What you should know about living in Greece

Why call Greece home!

Besides being one of the best in the world in terms of Sunshine ( 250+ days of sunshine or 3,000+ sunny hours a year ) and ranking 2nd in Property Guides 2022 for UK expats (link here), Greece has plenty more reasons to call it your new home!

Read along to discover some interesting and practical facts about Greece!

If you already know you want to call Greece home then submit your details and we'll be in touch soon!

Practical Information

Population: - Roughly 11 million

Capital: - Athens with a population of roughly 3.3 million

Official languages: - Greek (English is also widely spoken)

Currency: - Euro, €

Time zone: - GMT +2

Climate: - Mild Mediterranean: wet winters, hot, dry summers

Coastline: - 13,676 km

Islands: - About 6.000 with 170 inhabited

Country calling code: +30

Driving: - Right side

Main Embassies

The main embassies in Greece are located in Athens. You will find a few consulates in Thessaloniki, and on the island of Crete.

Main Airports

The two main airports of Greece are Athens and Thessaloniki, and from there via domestic flights you can travel to other cities and islands.

Public Holidays in Greece

There are 11 public holidays in Greece with 3 being moveable ones.

1 Jan                  New Year's Day

6 Jan                 Epiphany

25 Mar               Independence Day

1 May                 Labour Day

15 Aug                Assumption Day

28 Oct               Ochi Day

25 Dec              Christmas Day

26 Dec              2nd Day of Christmas

 

Moveable Public Holidays

Feb or Mar        Ash Monday

Apr or May        Good Friday

Apr or May        Easter Monday

Cost of Living

Greece boasts one of Southern Europe's most cost efficient living circumstances. A single household monthly cost of living stands at €890 including rent.

That said some parts of the country will be less affordable but, depending on your available budget & lifestyle choices, you will be able to choose the right city and location to suit your needs and discover the country.

So which cities are best for foreigners who wish to work in Greece?

To answer this we need to consider the following factors, which will determine how dynamic each location and how many of your needs it can cover:

Availability of jobs

  • Unless you can work from home, living in one of the largest cities such as Athens, Thessaloniki or Heraklion will offer the most employment opportunities, with Athens & Thessaloniki offering the best options for office jobs

Public transport & healthcare

  • All large and medium sized Greek cities will have an adequate local bus system, but if you move to the countryside or to a small island your options become very limited. Athens has 3 metro lines and is in the process of constructing a 4th one while Thessaloniki will very soon have its own metro system. Athens has the added benefit of a suburban railway, a tram line as well as a great number of ferry boat lines connecting it to the Greek islands.

  • Both Athens and Thessaloniki have large well-connected airports near them for international and domestic flights

  • In Greece there is a public healthcare system which covers for free many health issues.

Availability of Utilities such as electricity, natural gas, water, internet and mobile connections

  • In terms of telecommunications, Greece, has acceptable infrastructure with the large cities enjoying better broadband as well as 5G.

  • All cities have stable electricity

  • In many Greek cities water from the tap is of good quality and can be consumed

  • Natural gas is not available everywhere and even in the capital not all areas will be supplied

Eating out & Leisure activities

Due to the country’s climate, outdoor activities are a way of life for most Greeks. From sitting outside to drink a coffee or meeting your friends after 10pm for dinner to going to the sea for a swim. These kind of activities are available anywhere in Greece regardless of size. However, as the size of the city you choose increases so will the diversity of available options which can include cinema, sports, sea sports, motorsports, art & crafts activities amongst others. Athens and Thessaloniki never sleep and eating out even after 11pm is something considered normal.

Rent levels

  • Rent is a big factor of how affordable an area is

  • Living in the capital will come with some of the highest rents in the country. That said there are plenty of areas in Athens that offer great living conditions while still being very affordable

  • Living within a 10 minute walk from the beach will increase asking rents

  • Living in highly touristic locations such as Koukaki in central Athens, Vouliagmeni in the south of Athens, Chalkidiki or Mykonos island will come with much higher rent premiums

Considering the above Athens & Thessaloniki are by far the most dynamic cities where a professional expat can make their first steps in the country.

The table below lists the average rental prices for a 50m2 one-bedroom apartment in different locations within Athens (includes Piraeus which is considered part of the Athens metropolitan area) and Thessaloniki.

As for other living expenses such as utilities (based on a 50m2 one-bedroom apartment), transport and basic food produce the below table will give you a good indication of costs.

Culture and Social Etiquette


Greeks have very strong ties to family. This is especially evident in young people, who tend to live with their parents until their late twenties and even into their thirties. This may be for financial reasons, or just because the parents cooking and clean laundry are not easy to part with.


While the majority of Greeks tend to be traditional, conservative, and support orthodox values, younger generations are more conscious of current social issues and even advocate for more inclusion and awareness.


Religion still plays a big part in Greek life although this is rapidly changing for the younger generations.


Greek Language and Socialization


Greeks are very friendly in nature and will often go out of their way to make themselves be understood towards expats, in whatever language or gestures necessary. Most people speak basic English, so the language barrier should not be too much of a problem. Many Greeks especially the younger generations will be happy to add you to their social circle which will open up a lot of socializing opportunities for you.

 

Learning Greek is one way to help you assimilate into the Greek ways and culture. Greeks are quiet in most situations in public. Listening to music or speaking loudly is usually frowned upon. However, going out to dinner or drinks however, is a different story. Greek people tend to be more outgoing, relaxed, and a bit louder when out with friends.


Greek Cuisine


The country’s typical Mediterranean diet is both savoury and healthy. Olive oil, salads, cheese, and cooked vegetarian, meat or fish meals are staples in the Greek diet. Bread finds its way into most meals from breakfast to dinner, as an entrée, on the side.


Greeks typically eat three meals a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dinner tends to be quite late in the day compared to other European countries. On a typical weekday it can start anywhere between 20:00 and 23:00. While on weekends, it is not uncommon to have dinner as late as 24:00.


Driving in Greece


Driving is fairly easy on the highways but you should always be alert when driving within city limits. You will find a good number of well kept highways connecting most cities. Beware of the many and expensive tolls though. In smaller towns, you will find many narrow and winding roads where it’s not uncommon for two-way streets to have only room for one car.

 

Tax


Last but not least we will talk about everyone's favorite topic Tax!

In Greece your salary contributions go towards Income Tax and Social Security which gives you access to pension and free medical care and examinations. Each year you receive 14 wages instead of 12. So you receive a full extra salary at Christmas and 2 half extra salaries in Easter and before the Summer holidays start.

 

The examples we provide on the below table are indicative and results may be inaccurate, however they should give you a good idea of what to expect. For those of you not used to 14 salaries the Net monthly Adjusted column will give you the equivalent Net monthly salary in 12 payments instead of 14. 

Gross Montlhy
Gross Yearly
Net Monthly
Net Yearly
Net Monthly Adjusted
1350
18900
1047
14658
1221
1150
16100
917
12842
1070
1045
14630
848
11877
990
Sea View