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Ask HN: What are some cheap idyllic places with lots of nature?
45 points by dennybritz on Aug 30, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 66 comments
I am getting tired of city life and want to try spending some time in rural area with mountains, lakes, forests, etc. What are some places you can recommend? It could be anywhere, doesn't need to be in the U.S.

The only other requirement is fast internet.

The High coast of Sweden, I'm biased since I live here, but the place have for 42 years never ceased to amaze me with its nature and people. The name comes from the fact that the land rises about 10 mm out of the sea each year, this is because of the pressure of the ice during the last ice age



PS. The internet connection is very good, I have currently 100/100 fiber connection and live in a very small village DS.

PSS. I live here, but I work (remote) for a Boston based software company DSS.

This looks beautiful. What are the living costs like there?

Living in the area is very cheap compared to continental Europe and the US. You can get very nice sea side house for 200-300k Euros, if you chose not to live by the sea, prices drops of a cliff, you can get a house for 10k Euros, a nice 200 square meter house

you mean 100k ofcourse :)


That is 60k (just randomly checking places up north).

Thats also 500km north of where I live in Sweden, I did a one minute search and here you have a 18k house in the heart of the High Coast


Maybe not. The gov. seems to handle the countryside extremly bad here in Sweden. Depopulation might lead to those prices, cheaper than the building materials in some areas. People are forced, in a way, to leave for the cities.

No, housing prices are pretty low except the most desirable areas, sometimes they go so low that it makes sens to cut up and move the house to a urban area...

Can an English speaking tourist manage in these parts of Sweden?

> Can an English speaking tourist manage in these parts of Sweden?


According to Wikipedia, 86% of people in Sweden know English. The percentage will of course be smaller in countryside and among older people, but I don't think you can find a small town where at least 50% of people wouldn't know English.

I would say yes. I don't know this for sure but the level of english is good all over Sweden. People might be a bit unprepared and shy but they will understand and reply in some way.

Yes, I would say that the population below 60, almost all speak English, for below 40 you have almost full working proficiency in English.

How bad are winters there?

For me winter arnt bad, snow 4-5 months a year, Jan-feb can be -20 C for periods, average around -10:ish. I love skiing and being outdoor any time of year so I think its great to have seasons.

Trivandrum, India is a good place. It is a seaside city and has it's share of jungles and small hillocks. Besides monthly libing comes to about $30. It has a 'technopark' which is essentially offices cut into a jungle. I study here. For reference http://technopark.org/

Stoked to see Trivandrum on the list, but you are way off the mark (by~10-15x) re: cost of living, arent you? Technopark has decent infrastructure but attracts mostly BPO/IT Services. Kazhakkoottam/Sreekaryam are rapidly getting gentrified too :(

(Source: Born in Tvm, studied there till undergrad, friends and family there)

My current rent is 1100 and food is 1120. ~$30 I think. Cost is ok I guess, coming from north India.

Western Pennsylvania has pretty much everything you're asking for. I live near Pittsburgh, but I'm honestly less than an hour drive away from all of this.

The only caveat (to living directly in the mountains) is that in any place where you're engulfed in nature, your Internet connection is going to be slower. It's too costly for the ISP to install or upgrade infrastructure to an area with less than say 400 homes per square mile. Past a certain number, it's just not a viable investment.

Satellite ISPs have been getting better though and DSL technology has shown at least a theoretical 800Mbps (in labs). Maybe someday it'll be possible to get great broadband in the mountains.

I just vacationed in Park Rapids, Minnesota. A couple thousand people live there, with much fewer than 400 homes per square mile. Mostly just farms, lakes and undeveloped land. The local ISP, "Paul Bunyan Communications", offers gigabit fiber. My lakeside cabin in the woods for the week had better internet than I have at home outside Philadelphia, and for less money.

Turns out most of the fiber-to-the-door deployed in the US is in the middle of the country, where population densities are low. These assumptions about rural availability and cost don't hold as often as some would think


Lots of foreign tourists have been coming here to Portugal - we have plenty of cheap rural homes in the middle of forests, large and small rivers with good walkable trails and bathing areas, and during these summer vacations, I had a nice 30mbps connection in a village so small it didn't even any shops.

A small example: http://www.vortexmag.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Dornes1....

No love for India so far!!! if you can tolerate the spicy food here are two places I wud recommend -

1) Kerela (called gods own country) - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerala

2) Arunachal Pradesh - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arunachal_Pradesh

Swansea, Wales, UK

I moved back (in from there originally) and we have

- the UK's first area of outstanding natural beauty - mountains, loads of mountains - world class beaches - low cost of living - a TechHub with easy access to TechHub Shoredich in London - pretty good internet, with 300mb consumer connections being rolled out - great surfing

And soon to be built, a £1.5bn tidal lagoon and £0.5bn to be spent on regenerating the city centre.

