Cost of Living in Greece

Greece's economic difficulties have resulted in a decrease in the cost of living, especially in terms of housing and rental prices. However, this doesn't change much for Greeks struggling with rising unemployment, lower salaries and significantly reduced purchasing power. Conversely, this does present an opportunity for expats to invest in property in Greece, in light of the government's emphasis on foreign investment.

Jobs in Greece are hard to come by, particularly for expats, since Greek legislation requires employers to prove that any position filled by a foreigner cannot be filled by a Greek citizen. Most expats in Greece that aren't in low paid jobs are retired, teach English or are in the country because of an intra-company transfer. 

For those who find a way around the comparatively low salaries, living costs in Greece are much cheaper than other major European cities. For instance, a month's expenses, including rent in Athens, can cost almost half of what it would in London; however, Greece is still far more expensive than cities such as Mumbai. 

As with other destinations, the cost of living in Greece varies depending on location. The mainland is generally cheaper than the Greek islands when it comes to fuel and certain basic goods. The countryside is cheaper than cities but offers a much smaller range of products and services. Athens's northern and southeastern suburbs are the most expensive areas on the mainland, while the most expensive islands are those which attract the most tourists. Chief among these are Rhodes, Mykonos, Santorini, Corfu and Crete. 


Cost of accommodation in Greece

Buying and renting accommodation in Greece has progressively become cheaper, and foreigners who invest a certain amount of money in Greek property have the right to apply for residency. This hasn't benefited most locals directly, but it does present an opportunity for expats to purchase a house or apartment that suits their needs at a reduced price. It is recommended that those looking at moving to Greece rent first in order to get an idea of the market. 


Cost of food in Greece

Greek food culture is famous and food in Greece is generally quite cheap, making for a happy combination. On the other hand, austerity measures have resulted in some of the highest VAT rates in the EU, meaning that the costs of basic products are not as low as one might expect. However, the VAT rate for food is lower than other goods and the wide range of locally grown produce means that eating cheaply and well is not difficult. 


Cost of transportation in Greece

Driving in Greece is notorious for being somewhere between challenging and perilous. For expats who do intend on driving their own vehicles, car insurance is a must and is included with almost all vehicle rentals. In the case of hiring a car in Greece, it is important to check what kind of insurance is on offer, as the costs of hiring a vehicle may be more than expats' budgets.

The alternative is public transport. Most people who take public transport in Greece take a bus, or, in Athens, the metro.


Cost of education in Greece

The Greek education system requires students in public schools to be taught in Greek. In light of this, the children of expats who are not staying for the long-term often go to a private international school. Some expats do elect to put their children in Greek public schools, especially if they intend on staying in the country. Owing to the standard of many schools, Greek parents who can afford it have also been known to spend thousands on private tutors.

Private schools in Greece cost more than public schools, prices differ between individual schools, and prices go up as children progress through their school careers. 


Cost of Living in Greece chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in Athens as of April 2017.

Accommodation (monthly rent in a good area)

Furnished one-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 470

Furnished one-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 320

Furnished three bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 650

Furnished three bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 470

Shopping

Eggs (dozen)

EUR 3.80

Milk (1 litre)

EUR 1.20

Rice (1kg)

EUR 1.62

Loaf of white bread

EUR 0.83

Chicken breasts (1kg)

EUR 6.44

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

EUR 4.00

Eating out

Big Mac meal

EUR 7.00

Coca Cola (330ml)

EUR 1.44

Cappuccino 

EUR 2.90

Bottle of local beer

EUR 3.50

Three course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

EUR 30

Utilities/household (monthly)

Mobile to mobile call rate (per minute)

EUR 0.25

Internet (Uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month) 

EUR 20.42

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

EUR 136

Transportation

Taxi rate (per kilometre)

EUR 0.80

Bus/train fare in the city centre 

EUR 1.40

Petrol/Gasoline (per litre)

EUR 1.46

Zografia Avgerou

Zografia is a self-employed craftswoman living in Thessaloniki. A Greek native, she has experienced the effects of the Greek debt crisis first hand. She specialises in jewellery, home decoration, recycling objects and fashion. www.bisozozo.com.