Algarve for Digital Nomads: Destination of the Month

Algarve for Digital Nomads: Destination of the Month

Year-round sunshine, purse-friendly prices, and lots of great cafes with fast internet and cheap coffee. Could Portugal’s southernmost region be the next Chiang Mai? Maybe not quite, but there are a few reasons why it’s becoming more popular with digital nomads.

Why the Algarve?

For the past few decades, this enclave has been a haven for retirees and 18-30 partygoers. With Lisbon (just 173 miles up the road) drawing the attention of techies (hello Web Summit), the Algarve is a great low-cost option for digital nomad girls.

  • It’s home to some of Europe’s most beautiful beaches.
  • The majority of cafes and restaurants have free Wi-Fi. The local cafe culture means you can linger over your Macbook and 70 cent espresso without feeling awkward (the locals do the same, only with a copy of the local newspaper).
  • Because it’s been a tourism and retirement hotspot for years, most of the locals speak English.
  • Although it’s generally a sleepy and peaceful place from October to March, Algarve 360 ensures there are plenty of cultural events taking place throughout the year. I also love the low-season brunch at The Wolf Bar & Grill in Carvoeiro (free flowing mimosas!)
  • Did I mention the weather? I’m writing this on December 20th and I’m sitting outside in a Chang vest top and PJ bottoms. Nothing but blue skies, ladies.

What you’ll need

Data sim card: The biggest 4G provider in Portugal is MEO, and they have a special 15 day data plan with 30GB of internet for €14.99. If you’re staying for longer, a regular sim from the MEO store costs €9.99. You can add data for the month (€5.49 for 200MB, and €30.99 for 15GB). Other major sim providers include Vodafone (€13.99 per month for 1 GB data) and NOS (€7.99 for 1GB of data).

Transport: Living in the Algarve is do-able without a car or scooter, but it does make exploring a lot more difficult as buses and trains can be infrequent (the pace of life here is lovely and lazy).

Cost of Living

Portugal isn’t an expensive country anyway, but the Algarve is especially cheap. In 2016 it topped the Post Office’s holiday costs barometer. The cost of living in the Algarve is generally quite low.

Accommodation: The only time you’ll have trouble finding a place to stay in the Algarve is from June to September. This is the summer high-season, and hotel/Airbnb prices tend to triple. Visit in the winter and you’ll find some very attractive prices (as well as excellent weather by European standards).

  • Monthly Airbnb rental for a whole place with internet: around £600 per month (low season)
  • One night in a hostel: €17 in low season, €20 in summer

Food and drink: If you cook a lot, expect to spend around €15-20 per week on groceries (much cheaper if you’re vegetarian). You can find fantastic bottles of wine for under €5 in the supermarket. Dining out isn’t expensive, either. Main courses in local restaurants cost between €6 and €12. I rarely spend more than €1 on a coffee or €2.50 on a beer.

Toiletries: Expect to pay about €3-6 each for a bottle of shampoo and conditioner, and about €3-4 for roll-on deodorant. In Continente (a big supermarket) a 4 pack of Venus Spa Breeze razor refills costs €14.49, and a 6 pack of Bic Pure Lady cost €3.29. 16 applicator tampons cost €2.99 (OB brand) and 16 pads cost €3.99 (Evax Liberty).

Where to work in the Algarve

Most coffee shops have free Wi-Fi, and if the password isn’t super easy to guess (usually the name of the network or the coffee shop) the staff are always happy to share it. One of my favourite coffee shops to work from is Lazy Jacks on the marina in Lagos.

As for co-working spaces, the main ones are:

  • Faro Avenida Business Centre: €10 per day, one month from €70
  • Votum Co-working lab (Faro): €5 per day, €80 per month
  • CENTRO Lagos: €149 per month

Digital nomad retreats are also appearing in the region. CoWorkSurf in Sagres combines surfing lessons with co-working. They’ve got a few retreats in the pipeline for 2017 and are looking at getting a permanent space. Other retreats worth looking out for are CoWork Algarve, Cowork Villa and SouthWest Collective.

There’s also a Digital Nomads Portugal Facebook group, with lots of members based in the Algarve (including the moderator, Sergio, who is based in Faro).

Best places to base yourself

Faro – This is the capital of The Algarve, and where the region’s only airport is located. It’s also the main public transport hub. This makes it a good place to stay if you’re not planning on hiring a car or bike.

Lagos – This town is home to Portugal’s best burger bar and also has a growing digital nomad scene (as well as lots of surf schools). I recommend renting an apartment near Maia Praia beach, a 10 minute walk from the city centre.

Portimão- This bustling town has excellent shopping, including a fantastic fresh fish market and a shopping mall with a Primark. It’s very central, and near the party-town area of Praia da Rocha.

