Living in Greece: The Ultimate Guide

Living in Greece: The Ultimate Guide

A while ago, I was invited for a short work trip to Greece, little did I know that the coast of Greece would be so transformative, joyous, and fulfilling. Whether you are looking for somewhere warmer to live, befriending nice and warm-hearted people, having a balanced work and leisure, or need exquisite Mediterranean food, Greece offers numerous opportunities. 

It’s a beautiful and historic country located in southeastern Europe, known for its stunning coastline, Mediterranean climate, and ancient ruins. You can experience the rich culture and history of Greece, as well as its delicious food, vibrant nightlife, and approachable people. From the bustling city of Athens to the idyllic islands of Santorini and Mykonos, there is a diverse range of landscapes and experiences to suit every taste. If you’re considering a move to Greece, you’ll find a welcoming community of expats, a low cost of living, and an excellent healthcare system. In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about living in Greece, from the best places to live to the cost of living and more.

Why Live in Greece?

There is a wealth of opportunities for those seeking a new place to call home. With its stunning natural landscapes, rooted culture since ancient times, and friendly locals, Greece offers a unique blend of history and modern convenience. Moving to Greece means embracing the laid-back Mediterranean lifestyle, enjoying the almost year-round sunshine, and exploring some of the most beautiful beaches and islands in the world. From the bustling city of Athens to the charming villages of the Greek islands, there is no shortage of adventure and culture to be found. Additionally, Greek cuisine is renowned for its fresh and healthy ingredients, making it one of the healthiest and most delicious in the world. Whether you’re seeking a change of pace, a new adventure, or a better quality of life, Greece is an excellent destination for expats looking to make a move.

Pros and Cons of Living in Greece

Like any country, Greece also comes with its unique set of pros and cons that may help your decision-making. Here’s a chart that lists both sides: 



Relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle 

The slow pace of life may not suit everyone

Excellent weather

Inconsistent public transport system

Affordable cost of living compared to other countries in Europe

Lower salaries compared to other European countries

Healthy and delicious cuisine

Limited job opportunities in certain industries

Friendly and welcoming locals

High levels of bureaucracy and red tape

Beautiful natural landscapes and beaches

High cost of living in popular areas

Rich history and cultural heritage

Economic instability and uncertainty

Cost of Living in Greece

You’ll need to budget less than many other European countries if you’re considering living in Greece. Many locals talked about utilities being considerably more pricey than the other expenses; however, here’s a list of typical living expenses in Greece:

Expense Item

Average Monthly Cost (€)

Accommodation (1-bedroom apartment in the city center)

400 – 700

Utilities (electricity, water, gas, internet)

120 – 380

Food (groceries and eating out)

200 – 300

Public transportation (monthly pass-regular)

30 – 40

Entertainment (movies, events)

100 – 150


850 – 1570

Please note that these are average costs for one person from Numbeo as of February 2023, and the prices may depend on the location in Greece, and your lifestyle. Usually, the cost of living in tourist areas or islands is higher than living in Athens or Thessaloniki.

Quality of Life in Greece

The country has a vibrant culture and a strong sense of community, making it an excellent place to live for those seeking a sense of belonging. Greece also boasts a well-established healthcare system and affordable cost of living, which adds to its appeal as a destination for expats and retirees. If you’re seeking balanced work and personal time, and want to have a slower pace in life filled with rewarding friendships, natural resources and outdoor activities, and delicious healthy food; Greece pictures your dreams come true 

Climate in Greece

A warm Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine throughout the year best describes the climate in Greece. The summer months get hot and dry, particularly in the coastal regions, making it the perfect time to head to the beaches for a refreshing swim in the Aegean sea. The inland areas are usually mild and wet during winters and warm during the summers. If you prefer a milder climate, you might want to consider living on one of the islands, you’ll feel the sea breeze and a golden tan during the summer months. Whether you’re a fan of warm weather or not, Greece’s climate is undoubtedly one of its most attractive features that adds to the overall quality of life for locals. 

