Retiring in Greece As An Expat – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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The best time to consider your financial situation is when you are moving to a new country.
Today, where to retire is often an important and difficult decision to make. Some may choose to retire in their home country, while others look to retire abroad. When you’re deciding where to retire, there are often many variables to consider, like the weather, outdoor activities, healthcare facilities, and more.
Greece is a country located in the southeast of Europe, right on the Mediterranean. This country has long been known as a hotspot for travelers and retirees. And again, it stands out due to its waterfront real estate on year-round sunny beaches, happy locals, breezy lifestyle, high standard of living, fantastic historical treasures, incredible tax benefits, and many others.
In fact, we can tell you that Greece is the beating heart of the world, and it’s the birthplace of modern philosophy. Of course, Greece also mixes history, modern living, and culture in a way that almost nowhere else does. So, why do you think Greece is the best place to retire in today’s digital world?
Well, there are countless numbers of reasons why Greece remains the best destination. Later in this article, we will break down some costs of living, retirement packages, what you’ll enjoy, and many others. All of the above sounds too good to be true, right? Well, you need to read this article to the end.
In addition, we will walk you through the benefits of retiring in Greece. Not only that, but we have compiled this article to explain the tips to make your retirement savings last. Again, you’ll understand the pros and cons of living in this country. Would you love to know what we’ve unleashed for you? Read further!
Benefits of Living in Greece as an Expat
Moving overseas can be a complicated process, especially if you’re relocating with your family. As an expat, if you’ve been thinking of Greece, you’ll want to compare your options and choose the ones that have excellent facilities. Without further Ado, let’s quickly walk you through the benefits of living in Greece.
Cost of Living
Greece is super-affordable, especially when it comes to comparing it with North America and much of the rest of Europe. The prices for daily essentials (food, transport, and many others) are at least 20 percent cheaper than in the United States. And the costs to rent an apartment can be as much as 70 percent less. Also, throughout Greece, you’ll save money by using public transport and shopping at locals.
Lifestyle in Greece
When it comes to the lifestyle in Greece, the benefits of retiring in this beautiful land cannot be overemphasized. It is a proud nation that emphasizes family, love of outdoor activities, and tradition. And because tourism plays such an important part in its economy, English is widely spoken by locals in many areas, and the country’s infrastructure caters well for expatriates.
The quality of medical care in Greece should be one of the things that’d make you relocate. This is because; their healthcare facilities are generally excellent, especially in major centers like Athens and Thessaloniki. However, you may find the level of English spoken by doctors in more remote areas.
With that being said, emergency health care in the country is free regardless of nationality. For non-emergencies, most expats opt for some form of private health insurance, which provides better quality care and shorter waiting times than the Greek public system provides.
Safety and Security Measures
When it comes to safety, research made it known that Greece is one of the safest countries in Europe that has an easy-going and relaxed feel atmosphere. They have basic precautions with regard to personal belongings, and this could prevent rare cases of pretty theft in the country. Not only that, but in entertainment districts late at night, inebriated foreign tourists are likely to pose more of a danger than in other places.
As research disclosed after 2010, Greece introduced a golden visa program designed to lure foreign investors and move forward from the country’s financial crisis. This program encourages non-EU expats to take advantage of fast-tracked residency in exchange for financial investment. And those who qualify are granted a renewable, five-year residency permit. In the long run, we’ll talk more about the visas.
Weather and Climate
Weather and climate seem to be another reason why you need to retire in this country. There are plenty of sun hours combined with pleasant weather and temperatures that rarely go below 10 degrees. Although Greece is not exactly a destination that many choose during winter, but the climate is good and favorable in most places in the country.
Nature and Beaches
If you’ve been craving beaches and nature, Greece is home to thousands of different beaches. Whether you long for sandy and pebble beaches or everything in between, this is the right place. The variety is vast, and the water is often crystal clear. Aside from that, nature also offers variety with everything from dramatic mountains to lush valleys.
Whenever you feel welcomed in a country, it would be much easier to live there as an expat. Greeks often tend to be friendly and welcoming. Not only that, but it’s almost like you are a guest at someone’s home when you go to the restaurant. In fact, Greece are talkative and warm in general. So, be expecting a friendly hosting or welcoming during your first visit to the country.
Value for Money
Did you know that there are lots of bargains to find in the housing market in Greece? Well, for the same price, you get a small one studio in Stockholm, New York, and even Paris; you can get a large house on one of the larger islands in Greece. Not only that, but food, activities, and more are also cheaper that what you would have imagined.
Harmonious and Peaceful Lifestyle
Since inception, Greece are known for their harmonious and peaceful lifestyle. Not only that but also known to have a low retirement age and a stress-free approach to life. Of course, the country has it drawbacks, but it’s also very nice to avoid the stress back home in your country. This is because; the country and its citizens are very unique, and there are many things you will learn to love when living in Greece.
