Lisbon is the fifth best global destination for Digital Nomads in latest Savills index

Despite having lost the lead to Dubai, the Portuguese capital is still at the top of the table that ranks 20 world destinations. The Algarve occupies the ninth place.

Dubai has taken the lead in the 2023 Savills Executive Nomad Index, launched today as part of the firm’s Impacts programme, knocking last year’s top location, Lisbon, to fifth place. The Savills Executive Nomad Index ranks 20 destinations for long-term remote workers. All either have a digital nomad visa programme, or equivalent, or in the case of the US and European countries, are already part of a large economic bloc that allows free movement of people for living or work. They offer favourable climates year-round, a high quality of life and have established prime residential markets.

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“Dubai’s fast growing fintech and financial services sectors, along with a tax-free environment and high quality of life, are proving powerful magnets for executive nomads”, comments Swapnil Pillai, associate director, Savills Middle East Research.

“Most are Dinkies (Dual-income, no kids) and they favour high residential buildings in Downtown Dubai, close to the DIFC, the financial hub, or in Dubai Marina for proximity to Media City and Internet City.”

Dubai also scores highly on both types of connectivity. Dubai International, its main airport, is the world’s busiest for international passenger traffic. Meanwhile, Dubai continues to invest in its digital infrastructure – with the UAE now home to the fastest mobile speeds in the world.

Malaga, a new entrant in the Savills Index, takes second place. The beach city’s culture, gastronomy and comparatively more affordable cost of renting, along with the launch of Spain’s digital nomad visa in 2022, have attracted executives able to work remotely. High-profile large corporate arrivals such as Google have expanded its commercial base.

“These companies are all saying that Malaga is the place to be and its reputation then spreads by word of mouth,” says José Felix Perez-Peña, Savills head of Andalucía.

"Executive nomads want to have everything ready when they move in, including furniture and internet connection. We are seeing a lot of start-ups heading to our city, but there is a shortage of suitable properties available, creating a real opportunity for developers and the sector.”

Miami, Abu Dhabi (another new entrant) and Lisbon complete the top five. Lisbon, last year’s top ranking destination, remains a compelling proposition for executive nomads, thanks to the quality of life, culture and connectivity it offers residents, coupled with a favourable climate. New locations have entered the index ahead of it this year, and in common, with many World Cities, Lisbon has seen prime residential rents rise rapidly, up by 13.9% in the first half of this year alone.

Paul Tostevin, director of Savills World Research, concludes, “Connectivity matters to an executive nomad, so cities dominate the top list, taking the first five spots. The leading centres offer good transport and communications infrastructure, business networks, together with favourable climates, beaches and a high quality of life.

“Established leisure destinations also make the cut, led by Barbados and the Algarve in sixth and ninth place respectively. For some, this has enabled second homes to become year-round ones and extending seasonality in local prime property markets.”

Miguel Lacerda, Lisbon Residential Director, Savills Portugal points out: “As we know, the real estate market in Lisbon is in a phase where demand exceeds supply. In the case of the rental market, this situation is even more visible, and may have a negative impact on the demand for mid-range rentals. Even so, the city of Lisbon remains one of the most appealing and attractive cities in the world to digital nomads. A cosmopolitan city, which manages to combine history, modernity and innovation. Stage of internationally renowned events, Lisbon is and will continue to be a world city”.