Greece is a country with a rich history, amazing beaches and a comfortable Mediterranean climate, so it’s no wonder that so many people consider moving to Greece nowadays, but is 1000 Euros enough to live comfortably in Greece in 2023?
We’ll answer this question by breaking down the cost of living in Greece, we will also compare the capital Athens with other smaller towns inside Greece and we’ll also cover some information relevant for US citizens when coming here like visas and residency permits.
At the end of this article, you should have a pretty good idea of how expensive it is to live in Greece and if it’s a good idea for you to move there or not, let’s start!
Greece’s Cost of Living
Greece’s cost of living is way lower than it is in the US, this is the biggest reason why people move here from the US, money lasts longer here with cheaper rent, cheaper healthcare and much more.
Below, we will break down the primary expenses that contribute to the cost of living in Greece.
Housing costs in Greece are generally more affordable than in the US. Renting a one-bedroom apartment in a city center can cost around €400 to €800 per month, depending on the city. In comparison, the same apartment in a less central area may cost around €300 to €600. In Athens, the capital, you can expect the rent to be on the higher end of the scale so watch out.
Purchasing property is also easier here, as prices have been relatively low in recent years. As of 2023, the average price per square meter for an apartment in a city center was around €2300 to €3200.
The house price situation is very appealing for some, if you live in California for example, you can buy a house here for about a third of what you’d have to pay in CA. This is one of the main reasons why so many people retire here.
Utilities in Greece are reasonably priced. The monthly cost for basic utilities such as electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage services for a one-bedroom apartment is around €125 to €175 per month.
Internet and phone services are also quite affordable, with unlimited broadband internet plans costing around €20 to €40 per month, and mobile phone plans starting as low as €5 per month.
One thing you should keep in mind is that internet in Greece is not that fast when compared to other European countries, According to Speedtest Global Index (February 2023), Greece’s fixed broadband ranks 92th in the world with an average downstream speed of 44.60 Mbit/s, and is statistically considered one of the lowest in Europe.
Groceries and Dining Out
The cost of groceries in Greece is lower than in the United States. A loaf of bread, for example, costs around €1, and a liter of milk is around €1.2. Fresh fruits and vegetables are abundant and relatively inexpensive, particularly at local markets.
Eating healthy is not a problem in this country and while prices are a bit higher in the bigger cities the difference is not that much.
Dining out is also affordable in Greece, with a meal at an inexpensive restaurant costing around €12, and a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant costing around €45. A McMeal at McDonalds is around €12.
Public transportation in Greece is efficient and affordable. A one-way ticket on public transport costs around €1.2, and a monthly pass is around €30. Taxis are also reasonably priced, with a starting fare of €1.30 and a rate of €0.74 per kilometer.
Owning a car in Greece can be more expensive due to higher fuel prices, with a liter of gasoline costing around €1.93. However, this may be offset by the lower cost of car insurance and maintenance.
Greece has a public healthcare system that provides free or low-cost healthcare to residents. As a US citizen, you would need to secure private health insurance, which typically costs around €50 to €150 per month, depending on the coverage level and your age.
Entertainment and Leisure
Entertainment and leisure activities in Greece are generally affordable. A movie ticket costs around €8, and a monthly gym membership is around €30 to €50. Cultural attractions, such as museums and archaeological sites, often have reduced or free admission for EU residents, but as a US citizen, you can expect to pay around €5 to €20 for entry fees.
Clothes and Shoes are all at the usual prices for the entire Eurozone. For example, a pair of jeans will go from €40 to €120 and a pair of Nike running shoes will cost you €50 to €110.
Moving to Greece from the US
Let’s move on from numbers and more into why and how you can move to Greece from the US. But before getting detailed about the process lets talk about some of the best reasons why people come to Greece.
Quality of Life
Besides all of the attractive numbers we mentioned before the quality of life that Greeks enjoy is something that a lot of people want. The sun shines throughout the year. There is not much rain to ruin your day but at the same time summer heat is scorching hot.
Greece’s geography is very diverse, there are snowy mountains, beautiful white-sand beaches, deserts, and plenty of vineyards. There is surely something here that appeals to you, and most of these are all a short 1- or 2-hour drive away.
Also, if you like to live a modern life with nightlife, plenty of restaurants and concerts then Greece has it, but if you are the person who likes a more laid-back type of home, the countryside in here provides plenty of comfortable and beautiful vistas, there is something for everyone here in Greece in this regard.
Greece’s Human Development Index is high. This means that the country provides excellent medical and education services to their citizens when compared to most other countries. The population also enjoys a low crime rate, a healthy environment and as such the life expectancy in Greece is very high.
As a US citizen, you can enter Greece without a visa for short stays of up to 90 days for tourism, business, or family visits. However, if you plan to move to Greece permanently or for an extended period, you will need to apply for a long-stay visa or residence permit. Some common types of long-stay visas and residence permits include work, study, family reunification, and retirement. To apply, you will need to gather the necessary documentation, including proof of income or financial resources, health insurance, and a clean criminal record. The application process can take several months, so it is essential to plan ahead.
Besides these four options you have alternatives if: you are of Greek origin, you are married to a Greek citizen, you have family in the country. Otherwise keep reading.
Employment in Greece
This can be a problem, unless you work in the IT industry, teach English or are lucky enough to land a high paying job inside Greece your salary is not going to be too high. Remember that Greece for all the good things it has suffered quite a bit in these last decades from economic problems.
You will need to open a local bank account and you must submit these documents translated into Greek and certified by a notary:
- Work contract
- Employer’s invitation letter
- All relevant qualifications to prove you can seek work in your field
Another way to obtain a Greek permanent residency is to prove to the government that you will not need to depend on the federal budget and will not need a job to provide an income. You can use your pension or investments to prove this.
This is commonly known as a retirement visa, most people that use this method can come here from the US and make their savings count by purchasing a nice home and using their pension to live inside Greece.
You need a minimum monthly income of €2000 plus €360 per child. All of the basic privileges of a normal permanent resident will apply to you and your family, you will also enjoy access to public schools, clinics and freedom of movement inside the EU. Greek citizenship can be obtained in a few years.
Another way is by proving a stable income as a freelancer, self-employed or a remote employee. In this case the terms are different than a retirement visa. In this case you need a monthly income of €3500, plus €700 for your spouse and €525 per child.
For both Retirement visa and a Self-Employment visa you need these documents:
- Your Identity document
- Confirmation of a stable income outside Greece
- A Greek telephone number
- Proof of a local residential address.
This is the easiest way to get a permanent residency in almost any European state, all you need to do is to purchase property in the country. Greece offers some of the best terms out of any EU state so it’s a very nice option. You need to invest at least €250k in the Greek private sector and in just two months you will have a permanent residency permit.
You must renew this permit every 5 years, but all you have to do is prove you still own that property or something similar. And these documents:
- Your identity document
- An account in a Greek bank
- A Greek tax number
- Medical insurance
Greece is a great location to retire, work or just visit. The amazing variety of places to visit and all of them with a rich history means that Greece is perfect for almost everyone to visit.
There are a few things we didn’t go in depth in this article but there is enough information here to get you started on your plans to move to Greece,
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