Desk space in Techhub is currently £150p/m

Average monthly rent is £500 p/m for a studio/1den in a pretty new shoreside development SA1

We have a few London based businesses looking to relocate because of the low cost of living and great lifesytle.

Two Google engineers were here last week and were massive impressed, needless to say they are coming back here on holiday.

I have quite fond memories of Swansea, I use to walk down to the beach on mornings in the summer and read there for a few hours before starting my day.

I think everyone would win if it became a tech-hub.

The city center is a bit ugly (probably due to rapid post-war reconstruction after being bombed, combined with the general horrors of UK 1960s architecture) :D but cost of living is definitely cheap.

Because of general UK drinking culture and Swansea being a University town the town center is pretty raucous most nights and especially at the weekend. At least that was the case when I was there about 10 years ago!

There's a lot of beautiful scenery - like the Gower http://www.visitswanseabay.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Rh...

And away from the city center it's much quiter and rural. People are super friendly and warm in my experience, definitely more so than average for the UK!

Wales is beautiful. I spent quite a bit of time in Aberystwyth, and look forward to returning one day.

Asheville, North Carolina, or -- "The Paris of the South."

Pacific Northwest is nice. I like the Olympic Peninsula. I don't know the state of internet there; when I was last there, "Are you on email" was still a common question. Probably drops off as you get farther from the various towns. You could probably base yourself in Port Angeles, they have a ferry terminal to Canada and close access to the Olympic Mountains and the coastal rainforest.


Lots of good daytrips, weekend and week trips available from there.

You can always buy a (very) cheap old house in a village in Transylvania / Romania, and maybe spend some time to restore it, if you're into that. I don't know about the internet connection far from the city, though. See, for example:



Trentino in Italy: beautiful scenery, lakes, alpine mountains (unesco), forests. It is near some other beautiful countries like Austria and Slovenian (which is another beautiful place for nature and mountains and even cheaper than Trentino).

And you are near to the city i live in (bergamo) which is small, with a medieval buildings and in the Orobie area which is full of mountains where you can do trekking or climbing!

I suggested Trentino because even if it is in Italy, it doesn't suffer from common italy "problems" (burocracy, criminality, etc...)

Perhaps Ithaca, New York? It's a smallish college town (Cornell, Ithaca College), but with lots of great scenery nearby, including forest, lakes, and gorges.

Krabi, Thailand. Avoid Phuket or Ao Nang, Krabi town is a bit off to the side but extremely peaceful and rural and tons of nature and unguided exploration to be had nearby.

Also outer Taiwan, Jeju Island (S.Korea), Okinawa, Fukuoka (Japan).

Parts of south India might be tempting, but the quality of internet can be very frustrating and can offset the quality of the nature.

source: all places I've passed through or by as a nomad in the last 2 years.

Sounds interesting! I was considering Taiwan recently. How is the infrastructure/livability/internet in those regions you mention? Any places you can be specific about?

Internet was my prime consideration as well, and all of those places have excellent internet. 20+mbps 3G/4G mobile internet at reasonable prices on top of solid connections at most hostels and airbnbs you could stay at there.

Rural Taiwan is especially nice because you're just a high speed rail ride away from Taipei, most likely. The others would probably involve a cheap and very short flight to the nearest metropolis, in case you miss the city life.

Okinawa can feel a bit touristy, but you can get away from it if you do some groundwork.

I spent a month out of an airbnb in Krabi town. Lived for about $200/mo, spending weekends doing touristy things and eating out most of the time. I got familiar with just about every shopkeep and restaurant owner in the hood. Random streams and gardens to hang around in and pass time and ponder the universe. I enjoyed it, and miss it sometimes, but the place helped me discover that personally I am a city-junkie and needed to get out of there.

Try the heart of Switzerland, you might even get a job that pays like crazy. If you prefer to pay less for rent, move to south Bavaria in Germany's beautiful south. Munich might provide enough work, if you are willing to drive an hour every day. Working from home gets more common here, so you might not have to do the trip 5 days a week.

Idaho has a few places that fit the bill. Sandpoint in the North and McCall in the south are both small towns with immediate lake and mountain access. Ketchum (Sun Valley) is another option, but has probably the highest cost of living in the state. Boise is situated in a valley, but the mountains are only an hour away.

Are you a US citizen?

At $0.76 per CAD the whole of Canada is pretty much the definition of "cheap".

