Greece is one of the most beautiful places in the world, which is why it’s one of the most visited countries in the world. Many people dream about a quiet life on some Greek island or in one of its hundreds of historical cities. So where can expats and retirees affordably live in Greece year round?
The Cheapest places to live in Greece:
In Greece, you can live in a metropolis like Athens, or a picturesque town on the mountains overlooking the sea like Santorini. But keep in mind that Greek prices are on the higher side for digital nomad destinations. Hence, in this article, we are giving you an overview of some of the cheapest locations to live in this fantastic Mediterranean country.
Lefkada is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea, on the west part of the country. Its biggest advantage is its connection to the mainland via a causeway and floating bridge, allowing for great flexibility when it comes to traveling. One can simply use a car or bus instead of relying on ships and boats.
Furthermore, it’s one of the top destinations for those wanting to enjoy beautiful island beaches without breaking a bank.
Lefkada’s beaches have turquoise, crystal clear waters, which makes it a dream to wake up to everyday. It also boasts impressive rocky white cliffs with lush everywhere, and quiet villages where you might want to find your new home.
Rental prices in Lefkada:
Rent for a one-bedroom apartment – 350 EUR or 400 USD.
Hydra is a Greek island that is located in the total opposite direction of Lefkada. It is great for those who desire having close proximity to Athens, the capital of Greece.
Hydra is located on the west side of Greece, in the Argo Saronic Gulf. It’s a popular destination for tourists coming from Athens, including local and foreign visitors. Hydra takes just one and half to two hours to reach if you are taking a ferry from the Greek capital. This means that if you prefer living in a megacity like Athens, you can still easily spend some weekends enjoying the island’s beaches.
However, Hydra isn’t that cheap in comparison to other locations on our list. It might even be the most expensive of them all. But if you are craving an eco life in nature, this might be the right place as Hydra is a car-free island. Everyone and everything gets by on foot, boats or donkeys! Thus, quiet and peacefulness are next level here.
Rental prices in Hydra:
Rent for a one-bedroom apartment – from 350 EUR to 400 EUR (400 USD – 460 USD) , utilities around 140 EUR or 160 USD.
Kavala is a coastal city on the Aegean Sea in the country’s north, close to Macedonia. With a population of 60,000 people, it’s the second-largest city in northern Greece after Thessaloniki.
Kavala can easily be reached if you fly into Kavala’s airport or Thessaloniki’s. The city is 170km away from Thessaloniki (1.5 hours). Kavala is one of the most attractive of Greece’s largest cities, as well as one of the oldest in the country.
It’s also not far away from Bulgaria’s ancient Roman city of Plovdiv, which boasts 350k inhabitants.
In Kavala, you will have everything that one would want for a comfortable life: beaches, historic sights, contemporary buildings, shopping centers, and of course, all possible gastronomic options. Moreover, Kavala is also one of the most affordable places in Greece due to its low popularity among tourists.
A family of four can live comfortably on 2,000 EUR or 2,320 USD per month, and an individual renter will need just around 750 EUR or 870 USD.
Rental prices in Kavala:
Rent for a one-bedroom apartment – between 250 to 280 EUR (290 – 325 USD), utilities around 200 EUR (230 USD).
The mainland city Preveza is a coastal town in the Epirus region overlooking the Ionian Sea, and a close neighbor of Lefkada. With just 20,000 people living there, Preveza is a peninsula with kilometers of beaches and a very charming atmosphere.
It has a picturesque old town with narrow alleys and magical old houses where you would love to live. The Epirus region has a long history going back thousands of years. There you can find the Thesprotian mountains, the blue waters of the Ionian Sea and relaxing rivers.
While living in Preveza, you can organize regular weekend gateways to Lefkada and enjoy both the mainland and island lifestyles without needing to be on the island 100% of the time.
Lefkada is just 14km away from Preveza. When traveling by road, the distance is just over 25km. The trip takes about 25 minutes. Moreover, you can even take a bus that leaves Preveza every 3 hours.
Preveza is less developed for tourists and can be a good option for someone willing to have a quieter life. During the summer months, the port of Preveza is full of boats and yachts, while cafes are filled with people. Plus it’s more affordable than Lefkada, the more popular holiday destination of the two.
