It is hard to imagine that a little over 2 years ago, the term ‘digital nomad’ was almost unheard of in Croatia. An open letter to the Prime Minister from a Dutch entrepreneur in Split asking for a digital nomad visa changed all that, setting in motion a chain of events where the term ‘digitalni nomadi’ is now a widely recognised term in the Croatian language by the majority of the population.
And the nomads are coming… and liking what they see. Award-winning events such as the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence programme and Zagreb Digital Nomad Week have helped to put Croatia on the remote work map, and Croatia is now featuring regularly in the top places to enjoy the remote work revolution.
Getting accurate data about how many digital nomads there are, where they travel to, and what their preferences are, has been a challenge, however, as such data is not captured by traditional data collection methods. One of the most respected sources of data, collected in real time from actual registered nomads, comes from one of the leading websites catering to the digital nomad community – NomadList.
Last year, NomadList released a major survey about the digital nomad lifestyle, extrapolating data from their members, and there was plenty of good news for Croatia. As TCN reported at the time, Croatia was placed second as the most liked country for nomads behind Japan, while Zagreb made it to the top 5 most-liked cities in the world (and the first in Europe). You can read more analysis of last year’s survey here.
The NomadList 2022 survey has just been released, and there is LOTS of good news for Croatia, as well as evidence that the remote work revolution is spreading around the country. In addition to Croatia being named as the most-liked country in Europe again (and globally number 2 behind Japan), no less than five Croatian destinations make it into one of the top 10 lists in the survey – Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar, and Hvar.
An explanation about the data for the NomadList 2022 survey from the website itself:
In this report, we try to figure out who these people are, what work do they do, and how they spend their life based on data from tens of thousands of Nomad List members. In this report, we try to figure out who these people are, what work do they do, and how they spend their life based on data from tens of thousands of Nomad List members. This page is built LIVE with data pulled straight from the database every day, so it’s always up-to-date. Conclusions you can derive from this are always limited and merely indicative but possibly interesting. Nomad List is a paid membership community, which means there’s a selection bias as people who do not or cannot pay are not in the dataset. On the other hand, free digital nomad communities, like on Facebook, require no commitment to join, therefore it’s not clear if these people are merely aspirational or active nomads or not. On Nomad List we can confirm they are active based on their travel logs.
I won’t pretend I fully understand the criteria behind what defines attractive men and women, but I include it as it shows that other destinations such as Hvar are now being discovered. There is a real buzz about Croatia at the moment, and several destinations are now joining the remote work revolution, and I would fully expect several more Croatian destinations to be part of the 2023 survey.
One interesting list was that of Croatia’s inclusion at number 5 in the destinations where female nomads go more than male nomads, a nod I think to the fact that Croatia is a very safe country in general, with many female travellers commenting on how safe it feels to travel around.
Perhaps the most satisfying find of all, however, is the rise of Zagreb, Europe’s fastest-growing remote work hub in the last 5 years, and the fourth fastest in the world. With much of that growth coming last year and coinciding with the inaugural Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, it is hoped that this year’s ZDNW in October will continue that trend.
For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.