Our very first coliving experience was in the winter of 2018-2019 and since then it has become one of our favorite way of travelling! Over the last 2 1/2 years we have spent a full year (not in a row, but 12 months spread over 30) living “in community” with other digital nomads. (5 months in Tenerife, 1 month in Gran Canaria, 1 month in Bansko, 1 month in Briançon and 4 months in Galicia). We regularly receive questions about this and we thought we would write a little blog post to introduce you to the concept and the state of mind that goes with coliving!
- Coliving: What is it?
- 10 reasons to choose a coliving instead of an apartment when you want to work while traveling?
- Coliving vs coworking: the differences
- Who are the “colivers”? Is coliving only for the digital nomad?
- Coliving in Europe: where to go and how much it costs?
- Colivings in Spain:
- Colivings in France:
- Coliving spaces elsewhere in Europe:
- What next? Will we be eternal “colivers”?
Coliving: What is it?
The term coliving is quite explicit in the sense that it implies a life in “community“, but it can be a bit confusing sometimes. Indeed, in the last few years there are roughly 3 families of coliving that have developed:
- Coliving in big cities in a more sedentary mode: For a few years now, real estate investment projects called coliving have been springing up in capital cities. Launched in the USA, these are often entire buildings that offer individual rooms with shared living and kitchen areas per “floor” as well as common infrastructures to the whole building (gym, roof terrace, home cinema, game room, etc…) These giants are called Axis, WeLive, Common, You+ or Lime and clearly target an audience of young professionals in major metropolitan areas.
- Coliving chains for nomads: Here there are often also big investors and shareholders who are in the game, but colivings are more aimed at a target audience of nomadic workers who wish to combine work and travels. The idea is to guarantee a certain standard of quality between the different establishments in the chain. These colivings vary in size, from a few dozen people to several hundred! Their name? Selina or for example Outsite.
- The small independent colivings: In this third category we find a completely different kind of business: colivings run by individuals. Often, these are former “nomads” who have decided to take a base in a place they love and create a small cocoon for the remote workers community. Generally these colivings are based in rural areas or smaller cities (it’s hard for a single person to acquire a 400m2 house in the heart of a capital city) 😉 These colivings vary in size but generally they are houses of several hundred square meters and can accommodate between 10 and 20 people.
For our part, we only know about the 3rd option and when we refer to the term coliving in our articles, it is always the latter that we are referring to. Clearly, the target audience is not the same depending on the type of coliving (especially for the first one) and the atmosphere will not always be the same. For our part, we really like this idea of “small family” and I believe that we will never be tempted by a place where there are more than 12-15 people at a time.
10 reasons to choose a coliving instead of an apartment when you want to work while traveling?
Before our first coliving experience we had already spent almost 3 years traveling and working on the road. During these 3 years we had for example spent 6 months in Chiang Mai in Thailand, 1 month in the Baltic States, 1 month in Minorca, 6 months in France to write our guide “Randos bière en France”, etc… Each time during these trips we rented apartments. Even today we still do it sometimes, but to work over a long period of time, we now prefer to choose the colivings. Why you might ask? We give you our 10 main reasons:
- People and community: First point and by far the most important! When you move regularly, it is sometimes difficult to make lasting connections with new people. Of course we travel as a couple, but the lack of social contacts is something that is described by many nomads, whether they travel solo or as a couple. A coliving is a unique opportunity to join a small family in which benevolence, good mood and exchanges are the key words. Moreover, unlike a hostel or a hotel, no one is here on vacation and everyone is here to work. Everyone’s schedule varies, but there is always a great respect for the different rhythms. In hostels it is not uncommon to find yourself working much less than expected because the atmosphere is more festive and relaxed. In a coliving there will always be someone available for a drink or a chat, but there will never be any question or judgement if someone decides to spend his Saturday night in the coworking. 😉
- Wifi quality! Let’s move on to a more practical point… When renting an apartment or booking a hotel, we always make sure that there is wifi. How many times have we found ourselves in locations where there was indeed “a network” but with a speed of 1MB / second. (we’ll always remember Minorca…) A shitty wifi is so to say the biggest nightmare for a remote worker! Apart from buying a lot of mobile data packages and begging the 4G gods to cover the area, there is not much to do. Going to a coliving is the guarantee to have an ultra fast and stable internet connection!
