Carl Friedrik has a new look

Best luxury bleisure cities in the world

Published 1 years ago

Bleisure travel couple standing with luggage in Paris

We've put together a guide to the best luxury bleisure destinations in the world using data from Airbnb, TripAdvisor and other sources.

The remote work lifestyle has been on the rise for years. It spiked in popularity in recent times due to Covid-19, when new ways of working were explored further after offices were forced to close their doors.


As a result of this new working landscape people now have increased flexibility to decide where and when they work, opening up the opportunities for ‘bleisure’ travel (a portmanteau of business and leisure). With remote workers earning up to $150k, it’s easy to see the appeal of working from anywhere in the world in style.1


A report from Qualtrics shows that 80% of employees looking for a new job listed the opportunity to live anywhere as very important, and employers are listening.2 In fact, a study from Upwork shows that 35.7 million Americans, or 22% of the workforce, will be remote by 2025.3


When travelling to a new city for bleisure it pays to know what to expect when you’re there. With that in mind, the team at Carl Friedrik analysed Euromonitor’s top 100 city destinations to uncover the best luxury bleisure cities in the world.4

Key findings

  • Lisbon is the best luxury bleisure city, scoring the highest score of 1,078 out of 2,150 in the index, great news for those applying for Portugal’s new Digital Nomad Visa

  • Rome provides the best luxury accommodation for bleisure breaks with 329 Airbnb Plus listings and over 1,000 Airbnb listings available

  • Barcelona is the best city for coworking spaces with 93.86% of coworking options rated 4*+

  • Rome is the top city for gastronomic delights with 99.5% of 11,306 eateries being rated 4*+

  • Those seeking a relaxing spa experience should head to Phuket with 84.88% of their 496 spa and wellness centres rated 4*+

  • Krakow is the best city to visit for landmarks and viewpoints with 87.31% of 268 attractions analysed rated 4*+

Bleisure traveller holding grey carry-on suitcase with camera round his neck
Bleisure traveller walking beside grey check-in suitcase wearing beige suit

What is bleisure travel?

Business and leisure travel, also known as ‘bleisure’, has continued to grow in popularity as work-life boundaries shift. Statistics from Travel Edge report an increase of over 25% in interest in bleisure trips and workcations during 2022.5


As the name suggests, bleisure travel is part business and part leisure. What does this look like in practice? One example is corporate travellers who, after finalising next year’s company growth plans or speaking at a conference, decide to spend a few additional days checking out the city they have travelled to. The rising trend of holiday goers logging on abroad just to eke out extra time in the sun also constitutes bleisure travel.

In essence, bleisure travel is about combining work trips or work abroad with time spent enjoying leisure activities.

- John Doe

Stylish bleisure traveller walks in Paris street with grey check-in suitcase

10 best luxury bleisure cities

To create our index on the best luxury leisure destinations we analysed:

  • The cities with the most luxury accommodation available

  • The cities with the most highly rated coworking spaces

  • The average rating for the different types of activities available

  • The average WiFi quality in each city

  • The Safety Index score for each city

Using the data we collected on accommodation, coworking, restaurants, spas and wellness centres, landmarks and viewpoints, WiFi and safety from the 100 most visited cities in the world, we allocated points to each city to determine which ones ranked best overall. Below is our list of the 10 best luxury bleisure cities in the world.

Infographic highlighting Lisbon's credentials as the best bleisure city

The top destination for luxury bleisure was Portugal’s capital and largest city, Lisbon, scoring 1,077.5 points out of a possible 2,150. This is fantastic news for those keen to work remotely as the Portuguese government has recently announced a scheme that will let freelancers and remote workers live in the country for up to 12 months.6


In fact, five of the top 10 bleisure cities currently offer digital nomad visas and residency to those looking to extend their trip.7 Portugal, Spain, Australia and the United Arab Emirates all provide this, with Italy looking to follow suit soon.


In second place is London, England with 982.2 points, followed by Rome, Italy in third place with 982.


In fact, five of the top 10 bleisure cities currently offer digital nomad visas and residency to those looking to extend their trip.

View of the picturesque rooftops of Lisbon
Inforgraphic highlighting Lisbon's credentials as the best bleisure city

Read on to discover the breakdown of these rankings based on number of venues, ratings and safety.

Top cities for luxury accommodation

One of the main considerations for bleisure workers when abroad is the quality of accommodation. With that in mind, we wanted to discover which cities are offering the best luxury accommodation.


By analysing Airbnb data we identified how many listings each city had that included WiFi, alongside which cities offered Airbnb Plus alongside WiFi.8 Airbnb Plus is a selection of high-quality homes with extremely positive reviews and hosts with great attention to detail — making them ideal for luxury stays.


Rome, Italy came in the top position with the full 250 points. We found that the average cost of an Airbnb Plus listing with WiFi is $226 (£195) and the average Airbnb listing with WiFi is $159 (£137).


Cape Town, South Africa ranked in 2nd place with 245.3 points, followed by Lisbon, Portugal with 240.9 points.