Career Opportunities for Expats in Greece

You may experience hardships in finding a job in Greece, especially if you don’t speak the language. However, there are some opportunities for those with specialized skills in fields such as technology, agriculture, healthcare, and tourism. In recent years, Greece has been working to improve its business environment and attract more foreign investment, which could lead to more job opportunities in the future. However, please beware that the job opportunities can be quite competitive in Greece, particularly for mainly English speakers. You can also start your own business in Greece, with the Greek government offering various incentives and support to entrepreneurs. The key is that you learn more about the job market and visa requirements for your profession before making the move.


Family, friends, and community constitute the ground of the Greek lifestyle. They enjoy spending time with their close ones, either going out for a coffee, eating out, arranging/ taking part in social activities or cultural events, or hiking in the breathtaking mountains. As they also tend to have a relaxed pace of life, you’ll find that they’ll encourage you to do the same; or even better, they can invite you to join them.

Greece offers an infamous Mediterranean cuisine that uses locally-sourced ingredients to make traditional dishes. Some of their food are souvlaki, moussaka, and tzatziki, alongside fresh seafood. 

As the climate has mild winters and hot summers, the Greek lifestyle accommodates the weather. The warm weather allows for outdoor activities year-round and makes for a relaxed and enjoyable lifestyle. Overall, the Greek lifestyle offers a unique blend of family, community, culture, and relaxation, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a new way of life.


The type of accommodation ranges from traditional apartments and houses to modern, high-end developments. The cost of accommodation varies depending on location, type of property, and amenities included. The prices are generally lower outside of major cities. Generally, properties in larger cities and tourist areas tend to be more expensive, while properties in smaller towns and villages can be more affordable. In the popular islands, the accommodation prices tend to be higher when a similar place is much more affordable on a rather regular island. 

People living in big cities, such as Athens and Thessaloniki, prefer apartments; whereas, the ones in smaller towns and villages chose to live in houses. When renting an apartment in Greece, keep in mind that the rental market can be competitive, especially in popular areas. It’s best to start searching as soon as you can and prepare to show documentation such as proof of income and references.


Buses, trains, and ferries connect the major cities and islands, making transportation in Greece both affordable and efficient. The country also has a well-developed road system, though driving can be difficult in some areas due to narrow roads and winding mountain passes.

Public transportation is a popular and inexpensive way of commuting in the cities. For example, Athens has a comprehensive public transportation system that connects buses, metro, and trams. A single ticket is relatively inexpensive, and there are discounts available for purchasing multiple journey tickets.

Ferries are the more common mode of transportation for exploring the Greek islands. Many ferry companies offer regular services between the islands and the mainland. Prices vary depending on the season, the destination, and the type of ferry you choose.


The healthcare system in Greece is of a high standard, with both public and private healthcare options available. All Greek residents, including expats, are required to have health insurance. Most expats purchase private health insurance to supplement their public healthcare coverage. All residents, including expats, can make use of public healthcare which is funded by the government. Once you are a resident, you’ll be part of Greece’s national healthcare system that covers emergency care. The private system is more expensive, but it provides faster and more focused care.  

The public system provides a variety of services like general practitioner or consulting with a specialist, hospital care, emergency services, and prescription of medications. The majority of services are free or low-cost, and you’ll be only charged a small fee, if any, for certain medical procedures. 

Private healthcare is usually more expensive than public one, but it provides shorter wait times, a better quality of specialized services, and state-of-the-art hospital equipment. If you cannot speak Greek, many private hospitals and clinics offer English-speaking doctors or nurses who can tend to you.  

Please note that if you don’t have a residency in Greece, the healthcare would be drastically opposite to the image given here; and you’ll be expected to have private insurance to cover your medical costs. 

Safety and Security in Greece

Greece is an overall safe country to live in. The main security concern is pickpocketing and petty theft, which are usually exhibited in tourist areas. You can easily avoid these by taking precautions and keeping an eye on your belongings when you are outside. Although violent crime rates are low in Greece, it’s better not to use that dim-lit shortcut to your home after it’s dark.

