One of the top locations that expats flock to is beautiful Greece. For many expats Greece has it all; beautiful weather, wonderful beaches, warm people, great wine and food and a wonderfully rich culture.
Greece is seen by many expats as being one of the few places in the world where there are still plenty of places to explore and life can be as slow or fast paced as you like. While many parts of Greece are built up and marketed to tourists, other parts of Greece are totally off the map and are extremely natural and beautiful. If you are looking for a holiday retreat to spend a few years or a land forgotten to find some adventure- Greece is definitely the place.
For those seeking the sun, Greece is the place to head to. For most of the year (about 65%), the sky is sunny and clear with only a few clouds. During the winter, the temperature is mild with some precipitation. While the winters can see an occasional freezing temperature, for the most part, the temperatures stay well above 50 degrees. In the summertime, the sun is bright and the temperatures can be high with average highs in the 80’s.
Depending on where you are locate, either in the northern part of Greece or southern part can determine the climate significantly. For instance in the north near Macedonia and Epiros, the climate is very similar to that of the Balkans with very cold winters that reach freezing and hot, humid summers. As you move more south, the summers tend to be drier with less humidity and the winters are warmer. At the southern most part of Greece, the island of Crete, temperatures are usually the warmest with very few winter type days. Most of the year Crete is sunny, warm and quite comfortable.
The government of Greece is a parliamentary republic and for the most part is very stable and secure. Although Greece is part of the European Union, it is not a wealthy country as those to the West. While many islands and regions in Greece are built up and developed, other islands and regions do not have infrastructure and can be very poor, approaching almost third world conditions.
For American expats looking to live in Greece, it is very easy to visit and live here. Visa requirements allow Americans to travel throughout Greece for up to 90 days with no visa required and only a passport. You can find out more about Greece at the Embassy of Greece in Washington D.C. or the United States Embassy in Athens.
Greece has a high tax rate and is considered one of the highest in the world. The individual income tax rate for Greece is 40 percent. It should be noted that the corporate tax rate is not as high, but still above some countries in the European Union. The top tax rate for corporations in Greece is 25%. Besides income tax, there is also a value added tax (VAT) and a tax on interest.
For more information on the tax system in Greece, read Greece Income Taxes and Tax Laws.
For those thinking about starting a business in Greece, it should be known that it can take more than a month (38 days average) to start a business and sometimes just as long as to dissolve one. Besides the red tape that one must go through, corruption is seen as significant and can be a major pitfall that one must navigate.
Medical care in many parts of Greece is considered adequate, however infrastructure and training for many health care professionals may not be up to par as in the UK or the US. In some impoverished or remote regions of Greece, medical care is adequate at best and may require you to be evacuated to a major city or to another country for serious illnesses and injuries.
For most expats living in Greece, private insurance plans are available for private hospitals and clinics. These clinics are more foreigner friendly and cater to an English speaking clientele. If you are planning on living in Greece, make sure that you have purchased an international medical insurance plan or a private medical insurance plan specific to the region you will live. For expats that are considered tourists, you can purchase travel insurance that includes a health care component.
Real estate in Greece can be tricky and having a lawyer is recommended. If you are thinking about purchasing a home, land, investment property or apartment, make sure first that the property has electricity, water and telephone included. Many homes in Greece are considered remote and are not hooked up to the town or cities infrastructure. Many things that Americans take for granted must be specified before buying.
Besides the possibility of no electricity, running water or phone, some homes have been constructed with shoddy materials or unskilled labor, make sure you inspect the home very carefully and confirm the real value before buying.
For those looking to rent or lease a home or an apartment, you should have an easier time finding a place to live. In the main cities and in touristy areas, you should be able to find living quarters that are comfortable, have modern amenities and are affordably priced. However, if you live in a rural area or on the many islands, you may find that the quality of living arrangements is far less than what you are accustomed to in the states.
For the most part, housing prices are affordable, whether you are buying or renting, except in select areas on top islands or in big cities such as Athens, where certain locations might be more due to demand.
Shopping in Greece truly varies by region. For instance, on the mainland in big cities such as Athens, necessities are extremely easy to find along with many big name shops and luxury goods. In touristy areas, there are many shops that cater to travelers and necessities are also very easy to find. If you choose to live on a smaller island or in a less populated region necessities can be difficult to find.
In general, Greece is filled with plenty of entertainment opportunities, including some of the best food and wine in the world and top rated nightlife. Many islands serve as Mecca’s for those looking for sun and fun for the vacation season.
For those looking to Greece for its arts and culture, Greece has some of the most important and influential architecture, museums and artwork in the world. For art lovers, you can spend your entire life traveling throughout Greece without seeing all of the art and culture that this beautiful country has to offer.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Greece is usually much less than in the states, however the quality of infrastructure and convenience is less as well. While some parts of Greece are not that developed, the land is extremely beautiful and the people are extremely warm making up for any amenities that one might not find here.
The cost of living is affordable across the board for all types of products and services including housing, food, transportation costs and entertainment. If you are looking for a sunny paradise to relax and live, Greece is definitely it.
Extradition from Greece
The Extradition treaty between Greece and the United States of America was signed on May 6, 1931
The Greece Protocol was signed on October 21, 1986