But at the same time, expats won’t be too bored in Preveza since it has:
- a promenade
- a harbor
- various supermarkets
- a great selection of restaurants, bars, cafes and bakeries
Rental prices in Preveza:
Ren for a one-bedroom apartment – between 250 – 280 EUR (290 – 325 USD), utilities around 200 EUR (230 USD).
Kalamata is another coastal city, this time in the southern part of Greece. With 70,000 inhabitants, it’s the second-most populous city of the Peloponnese peninsula, after Patras.
If you want to live in an authentic, lively and affordable coastal city, Kalamata is an excellent choice. Furthermore, the city is within reachable distance from Athens at 177 km. Thus, you can get to the capital within a couple of hours by driving. Going by bus takes around 3 hours.
Like other Greek cities, Kalamata has the beach, many restaurants and tavernas, cozy cafes and bars. Besides that, it gives you easy access to other areas of the Peloponnese region. The cost of living is relatively low in Kalamata. As a single person, you can have a good life for around 900 EUR a month.
Rental prices in Kalamata:
Rent for a one-bedroom apartment – 220 – 300 EUR (255 – 350 USD), utilities around 152 EUR (175 USD).
You are probably aware that Thessaloniki in the north is the second-largest city in Greece after Athens. Over 300,000 people live there, which makes it the second-largest destination on our list.
Thessaloniki is a coastal city located close to the borders of North Macedonia, Albania and Bulgaria. If you want to do some travels in Eastern Europe, it is a perfect choice.
Furthermore, for expats looking for an urban city life, but have no desire to move to Athens, Thessaloniki is a nice alternative. As an expat, digital nomad, or remote worker, you will be seduced by the affordable cost of living that the city has to offer.
In addition to all the perks of the Greek city, such as warm weather, a social coffee scene, and various gastronomic pleasures, Thessaloniki also has lively festivals, social events and vibrant nightlife.
Furthermore, Thessaloniki is the cultural capital of Greece. It has a historic center and a shopping district that offers both old and new attractions.
Thessaloniki is also great for those looking for authentic local life. It’s less touristy than some other historical coastal towns and islands. For that reason, the cost of living is one of the lowest in the country.
Today, Thessaloniki is well known for its extensive waterfront. You can see crowds of people walking, jogging or riding their bikes there everyday.
When it comes to the cost of living, 1,000 EUR or 1,160 USD would be enough for a single person to keep a normal standard of life. However, keep in mind that the climate in Thessaloniki is cooler than in other parts of the country. Therefore, for warmer temperatures, head to the Greek south.
Rental prices in Thessaloniki:
Rent for a one-bedroom apartment – 250 – 400 EUR (290 – 460 USD), utilities around 154 EUR 180 USD.
Athens doesn’t need much of an introduction. It’s the Greek historical, political and financial capital and one of the world’s oldest cities. Athens has a long history dating back over 3,400 years.
With over three million people living in the city, it’s a global megapolis and a major transit hub–not just for Greece, but for Europe in general. You can fly to all parts of the world from Athens airport.
However, the city is quite touristy due to a large number of ancient monuments, including two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Acropolis is one of them. Nonetheless, the city has 58 municipalities with different vibes, atmospheres and demographics. Hence, expats can find many less touristy and more local areas.
The main highlight of Athens is that you have access to both urban, bustling city life and relaxed beaches on the coast. The nearest places for swimming and tanning can be reached in just 30-40 minutes by train.
The cost of living in Athens is much lower than in other European capitals. A single person will need between 800 EUR or 930 USD and 1,300 EUR or 1,500 USD per month for a couple.
Rental prices in Athens:
Rent for a one-bedroom apartment – 250 – 500 EUR (290 – 580 USD), utilities around 140 EUR or 160 USD.
How much money do you need to live comfortably in Greece?
The cost of living in Greece is generally 30% less than in many other European countries. Therefore, expats and digital nomads can benefit from lower prices, especially for long-term rent.