Greek Food

Greek cuisine has a fame for being simplistic as it uses fresh ingredients and nutritious components. You’ll see that the Mediterranean diet is widely regarded as one of the healthiest in the world for a reason. The country has an abundance of fresh seafood, vegetables, and olive oil. Moussaka, souvlaki, and tzatziki are examples of traditional Greek food. Eating out is reasonably priced, and the country has a thriving street food scene where you can have a late-night snack or grab a bite on the go between your meetings. 

Best Places to Live in Greece

As each city and place in Greece has its unique charm, you have several options to choose from. Here is a list I compiled for you to ease that decision-making:

  • Athens

It’s the capital city and the busy metropolis of Greece. The city has a rich history, immense traces of Greek culture, and a fascinating amount of art. If you specifically enjoy shopping, going out to restaurants, and having a vivid nightlife.

  • Thessaloniki

Alongside being the second largest city in Greece, it’s a vibrant port city with a growing economy. If you are interested in arts and culture events and visiting cultural sites, Thessaloniki might be the place for you. 

  • Crete

It’s the biggest island in the country, and it offers a laid-back pace of life, a warm climate, and wonderful sandy beaches. It’s an ideal place for those who love outdoor activities, such as hiking, swimming, and snorkeling.

  • Corfu

This beautiful island in the Ionian Sea is the center for a relaxing that includes stunning scenery, charming villages, and a wide expat community.

  • Santorini

This picturesque island is famous for its white-washed buildings, blue-domed churches, and breathtaking views. It is a popular destination for tourists but also makes a great place to call home.

  • Rhodes

This location offers a mix of traditional Greek architecture and modern conveniences. The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and boasts narrow cobblestone streets, medieval buildings, and charming squares. It’s a great place to wander around and explore, but it tends to get crowded with tourists during the high season.

Although these are some wonderful places to live in, you can find many other towns and cities that are worth considering. It’s important to personalize your search based on your needs, preferences, and expectations when searching for the best location to live for you.

Tips for Living in Greece

You’ll most likely develop your list of tips as an expat living in Greece if you decide to make the move. However, I have brought together some of the most commonly mentioned tips for you that were helpful for the expats who moved to Greece a while ago. 

  • Learn some Greek

Although English is widely spoken by Greeks, speaking Greek at least on a beginner level will help you integrate better and faster, and feel more at home.

  • Embrace the culture

Greece has a rich cultural heritage, and embracing the culture and history will help you feel more connected to the country.

  • Take advantage of the weather

Greece has beautiful weather year-round with 300 days of sunlight, so take advantage of it by spending time outside.

  • Exercise a little patience

Greece has a more relaxed pace of life than many other countries, so be prepared to wait and take things slower. It’s understandable if you’re frustrated about getting things done and how long they take, but it’s useful to keep in mind that life is more about joy and community in Greece.

  • Get used to carrying cash

Although payments are generally made with cards in other European countries, that’s not the case in Greece: most payments are done in cash, and you’ll need to carry the amount you’re planning to use with you. Hotels, bars, and other large-scale establishments take card payments as well, but it’s important to keep this in mind before making your move.

  • Be prepared for bureaucracy

Dealing with Greek bureaucracy can be frustrating, so be patient and persistent when it comes to paperwork and procedures. It may take a bit longer to get your visa or residence permit card than expected.

  • Drink coffee like the Greek

Greek coffee is made and consumed with the coffee particles inside; you’ll need to be careful not to consume it completely, otherwise, you may need to prepare yourself for a bitter aftertaste. 

  • Don’t throw toilet paper down the toilet

As the sewerage system is poorly made, you’ll need to use the trash bin to dispose of toilet paper alongside the other hygiene discharges. So after using the toilet, you should not put the toilet paper in the drain.

The Greek Golden Visa Program

The Greek Golden Visa program is a popular way for non-EU citizens to obtain residency in Greece. By investing a minimum of €250,000 in Greek real estate, applicants and their families can gain a five-year renewable residency permit.

Golden Visa offers a range of benefits, including the ability to travel freely within the Schengen Area and access to Greece’s world-class healthcare and education systems.

The Greek Golden Visa Program also provides a pathway to Greek citizenship, with permanent residency leading to eligibility for naturalization after seven years.