Table showing the top 10 cities for quality accommodation

Top coworking cities

A comfortable coworking space is an essential part of any bleisure trip. With that in mind, we analysed review data using Google Maps for each city where possible using the search parameters of ‘coworking space, city, country’.9 For example ‘coworking space, Lisbon, Portugal’.


In cases where a city did not have Google listings or reviews for their coworking spaces, data was taken from WeWork.10


Barcelona, Spain topped the list with 350.9 points out of 550. Our analysis found that 93.86% of the cities' coworking spaces were rated 4*+.


Warsaw, Poland ranked in 2nd place with 334.1 points, followed by London, England with 320.3 points.

Table showing the top 10 cities for coworking
Aerial view of central Barcelona in the early evening
Palm trees blowing in the wind on Barcelona's shoreline

Top cities for restaurants

Eating out is an integral part of any trip. A visit to a new country or city provides the opportunity to try local cuisine and expand one’s horizons.


Using data from TripAdvisor, we could identify the cities with the most restaurants and their average rating, to see which metropolis had the most 4*+ rated restaurants.


Rome, Italy came top of the list with an estimated 11,306 restaurants, and average rating of 4.06 and 99.5% of eateries being rated 4*+. This resulted in a score of 185.2 out of 350. In second place is Melbourne, Australia with 168.7 points, followed by Playa Del Carmen, Mexico in third with 167.6.


Rome, Italy came in the top position with the full 250 points. We found that the average cost of an Airbnb Plus listing with WiFi is $226 (£195) and the average Airbnb listing with WiFi is $159 (£137).


Cape Town, South Africa ranked in 2nd place with 245.3 points, followed by Lisbon, Portugal with 240.9 points.

Table showing the top 10 cities for quality restaurants
Bar chart showing cities with the highest number of 4* rated restaurants

Top cities for strong WiFi

Strong internet connection when working remotely makes all the difference — without it you’ll be stressing if that important email went through or not.


Using data from Speedtest we determined the cities offering the strongest WiFi.11 Riyadh, the capital and largest city in Saudi Arabia, was revealed as the best place for bleisure workers to visit with WiFi connection ranking first across the locations assessed, scoring the full 200 points. Riyadh was shown to have an average WiFi speed of 137.5Mbps and excellent WiFi quality.


Dubai, UAE took 2nd place with 195.4 points, followed in third place by Copenhagen, Denmark with 190.09.

Bar chart showing the top 10 cities for strong WiFi

Top spa cities

What’s a bleisure trip without the leisure aspect? We used TripAdvisor data to analyse the number of spas and wellness centres per city and their average rating to discover which cities offered the most 4*+ spas.


Famous for its beautiful beaches, Phuket, Thailand topped the list for travellers looking to make time for restorative activities on their next bleisure break. With an estimated 496 spas and wellness centres we found that the average rating was 4.65, with 84.88% of the total number of spas rated 4*+ — giving the city a score of 250.4 out of 350.


Cancún, Mexico came in 2nd place with 223.5 points, followed by Chiang Mai, Thailand in third with 194.3.

Table showing the top 10 cities for spas and wellness centrs
Aerial image of the Big Buddha of Phuket
The urban streets of Phuket at night

Top cities for landmarks

For those looking to absorb the sights we looked at the estimated number of landmarks and viewpoints for each city using data from TripAdvisor.


Kraków, Poland took the top spot as the city with the best landmarks and viewpoints. With an estimated 268 landmarks, and an average rating of 4.49 we found that 87.31% of landmarks in the city were rated 4*+ on TripAdvisor resulting in a score of 216.7 out of 350.


Edinburgh, Scotland came in 2nd place with 200.7 points and Lisbon, Portugal followed in 3rd with 196.3.

Table showing the top 10 cities for landmarks and viewpoints
Infographic showing Melbourne's credntials as a bleisure city

Top cities for safety

Safety is of the utmost importance when travelling whether alone or with others. We studied Safety Index data from Travel Safe Abroad to reveal which cities in our list have the highest safety score.12


Sapporo, Japan took the top spot with the full 100 points for the Safety Index score of 92. Singapore, Singapore and Hurghada, Egypt came in joint 2nd place with 95.4 points, followed by Vienna, Austria in 4th place with 86.7.

Bar chart showing 12 safest cities in the world

Summary

Now you’ve read our guide to the best luxury bleisure cities in the world, which one will you visit next?


Whether you’re looking for a restorative vacation, a sightseeing adventure or a gastronomic experience we have you covered. Read more of our business travel tips before you embark on your next adventure.

Methodology

We researched accommodation, coworking spaces, restaurants, spas and wellness centres, landmarks and viewpoints, WiFi and safety data for the top 100 most visited cities in the world using a number of trusted data sources to create an index with scoring in place to identify the best luxury bleisure cities in the world.13


Cities in Russia and Ukraine were discounted from the findings taking into account the ongoing conflict. Mecca was also removed from our analysis where the city isn’t open to all.


All data is correct as of October 2022.

Points system

We applied a points system to the cities we analysed with a maximum overall total of 2,150 Each category had its own points total, with more desirable ones weighted stronger with a higher number of points.


