Greece has enviable history and culture, climate and cuisine - and yet, the cost of living is among the lowest in Europe. Since the economic crisis hit, prices of accommodation especially have fallen dramatically, making it possible to live a very good life here on a rather limited budget. No wonder it’s a popular destination for tourists and expats alike.
Whether you’re retiring, temporarily relocating or moving to Greece for good, it’s helpful to have a picture of what life there will cost as an expat. Here’s a quick guide.
The official currency in Greece is the Euro (EUR or € on currency exchanges).
You can find out the exact value of your money in EUR, using an online currency converter - but here’s a rough guide:
- 1000 USD = 897 EUR
- 1000 GBP = 1139 EUR
- 1000 AUD = 678 EUR
|Comparing basic cost of living||1 bedroom flat in city centre (monthly rent)||Lunch for 2 (3 courses, mid range restaurant)||Transportation (monthly pass)|
|Athens, Greece||EUR 278||EUR 35||EUR 30|
|Thessaloniki, Greece||EUR 276||EUR 30||EUR 30|
|London, UK||EUR 1,919||EUR 62||EUR 149|
|New York City, USA||EUR 2,675||EUR 67||EUR 105|
|Berlin, Germany||EUR 739||EUR 40||EUR 81|
|Sydney, Australia||EUR 1,757||EUR 54||EUR 109|
One major factor that adds expense for expats in Greece, is the cost of converting cash to EUR from your home currency. Even if your bank says it offers fee-free money exchange, you can be sure that its cut is rolled up in the exchange rate it uses. To get the best deal, you should use an exchange service like TransferWise, which applies the same mid-market rate you’ll find on Google or Reuters. With a quick service, and low flat fees to transfer your cash, this can be a much better deal than relying on your home bank.
Life in Greece is unusually affordable for Europe. With a relatively low budget, you can live a good life - even in the capital of Athens. As Greece’s second city, Thessaloniki is another hotspot for expats. You can live well for less here and life could be even cheaper if you move away from the big cities.
|Living expenses in Greece (excluding rent)||Thessaloniki average cost||Athens average cost|
|Single person, per month||EUR 582||EUR 584|
|Single person, per year||EUR 6,984||EUR 7,008|
|University student, per month||EUR 445||EUR 439|
|Four person family, per month||EUR 1,998||EUR 2035|
|Four person family, per year||EUR 23,876||EUR 24,420|
The salaries in Greece, in general are fairly low, reflecting the current weakened Greek economy. However, as cost of living is also pretty low here, it’s still perfectly possible to live well on an average salary.
Check out what you could earn in Greece here:
|Salary averages for Greece||Average annual salary|
|Financial analyst||EUR 17,151|
|Graphic designer||EUR 12,317|
|Mobile developer||EUR 12,708|
|Product manager||EUR 20,227|
|Software engineer||EUR 21,121|
|Web developer||EUR 14.988|
One of the major factors determining how expensive life in Greece will be for you, is where you choose to live. Rental prices are low for a European nation, but be wary of overpriced properties aimed at expats who simply haven’t done their homework. Naturally, if you move outside of the big cities you can rent in Greece for even less.
See what it might cost you here:
|Renting in Greece||Average monthly cost (Athens)||Average monthly cost (Thessaloniki)|
|One bedroom apartment (city centre)||EUR 278||EUR 276|
|One bedroom apartment (outside of city centre)||EUR 282||EUR 217|
|Three bedroom family home (city centre)||EUR 477||EUR 465|
|Three bedroom family home (outside of city centre)||EUR 540||EUR 371|
|Internet||EUR 21||EUR 20|
|Utilities (gas, electric and water for a 85m2 apartment)||EUR 141||EUR 165|
The healthcare system in Greece has historically been very good - but the recent economic crisis in the country has hit spending on health care hard. Because of this many Greeks also buy private health insurance, and as an expat it’s definitely advisable to purchase private insurance to make sure you’re covered for all eventualities.
|Healthcare service||Average cost to you|
|Family doctor check-up (no insurance)||EUR 40|
|Cold medicine for six days||EUR 2.70|
|Antibiotic prescription (no insurance)||EUR 7|
The cost of travel in the major cities in Greece is very reasonable. Athens, in particular, has a very strong public transportation system if you prefer not to drive in the city.
|Transportation and vehicle prices for Greece||Average cost|
|Gasoline (one litre / 0.25 gallon)||EUR 1.47|
|Monthly bus/transport pass||EUR 30|
|Bus ticket, single use||EUR 1.40|
|Taxi tariff, 8km/5mile journey||EUR 12|
|Toyota Corolla, new||EUR 18,840|
|VW Golf, new||EUR 18.650|
University level education in Greece is free to Greeks and citizens of other EU countries up to Masters level. You might even be able to get your school books paid for.
|Preschool / kindergarten (monthly fee)||EUR 368|
|Private school for lower grades (annual)||EUR 8,000|
|University tuition||Free to Greeks and EU citizens, around EUR 1,500 a year to non-EU students|
Greece is a great expat destination whether you’re considering a permanent move or just looking to spend a year or two exploring somewhere new. Here you’ll find a great mix of history, vibrant modern cities, friendly laid-back people and costs which make it possible to live well for less.
Good luck with your new life in Greece!