It’s useful to note that as of May 1st, 2023, the minimum investment threshold will increase to €500,000 for the Greater Area of Athens, Santorini and Mykonos islands, and the Municipality of Thessaloniki.

Related Articles




What is the cost of living in Greece?

Here’s a list of the estimated costs in Greece per month:

Expense Item

Average Monthly Cost (€)

Accommodation (1-bedroom apartment in the city center)

400 - 700

Utilities (electricity, water, gas, internet)

120 - 380

Food (groceries and eating out)

200 - 300

Public transportation (monthly pass-regular)

30 - 40

Entertainment (movies, events)

100 - 150


850 - 1570

Are there many expats living in Greece?

Although the exact number of expats is not clear, there are numerous European, North-American, and Australian people living in Greece. It's a desirable, and sunny destination for retirees, digital nomads, and those looking for a change of pace.

What are the challenges of living in Greece as an expat?

There are some challenges of living in Greece as an expat, the most common ones seem to be navigating a new healthcare system, language barriers, and adapting to a different way of life.

What are the advantages of living in Greece?

The advantage of living in Greece is overcoming challenges easily. Some of the advantages are sunny and warm weather for the majority of the year, fascinating culture and history, cheaper prices compared to other countries in Europe, healthy fresh and delicious Mediterranean food, and stunning nature.

What is the climate like in Greece?

The summers are long, hot, and humid; the country faces the sun 300 days a year, and the winters are rather mild with cool weather. The islands tend to be more humid; while inland is milder.

What are the visa requirements for living in Greece as an expat?

The visa requirements for living in Greece as an expat depend on your country of origin and the length of your stay. Citizens of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) do not need a visa to live and work in Greece.

Non-EU citizens must obtain a visa if they plan to stay in Greece for more than 90 days. The visa application process may vary depending on the purpose of your stay, such as work, study, or retirement. In general, you will need to provide proof of sufficient funds, accommodation, and health insurance.

If you plan to work in Greece as a non-EU citizen, you will need to obtain a work permit, which your employer can apply for on your behalf. It's important to note that the Greek government has implemented stricter immigration policies in recent years, which may make it more challenging for non-EU citizens to obtain visas and work permits.

Overall, it's best to consult with the Greek embassy or consulate in your home country for specific visa requirements and application procedures.

What is the tax system like in Greece for expats?

If you are an expat living and working in Greece, you will be subject to Greek tax laws. Greece operates a progressive tax system, which means that the more you earn, the higher your tax rate will be. The tax system in Greece can be complex and confusing, especially for non-Greek speakers, so it's important to seek professional advice to ensure that you are paying the correct amount of tax.

As an expat, you may be liable to pay tax on your worldwide income if you are considered a tax resident in Greece. In general, if you spend more than 183 days in Greece in a calendar year, you will be considered a tax resident. If you are a tax resident, you will be required to file an annual tax return with the Greek tax authorities.

Greece has tax treaties with many countries, which can help to prevent double taxation for expats. If your home country has a tax treaty with Greece, you may be able to offset the taxes you pay in Greece against the taxes you owe in your home country.

It's important to note that Greece has been known to have issues with tax evasion, and the government has been cracking down on tax evaders in recent years. As an expat, it's important to make sure you are complying with all Greek tax laws to avoid any legal issues.

What is the healthcare system like in Greece for expats?

Many expats in Greece prefer to have private healthcare, which is often faster and offers more personalized care. Private healthcare is more costly, but many expats find it worthwhile for the additional services and shorter wait times. Especially while waiting for the residence, it seems more effective to have a private healthcare plan, for instance: travel insurance.

What is the cost of housing in Greece for expats?

The cost of housing differentiates based on your preferences for the location, the type of housing and your lifestyle. Usually, you can expect to spend around 400 - 700 € per month if you are not living in a popular area.

What is the cheapest city in Greece?

There is not a single cheapest city in Greece, but the cheapest places can be listed as Lefkada, Hydra, Kavala, Preveza, Kalamata, and Thessaloniki.

What is the most expensive city in Greece?

The popular islands of Mykonos and Santorini are considered as expensive alongside the capital Athens.

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