We analysed data for accommodation, coworking spaces, restaurants, spas and wellness centres, landmarks, technology and safety in all 100 cities. The points allocated break down as follows:

  • Accommodation — Maximum 250 points

  • Coworking — Maximum 550 points

  • Restaurants — Maximum 350 points+

  • Spas and wellness centres — Maximum 350 points

  • Landmarks and viewpoints — Maximum 350 points

  • WiFi — Maximum 200 points

  • Safety — Maximum 100 points

  • Total — Maximum 2150 points available

Accommodation

Average number of Airbnb listings and costs were based on one person travelling alone in any available week in September 2023.


We used data from Airbnb to find out the number of listings with WiFi for each city, including those with Airbnb Plus.14 15 Cities with no Airbnb Plus with WiFi and or no Airbnb with WiFi listings were given a score of 0.


We attributed a score to each data point to give an overall score of 250 points for each city. Up to 100 points were given for the number of Airbnb listings with Airbnb Plus and WiFi, and 150 points for the number of Airbnb listings with WiFi only.

Coworking

Coworking space data was taken from online reviews using Google Maps where available, if unavailable on Google we collated data from WeWork.16 17


Cities that had no coworking data on Google Maps or WeWork were discounted from the analysis and given a score of 0. Those with less than 10 reviews for coworking spaces were also not counted to ensure the best quality workplaces were analysed.


We gave a score to each data point used to provide an overall score of 550 points for each city. Up to 200 points were given weighted by the number of coworking spaces with over 10 reviews and a further 100 points for cities with over 5 coworking locations with over 10 reviews. We also attributed 100 points for the average rating of coworking spaces and 150 points for the number of coworking spaces rated 4*+.


To determine the percentage of coworking spaces rated 4*+ available in each city we took the number of 4*+ rated coworking spaces and divided it by the number of coworking spaces with at least five coworking spaces. We used five with five workspaces as the minimum to ensure we ranked by availability to a number of different working environments. Therefore cities with under five coworking locations scored lower.

Restaurants

Using information from TripAdvisor, we calculated the number of restaurants in each city, as well as the average rating for these types of establishments in each city.18


We assigned a score to each data point used to provide an overall score of 350 points for each city.


A maximum of 100 points were given to both the total number of restaurants and their average rating. Then an additional 150 points were attributed to the number of 4*+ restaurants per total number in each city.


To calculate the percentage of 4*+ rated restaurants we divided the number of 4*+ restaurants in each city by the total number of restaurants.

Spa and wellness centres

We calculated the number of spa and wellness centres and their average ratings in each city using data from TripAdvisor.19 Cities with less than 40 spas were not counted in the analysis and were given a 0 score.


We attributed a score to each datapoint to give an overall score of 350 points for each city. We gave a maximum score of 100 points for both the total number of spa and wellness centres and their average rating. An additional 150 points were given weighted by the number of 4*+ rated spas and wellness centres per total number in each city.


The percentage of spas rated 4*+ was calculated by dividing the number of 4*+ rated spas by the total number of spas in each city.

Landmarks and Viewpoints

Using information from TripAdvisor, we calculated the number of landmarks and viewpoints in each city, in addition to their average.20 Cities with less than 30 landmarks and viewpoints were not counted in our analysis resulting in a score of 0.


Each datapoint was assigned a score, giving a potential total of 350 points for each city. A maximum of 100 points was assigned to both the number of landmarks and viewpoints and their average rating. An additional 150 was then applied to weight the number of 4*+ rated landmarks and viewpoints per total number in each city.


To calculate the cities with the most 4*+ landmarks to visit we took the number of 4*+ rated landmarks and divided it by the total number of landmarks.

WiFi

WiFi data was collated from Speedtest.21 We assigned an overall score of 200 points with a maximum of 100 points available for both the average WiFi speed (Mbps) and the average WiFi quality.

Safety

For the safety data we analysed Safety index data from Travel Abroad Safe.22 A maximum of 100 points were assigned for each city based on its Safety Index score, with the highest one getting the most points.

Sources

  1. Remote OK: https://remoteok.com/remote-work-statistics
  2. Qualtrics: https://www.qualtrics.com/blog/how-pandemic-changed-future-of-work/
  3. Upwork: https://www.qualtrics.com/blog/how-pandemic-changed-future-of-work/
  4. Top 100 cities: https://go.euromonitor.com/rs/805-KOK-719/images/wpTop100CitiesIndex2021-v0.4.pdf
  5. Travel Edge: https://www.traveledge.com/
  6. Portugal Digital Nomad Visa: https://digitalemigre.com/relocation/portugal-digital-nomad-visa/
  7. Countries offering digital nomad residency: https://www.travelinglifestyle.net/countries-offering-digital-nomad-visas-and-residency/
  8. Accommodation data: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/
  9. Coworking data: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/ and https://www.wework.com/en-GB/search
  10. Airbnb Plus: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/plus
  11. Restaurants, spa and wellness centres and landmarks data: https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/
  12. WiFi data: https://www.speedtest.net/
  13. Safety data: https://www.travelsafe-abroad.com/