- Adequate work infrastructures: Ok… on this point we notice that we are not “20 anymore” 😉 During our world tour we managed our emails and wrote our articles in various places… Lying in our tent, sitting cross-legged in front of a wood stove, sitting on stools in a crowded bar, everything was fine. Now, we must admit that we appreciate this little luxury of having a “real” chair and a proper table as well as access to an extra screen and ohhh super important: silence! In all the colivings where we have been there are plenty of working spaces available. The terrace, the garden, the lounge, but also a dedicated coworking space! If you want to wallow in a couch or sit on a lounge chair to work on something that doesn’t require too much concentration you can do so… but at any time you can join a silent space made for productivity!
- An exceptional house: Sharing your space allows you to reduce “fixed” costs and colivings are perfect illustrations! In Tenerife, Briançon or Anceu we had the chance to spend time in absolutely splendid houses! Classified monuments, swimming pool, fitness, everything or almost is there. Needless to say that at the price you pay in a coliving it is impossible to have something similar by renting an apartment.
- Easier logistics: This point is a bit of a catch-all, but it makes life easier! Colivings are designed to live in and even live very well… everything or almost has been thought to be at the top! The shared kitchen is generally very well equipped, there are projectors for movie nights, washing machines and dryers available, in Anceu we even had a kayak to go on the lake… 😉 On the side cleanliness and hygiene it is also a big plus for the coliving. The participation of the colivers in the maintenance of the order is obviously appreciated (and somehow expected) but all the coliving where we were also had cleaning ladies as well as volunteers who help to maintain the order.
- Lots of things to do: Put 10-15 people in one house and you can be sure that there is no chance of getting bored! In colivings it is customary for the owners/managers to organize some fixed activities every week (dinners, BBQs, hiking trips, sports activities, cultural outings, theme nights, etc.). And when it doesn’t come from the coliving itself, the colivers are usually the first to organize things and to propose others to come. Of course, all these activities are always optional, but believe me it’s really cool to have so many choices!
- A flexible stay duration: The vast majority of coliving impose a minimum stay of 1 week, but beyond that there is no time limit. We are good specialists in “stay extensions”. Both in Tenerife and in Galicia we had planned to stay for a month and we ended up staying more than 4. 😉 As a general rule the price is also degressive: the longer you stay, the cheaper it is!
- A multi-cultural experience: This point is a bit similar to the community point but it is really interesting. In a coliving there are usually a lot of nationalities. This generally leads to great culinary discoveries but also to very interesting discussions about cultural, political, economic and social differences. Oh yes, important detail: no matter the country, the official language of a coliving is English!
- Synergies and professional projects: In a coliving there are usually people coming from many different backgrounds and with various knowledge. The evenings and weekends are excellent moments to exchange and discover new worlds and sometimes it even leads to collaborations or new projects together. Have we (very) seriously talked about taking over a bar in a village of 160 inhabitants to create a meeting place between nomads and locals that would be financed by tokenization? Hmmm… maybe we’ll tell you more soon haha
- People: I already said it first? Yes I know! 😉 But that’s because this is really the best part. In the last 3 years we have built wonderful friendships with some people we’ve met in colivings. And let’s face it, these friendships are far from being ephemeral… We have already seen many colivers again, either by meeting in another coliving, or by visiting them “at home” or them who came to see us in our little mountains. 🙂
Small example with our friend Hannah… We met her in Tenerife (nine coliving), saw her again in Briançon (cloud citadel), then at home in Morgins. 🙂 Not to mention that we were supposed to meet again in Anceu but our timing was terrible… she left 2 days before we got there. 🙁
Why don’t we live full-time in coliving spaces?
After giving you 10 reasons to love this way of life, you might be wondering why we don’t stay in it “full time”? Well, I would say that the first reason is probably that we like to move around too much for that! We had real crushes on Tenerife and Galicia and we enjoyed discovering these areas for many months in a row. And even if we already know that we will go back in the future, it is also good to see something else after a few months!
The second point is more related to our couple and our personal balance. In coliving we are in a purely “social” environment and even if it is easy to find moments for ourselves in these big houses, we generally feel a desire to be “just the 2 of us” after a while.
In Tenerife the coliving was located in a small town and so we had set one evening per week for a “couple’s night out”. No friends, no “social interractions”, we simply left for a small romantic dinner. In Galicia, the coliving was located in the middle of the countryside (and we were in the middle of a pandemic too), so the restaurant idea was no longer an option. There, we took advantage of having the van to regularly leave for small 3-4 days getaways. A way for us to discover the region but also to be a bit alone.
