Porto in Portugal has topped a ranking of working holiday destinations that will be particularly well-suited to travellers from the UK. Jenny Southan reports

A ranking of some of the world’s best cities for workations a has been conducted by Culture Trip, a curator of small-group trips. In addition to Porto at number-one, the Spanish cities of Valencia, Barcelona and Madrid have also been featured in the top ten.

Outside of Europe, Delhi (34th) and New York (37th) are the best long-haul destinations for a working holiday, according to the research.

Data was gathered on essential remote work criteria (such as internet speed and the price of a coffee), as well as accommodation costs and tourist attractions, to assess which of the 60 world cities included in the research are best suited to a working holiday. (Globetrender thinks that time differences for long-haul destinations should also have been factored in.)

European destinations

Cities in Spain, France, Portugal and Italy top the ranking of the best cities for a working holiday from a UK perspective, taking all of the top ten positions and outranking popular destinations in the US, such as New York, which scores much less favourably.

  1. Porto, Portugal
  2. Valencia, Spain
  3. Barcelona, Spain
  4. Lyon, France
  5. Lisbon, Portugal
  6. Naples, Italy
  7. Marseille, France
  8. Paris, France
  9. Milan, Italy
  10. Madrid, Spain

Spanish cities dominate the ranking with Valencia and Barcelona taking second and third place respectively, and Madrid stealing the last spot in the top ten for best working holiday destinations.

Porto in Portugal, tops them all with an impressive internet speed (222.03 Mb/s), bettered only by Iasi in Romania, and a solid cyber security score (97.32), catering very well to those working remotely for parts of their holiday.

The city also offers plenty of green spaces, second only to Limassol, Cyprus, when adjusted by population, and a plentiful supply of Airbnbs (4,251) for its size. With just over 11 five-star rated attractions per KM2, Porto has much to offer those visiting on a working holiday.

Long-haul destinations

Being furthest from London, destinations outside of Europe struggle to compete with those closer to home. India and Pakistan landed close to the bottom. Apart from the obvious journey time to reach these destinations and the potential issues of being in a vastly different time zone, each has other criteria where they struggle to make the grade.

Pakistan has the lowest cyber security score (64.88) of all the countries on the list and its three cities, Lahore (14.09 Mb/s), Karachi (12.5 Mb/s) and Faisalabad (7.1 Mb/s) take the bottom three spots for internet speed. All three cities also struggle to compete on the amount of green space they have to offer.

For India, although scoring amongst the highest for cyber security (97.5), internet speed in all three cities (Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai) is relatively low in comparison to other cities on the list, with Delhi having the fastest at 58.76 Mb/s. Similarly, all three cities offer much less in the way of green space compared to other cities on the list.

In the US, a relatively high cost of living translates into poor scores for all three cities (New York, Los Angeles and Chicago) with LA in particular being the most expensive city on the list for accommodation at £206.55 on average per night for an Airbnb.Culture Trip workations

Workation itineraries

On the back of this research, Culture Trip has also unveiled a working hliday itinerary planning service.

It says: “We understand that work is important, but so is experiencing a new place, so we’ve created a balanced schedule that allows you to explore these cities and work at the same time without the need for you to really plan anything in advance.

“Our example itineraries are designed for individuals visiting one of the top three cities for seven days – working for five of those days but with some flexibility around their core hours. It’s pretty impressive just how much you can fit in.”

For example:

Day 1 – Porto

Morning: Take a walk or jog along the Douro River and settle in for a coffee at the historic Cafe Majestic before starting work.
Evening: Enjoy dinner at Cantina 32, a trendy restaurant known for its petiscos such as pica-pau steak and excellent cocktails.