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Catalonia, home to digital nomads

Barcelona’s status as the main digital hub in Spain and fifth in Europe because of its 875-million-euro volume in start-up investment, as well as the relative proximity of many Catalan regions and cities to its capital, make it a favourite destination for digital nomads. In 2021 alone, the digital sector generated more than 10,000 new jobs in Catalonia, according to Barcelona Digital Talent. All entrepreneurs, especially those dedicated to the ICT sector, are fully aware of the fact that Barcelona is the cradle of start-ups such as Softonic, Glovo, TravelPerk, InfoJobs, Privalia, Gameloft, Wallapop, eDreams, TravelClick, LetsBonus, etc.

When the British investment firm Atomica asked hundreds of entrepreneurs which European city they would choose to set up a start-up, Barcelona was the third most mentioned, after London and Berlin, the other two leading entrepreneurial ecosystems on the continent.

And it is because remote workers have at their disposal in Barcelona more than 287 independent co-working spaces in which to work, equipped with all connectivity services. All manner of these spaces exist, such as Cloudworks, which has also been designed to provide services for companies and events. Even some business incubators have this type of service available in its premises. The range of spaces for remote workers is immense and has continued to grow, at least until the outbreak of the pandemic, and you can find places such as Valkiria Hub Space, a typical former industrial factory reconverted for innovation events in the heart of the 22@ district.

Many digital nomads have heard about the territory either from colleagues who have set up themselves in Catalonia or from the real experiences of delegates who have attended a convention or congress. Nestlé or Roche set their sights on Barcelona to set up their digital hubs. Another example is Telefónica, whose R+D centre is located here. Zurich Insurance, BBVA or PepsiCo have chosen our city to locate their data centres. Other multinationals such as Microsoft or SAP have brought together more than 6,000 people at their annual corporate conventions in Barcelona.

This entire ecosystem encourages a trend that permanently places the Catalan capital among other innovative cities. We almost always highlight the Mobile World Congress and its impact on our territory, but Catalonia is the setting for more attractive events for digital nomads, such as the IOT World Congress, 4YFN or Eu-Startups Summit, among others.

Hotels have adapted to new circumstances and needs, including those of digital nomads and remote workers. Many rooms are already offered as a workplace for hours or days, or even as a temporary residence, with premium Wi-Fi services, discounts on restaurants and laundry and even health cover. Hotels are also offering coworking areas where work can combine with social activities, networking and more.

Lifestyle matters

Distances are no obstacle in Catalonia, for digital nomads can also choose to live in Catalonia’s three other capitals: Girona, Tarragona and Lleida, and travel by train to Barcelona every so often or regularly on a high-speed train in less than an hour. They can choose between the Pyrenees, less than two hours by car from Barcelona’s metropolitan area and its transport connection hubs, and the Costa Brava or Costa Daurada. They can enjoy the snow in winter and spring and the sun almost all year round.

But in addition to this mild climate, the qualities that lead to Catalonia attracting so many digital nomads, entrepreneurs and the remote workers across the world are diverse: Mediterranean Lifestyle, a rich and diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem, a high cultural offer, a destination with both mountains and beaches, a cosmopolitan society, beautiful locations to inspire and network, good international connections, safety, high quality of life. It is no coincidence that Catalonia, with the leadership of Barcelona, is the top digital talent and startup hub in southern Europe.


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