In short, for us coliving is an excellent way to satisfy our more “social” side but we also appreciate to have our few months per year where we travel around only the 2 of us (or rather the 3 of us now that we have Winchy 😉 )
If you want to learn more about the philosophy of a coliving and the different “local impact” actions that can be found there, we have prepared a small video of our recent stay in Anceu (a rural coliving in Galicia:). You will see of course a lot of images of the coliving too 😉
Note: the video is in French, but you can activate the subtitles in English
Coliving vs coworking: the differences
We have sometimes been asked the question, “why not just rent an apartment and go to a coworking space to work?” So yes, this is clearly an option and solves the issue of working conditions and wifi. It also allows you to see people, but not necessarily to “meet” people. Let’s say that it will depend greatly on the type of coworking. Some are very “social” oriented and organize activities in parallel that allow people to get to know each other, but many don’t do it or do it very little.
Whether it is in a coliving or not, a coworking space is clearly a place dedicated to work and it is not where you come to have a chat. In a coworking space, you will sometimes have the opportunity to get to know each other at the coffee machine or during after-work events, but let’s say that in a coliving space, you share much more “common” moments since you literally live together and it is, in our opinion, easier to get to know each other and to deepen a friendship.
Who are the “colivers”? Is coliving only for the digital nomad?
It’s funny, but it’s a question we’ve received several times… whether it’s from readers, friends or family
but who are the people who go to colivings?
It’s very difficult to give a clear and precise answer to this question as the profiles are so diverse and varied. But no, the colivings are clearly not only a hippies, hipsters, web gurus or a big geeks community. 🙂 In fact, the term “digital nomad” has a bit of a marketing side to it, where we inevitably imagine the big guy who taps on his computer by the pool between 2 crossfit sessions or the girl who eats avocado toasts and does online courses between 2 yoga classes. Yes, some clichés are still very alive.
In fact, in coliving you can find everything and everyone! Artists, translators, graphic designers, developers, analysts, consultants, bloggers, web-marketeers, self-employed, photographers, videographers, web editors, freelance writers or journalists, etc… but also company employees who either have a remote job or simply have the possibility to work remotely for a few weeks/months a year.
We presented you some portraits of our Nine coliving colivers in Tenerife in this article.
In Anceu (our most recent experience), we spent several weeks with John, a Scottish data analyst who works remotely for the company called Komoot, Agustin the developer, Africa who runs a coworking space in Pontevedra, Maru the Venezuelan coach, Roberto the Brazilian consultant, Maria who is an interior designer, Selo the entrepreneur in the crypto-currency world, Annika a German support manager, Lydia an artist and manager of a design store in Galicia, etc. ..
But the colivings do not only attract “nomadic” workers. I’m thinking of Fran, a historian from Santiago who, after several months of working from home alone, decided to come to the coliving for 2 weeks to “meet some people”. Another example would be Sabine; Benoit’s sister. Sabine lives in Vevey and works in Lausanne. Her way of life has nothing to do with “nomadism” and yet this winter she went to spend a week in a coliving in the Swiss Alps. Why did she do this? After several months of working from home, she simply wanted to “see something else” and took the opportunity to go skiing for 2-3 hours in the morning and to slightly shift her work schedule or to take a few half-days off (with the agreement of her employer of course).
Coliving in Europe: where to go and how much it costs?
Small note on prices: For each coliving we decided to publish the price for a 1 month stay (for one person as well as for a couple) in a private room so that you can have an idea of the prices. Many colivings also offer dormitories (cheaper) as well as special prices for longer stays or seasonal discounts. The best thing to do is to check out their website or contact them directly for more information (we have put all the links in the descriptions).
Colivings in Spain:
Anceu Coliving in Galicia
Our latest coliving experience… What to say about this place??? Ohhh so many things! But to make it simple I’ll just tell you that we planned to stay for a month and in the end we stayed almost 5 (and we left with tears in our eyes). Anceu coliving was opened in 2020 by Agustin, a Galician developer who, after traveling the world for many years while working remotely, decided to return to his native Galicia to open a coliving space in the middle of nature. He has since been joined in the adventure by his sweetheart Africa and together they have created a real little paradise where new technologies, art, love of animals and nature live in perfect harmony (yes, it’s super cliché to say it like that but I promise it’s true). Anceu is a place where we will come back again… and again! They are currently renovating each of the rooms and for this they are collaborating with many artists. The idea? Each artist gets “his room” and he does what he wants with it! Whether it’s decoration, wall painting, furniture upcycling : everything is possible (even all together)! The result is simply incredible!
To read more about this coliving we invite you to read our article dedicated to our arrival in Anceu.