Retirement Cost of Living in Greece
If you dream of retiring on a sunny island with delicious food and a thriving local culture, you need to know the cost of living. Greece offers hot summers and mild winters, and you can live in a metropolis, like Athens, or a picturesque town on Santorini. So, is Greece the right retirement destination for you?
Well, it’s good to get an expert opinion, like a financial advisor. However, as our teams of experts have revealed, this guide will help you answer some basic questions about whether you could afford to live in Greece and whether or not it would be a feasible option for you. Now, let’s get you started with the cost.
|Description of goods/services||Cost of goods/services|
|One-bedroom apartment in the city||€280-€500|
|Utilities for 915 sq ft apartment||€150-€200|
|Internet and milk cost||€28-€50|
|Bottle of wine in the city||€7-€10|
|One pair of jeans (mid-range)||€80-€85|
Best Places to Retire in Greece
As we’ve always said, moving overseas can be a complicated process, especially if you’re moving with your family. In other news, if you’ve been thinking about moving to Greece, you’ll want to compare your options and choose a city that caters to your needs. Without further ado, below are the best places to retire.
Athens is the capital city of Greece, and it has a population of over 10 million people, making it the most densely populated city in the country. This place is home to some of the most modern shopping centers and restaurants. Not only that, but it also celebrates its ancient roots and history, just like Egypt.
For many expats, this city is the dream destination of many expat. Nonetheless, it’s full of opportunities, luxuries, and amenities. On the flip side, high-paying work can be challenging to come by for many expats in the country. Additionally, housing and food costs are higher here than in surrounding areas.
Rhodes seems to be another place to take into consideration if you’re planning to retire in Greece. Since it comprises several islands and mainland portion, Athens sits at the southern end of the mainland and leads toward the islands of Crete, Rhodes, Mykonos, Corfu, and Rhodes. Besides, these islands are common destinations among expats. More so, they still function as a crucial part of the trading system.
Similarly, housing on this island is surprisingly affordable, though a few luxurious homes are selling for more than a million dollars. Still, Rhodes has a medieval charm that makes it a unique place compared to other European nations. Meanwhile, it’s best suited to smaller families or older couples.
Santorini is another place to consider when it comes to expatriate retirements. In fact, when an average person imagines Greece, the first thing that comes to their mind is the blue dome roofs, white snow walls, and sloping staircases carved into the craggy hillside. Besides Athens, this tiny town might just be the most expensive Greek destination. So, if you’re an expat who can speak multiple languages, this is the right place to visit.
The island of Corfu is part of northern Greece and is remarkably close to Italy. Not only that, but you could take a ferry between the Italian town of Bari and Corfu if you’re keen to visit mainland Europe. Again, Corfu does have a reputation for being a party destination. As such, families with young children may not feel entirely comfortable moving to this wonderful land. Additionally, it has its own international airport, attracts thousands of travelers each year, and contains one of the largest and strongest expat communities in the country.
Patras is a unique place, and it feels and looks like an ancient Greek paradise with its crumbling brick-and-marble amphitheaters. Like many of the best Greek cities for expats, Patras is a coastal city and its home to several archaeological wonders that harkens back to ancient Roman and Greek times. After all, this city has a light out, private bathhouses, a hillside garden, and many others, to mention a few.
Mykonos is undoubtedly a relatively small Greek island with a reputation for parties, music festivals, and exuberant nightlife. On the flip side, this city could be the ideal destination for expats looking to start a foreigner-friendly business or take advantage of the party scene.
When moving to this city, you’ll need to embrace your sea legs. With that being said, we can tell you that this island is undoubtedly one of the gorgeous Greek destinations. More so, if you’re hoping to purchase a home on the island and become one of those permanent residents, you’ll need to be ready to invest. However, an average home here costs at least a million dollars, depending on what you want.
This place is considered to be a coastal city that sits along the northern part of the Greek mainland. As such, it’s quite close to the borders of Albania and Bulgaria. Aside from this fact, this city is a gateway to the Greek Islands. Though there’s a wealth of historical buildings and ruins to see here and there are also towering apartment buildings and commercial offices.
Greece Visa Application and Its Requirement
Depending on the purpose of your travel to the country, there are many kinds of visa applications that will apply to this occasion. Whether you’re planning to retire, go on a visit, study, work, or reside in Greece permanently, you’ll have to apply for a different Greece Schengen visa, accordingly. Without further ado, let’s quickly walk you through the types of visa application in Greece and their requirements.
