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Moving to Greece: What Every Expat Should Know

Greece is a country of many wonders. Rich with unique archaeological treasures that date back to the dawn of civilization and dotted with some of the most pristine beaches in the world, it’s one place where the beauty and intensity of the landscape never end. Consisting of roughly 3,000 islands spread along the Balkan Peninsula, Greece is commonly regarded as the seat of Western lifestyle and civilization. Home to some of the most foundational myths, legends, and lore of humankind, Greece is a unique and outlandish destination that promises to provide expats with a sense of home and history. If you’re considering moving to Greece, here’s what you’ll need to know before you take the leap.

Top 10 Reasons to Move to Greece

If the natural beauty and the legends associated with Greece weren’t enough, here are the top 10 reasons to consider moving to this unique part of the world:

1. Greek food is delicious
While most people think of Gyros when they think of Greek food, the fact of the matter is that Greece has dozens of culinary wonders to offer visitors, even beyond shaved meat in a pita. Other popular dishes include fresh fruits and a whole host of fresh seafood and shellfish prepared in traditional Greek style.

2. Greece has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world
Greece is known around the world for its gorgeous beaches and crystal blue water. Whether you head to Mykonos or another beautiful beachside town to relax, you won’t find a shortage of gorgeous, turquoise swimming holes here.

3. Greece is one of the most colorful places on the globe
In need of a little color pop to spice up your life? All you need to do is head to Santorini. Here, crisp white homes sit perched atop hillsides and yellow, blue, and red accents dot the landscape for a picture that’s truly other-worldly.

4. Greek people are very friendly
In many ways, Greece is an embarrassment of riches. While its beaches and towns are beautiful enough in their own right, the country’s people are sufficient to make anyone fall in love. Friendly, welcoming, outgoing, and vibrant, Greece is a place that’s chocked to the brim with locals you’ll enjoy getting to know.

5. Greece is one of the oldest civilizations in the world
As evidenced by major attractions like the Acropolis, Greece is one of the world’s oldest civilizations, which makes it an ideal place for history buffs to settle. What’s more, Greece is home to the myths that inform so many other cultures around the world – ranging from the Odyssey to gods like Zeus and beyond!

6. Greece makes it easy to explore different islands
Greeks is an extensive chain of islands, and people who find themselves here will have virtually unlimited vacation and exploration potential between them all. Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a week-long trip, island-hopping is one of the main attractions in this beautiful area.

7. Rental prices are cheapMany expats from the U.S. and other such countries report that, for a small sum each month, it’s possible to secure a beautiful apartment with a rooftop deck and views of the glistening Greek waters. While Greece’s economy is unstable, it’s a renter’s paradise.

8. Not having a car is simple in Greece
If you want to ditch your car and the expenses associated with it, you can do that in Greece. The cities and towns in Greece are highly walkable, and it’s easy to find your way around without too much muss or fuss.

9. Fresh produce is easy to find in Greece
If you like to eat fresh produce, Greece will prove to be an embarrassment of riches.  Market stands are prevalent, and it’s inexpensive to eat incredibly well here.

10. Greece is a welcoming country
For the expat community, Greece is a highly welcoming place that will accept newcomers with open arms. This is a difficult trait to find and is one of the many things that makes Greece so well-loved.

Moving to Greece: Greek Visa Requirements

Greece is a Schengen country, which means residents of other Schengen-agreement locations will be allowed to live, work, and move freely within Greece. If you’re not from a Schengen country, you’ll need to apply for a Greek visa, which can be done with the following steps:

Finding Housing in Greece

In Greece, unlike many other places around the world, people buy property more often than they rent. This applies in particular to Greece’s more resort-focused areas. While it can be difficult to find long-term rental options in these regions, short-term rentals are abundant, and expats will have a large selection of flats, apartments, townhouses, and villas to choose from. While rental prices for short-term rentals can be expensive, it’s easy to find a reasonably-priced place if you put in the time to look around. For best results, consider hiring a Greek real estate expert to assist you in your efforts. In addition to the fact that these experts understand the rental market, they can also help you locate a house or apartment that will be perfect for your unique needs.

5 of the Best Places to Live in Greece

While Greece offers a huge selection of beautiful, vibrant areas, these five are some of the most sought-after:

1. Crete
Crete is the biggest of the Greek islands and is a popular place for property acquisitions by wealthy expats and tourists. A hub of delicious food, outstanding dining, and plenty of exciting outdoor attractions, Crete is a beautiful, laid-back, and welcoming place to settle down – with or without a family. Keep in mind, though, that all of this luxury comes at a price, and rentals in Crete are likely to be slightly more expensive than they are elsewhere. That said, however, this is Greece, and everything is cheap compared to other places in the E.U., so purchasing property here (or securing a long-term rental) is still well within reach of many expats.

2. Halkidiki
Halkidiki is one of Greece’s more popular tourist areas, and it’s an attractive place for people to vacation and relax. Located in the northern part of Greece, Halkidiki is known primarily for its three distinct prongs, which extend out into the Aegean Sea. Tourism and service jobs are popular here, and expats can easily make a nice life for themselves in this beautiful locale.

3. Corfu
Corfu is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful islands in Greece and is prized for its ample (and year-round) lemon and olive harvest. Boasting mild weather, cheap plots of land, and gorgeous beaches, Corfu offers all of the things expats want in a Greek destination: calm, scenery, and plenty to see and do. In addition to its beautiful landscape, Corfu also offers some of Greece’s finest intellectual institutions, ranging from museums to cultural centers and galleries.

4. Delphi
Delphi is inland, in the middle of mainland Greece. Known for its ample cultural attractions and ancient archeological sites, Delphi is one of the most historic regions of Greece and is one of the country’s main tourism hubs. In addition to its deep history, Delphi also offers stunning Cliffside views and a central location that’s tough to beat.

5.  Athens
Athens is one of the most popular cities in Greece – and for good reason. A unique mixture of old and young, modern and ancient, Athens is a grungy, unique city that offers a huge selection of museums, cafes, attractions, entertainment, and shopping. Home of the Acropolis and dozens of other unique historical sites, Athens is the center of Greece’s ancient history and modern vibrancy.

Pros and Cons of Moving to Greece

While Greece is a beautiful and exciting place, it also has its fair share of drawbacks, and understanding them can help you make an informed decision about your move:

Pros

Cons

The Case for Moving to Greece

While moving to Greece is a great decision for many expats, it’s one that should be undertaken carefully. Given the unstable economy and the weakened job market, making a life in Greece can be difficult, and this is something that turns many expats off. That said, however, there’s no question that Greece is a beautiful place to live, and that people who do settle down here will be greeted with riches ranging from friendly locals to delicious, local foods.What’s more, Greece offers an incredibly high quality of life, and the people who live here are excited about accepting expats into the fold and making them real Greek citizens in no time. Like any place, Greece has its benefits and its drawbacks, but it’s a wonderful place to make a life for the expats who truly understand the ins and outs of this complex and ancient place.