Why Consider Eastern Europe for Geo-Arbitrage?
There are so many reasons why Eastern Europe is the perfect location for digital nomads and geo-arbitrage; the better question would be, "Why wouldn't you choose Eastern Europe?"
Cost of living
Eastern Europe offers a significantly lower cost of living than Western Europe, the UK, and North America. You can rent comfortable accommodation, dine at local restaurants, and enjoy entertainment at a fraction of what it would cost elsewhere.
Access to high-speed internet and tech infrastructure
Eastern Europe's tech infrastructure is robust. Cities like Tallinn, Riga, and Warsaw offer excellent connectivity and tech infrastructure. This tech-friendly environment extends to numerous coworking spaces, making it a prime destination for digital nomads.
High-quality coworking spaces
Eastern Europe has embraced the digital nomad and remote work culture, offering excellent coworking spaces at affordable rates. For example, the Baltics' leading coworking brand, Workland, has 14+ locations in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Their spaces are tastefully decorated with standing desks, great coffee, and friendly employees. They also host regular events for members to network and socialize.
Rich cultural experiences and history
Eastern Europe is steeped in history and diverse cultures. Many cities, including Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Warsaw, and Zagreb, have beautiful, well-preserved old towns dating back centuries. Explore medieval castles, attend traditional festivals, or enjoy the distinct local cuisine. The opportunity for cultural immersion enriches the remote working experience, making life more than just about work.
Many cities in Eastern Europe rank high in safety indexes. While safety can vary, most digital nomads and expats report feeling secure in these cities.
I live in Tallinn, where kids play unattended in the parks and streets until late evening. The peace of mind from living in a safe city contributes to a more pleasant, stress-free experience.
Good public transport
Eastern Europe offers efficient and affordable public transportation—Tallinn offers free public transport to residents. In most cities, you can easily access buses, trams, and metro systems, making getting around uncomplicated. Plus, the density of European countries means international travel is quite feasible, even by train or bus.
Good base to travel Europe—and the world
Planning weekend trips or short breaks to other European destinations is feasible with efficient cross-border transport and many countries within a short distance. Europe's central location means it's easy to find affordable flights to the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
Growing expat and digital nomad communities
Eastern Europe is attracting a growing number of expats and digital nomads. These thriving communities provide social and professional networking opportunities, easing the transition for newcomers and creating a sense of belonging.
English is a common second language
English is a common second language for Eastern Europeans. They generally have a higher proficiency than popular Western European nations like France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.
Top Destinations in Eastern Europe for Geo-Arbitrage
I've used a combination of Numbeo and Teleport to create these city profiles. Here is how these scores work:
- Median rent (small apartment): the average price for a small one-bed/studio apartment. I'll compare each European city to London and New York.
- Quality of Life Index: produces a score between 0-240 based on several indexes, including purchasing power, safety, health care, climate, cost of living, property price to income ratio, traffic commute time, and pollution. The higher the score, the better.
- Crime index: a score out of 120, with 120 being the most dangerous and 0 being the safest.
- Median rent (small apartment): US$570—compared to US$1,900 in London and US$2,400 in NYC.
- Quality of Life Index: 174.59 out of 240—very high quality of life
- Crime index: 23.52 out of 120—very low crime
One of the key reasons Tallinn stands out as a digital nomad hotspot is its impressive tech infrastructure. Estonia was one of the first countries to offer a digital nomad visa, and its e-Residency program enables non-EU citizens to set up an EU-based business—perfect for digital nomads and solopreneurs.
Estonia boasts incredible lush wilderness and pristine forests, ideal for nature lovers and explorers. There are also plenty of historical sites to explore, including Tallinn's famous Old Town.
- Median rent (small apartment): US$540—compared to US$1,900 in London and US$2,400 in NYC.
- Quality of Life Index: 133.83 out of 240—moderate quality of life
- Crime index: 25.84 out of 120—very low crime
Krakow, Poland, has emerged as a popular destination for remote workers and digital nomads in recent years, standing out as the top city in Europe for remote work. This reputation is based on several factors, notably its high-speed internet, cost of living, and ease of business. On average, the city offers an internet speed of 43 Mbps, a relatively affordable cost of living at around $1,122 per month per person.
Beyond these practical considerations, Krakow's cultural richness, vibrant social scene, and quality of life have also drawn digital nomads. Hailed as the cultural capital of Poland, Krakow offers an intriguing blend of historical charm with its UNESCO-listed Old Town and vibrant contemporary life, including a thriving cafe culture and nightlife. The city's hipster quarters of Kazimierz and Podgorze provide an array of craft beer outlets and roastery coffee joints, all set along leafy boulevards by the Vistula River.
- Median rent (small apartment): US$480—compared to US$1,900 in London and US$2,400 in NYC.
- Quality of Life Index: 161.52 out of 240—very high quality of life
- Crime index: 27.55 out of 120—very low crime
Vilnius offers an ideal combination of affordability and high living standards. It's the most affordable capital city in the Baltics and has a relatively low cost of living compared to other European cities. Vilnius has fast internet, comfortable coworking spaces, and a robust public transportation system, making work and life convenient for digital nomads.