General Required Documents for Greece Visa
- Download the application form, fill it completely and print a hard copy
- Attach two passport photographs, a recent-whole face captured with a light background
- Enroll in a travel medical insurance confirmation of minimum €30,000 coverage within Greece and the entire Schengen area
- You must present a cover letter indicating the purpose of your visit to Greece and an itinerary
- You must also present proof of civil status, including marriage certificate, ratio card, death certificate, or birth certificate of children
- A proof of flight itinerary with dates and flight numbers specifying entry and exit from the country
- You must show proof of sufficient financial means for the period of stay in Greece
Uniform Schengen Visas (USV) Types
The uniform Schengen visa is a permit of one of the Schengen Area Member Countries to transit or resides in the country for a certain period of time, up to the maximum of 90 days every six months. According to the purpose of travel, this type of visa is of two types; type and type C. type A is Airport Transit which allows its holder to travel in the international zone of the Schengen airport without entering the Schengen Area. On the flip side, the type C visa stands for a short-term visa.
Single-Entry Visa Types
If you’re applying for a single-entry visa type, you can enter the Schengen Area only once, within a stipulated period of time mentioned in the visa application. However, once you exit the Schengen territory, you cannot go back, even if you have not spent the full number of days permitted by the embassy that issued the visa.
Double-Entry Visa Types
By and large, the double-entry visa works in the same way as the single-entry visa. The only difference between a single-entry and a double-entry visa is that the latter gives an expat the chance to go back once more to the Schengen territory once you have exited it. However, you cannot enter the Schengen Zone again after you have existed it a second time, even if you have not completed your full permitted duration of stay.
D Category Visa/National Visa
This type of visa is given to individuals that wish to study in the country, work, or have a permanent residency in one of the Schengen zone countries. This visa can be of a single-or multiple-entry given to people who are going to reside in the Schengen country for a fixed duration or specific purpose after which you can return to your country.
Visa Types as Per Purposes
Whenever you want to apply for a Greece Schengen visa, you’ll have to specify the purpose of your travel, according to which the appropriate visa will be issued. Meanwhile, your travel can be for any of the following.
- Airport transit visa that’s issued to people who have to travel through the international zone of a Schengen Zone Airport without entering the country
- Tourist visa is one of the most popular Greece Schengen visa types, as there are many tourists who arrive to see the historical sites in the country
- Medical purpose visa, as the name implies, is given to expats that wish to visit the country for medical purpose. This kind of visa is issued for a period of three months.
5 Travel Tips to Greece In 2021
Beyond the country’s beautiful beaches, Greece boasts mighty mountains and craves. Not only that, but its weather ranges from blazing summers to snowy winters. In fact, we can tell you that few countries have such varied landscapes and seasonal extremes. Now, let’s quickly talk about the travel tips to Greece.
Avoid Greece Peak Season
One such thing you should consider when moving to Greece is the peak season. At this time, the weather is scorching, prices soar, and you’ll struggle to escape the crowds, and also, this is when the Greeks take their holidays too. Therefore, we advise you to avoid the peak season while visiting Greece.
Learn a Little Lingo
If you’re traveling to Greece for the first time, it’s always good to learn a little lingo. This is because; it will make your trip all the more immersive. And since the Greeks don’t expect foreigners to know any Greek, they love it when you know few words. So, what’s not to like about impressing the locals?
This is another thing to consider before choosing to retire in Greece. These days, most people tend to stick to one island per trip. And in Greece, there’s no reason you can’t buck the trend and plan a multi-island adventure. Moreover, while island-hopping can make traveling in Greece more complex, it can be done.
Cash is King in Greece
Unlike other European countries, Greece is big on cash; that’s why you need to have enough cash while moving to Greece. If not, you can find ATMs, especially in the center of big cities, though this may be an issue on lesser-known islands where many bars, establishments, or restaurants do not accept credit cards.
However, do not despair as credit cards are accepted in the majority of big stores. But try to have enough cash with you, just in case and when in doubt; always ask before getting to the register for any transaction.
Always Plan Ahead
Planning ahead always contributes to making your journey awesome. Unfortunately, Greece is not well prepared and organized for people with disabilities. So, if you’re a person with special needs or traveling with someone that needs special medical attention, be sure to book a room or cabin for the disabled in hotels and ferries early.
Be Taxi-Smart in Greece
Taxi fares in Greece are relatively cheap, except for the airport rides. However, you can find taxis virtually everywhere in the city. More so, do not be surprised if the driver stops to take other people while you’re in it. And if the driver does, note that you will not share the fare with them.
Greece has been a popular vacation destination for years. Although the economy has been giving everyone a hard time, especially during the advent of Covid-19 but it doesn’t seem to affect the country that much. So, if you will spend your retirement lifestyle in this country, refer to this expat guide.