Greece is a country blessed with the weather. It is perfect at any time of the year. The seasons are well defined. There are differences between temperatures in the northern region and the southern Greek islands. In general summers in Greece are long and hot, winters are short and mild. Everybody knows about the positive impact of warm, sunny weather on an individual's mental and physical health. So if you live in a cold country with the most rainfall in the world, Greece will be a perfect country to move to.
Picturesque scenery, the warmest water and cleanest beaches, the most exotic fruits, beautiful and hospitable people… It looks and sounds like paradise. And it is all about the Greek islands. Enjoy the view of historical buildings on Corfu and Rhodes, party hard on Mykonos, spend your honeymoon on Crete, enjoy beautiful sunsets on the island of Santorini. The Greek islands never disappoint!
Culture and history
Greece is the cradle of European civilization. It is a country with the richest history and culture in the whole of Europe. This blessed land has an exceptionally rich heritage of ancient architecture and monuments. By the way, weren't you amazed by ancient Greek myths in your childhood?
The Greeks respect the privacy and safety of every individual. Tourists are unlikely to experience any violence. Apply basic precaution measures and you will have no problems living here.
The Greek diet is one of the healthiest in the world. The Greeks really know how to use olive oil for cooking. You will have a chance to eat lots of fruit and vegetables, and feta cheese here. Traditional Greek dishes are extremely delicious! Living in Greece is the best way to keep to a healthy diet. Achieve your dream body without effort!
Weather contributes a lot to the nightlife of Greece. This country is not all about romance and ancient buildings, it is also about having a good time in nightclubs. The nightlife is extremely exciting. Here you can find clubs for different ages and tastes. The most pleasant thing is that there is no entrance fee in Greece: you pay only for drinks. Clubs are open for the whole night. This country is definitely the place for party monsters!
The Greeks are very lively and joyful. They are usually friendly with strangers, especially if we speak about people from small towns. The spirit of Greek hospitality is known worldwide.
The Greeks are always generous with their guests and do everything to please them. Everybody will offer a helping hand if the guest gets into trouble. The Greeks speak fluent English so there are no barriers to communication in this country.
If you travel solo, you will not have problems finding a companion among locals. They will show you the best places for visiting with the greatest amount of pleasure. You will never feel alone in Greece!
Living expenses in Greece
But the most convincing reason to become an expat in Greece is the cost of living. Prices for accommodation, healthcare, and food are among the lowest compared to other European countries. At the same time, this country offers high-quality standards of living. Greece has created an ideal environment for remote work, travelling, living, and even retirement.
Do you want to know more details about the cost of living in Greece? Then continue reading.
Have you already chosen where to stay? If you want to live in a big city, then Athens or Thessaloniki will be the best choice. But if you are obsessed with the thought of leading a quiet life with your family members, there are many mid-sized towns and small villages in Greece. Choose any place to live based on your taste! It will not cost you much as the rental price in Greece is 70% lower than in the USA. It makes a difference!
For example, in Athens, an apartment (1 bedroom) is available for about $650 per month. The cost of housing on the Greek islands is similar to Athens. For example, renting an apartment (1 bedroom) with an updated kitchen and bathroom outside the city center of Santorini (but not too far) will cost about 630$. If you want to experience life in a small city, be ready to spend about $350 monthly.
If you are a man of fortune, then buying your accommodation in Greece will be the best decision. The following information will be very helpful to you. The average price of the apartments is about €1,500 per m². Prices vary a lot depending on the region. For example, the price in Athens and Santorini varies from €1,000–4,000 per m², in Crete from €800–2,000 per m². There are offers on any budget!
You will need a residence permit (a Residence Certificate) if you plan to stay in Greece for more than 90 days. It is not so complicated to get it, all you need is patience.
Things are easier if you are a national of the European Union countries. A residence certificate for you is of unlimited validity. The list of documents needed for applying: a passport or identity card, 4 photographs, a rental contract for accommodation or title deeds, proof of sufficient income (bank statements or certificate from the employer), health insurance coverage.
After 5 years of continuous residence (or marriage to a Greek nationality) you have a chance to get citizenship.
Other nationals will need a visa to enter Greece. The visa type depends on the purpose of the visit (work, studying, etc.). If you are a foreigner and plan to stay for a longer period than you can stay with your visa, you will also need to obtain a residence permit. You have to do it within the first 2 months after your arrival. Greek authorities recommend you apply immediately because there can be delays. And if the permit is delayed, you will have to leave the country because your visa has expired. The application can be made at the town hall or local police stations.
