Estonia for Digital Nomads: Good or Bad?

Today we will analyse the benefits and disadvantages of Estonia for digital nomads, and hopefully it will help you to determine if it’s a good or bad option for your profile

Tallinn by Tatyana A. / Flickr

Estonia is getting a lot of attention for being a tech hub since Skype was coded in the early 2000’s by two Estonian programmers. This and other factors, like it’s new e-residency project have put Estonia on the spotlight for digital nomads, and obviously Estonia is pushing its good image abroad in order to attract more business to this tiny Baltic nation. But is Estonia good for digital nomads?

Estonia for digital nomdads: Overview

The recent history of Estonia is being extremely positive for its citizens, emerging as a ruined former Soviet republic to a thriving and dynamic EEA member. One of the things that attract digital nomads the most are low taxes and low cost of living, and things in Estonia are relatively attractive on this sense.

If you are from Finland or Denmark and move to Estonia, you will probably think that the cost of living and taxes are very appealing in Estonia, but the fact that the Estonian economy has improved a lot in recent years, bringing a lot of foreign companies made the rent prices surge in Tallinn, which is probably the only city you will consider to move to Estonia, as the other options are quite small ones.

The e-residency program has also recently made the headlines of news portals around the world, but in fact, it brings virtually no benefits to its applicants. They can you can open a bank account in Estonia being an e-resident, but I have contacted LHV Pank, and I learned quickly that one, at least as an European citizen, can open a bank account there without being an e-resident. Finally, regardless if you choose to open a bank account in Estonia, you still have to go in person to the bank, in all cases.

The second advantage of being an e-resident would be the possibility of opening a company in Estonia, paying a virtual office to be used as your address. Even if this is indeed true, you can do the same thing in a multitude of countries, some with much lower corporate tax like Montenegro, or Belize.

With this scenario, we can move to the pros and cons of being a digital nomad in Estonia.

Talllinn Old Town by Tatyana A. Flickr
Talllinn Old Town by Tatyana A. Flickr

Estonia for digital nomdads: Pros

A great place to be in summer, with very long days and pleasant temperatures. Tallinn has one of the most beautiful old towns in Europe. Relatively low cost of living compared to Western Europe. Part of SEPA. Good internet connection is widely available.

If you can afford staying in Tallinn centre, being a digital nomad in Estonia, especially in summer, is an excellent choice.

Estonia for digital nomdads: Cons

Harsh winter. Overpriced real estate. Quite crowded with tourists in the old town. If you speak English or Russian, odds are you will never need to learn a single word of Estonian (not that I recommend you to not learn it), but, in case you move to Estonia for a longer period, you should be aware that its language is one of the hardest to learn in Europe, as it’s not part of the Indo-European language group (but it will be easy if you know Finnish).

Who Should Consider Being a Digital Nomad in Estonia?

Estonia is definitely worth checking out, but to set up a base in Estonia is only a true advantage if you are coming from some Scandinavian country and you want to enjoy less prohibitive taxes not too far from home.

Setting up a company in Estonia can be a good option if you are from a country which is not part of SEPA, or is not advanced in terms of electronic payment processors like Paypal.

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