Moving To Greece as Expat? Read This!

That Greece is an ideal environment for both remote working and retirement is certainly not in doubt. From lower living expenses, mild winters, plenty of good food and great nature, there are uncountable reasons to consider moving to Greece for either activity.

By the way, if you are ready to move now to Greece either for business or for your retirement, then this company is highly experienced in that and will help you out (website is in Greek but they speak fluent English).

To make your movement into Greece for work or retirement worthwhile and hassle-free, you need to familiarize yourself with all that surrounds the issue. We have broken this article into two parts for the sake of handling the issue.

The first part shall discuss Greece in its entirety whereas the second segment shall highlight and examine some of the hottest tips you have to adhere to if you ever hope to make your transition to Greece hassle-free.

Part 1: About Greece

It is a bit rough to describe the whole of Greece in just one post, right? Best to read all posts regarding Greece from here. However, we will keep it short here and expand on things to know when you decide to move to Greece.

Cost of Living in Greece

As has already been hinted above, the cost of living in Greece is comparatively lower than in the rest of Europe.

The per capita income is a paltry 18,613.42 which is almost one-fifth of Switzerland’s 80,189.70. For this reason, goods cost comparatively cheaper here than in the rest of Europe.

It is also worth noting that the costs of living vary greatly within Greece itself.

Expect to part with more money to stay afloat in major commercial centers like Athens, Patrais and Thessaloniki, but less for cities like Kalamata, Volos, Ioannina, Kavala, Sparti. Life outside of major cities is far less expensive. Perhaps that is the reason many who choose Greece after retirement choose such low cost cities.

As you recede to the rural areas though, the costs drop significantly.

The same case applies to different times of the year. The winter months are generally more expensive than the summer or spring.

This is due to the fact that you have to pay more for heating and food in response to the cold weather.

Is Greece Safe?

YES, it is! In recent times, Greece has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. From the loan defaults to bailouts to civil unrests.

However, despite these sporadic moments of anarchy and economic woes, Greece is for a large part a tranquil country. As a matter of fact, the U.S. Department of State has never issued any travel advisory to its citizens not to visit the country.

What’s more? Greece probably experiences one of the lowest levels of crime in the world. (It ranks position 39 among the world’s safest countries). Its safety is further couched for by the fact that each summer, millions(!) of tourists from all walks of life travel to the nation to experience its historical wonders.

Moving to Athens, Greece

Moving to Athens, Greece from any destination within Europe and around the world is a highly subjective matter.

It is all dependent on the nature of your visit and the length of time you intend to spend in the nation. On the whole, though, the nation of Greece and the city of Athens, in particular, is open to tourists, retirees, expats, and workers.

To get to the city from within continental Europe, road and rail would be the better options. This is informed by their cheaper costs and ready accessibility and flexibility. Moreover, they can also accommodate plenty of cargo at almost no extra cost. 

If you, however, intend to get into the city from outside the European Union or other far-flung areas, air would be the better options. It is subjected to limited bureaucracy, is faster, and more comfortable.

Athens has a busy and internationally renowned Athens International Airport which connects it to the four corners of the earth.

Though not a port city, Athens is also easily accessible via the adjacent Aegean/Mediterranean seas.

Cruise ships and cargo vessels dock at the nearby Piraeus Harbor, a fact that makes it possible to get into the city via the sea as well.

What is the best area to stay in Athens?

Greece is far cheaper than other European countries. The decision of the area to stay,  really depends on your income. Many who come to Greece after their retirement, prefer locations outside of the main cities.

These 2 web sites are a really good base to check out for the cost of living in Greece.

If you intend to move into the city to look for work or retire and your income is not that high, you definitely will want a cheaper neighborhood.

Expensive neighborhoods will eat into your savings and cause you unnecessary financial stress in the process. Below are some of the three low-cost neighborhoods for your consideration:

Exarchia

This low-cost neighborhood contains streets which are adorned with politically-charged murals. Along the streets are anarchist bookshops and other stores which sell the rare vinyl and vintage guitars among other merchandise. A fully furnished and serviced one-bedroom apartment may go for as little as $29 per month here!

Omonia

This is yet another low-cost neighborhood which is surrounded by market stalls and other low-end shops. Homes here are also cheaper and very affordable. Moreover, by setting base here, you will have all that you need within your easy reach. This assures you reduced transport costs and a fair degree of convenience.

Kypseli

Kypseli is perhaps the most populated neighborhood in Athens. It occupies central Athens spans much of the 6th municipal department of Athens, and has a population of around 50,000 people. It attracts many due to the extremely low cost of housing here. Its congested nature coupled with poor amenities may however not be great for those who value space.

On the other hand if you are looking for upper scale neighborhoods then Kifissia, Ekali, Politeia, Maroussi are for you.

Yet, areas like Koukaki, Pangrati, Kolonaki are at the Athens centre in case you work near there. For many, Metro is the key to decide where to stay.

Top things to do in Athens

The city of Athens has an oversupply of places of interest, amenities and other breathtaking attractions for anyone to explore. You can read this post for more than 40 things to do in Athens only.