Silves – If you want to get a really authentic Portuguese experience, I highly recommend this little inland town. It’s halfway between the beach and mountains. Halfway between the west coast and the airport, and free Wi-Fi in the main square. The cost of living is a bit lower here, too.

 


 

Author bio:  Jemma Porter has been living la vida nomad since 2012, when she left Scotland to become a freelance writer. Although she’s been all over Europe and Southeast Asia, she keeps coming back to Portugal. She co-runs the website Portugalist.com, and you can find her on Twitter and Instagram too.

 

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Singapore for Digital Nomad Girls: Mini Guide

Singapore for Digital Nomad Girls: Mini Guide

Welcome to our newest blog post series: Digital Nomad Girls Mini Guides! We can’t always spend a few weeks or months in each destination, that’s why we’ve created these little guides for short trips. They are perfect to find a great place to sleep, get some work done and also feature some of the best things to do and eat. Enjoy! 

This post is a guest post by Ulya from Essen in Germany. 

Singapore Mini Guide

 

Digital Nomad Girls Singapore Mini Guide Featured Image Pinterest

Recently, my husband and I had a 4-day stopover in Singapore on our way back to Germany. Although we usually keep costs to a minimum, we decided to really enjoy Singapore.

The first thing I do wherever I go is to get a local SIM card. In Singapore you can easily get one right at the airport: A 5-day tourist SIM card with 4 GB of data costs about 10 €. If you need more information on SIM cards and which one to get in a particular country, the Prepaid Data SIM Wiki is a really good resource.

From the airport, we got an Uber to our hotel. Uber in Singapore works great, feels safe and is affordable.

Generally speaking, low budget hostels just didn’t seem that low budget so we just went for it and stayed at the Fullerton Hotel which is a 5-star hotel. If you travel alone this is far too expensive but if you have a good friend or are with your partner and you just want to chill and live the life for even just one night this place is great!

 

Digital Nomad Girls Singapore Mini Guide Gardens by the Bay

What to do and where to go in Singapore?

Singapore is a tiny country and I recommend you walk to explore the city-state. It is really easy to find your way around, you can also use google maps on your phone because you hopefully got your local SIM card.

My favorite activity no matter where I go is to eat! In Singapore, you can get really good food from all over the world. I loved all this variety. If you are vegetarian or vegan you will have it easier in Singapore than in most SEA countries. Food stalls are everywhere so just go pick one. Food-wise I suggest you try as much as you can!

  • Dumplings: If you are a dumpling lover go to Din Tai Fung. Well-known, tasty and affordable.
  • Shopping: I hate to admit it, but leaving empty handed was not an option with all the shopping malls. (We didn’t buy much, though.)
  • The gardens by the Bay are a lovely park where you can get away from the city and just relax. You also get to see the avatar inspired Supertrees.
  • Check out Chinatown and Little India as these parts of the city feel completely different and there is always something to discover.
  • Merlion is a mix of a mermaid and a lion. It is Singapore’s mascot and from there you have a nice view over the marina and the perfect spot to take pictures of the Marina Bay Sands hotel.

Where to work in Singapore as a digital nomad?

A new co-working space The Hive is just after opening up. It is big, clean and spacious. The staff is friendly and the internet connection is fast and reliable.

Coworking Space Singapore Digital Nomad Girls

If you have a membership you can also use their co-working spaces in Hong Kong and Bangkok. So if you are considering visiting these cities as well, a membership is definitely a good option.

There are another couple of co-working spaces in Singapore, but being very satisfied with The Hive and only staying 4 days in Singapore, we did not feel the need to check out any more co-working spaces.

We also work a lot from cafes. There is a Starbucks around every corner and cafes are always filled with people working while enjoying their beverage.

Digital Nomad Girls Singapore Mini Guide Marina Bay Sands

What impressed me the most about Singapore was how much green you find. The city planners did an incredible job integrating all this nature into their city! Plants hanging from buildings and being planted on roof tops. Amazing!

Singapore is a tiny city with over 5 million people, but it feels so safe and well organised! If you are a female solo traveller and wondering if you can go to Singapore by yourself then let me tell you: you can! If you are a travel beginner there is almost no better city to start your travels. It is not cheap though, unless you know where the locals go. We came from Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam and got a bit of a shock at how pricey life all of sudden was.

It is not cheap, however, unless you know where the locals go. We came from Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam and got a bit of a shock at how pricey life all of sudden was.

All in all, I would go back to Singapore in a heartbeat!

 

Now it’s over to you! Have you visited Singapore as a Digital Nomad? Please share in the comments!

 

Ulya writes on her blog Wondering Me and you can contact her via Twitter @ulyavuz and Instagram @oolyaverse. All pictures were taken by her husband Florian Ziegler

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item or service, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

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