1,000 to 1,500 EUR (1,162 – 1,750 USD) will be satisfying for a single person, assuming you aren’t living on very touristy islands, such as Mykonos, Rodos, Santorini, etc. A couple should budget around 2,000 EUR (2,320 USD) for a comfortable life in Greece.
The cheapest Greek islands for visiting and living
We mentioned the island Lefkada on our list of the cheapest places to live in Greece and it’s indeed one of the most affordable islands in the country. That’s due to it being less popular among tourists, making it hard to beat when it comes to prices.
It takes around five hours to get from Athens and costs 36,80 EUR or 43 USD one way.
Hydra is another island for a vacation on a low budget. No wonder it’s a favorite destination for many Greek and foreign travelers who don’t want to pay upscale prices. Hydra is a quiet, laid-back small island with a “no cars” policy. You can also easily reach this destination from Athens.
It takes just one hour and 30 minutes by ferry from Piraeus. The price of the journey is 28,50 EUR or 33 USD one way.
Sifnos wasn’t mentioned before in this article, but we had to bring it up for what it offers at an affordable price. It belongs to the Cyclades islands group and is located in the heart of the Aegean sea, close to the islands of Milos and Serifos.
What you can expect in Sifnos:
- beautiful beaches
- little villages
- historical monuments and buildings (including 227 churches)
- A flourishing culinary scene
To get there, take a ferry from Piraeus in Athens. It will take around six hours to reach.
The cost of living in Greece
Maybe you have visited some Greek islands in the past and were shocked by the high prices (Mykonos, we’re looking at you). However, in reality, the cost of living in Greece is relatively low when compared to other western countries.
To benefit from the affordable cost of living as an expat or digital nomad, you need to look for long-term solutions and stop being a tourist.
Generally, the prices for housing, groceries, eating out, healthcare, etc., are significantly lower than in the US and many other developed countries. For a better understanding, we compare the cost of living in the US and Greece.
On average, the cost of rent in Greece is approximately 70% lower than in the US. For example, in Athens, expats can rent a one-bedroom apartment for under 500 USD.
For comparison, a one-bedroom in the heart of New York City averages just under 3,100 USD a month, and Los Angeles would be on average $1500-$2000.
However, the cities mentioned in this article are even more affordable, where your rent can range from 250 to 400 USD.
The cost of groceries in Greece is comparable to American prices, yet you can save a buck when buying fruits, vegetables, milk products or eggs at local farmer markets. Every city has many of them.
Total for groceries: calculate at least 300 USD on groceries if you eat at home regularly.
Utilities will be the highest in winter due to heating.
- Electricity: Overall, electricity in the EU is much higher than in the US. For an average two-bedroom apartment, you can expect a range from 40 to 160 USD per month, depending on the time of year and the usage.
- Heating: Heating can be provided in two ways in Greece: independent heating or heating controlled by the management of your apartment building. In the case of independent heating, you decide when to turn it on. And if your apartment has the latter heating option, you will pay shared expenses, which vary from house to house. On average, it comes to 50 USD – 110 USD in the winter season.
- Internet: Internet connection in your apartment costs around 35 USD per month.
Total for utilities: 125 USD on the lower end and 305 USD on the higher end.
Eating out in Greece is generally more affordable than in the US. Even in the big cities or touristy islands, you can easily have an excellent meal for two with wine for 30 USD. Local fast food like gyros costs around 4 USD on average.
The suggested monthly budget for a single person moving to Greece is between 1,500 USD and 1,800 USD per month.
Interesting facts about the cost of living in Greece and Athens, the Greek capital:
- A family of four estimated monthly costs: 3,300 USD
- A single person estimated monthly costs: 1,350 USD
- Greece is the 2nd cheapest country in Western Europe (17 out of 18)
- The cost of living in Athens is 42% cheaper than in Los Angeles, California
- The cost of living in Athens is 38% cheaper than in Amsterdam
- The cost of living in Athens is 17% cheaper than in Barcelona
- The cost of living in Athens is 6% cheaper than in Lisbon
- The cost of living in Athens is 43% cheaper than in Paris
- The cost of living in Athens is 51% cheaper than in London
Want to live in Greece and work remotely?
Are you thinking about relocating to a warmer country with a more affordable cost of living? Greece might be the right place for you!
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