Rates: They depend on the duration of your stay and the type of room, but for 1 month it is 1050€ for one person and 1350€ for 2 people in private rooms. The price includes accommodation, coworking, community and breakfast. Plus it becomes cheaper the longer you stay
For bookings and more info: See the Anceu Website
Nine coliving in Tenerife
The first coliving where we stayed and also a place that holds a very special place in our hearts. The house, the small town of La Orotava, Anne (the founder), Lara (the coliving dog), the view from the terrace, the incredible people we met there: all this makes this place a place where we will come back again and again… We have already spent almost 6 months there and it is without the slightest hesitation that we confirm that we will return. The Nine is a bit like our little home in the Canaries, a place where we feel simply good!
To read more about our experience there, you can check this article. And if you wonder what you can do in Tenerife except working in the coworking, you can check our Tenerife page where you will find 8 articles about our favorites on the island.
Rates: about 1000€ per month for 1 person (private room) and 1750€ for a couple. This price includes breakfast, 1 BBQ per week and yoga classes every morning and of course access to the coworking space.
More information and booking on the Nine Coliving website (beware, this coliving is very popular (for a good reason) and is often full several weeks/months in advance).
Sende in Galicia
Sende is a second rural coliving in Galicia. They are sort of the “big brother” to Anceu. We haven’t had the chance to go there yet, but it’s a place that is clearly on our list of places to discover! Located in a village of 20 inhabitants in the province of Ourense, this coliving is probably the definition of “slow life” (but with a super fast wifi connection of course 😉 )
We only exchanged virtually but Maria and Edo (the founders) really gave us a great impression. Absolutely everyone we know who has been to Sende has had nothing but good things to say about it!
Price: From 480€ to 590€ per month. In Sende you don’t book a room, but you pay a subscription “to the community”. For this price you get a bed and access to all the common areas (3 kitchens, living room, work spaces, internet and an infinite number of outdoor areas).
Bookings and more information On the Sende Website
Sun & Co in Javea, Spain
When we meet people in a coliving, there is often a moment where we exchange on our previous experiences in similar places. Whether it’s at Nine, Anceu or Cloud Citadel, we always met people who spoke well of Sun&Co. 😉 Located not far from Valencia, Sun & Co looks absolutely amazing! We had planned to stay there this year, but because of Coco and travel restrictions in Spain, it did not happen… But this coliving is clearly one of the places we would like to discover soon.
From the feedback we have had from our friends who have stayed there, the Sun&Co has top notch facilities but above all great events and a very friendly team.
Rates: 1200€ per month for a private room for 1 person, 1800€ for 2 persons (there are also dormitory options)
More Infos and Booking On their homepage
Colivings in France:
Cloud Citadel in Briançon
The Cloud Citadel was our first coliving experience in France and also our first winter season experience! We had the chance to spend 3 weeks there just after their opening and what can we say about this place except that it is simply a paradise for outdoor lovers! In winter we were able to take advantage of the beautiful mornings to go skiing, snowshoeing or hiking before getting to work.
Created by Joé and Jelena, this new shared living space in the Alps absolutely ticks all the boxes of perfect coliving! Located in Briançon, the house is on the edge of the fortifications of the cité Vauban. A stunning building that Joé and Jelena have superbly renovated and decorated to welcome nomads and remote workers. With Benoit we love the mountain in winter (Benoit was a ski instructor in another life 😉 ) but we must admit that the place also made us really want to come back in summer! With its location in the heart of the Ecrins national park, we can’t help but think that for hiking, climbing and other summer outdoor activities it must be just incredible. We are already thinking seriously about going back this summer 😉
To read more about Cloud Citadel you can read our article that we wrote after our visit.
Rates: In winter a single room costs 1350€ / month and 1800€ / month for a double room. In summer the rates are cheaper: 1050€ / month for a single room and 1500€ / month for a double room. (There are also dormitories available for less)
Little bonus: Joé and Jelena have agreed to offer a 10% discount to our readers (and a commission to us) on all reservations made during the summer season! If you want to come between June and October you can use the code NOVOCLOUD at the time of your reservation and receive a 10% discount. 🙂
More information and Bokkings on the Cloud Citadel website.
Château coliving in Normandy
When in the 10 reasons to stay in a coliving I mentioned the exceptional places I believe that “Château Coliving” gets the first prize. 🙂 Its name suggests it, but this coliving is indeed located in a real Norman castle and its 80 hectares park! It has just opened but it’s without the slightest hesitation that we can already recommend it. We haven’t stayed there yet (it is clearly planned) but it is our friend Katia who opened it. She was Anne’s right hand at Nine Coliving for a year and we have no doubt that she and her friend Emmanuel did a great job in this dream place! We can’t wait for the sanitary restrictions to be lifted and for us to be able to visit them.