If you're considering Canada on the exchange rate, try out Banff or Jasper in Alberta; they're national parks and wonderfully maintained.

Enough beautiful hikes to keep me entertained for the last decade. I've found going over a mountain and back quite a boom for productivity if only because I don't want to walk afterwards.

The internet is fairly not terrible.

Banff, Canmore, Lake Loiuse, Jasper. Just spent the day at Lake Louise (from Calgary). The most beautiful place on earth. Hiked to lake Agnes (7000ft elevation) with family. We were soaked but enjoyed it immensely.

There are reasonably priced accommodation with the current CAD/USD rate.

Winter is another story but has its charm (& winter sports).

Perhaps off topic, but I have to ask: did you make it to the teahouse on Lake Agnes? It's absolutely fantastic to take the hike then relax at the top with a nice cup of tea!

Definitely. And absolutely beautiful place, atmosphere & history. Wished it wasn't raining as bad but enjoyed it nonetheless.

Banff and Jasper are beautiful but not "cheap". You really should go regardless.

Meanwhile, Vancouver Island fits your description.

I was going to suggest Tofino, where I am sitting. But the internet speed is not great.

Thailand, if you can handle the heat. Some great national parks, amazing hills in the north, huge amounts of greenery, and of course, the beaches. Coming up to the cool season too, and it's all wonderfully cheap.

Concur. I spent some time working from Koh Lanta earlier this year. Beautiful island with good infrastructure but it's not been overrun by giant resorts. There's a nice coworking space on Long Beach called Kohub.

There's Lake Placid or the 1000 islands. Once upon a time (1870's to WWI-ish), presidents and influential people used to come to the 1000 islands for the summer. If you like fall leaves, October here is like no other. Do not stay past halloween; it gets cold fast. You don't want to be here in the winter, unless you like snowmobiling. There's better skiing in places with less extreme weather (or so I'm told).

Chattanooga, TN checks the boxes. Fiber internet, affordable, tons of outdoor activities. Outside magazine rated it best place to live in the US 2015 [0]. You can live just outside the city and be surrounded by nature, and the tech scene is growing.

[0] http://www.outsideonline.com/2006426/americas-best-towns-201...

Alps, France. Chiang Mai, Thailand. Koh Phanghan, Thailand. Bergen, Norway. Lofoten islands, Norway. Pyrenees, France. Jura, France. Lago maggiore, Italy. North of North California, USA. Oregon, USA. All Pacific northwest, USA. Boulder, Colorado, USA. Blue ridge, Georgia (?), USA. Area between Czech and Slovakia. Parks West of Zagreb, Croatia. Mountains, coast and parks in Serbia.

I have a relative who lived in Montana for several years. I'm told its a world-class hiking state and is much cheaper than Colorado. I went once to go fly fishing and it was gorgeous. Only the winters are supposed to be terrible, so you'll want to time your stay well.

If you're more inclined towards Europe then I'd recommend Hungary, a very cost-effective place to live.

Good luck!

Ithaca, you know Ulysses island. I am not sure about thr fast Internet. I assume you could get some lousy ADSL.

The sea and nature are marvelous though. The people are very good too. There at least another 50 places in Greece that fit the description, but Ithaca is my favorite. You can check out Nomads list, for cities that are better fit for tech nomads.

I live in Cancun, Mexico right now. There are some areas where it's nice and not so expensive. Other places are around here because of tourism. However, Chiapas has mountains and rivers and is the cheapest state in Mexico from what I've heard.

Lots of places in Sweden with great internet, great nature and ok prices. If super cheap is your focus, maybe not, but it is quite affordable outside cities. The North for mountains, the west or north for forests and lakes.

Ozarks. Northwest Arkansas. Eureka Springs if you are super blue. Fayetteville area for college life.

Very cheap and infinite nature. Not as backwards as you'd expect.

Source: I grew up in Carroll County Arkansas.

Croatia, both coast including islands (there is 1k of them, many uninhabitted) and in land. I recommend Velebit, Papuk, Brac and of course Dubrovnik archipelag.

Go to McLeodganj in Himachal Pradesh, India.

If the cost of living is cheap enough, you can run your own fiber with the saved money (and share with the neighbors.)

Have been in Cambodia the past 2 weeks and loving it. Very cheap even in touristy areas, dirt cheap otherwise

Boulder Creek, California. Less than an hour to the heart of the Silicon Valley, but worlds away.

heh, cheap?

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Galicia, north west spanish and camino de santiago it's awesome ;-)

Paradise, CA is fantastic and meets your requirements.

Durango, Co

I know quite a few idyllic places with lots of nature. None of them have fast internet.

Bali, Thailand, Greece

Cyprus, in Europe

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