Iceland – An undiscovered paradise for digital nomads and remote workers

Iceland is an undiscovered paradise for digital nomads (it can be cool and warm at the same time with its amazing natural geothermal pools, infinite glaciers, volcanoes, and breath-taking nature that boosts anyone’s creativity). Iceland is a country of 365.000 people which ranks at the top of the most important indicators in terms of quality of life.

For all these reasons and many more, millions of people visited Iceland in the last few years making it arguably one of the favorite destinations in the world.

The way we work and where we work has been changing over the last years with more and more people embracing remote work and traveling to other countries at the same time, but 2020 is the year when remote work went mainstream. More and more companies are accepting that their employees don’t need to be co-located in order to be productive and can work from anywhere.

As a destination for travel and to work remotely, Iceland has also strong arguments. The infra-structure is available and if it was true that over the last years Iceland has been an expensive destination for some visitors, it is also true that today it is more affordable due to the recent events (explained further down). The next months will be a unique opportunity to experience Iceland without the buzz and hum of all the millions of tourists that have simultaneously visited Iceland in the last years.

When it comes to digital nomads selecting a destination it is a bit more intricate because they don’t only travel for leisure, they also work. Here are some of the main criteria that digital nomads value compared to what Iceland has to offer as a destination for a remote worker:

High-Speed Internet Iceland has a highly developed internet infrastructure using optic fiber and 4/4.5/5 G connections around most of the country.

Personal Safety Iceland is safe and peaceful, ranked number #1 safest country in the world for many years, Iceland is extremely safe for everyone, including minority groups.

Locals Icelanders are friendly and welcoming and in general speak fluently English.

Accommodations It is fair to say that it’s never been as easy to find a place to sleep, either it being an apartment or a hotel room. The house rental market has changed radically since the beginning of the pandemic, it went from fully booked to almost fully available forcing operators to lower their prices considerably. Co-working spaces are available in Reykjavik and in other regions of Iceland, they are expanding throughout the country.

Cost of Living The digital nomad 1.0 (pre-C19) preferred in general locations with a low cost of living. With remote work going mainstream around the world in 2020, the digital nomad 2.0 (post-C-19) is less sensitive to cost, many people work for big companies with decent wages and have now been given the flexibility to work from anywhere. As for Iceland, recently it has become more affordable for foreigners, in the last months the currency has devalued about 20%. This fact, along with a major reduction of tourists due to the pandemic, restaurants, hotels, apartments, and other tourism operators have also lowered their prices significantly which puts prices on par with many European countries.

Healthcare Iceland has one of the best healthcare systems in the world but more importantly, now is how C-19 is being handled. With the current regulations, and at the time of writing this article, the number of cases is very low. Yes, you will have to take a test on arrival and self-isolate for 5-6 days until you take a second test but being a digital nomad, you can use that time to work and continue being productive. The advantage is that after that period you basically enter a near virus-free environment.

Weather This is indeed a very personal issue, some people love the heat, some love the cold, and Iceland is somewhere in the middle. There are many advantages to being in the middle, in the summer, it means no sweating, no need for air conditioning, and a very little number of insects that can bother you. The summers can have up to 24 hours of sunlight while in the winter you have less daylight but instead, you can experience the unique northern lights. Even for the big fans of hot climates, because of Iceland’s uniqueness, it’s a great experience to come to Iceland. Even winters never become extremely cold and in Iceland, houses are extremely well prepared for the winter and use green energy (geothermal water for heating and showering), adding that you can enjoy a geothermal bath in the middle of nowhere while contemplating the northern lights in the sky.

In our next post we will cover more things regarding remote working in Iceland.

See you soon and hopefully in Iceland in 2021!

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