Talk of Europe’s fastest growing remote work hub may lead the mind to wander to winter sun destinations in the Canaries or perhaps digital nomad hotspots like Malta or Portugal. However according to data from Nomad List, the continent’s leading up and coming remote work hub is something of a surprise.
The fastest growing remote work hub in Europe in 2023 was in fact the Slovenian capital Ljubljana. The study, which ranked cities around the world by the increase or decrease in the number of check-ins by Nomad List members, outlined a 37% rise in the number of digital nomads visiting Ljubljana in 2023 which was greater than any other European city.
Ljubljana – One of the best places in Europe to work remotely?
With an inland location in one of the EU’s least visited countries and sub-zero temperatures at night throughout most of the winter, Ljubljana is far from the postcard digital nomad destination, but its rise is perhaps a sign of the way the priorities of remote workers are evolving.
Google “digital nomad“ and you’ll most likely be treated to a range of images of people working from a hammock on the beach or some other exotic location with a spectacular view, sunny weather and maybe even a cocktail in hand.
The realities of remote working on the go, mean those kinds of dreamy destinations are often not the best places to be productive. Increasingly, remote workers and digital nomads seem to be looking for affordable and well-developed city bases with excellent facilities, preferably with easy access to nature and places to unwind during non-work times.
Ljubljana ticks all of those boxes. It’s located on something of a crossroads between the Balkans and Western Europe. The Italian city of Trieste is less than 100 km away (1 hour 25 minutes by bus) while this small former Yugoslav country also shares borders with Austria, Hungary and Croatia serving up ample opportunities for short trips to cities like Graz, Zagreb, Rijeka and Venice while Vienna and Budapest aren’t too far away either.
The city boasts all the modern amenities you’d expect of a 21st Century European capital with healthy internet speeds and plenty of co-working spaces and friendly cafes with free Wi-Fi, serving up a productive environment for remote work.
Its compact size makes it an easy place to get around on foot and with affordable apartments, you can easily rent a place in or close to the city centre and have little need for buses or taxis to get you from A to B.
A city surrounded by mountains
Another factor that is helping turn Ljubljana into one of Europe’s up and coming digital nomad hubs is its beautiful surroundings. While the city is only located at around 300 metres above sea level, the Slovenian capital is surrounded by mountain ranges which serve up a host of options for outdoor activities no matter what time of the year it is.
During the winter months, several ski resorts are easy to get to. Krvavec, Kranjska Gora and Velika Planina are popular destinations for skiing and snowboarding offering many different slopes for all skill levels. The ski season is long, starting in December and lasting until April.
Once the snow starts to melt, lush green hills and mountain ranges unveil themselves and with that comes opportunities for hiking and mountaineering. Those looking for a challenge, can try to scale Mount Triglav, the highest peak in Slovenia while the iconic Lake Bled is less than an hour away by road.
Mountain biking is also popular with various trails and routes allowing you to explore the scenic Slovenian countryside on two wheels. Throw in a bit of paragliding and climbing and this is a wonderful destination for adrenaline-junkies and anyone who wants to work remotely in Europe from a practical city base, whilst enjoying nature and staying active in their free time.