ‘co-working spaces’, ‘accomodation’ and ‘sunshine/climate’ are double weighted whereas ‘remote connection’ is triple weighted – the most important factor of all.
We then added the scores together to get a total score, before ranking the countries based on this overall, final score.
The full dataset is available upon request.