Listed and explained hereunder are but a few of those attractions:

Gaze the city below from the Acropolis of Athens vantage point

This is a hilltop temple monument which traces its roots back to the 5th-century BC. Today, it is a ruin which serves as a silent reminder of this once admirable and busy temple. You want to get here to capture photos and ‘travel back in time.’ Its strategic location also accords excellent views of the city skyline.

Take Photos at the Parthenon

Just like the Acropolis, the Parthenon is also a temple ruin. This iconic structure also traces its roots back to the 5th BC. It is yet again a nice place to take photos, relive Greece’s wonderful past and gaze the city of Athens below.

Explore Greece’s past at the Acropolis Museum

Containing ancient treasures which are encased in a contemporary venue, the Acropolis Museum is a ‘must visit’ venue by any lover of matters history. It houses some ancient artifacts which are drawn from the Acropolis archaeological site. Its ultramodern glass and steel construction makes it all the more attractive to behold as well.

Eat out at the Plaka

Even though Plaka is primarily an Acropolis temple ruin, it has since been converted into a family-run taverna. This is a restaurant which specializes in the preparation and serving of Greek cuisines. Do consider stopping by the venue to eat out with your family. Its village feel and ambiance is also great for picnics.

Visit the Temple of Olympian Zeus

Lastly, you have the ruins of the Temple of Olympian Zeus to visit. It is a sanctuary which was once dedicated to the worship of Zeus. A visit to the site will elicit the memories of Greece’s golden age and help you appreciate how far the nation has come.

How to move to Athens

To make a good move to Athens, you have to get a couple of issues right. A number of these are discussed below:

Work Permit Requirements

To be eligible for work in Greece, you will have to acquire a valid work permit if you are a non-EU citizen. In most cases, the permits are readily issued to people who have skills that are in high demand in the nation. In some rare occasions though, the permits may be given out to those who are able and willing to do jobs which the locals are unwilling to do.

Either way, you have to obtain the permit to engage in any meaningful economic activity as you may land in trouble by flouting this rule.

Learn the Greek Language

Even though Greeks understand and also speak other European languages like Germany and English, they use their own Greek most of the time for local transactions.

You will, therefore, have to make an effort to learn it if you ever hope to make your stay in the nation fruitful and hassle-free. Start with some of the common terms like greetings and directions as you will need them more often.

Transportation Matters

You will definitely have to travel a lot with Athens and Greece. To succeed in this, you will have to acquire a map or a GPD-enabled device. The monthly pass may perhaps be your safest pair of gloves as it grants you unconstrained access to transportation everywhere in Athens apart from the airport for only €30.

Rules and Regulations

Just like every other city, Athens too has its own rules and regulations. It is necessary that you familiarize yourself with them to be able to say on the right side of the law.

These regulations cover what you can, cannot do, and the accompanying penalties. For instance, there are some designated smoking zones, times when you cannot visit some districts and so on.

Invest some time to get to know about these issues before or almost immediately after making a move.

Part 2: Tips for Moving to Greeece

To make your move to Greece a success, you have to adhere to certain principles and best practices. We have bothered to identify and explain a couple of these hot tips here-under:

Carry out Extensive Research Beforehand

You definitely have to carry out extensive research beforehand. You have to know the geography, demography, culture and a little bit of the history of Greece as a whole and of the portion, you intend to set up base in particular.

Doing this will prevent unnecessary culture shocks which many confront when they get to places which they are completely unfamiliar with.

At the same time, you will also settle faster and blend seamlessly in your new environment.

Do not ‘burn bridges’ you leave behind

Most people are often excited to relocate elsewhere. The thought that all may not really be well in their new destination never even cross their minds.

The sad reality though is that these issues indeed do arise. It is only fair that you prepare appropriately for them.

One of the surest ways of guaranteeing this is by not burning any bridges you leave behind. Do not be so quick to sell your things, resign from your job, or abandon your business, among others.

Instead, leave these investments intact as you might normally have to return to your native land.

Hire a Reliable Moving Company

To be assured of a smooth moving experience, you have to hire and make use of a reliable moving company.

Get online and choose only that company whose moving track record is impeccable. You will surely spend more but at least be guaranteed a smooth transition and reduced likelihood of pilferage or loss of property.

We suggest this company as we know them and have used their services.

Inform your Friends or Sponsors in Greece in Advance

Prior to departing your native land, be certain to inform your peers and colleagues in Greece of your impending entry or relocation into Greece.

This will prepare them in advance of your coming and enable them to prepare to welcome you well.

Move in Phases

You are strongly advised to move in phases. Start off by relocating yourself. Stay in Greece for some time, around one year or so, before bringing in the rest of the family.

This is to give you some space to study the environment and acclimatize.

It will also help you to enable your family to adjust to the new environment with ease. Moving all at once may lead to family breakdowns and the attendant emotional issues.

Now that you have already known what to do to successfully move to Greece, what are you waiting for?

When are you making a move? Given the awesome benefits and resources that Greece has to offer, you cannot afford to drag your feet in this.

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