You can already go follow their opening season on their Instagram account over here.
For more information and detailed pricing go check the Chateau coliving website.
Prices: Prices vary depending on the season. In high season it is 1355€ for a single person and 1800€ for a couple. The price includes, in addition to the accommodation and the community/coworking, yoga classes, breakfast and a brunch on weekends.
Little Bonus: Katia has kindly agreed to offer a 10% discount to our readers (and to offer us a commission as well) on the official prices, so if you want to try coliving in a castle, use the code NOVOMONDE10 at checkout and get 10% discount. For bookings and more info: check out the château coliving website
Coliving spaces elsewhere in Europe:
Swiss Escape, Grimentz, Switzerland
We couldn’t possibly do an article on colivings and not include at least a touch of “home”. 😉 The Swiss Escape, as its name suggests, is a coliving that is located in our beautiful mountains. We haven’t been there yet (they are less than an hour away from our place… we admit we have no excuses haha). But on the other hand we met the 2 founders, Haz and Fanny, during our stay in Gran Canaria and we immediately sympathized.
The Swiss Escape is a mountain coliving and for them the high season is clearly the winter months (even if from our point of view the summer must be great too. 😉 #justsayin )!
Located in Grimentz, the Swiss Escape is a paradise for all those who dream of combining winter sports and remote work. Located at 2 minutes walk from the ski lifts, the 2 chalets of the coliving look sublime! Sabine (Benoit’s sister) spent a week there this winter and she really enjoyed her experience!
Rates: They have 2 seasonal rates: in summer a room for 1 person costs 1619€ / month and 1869€ / month for 2 people in a double room. In winter the price goes up to 2069€ / month for 1 person and 2439€ / month for 2 persons (rate for 28 days)
More information and booking on the Swiss Escape Website
Note: They have also just opened a new space in Greece: Greek Escape (we don’t know anyone who has stayed there yet but knowing Haz and Fanny it must be very nice 😉 )
Bansko, in the bulgarian mountains
Bansko is a bit of a hybrid in terms of coliving / coworking. Remember when I said above that coworking combined with apartment renting was not the ideal way to meet people? Then forget about it because Bansko coworking is the opposite! Located in the Bulgarian mountains, this coworking space has really focused on the community aspect and organizes dozens of events every week to allow nomads to meet and interact. The coworking space itself is very studious and quiet, but outside there is a real meeting spirit.
We talked about it in our article dedicated to Bansko, even if we enjoyed our stay it was not a huge favorite either. We were able to work in an extremely productive way while enjoying a beautiful setting and all this with a VERY reasonable budget. We also made some great friendships but we will admit that for us it was almost “too much”. During the summer and winter months there are over 100 community members. This clearly has its advantages, but as we said at the beginning of the article, we tend to prefer places where there are no more than 12-15 people at a time. A matter of taste you may say!
Sun Desk – Taghazout, Morocco
Ok for this last addition we leave Europe and we leave in direction of Morocco and more precisely the small city of surfers of Taghazout! 🙂 We didn’t have the opportunity to go there yet but this coliving place looks really nice. Several of our friends have already stayed there and they all seemed to be delighted by the place! Unfortunately they don’t accept dogs so it won’t be for a while for us… 😉
Rate: 825€ per month for 1 person, 1230€ for 2 persons (breakfast included)
More info on their homepage: Sun-desk.com
What next? Will we be eternal “colivers”?
We’ve been asked a lot if we plan to “share our space” with others for a long time to come… Go figure, this idea of roommate 2.0 doesn’t seem to be something that some people see as an “older people’s thing” or more generally “adult’s thing“. I don’t know when one is considered “old” and if we are already seen as old when we are approaching 40, but we are still 25 (somewhere in our mind at least) and we still appreciate this roommate spirit and the synergies that come from it. And more seriously, we are convinced that this model of sharing resources and exchanging skills does not have an “expiration date” linked to age, quite the contrary!
To tell you the truth, opening one day our own coliving / coworking space is a project that we have been thinking about. We probably don’t want to do it alone because we like the flexibility of being able to change places during the year and such a project managed alone would imply too much sedentarity for our taste. But creating a space that would be our “base” with people with whom we share a common vision could clearly be something. We’ve started talking to some people about it, we’re “keeping our eyes open” and we’ll see where it goes. So no, no announcement (for now) but clearly coliving and us is a story that is here to stay 😉