Vilnius has a vibrant cultural scene, and a rich history encapsulated in its beautiful architecture and numerous cultural events, giving digital nomads plenty of opportunities to explore and experience new things during their downtime.
- Median rent (small apartment): US$630—compared to US$1,900 in London and US$2,400 in NYC.
- Quality of Life Index: 143.68 out of 240—moderate quality of life
- Crime index: 30.55 out of 120—very low crime
Bratislava is becoming an increasingly popular destination for remote workers and digital nomads. The city offers affordability, a lower cost of living than many Western European cities, and a high quality of life, providing all the conveniences and amenities expected of a modern European capital.
For those in tech-related fields, Bratislava's burgeoning IT and startup sectors provide ample opportunities for networking and collaboration. The city's extensive coworking scene offers a variety of environments for productivity and creativity.
The city is rich in history, from its medieval old town to its stunning Bratislava Castle, offering endless exploration opportunities. Slovakia also offers spectacular natural beauty with plenty of mountain ranges and wilderness areas to explore.
- Median rent (small apartment): US$500—compared to US$1,900 in London and US$2,400 in NYC.
- Quality of Life Index: 125.57 out of 240—moderate quality of life
- Crime index: 34.71 out of 120—very low crime
Budapest has a thriving digital ecosystem with many tech startups and coworking spaces encouraging collaboration and networking. The city's cost of living is considerably lower than Western Europe's, making it financially attractive for individuals who can work from anywhere.
The city is known for its extraordinary architecture, from Roman amphitheaters and Gothic-style cathedrals to contemporary structures. Budapest's enticing blend of culture and leisure with numerous museums, galleries, events, and world-renowned thermal baths offers a unique way to unwind after a long workday.
The city's lively café scene, vibrant nightlife, and diverse culinary options make Budapest an irresistible destination for digital nomads seeking professional and personal fulfillment.
- Median rent (small apartment): US$430—compared to US$1,900 in London and US$2,400 in NYC.
- Quality of Life Index: 154.18 out of 240—high quality of life
- Crime index: 22.30 out of 120—very low crime
Due to its low cost of living and high quality of life, Zagreb has established itself as a preferred destination for remote workers and digital nomads. The city's central European location makes it a preferred base for digital nomads looking to explore the continent. Croatia also has a spectacular coastline with some of the best beaches in Europe.
Zagreb boasts a thriving tech scene, with numerous startups, tech events, and high-quality coworking spaces offering plenty of opportunities for networking and collaboration.
Beyond the appealing work conditions, Zagreb offers a lively cultural scene and excellent quality of life. The city is rich in history, filled with beautiful architecture, and provides many cultural experiences, from museums and galleries to music and film festivals. The gastronomic scene is thriving, with traditional Croatian cuisine complemented by a growing array of international food options.
- Median rent (small apartment): US$530—compared to US$1,900 in London and US$2,400 in NYC.
- Quality of Life Index: 162.24 out of 240—very high quality of life
- Crime index: 21.95 out of 120—very low crime
Nestled in the heart of Europe, Ljubljana strikes a perfect balance between affordability, modern infrastructure, and high quality of life. Ljubljana's burgeoning tech scene, accompanied by fast and reliable internet, is a magnet for remote professionals and startups alike. The city is compact yet boasts numerous coworking spaces, providing a conducive environment for networking and collaboration.
Ljubljana earned the European Green Capital by the EU in 2016 for its commitment to green and sustainable living. Its charming city center is pedestrianized, allowing residents to enjoy a slower pace of life amidst vibrant cafes, historical architecture, and tranquil riverside spots.
Slovenia's stunning landscapes of Lake Bled, the Julian Alps, and the Adriatic Coast are just a short drive away. It's also centrally located, making traveling by bus or train to neighboring European destinations easy.
- Median rent (small apartment): US$450—compared to US$1,900 in London and US$2,400 in NYC.
- Quality of Life Index: 145.57 out of 240—high quality of life
- Crime index: 38.53 out of 120—very low crime
Riga's affordable cost of living compared to many Western European cities enables remote workers to maximize their income. The city is home to many coworking spaces, fostering a sense of community and providing ample networking opportunities for those in the digital field.
Riga's Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is filled with Gothic spires, Art Nouveau architecture, and vibrant street art—an enchanting backdrop to the day-to-day life of a digital nomad. The city is known for its large parks and nearby beaches, providing ample opportunities for outdoor recreation.
Practical Tips for Geo-Arbitrage in Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe digital nomad visas
While the restrictions vary, the good thing about getting a European digital nomad visa is that you can move between countries freely once you're in Europe. This means you can get a digital nomad visa for any Schengen state and access the entire Schengen zone.
Here are the Eastern European countries offering digital nomad visas:
I am living in Tallinn on Estonia's Digital Nomad Visa. I applied in Tbilisi, Georgia, in 2021 and got my visa within a day. The Estonian visa process is super efficient, and you can contact them to ask questions—something most countries don't offer.
You can find affordable accommodation in Eastern Europe on Airbnb and Booking.com. If you plan to stay for over three months, I recommend getting an apartment; it'll be significantly cheaper.
For example, I'm paying €900 monthly with utilities in Tallinn. If you rent this apartment on Airbnb, you'd probably pay €1,500+.
You can find long-term rentals on these websites: