Originally published at: Estonia for Digital Nomads: The Definitive Guide 2021
Estonia is the digital hub of the world; an ideal base for any digital nomad.
With the introduction of the Digital Nomad Visa in August 2020, it strengthened its position further. So, those habitual to a nomadic life or others looking to experience this new world location-free working style should come to the beautiful Baltic country without a doubt.
The Government of Estonia, administration, and the local bodies work tirelessly to ascertain all necessary and modern amenities to these digital professionals.
Irrespective of the duration, scroll down through this guide for all the information you may need for your Estonian stay.
Places to Live: Accommodation in Estonia
Estonia enjoys less footprint than many European countries making it quieter and somewhat economical for remote workers. City24.ee and Kv.ee offer rental contracts for cities, towns, and villages all over the country. For more affordable options, try Airbnb short-term rentals.
For long-term accommodation, the cost may vary from person to person and personal preferences. For instance, if you choose a premium accommodation, it will be relatively higher.
That said, a few elements that may affect the living cost of a digital nomad in Estonia include accommodation type, quality, and location. The average monthly expenditure on an Estonian stay is between €300-€500.
- Private flats: Ideal for people planning to stay longer and work.
- Dormitories: It is the right choice for students. Almost all universities offer this accommodation type and are open to international students all year.
|Housing Type||Average Cost|
|Furnished studio in an expensive area (480 sq ft)||€615|
|Furnished studio in a normal area (480 sq ft)||€461 EUR|
|Furnished accommodation in a normal area (900 sqft)||€645 EUR|
|Well-furnished accommodation in a posh area (900 sqft)||€1131 EUR|
|Utilities for one person (such as gas, electricity, heating) in 480sqft accommodation||€111 EUR|
Places To Work: Co-working in Estonia
Big cities like Tallinn and Tartu have co-working spaces, and these are readily available for a digital nomad Estonia stay. To work at these shared workstations, you need to acquire a monthly membership. Paying off the same allows access to several workspaces with couches, desks, and more.
Apart from Tallinn, other cities too offer co-working spaces. However, smaller towns do not have these facilities. Cafes and coffee shops are open for you. Throng them if you enjoy working amidst the hustle and bustle.
Places To Meet: Networking in Estonia
Irrespective of whether you plan to stay here for long or not, connections are essential for growth. Start with attending events. Check events in the city you are staying in. There is a higher chance of meeting people who can benefit you long-term. You can also participate in web networking events.
Besides, leverage the power of social media. Digital nomad Estonia is a popular group on Facebook. Or check expert.com, the easiest way to make friends and meet like-minded people in Estonia.
Digital Banking in Estonia
Estonian banks are playing a significant role in promoting e-residency and other programs started by the Government. The banks offer excellent customer-friendly services to allow digital nomads, freelancers, and other professionals to access the banking service from anywhere in the world.
For a digital nomad Estonian bank account is vital. Use your e-resident card or e-ID to open it. The bank uses facial recognition technology or video interview recording to verify your identity and thereby authorize an account in your name. You can now operate and make & receive payments quickly.
Some of the preferred banks for International banking in Estonia are Swift/BIC, IBAN. Transferwise is another option. However, if you want, go ahead and open a traditional account.
Surely you wouldn’t want to buy a car while living a nomadic life. Therefore, try public transportation. It is not only readily available but cost-effective as well. If you are a student, you can travel for free in Tallinn.
In Tartu, be prepared to pay €0.83 for one hour ticket to €35.15 for a 90-day ticket on a bus. Besides, you can use electric scooters provided by the CityBee and Bolt in Tallinn. Tartu too has a bike-share system for all.
Food and Groceries
Food is an essential element for living anywhere in the world. But buying food can be expensive. So, if you have decided to rent an apartment, cook your food. It is cheaper, and you can enjoy your favorite delicacies.
You can buy groceries from department stores, international food stores and get them delivered in big cities like Tallinn.
|Groceries||Average Prices (for a single person)|
|Western food||176.60 EUR|
|Asian food||133.53 EUR|
For a digital nomad, Estonia can be slightly expensive if he is living only for a short span.
|Self-service restaurant||1.3 – 5.7 EUR|
|Cheap Eatery||2 – 8.5 EUR|
|Buffet||Starts 2.70 per 100 gm|
|Fast Food||1.1 EUR onwards|
|Street Food||0.351 (donuts) onwards|
|Bar||9.5 EUR onwards|
|Estonian Cuisine||Starts 10 EUR|
|Drinks||Starts 7 EUR|
Laundry services are readily available in Tallinn and other places. When your clothes need to be laundered, visit Google. Not all laundries have a digital address, but most of them are listed on the search engine. You may choose one closer to your accommodation.
The services are good and much cheaper than the hotel laundry rates.
Leisure & Lifestyle
One-third of Estonians living in the cities, Estonia has a substantially high urban population. Couples prefer to live-in than get into wedlock, making this Baltic state possess the highest number of unmarried adults.
This culturally progressive society is technologically bent and has strong work ethics and an inclination towards fun and entertainment. You name it, and the place has it.
With a rich cultural heritage coupled with a booming economy, Estonia attracts several tourists from all parts of the world. No wonder then, you will come across all modern touristy things, including a vibrant nightlife in Estonia.
Nightlife in Estonia
Nightclubs, studios, bars all come alive as the sun sets. From performances by top DJs of the world at Illusion (Tallinn) to quiet drinks with friends at Porgu (Tallinn), and from fun parties at Genialistide Klubi to a wide range of imported and local beer at Drink (Tallinn), you can expect to experience it all in Estonia.
Another attraction for night owls is Hell Hunt. It is reportedly the first pub in Estonia and a favorite among the youth.
Besides, as you start living in Estonia, you will come across many more to satiate your interest.
Whether you like it or not, you must take advantage of the many exciting outdoor activities along with your life as a digital nomad Estonia.
Estonia is a beautiful country with more than 50% under forest cover. Explore it with a stroll closer to nature with a wildlife tour. If you have a slight inclination towards history, venture out to the older parts of Tallinn.
Or you can be a part of adrenaline-rushing activities such as kayaking and canoeing, surfing, bike tours, sports camps, safaris, hiking, canoeing, scuba, snorkeling, and many more with the locals and tourists.
While living a location-free digital life, do not let not work consume all your time. Relax your mind and body by visiting some places of fun, entertainment, and historical importance in Estonia.
- Tartu: Typa museum, AHHAA science center, Estonian National Museum, Tartu Toy Museum
- Tallinn: Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour, Tallinn Museum of Orders of Knighthood, and more
- Saaremaa: Kuressaare Castle, Saaremaa Museum
- Narva: Narva Castle
- Parnu: Tervise Paradiise Water Tank
- Rakvere: Aqva Hotel and Spa Water Park and Sauna Complex
Best Cities For Digital Nomads In Estonia
Tallinn is reportedly the best city in Estonia for digital nomads. Some call it ‘the next Silicon Valley’ in Europe. The next best city is Tartu, the second-largest city after Tallinn. The place is affordable, the quality of life is good, and there is free wi-fi everywhere you go.
Apart from these two, other cities best suitable for a remote life include Haapsalu, Parnu, and Saaremaa.
The Not-So-Great Parts of Living in Estonia
The weather is slightly unpredictable. There are not many bright sunny days and the winters are relatively long, and windy. People from the tropical parts of the world may find this season too harsh.
Estonia has the eighth-lowest monthly wage (€584) among all the EU members, leading to brain drain, mainly to Finland. Another aspect that surprises many is poverty. 3.4 percent of the population is homeless in Estonia.
Visas & Entry Requirements:
A digital nomad can enter Estonia by applying for either of the three visas. All the visa types have different requirements. Here is a rundown of all three.
Estonia Digital Nomad Visa
In August 2020, Estonia introduced Digital Nomad Visa for remote workers and digital nomads to live and work in the country with legal permission. One can apply for a visa at the closest Consulate or the Estonian Embassy. But before that, he must download the visa application from the website of Foreign Affairs, Government of Estonia.
Visa applicants can opt for C-visa (short stay for 90 days) or D-visa (stay longer than 90 days).
To be eligible for ‘Digital Nomad Visa’, an individual must:
- Prove his digital nomad status
- Fit into at least one of the three categories:
Work contract of a foreign company/employer
A shareholder/partner in a registered company
Consulting/freelancing service to the client and possess a contract.
- Meet the minimum salary requirement in Estonia for the last six months.
Note that Estonia digital nomad visa is applicable for only one year. During this time, a visa holder can travel to any 26 Schengen countries for 90 days.
Estonia Startup Visa
In 2017, the Estonian Government started a Startup Visa for all non-European startup founders. The interested applicants are required to present their business-related details to the startup community for evaluation.
To be eligible, you must be:
- Willing to spend a minimum of €160 every month or €1920 per year.
- Your business has global potential, such as tech-based business.
If you qualify, the startup committee grants visas to the founder and the team.
Once you get the approval, you can stay in Estonia for at least 12-month to set up your venture. If you have no plans to stay that long, apply for a three-month short-term visa.
If you already own a startup in Estonia, you automatically qualify for a startup visa or a temporary residence for five years.
Along with a startup visa, you get a work permit which means you can work in any Estonian company while also shaping up your startup. You are also allowed to have a side business alongside your startup.
A Startup Visa holder can apply in the same category for his family members such as spouses and children who cannot live independently due to their health or disability status.
Estonia was the first country to start an e-residency in the year 2014. Ever since the country has attracted many foreigners to operate and run an EU-based online company living in any part of the world.
With this e-card issued by the Estonian Government, entrepreneurs and digital nomads, including freelancers and small business owners, can easily access the EU market. Bank transactions, writing off tax, and surpassing bureaucratic impositions- everything is possible for non-residents looking to start a remote business.
The e-residents can access legal consultants, tax accountants, government digital e-services, and other business-related services comfortably with their smart cards. Almost 70,000 thousand people have taken advantage of the e-Residency program now.
To learn more about the program, check out our article on Estonia e-Residency.
Internet Connection: Wi-Fi Speed
The internet speed is not as good as in other European countries. Nevertheless, it is good enough to help you work without fluctuations.
To be precise, the average internet speed is 11.1mbps.
Quick Tips For Digital Nomads In Estonia
Life as a digital nomad Estonia can be best utilized when strategized ahead. Read all the tips to get started:
- Plan: Use a diary or an app to plan all your daily work. List your goals and achievements.
- Have some leisure time: Keep some time aside to explore the place and the culture. After all, you did not turn nomad to stay stationary and work.
- Work: Since the Wi-Fi connectivity is excellent, use it well. Work in trains, at the airport lounge, or while traveling to a new place.
- Regular assessment: Evaluate your work and productivity often. Look for areas you need to improve and work upon it.
- Check-in a Co-working space: With everyone around working, you will get some motivation to focus and work.
How to save money in Estonia
Generally speaking, for a digital nomad, Estonia or any other place can turn expensive. So, do not spend more than necessary. We will walk you through a few means to save more money.
- Prefer your own feet. Nothing is more economical than this. Or take a bus if going to a faraway place.
- As you are not a tourist and plan to stay longer, hire an apartment and cook your food. It is more economical than eating at restaurants and hotels.
- Forget shopping. Abstain from buying anything except food and grocery.
What Type Of Digital Nomad Is Estonia For?
For a digital nomad, Estonia is an ideal location, and this is not an understatement. With the Government offering a special Digital nomad visa to favorable conditions, there is no way a nomad should not consider it.
So, if you want an affordable life, safety, political stability, and good internet services in Europe, you don’t need to look anywhere else. Above all, Estonia offers a thriving nomadic community for networking and growth.