Recently, Serbia has been the name on the lips of many digital nomads the world over. With great working conditions for foreigners, low costs of living, fascinating cultural, and nightlife — there’s not a lot more a DN could ask for.
However, if you’re seriously considering the move, there are several things you ought to think about before you start packing your bags. So, I’ve conducted a deep dive on Serbia to help you know exactly how is Serbia for digital nomads.
Serbia for Digital Nomads at a Glance
- Low apartment/food/transportation expenses.
- Friendly, mostly English-speaking population.
- Great connection to other major European cities.
- Still has ways to go in regards to defining the rules for DNs.
An Introduction to Serbia
Serbia is located in Central/Southeast Europe and has a (mostly) pleasant continental climate. The country’s cuisine largely consists of meat (particularly red) combined with potatoes, rice, and vegetables.
Serbia’s geographical position allows you to have easy access to other Balkan countries (Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro), as well as the major EU cities (Vienna, Budapest, Berlin, etc).
Connectivity in Serbia
When it comes to connectivity, Serbia definitely has the infrastructure needed to support its population and the growing digital nomad community. The internet speeds are great, and packages are cheap, but let’s see what that actually means to you.
WiFi in Serbia
In 2020, Serbia saw an average of 69.6Mbps fixed internet speeds. However, according to speedtest.net, the country was averaging 83.04Mbps in July of 2021, earning the 55th spot for the speediest internet in the world. So, suffice it to say, you won’t have any connectivity issues if you want to work remotely from Serbia.
Telenor, for one, offers prepaid internet packages with small modems you can plug into your computer/laptop or a wall plug. These packages cost from $30 to $50.
Not to mention, the vast majority of cafes, restaurants, hotels (and other types of accommodations) offer great WiFi internet connections for free.
4G and Mobile in Serbia
In 2020, Serbia saw an average internet mobile speed of around 46.52 Mbps. As of July 2021, this number has grown to 50.24 Mbps, solidifying the country’s reputation for having great connectivity across the board.
To have internet access on your phone, you can apply for a SIM card with any of the major (and minor) providers such as Telenor, MTS, or Vip mobile. These cards cost anywhere from $5 to $10 and can be purchased at a number of stores in most cities.
Note: 5G is currently available only in bigger cities, and the connectivity varies based on the provider.
Visas and Documentation for Serbia
Serbia isn’t a member of the EU and therefore isn’t part of the Schengen Zone. So, you don’t have to jump through nearly as many hoops to get a visa, and the process itself is quite straightforward. All you have to do is follow the application as described on the Ministry of foreign affairs website, and pay a fee (charges vary depending on your home country).
The visas themselves are separated into two categories.
Visa C allows you to stay in Serbia for up to 90 days, whether you’re coming to the country for business or pleasure. Additionally, it enables you to re-enter the country several times. This visa is valid for up to a year.
Also known as “the long term visa”, visa D allows you to stay in Serbia for anywhere from 90 to 180 days. It is intended for DNs who plan on applying for a temporary stay afterward. When applying you can list “employment” as the reason for wanting to enter the country.
The Digital Nomad Visa (Still in Progress)
The lawmakers seem to be quite intent on making it easier for DNs to work remotely from Serbia — going so far as to offer some special perks. Currently, as a DN, you don’t have to pay any income tax for the first 90 days.
However, as of writing this article, the country is in the process of better defining a nomad visa. Under the proposed law, DNs who earn over €3500 (around $4100) would be able to work in Serbia for up to a year.
Where Digital Nomads Live & Work in Serbia
Serbia has recently become home to an amazing tech workforce, as well as several promising startups. For some cities, this has become a point of pride, and they’re doing everything to keep the local tech community happy and attract you — the digital nomad. These are the top two cities I’d recommend checking out as a DN in Serbia.
Belgrade is the country’s capital and in addition to being its most populous city. It features amazing museums, delicious food, as well as a bustling nightlife. This city is loved by numerous digital nomads and is quite accommodating to the community.
Living in Belgrade
If you want to rent a one-bedroom apartment, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $400 a month, depending on the location. Sadly, Belgrade doesn’t have any official co-living spaces as of yet, but I expect this to change soon.
Working from Belgrade
Contrastingly, there’s an abundance of co-working spaces all over the city. One of my favorites is Desk&More Kondina, as it offers beautiful, comfortable offices and single desk options, and you can get a table for as little as $12 a day. As far as the amenities, there’s a kitchen, showers, personal lockers, a skype room, and outdoor space.
Depending on your needs and preferences, you could also set base at Desk&More the Zoo. The offices are located inside a renovated textile factory and span across 47,000 square feet (4,400 m2). The rental will cost you just as much as in Kondina, but you’ll be in the heart of Belgrade, and a huge, open, light, and airy space.
Novi Sad is thought of as Serbia’s cultural and startup hub. The city features gorgeous architecture, an abundance of craft beers, and the Petrovaradin Fortress.
Living in Novi Sad
Depending on the location, you can expect to pay around $200-300 for a monthly rental. There aren’t any good or bad neighborhoods per se, and the city itself is a pretty good size. Thus, wherever you find an apartment, you’ll easily be able to access any part of the city by foot, via public transport or taxi.
Working from Novi Sad
While there aren’t any co-living spaces, there are quite a few co-working options. You may want to check out Hubitat, a space located in the center of Novi Sad, with over 2,700 square feet (250m2). Arguably the best aspect of the space is that it has all of the amenities you’ll ever need: showers, free coffee, and tea, comfy chairs and it’s even pet friendly!
Another great option is the beautifully designed EWA Hub. The co-working space features a 1/1 GB/s internet connection, Herman Miller chairs, as well as any additional equipment a digital nomad needs.
Finally, there’s even a female-oriented Space Girls, where female DNs can work, network, and have fun!
Honorable Mention — The Mokrin House
The Mokrin House is the only co-living space in Serbia, designed specifically for DNs and entrepreneurs. It’s located in Kikinda, around 2-2,5 hours from Belgrade and 1,5-2 hours from Novi Sad. It can accommodate up to 300 residents, who can, in turn, take advantage of the many amenities that the co-living/co-working space has to offer.
The friendly staff will keep you fed with three daily meals, and you can attend movie nights with your fellow DNs! There’s even a swimming pool, a gym, and the workspace is two levels high!
How is Serbia for Digital Nomads — My Final Thoughts
Serbia is cheap, foreigner (and DN) friendly, and seems to be on the verge of becoming one of the DN capitals of the world. Whatever your needs and preferences are, I’m sure you’ll enjoy your stay here.