It is easy to forget that 2.5 years ago, few people in Croatia had heard of the term ‘digital nomad’, let alone understood how the future of work was about to change. Now everywhere Croatian baka with a room to rent is familiar with the concept of ‘digitalni nomadi’, a new source of potential tourism information.
The nomads who were coming to Croatia were generally heading to the coast, to destinations such as Split, Hvar and Zadar, but there was one destination inland which not only saw the opportunity, but also put in motion a strategy to put it on the global digital nomad map – Zagreb.
The Zagreb Tourist Board, in partnership with Saltwater Nomads and TCN, organised Zagreb Digital Nomad Week in June 2021, followed by the Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Program fo the next 6 months, one of the first IRL events in Europe after the pandemic. If nomads had not heard of Croatia in general and Zagreb in particular, that changed rapidly.
As global digital nomad ambassador and keynote speaker, Dean Kuchel said during ZDNW in the interview above, Zagreb ticked the boxes, and the only thing missing in Zagreb’s complete offer was more digital nomads.
Nomads thrive on community, and that community has grown considerably in the 18 months since ZDNW. There are now more than 30 co-working places in the city, with several more set to open, and there are various WhatsApp and Facebook groups connecting the community with regular events.
They say that good news travels fast, and that was certainly the case with Zagreb’s emerging digital nomad story, as they city found itself named in the top 5 most-liked cities in the world on the influential Nomad List survey of 2021 and 2022, as well as in the top 5 co-working hubs.
Last year’s successful start was celebrated with the Zagreb Digital Nomad Jolly Wrap-Up, highlights of which you can see above. This was an overview of the year, hosted by Zagreb Tourist Board and Swanky Travel, bringing together key players, as well as all the six Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassadors.
A similar event was held this year, from December 9-11, as Zagreb Digital Nomad Very Merry brought together nomads, expats and locals to preview upcoming events for 2023, as well as strengthen the community and showcase the diversity of Zagreb and its surroundings, even in winter. With a range of different activities, it was a chance to come together to drink wine, learn about local businesses, network, and explore both the city through a trademark excellent tour by Iva Silla of Secret Zagreb, as well as exploring the wider region with a trip to Zagorje.
Zagreb Tourist Board CEO Martina Bienenfeld said: “The festive atmosphere of Advent in Zagreb and socializing with nomads, experts from various industries and hosts, attracted numerous participants to our city. Around the world, Europe is the region with the largest number of countries that issue visas for digital nomads, so the recent survey of the community of digital nomads who gather around the Nomad List platform is especially pleasing, according to which Zagreb took second place as the most popular destination this year as well. The British platform Reassured also conducted its research, and our city took fifth place as the best city for digital nomads. Research like this confirms that Zagreb is very well perceived in the world of digital nomads as a city with optimal value for money, quality infrastructure, growing industry, hospitality of the local population and colorful events, which enables digital nomads to conduct business efficiently and easily throughout the year.”
The three-day event was diverse.
DAY 1 ( Friday 9.12.2022 )
• NOT SO SILENT NIGHT at SWANKY MONKEY GARDEN
- an evening hangout with drinks and x-mas cookies
DAY 2 ( Saturday 10.12.2022 )
• DECK THE HALL at LE PREMIER HOTEL
- press conference with coffee break followed by networking
- CHRISTMAS CAROL by Iva Silla from SECRET ZAGREB WALKS
- themed city walking tour
- WINE INSTEAD OF WHITE XMAS by ART BOTTEGA
- Xmas-themed paint & wine art workshop with an opportunity to try out painting skills while drinking wine
DAY 3 ( Sunday 11.12.2022 )
• WINTER WONDERLAND by SWANKY TRAVEL
- a day tour visiting a medieval Trakošćan castle + organized traditional lunch at a wonderful countryside estate Vuglec Breg restaurant & winery
A fine way to wrap up another year of Zagreb’s progressive digital nomad story. Let’s see what 2023 brings.
For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.