If you are a member of the Golden Visa program, you will have to pay €4,000 for getting a residence permit. For financially independent persons this sum is €3,000.
There are 2 healthcare options: public healthcare and private insurance.
Public medical service provides people with emergency visits for free. People of different jobs and nationalities can get urgent medical care for free. If you pay contributions on a regular basis, you will also get help without paying anything. In other cases, you will have to pay out of your pocket or through the insurance plan provided by your employer.
Private insurance is available for everyone. Private facilities provide better equipment and English-speaking doctors.
The cost of healthcare in Greece is twice cheaper than in the USA or the EU. If you have no insurance the standard check-up will cost ~€40.
Many people admit that the quality of healthcare is very high and what is more inspiring – prices are reasonable.
In Greece all the taxes are progressive. It imposes a higher tax rate for people with higher income. Income tax scale for expats (annual):
first €10,000 – 9%;
from €10,000 to €20,000 – 22%;
from €20,000 to €30,000 – 28%;
from €30,000 to €40,000 – 36%;
above €40,000 – 44%.
Individual taxpayers must also pay social security, capital (on inheritance, gifts, lottery gains), value-added taxes (applying on the basic price of products and services).
If you are used to eating out, then the average cost of food for you will be around €32 per day. An average meal in a café costs ~€13. Breakfast prices are much cheaper than lunch or dinner. There are many big fast-food chains. So if you are on a tight budget, you can dine out at a fast-food restaurant.
Good news for people who enjoy cooking by themselves. Food prices are very cheap. For those who prefer eating healthy food, there are many locally-grown products. The average costs for some food:
a dozen of eggs – €3;
rice – €1.70;
chicken (1 kg) – €6.75;
bread (500 g) – €0.86;
beef round – €9.13;
potato – €0.82;
milk (1 litre) – €1.18.
Travelling throughout cities is not a problem thanks to the developed transportation system and reasonable costs. Public transport includes city buses and a metro system in Athens.
Expats can drive their cars but only if they have valid car insurance. Hiring costs are rather high. Transportation costs:
Bus Ticket – €1.4;
Gasoline (1 litre) – €1.4;
Taxi (8 km) – €12.
It is affordable to buy a new car in Greece. For example, a new Toyota Corolla will cost about €19,000.
Most children in Greece go to public schools. Public schools are free, funded by taxes. Note, that they only provide education in the Greek language. Parents have to pay for their child's school uniform and sometimes for additional lessons.
Private and international schools are not free. These types of schools teach subjects in English and other foreign languages.
International schools and private schools cost about €7,000–13,000 per school year. The costs may vary depending on the school, age, and grade.
University education is free for Greek citizens (as well as other EU citizens). Foreigners have to pay ~€1500 per year. This is such a negligible sum, especially if compared to the USA, where students pay ~$35,000 per year.
Average salaries and social security system
A person working in Greece earns about €2,500 per month. Salaries range from €620 to €10,900 depending on the region, profession, education of an employee. The highest income in Greece is in the following spheres: law, IT, marketing, while the lowest is in tourism, agriculture, culture.
The citizens of Greece must pay 15 years' contributions to get an old-age pension. The official retirement age is 65 years. For receiving a full pension a person must accumulate 40 insurance years and be 62 years old.
Greece has an enormous cultural heritage. There are thousands of museums, galleries, theatres, and cinemas in this beautiful country. Choose the one that you like best and pay a visit whenever you have time. In Greece entertainment on average costs €20 per person daily. This includes tickets to museums, cinemas, and other sightseeing expenses.
Good news for people who enjoy attending fitness clubs. The average monthly cost of a gym or a fitness club membership is €35. If you are a tennis fan, you can rent a court and have fun with your friends. The rental cost of a tennis court is about €20 per hour.
Sample monthly budget
Housing (one-bedroom apartment for rent in the capital) – €560;
Utilities (including the Internet) – €100;
Food – €300;
Leisure activities – €245–300;
Healthcare – €200;
Incidentals – €160.
Monthly – about €1700
Note: the cost of living in Greece will depend only on your personal preferences in food, clothes, etc.
Greece is a perfect country for living as an expat. The cost of living is 30% less than in other European countries and the USA. Prices depend on the area you live in. For example, life on the islands is less affordable in terms of apartments, fuel, and products.
It is reasonable to buy property in Greece nowadays because the price has undergone due to the economic crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic. This country is a bargain for people who want to invest money. Come and stay in this beautiful country, you will never regret it.