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How to retire in Greece. A complete guide for those considering it.

Imagine retiring on a Greek island, well here are things to consider, if this has crossed your mind.


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Retirement is a time to relax, travel, and enjoy life, and for many people, this means considering retiring abroad. Greece, with its warm climate, beautiful landscapes, and rich cultural heritage, is a popular destination for retirees looking for a new adventure.


Retiring in Greece offers many advantages, including a relaxed and affordable lifestyle, high-quality healthcare, and a warm and welcoming culture. However, like any major life decision, retiring in Greece requires careful consideration and planning.


In this article, we'll take a closer look at what it takes to retire in Greece. We'll explore important factors such as visa requirements, healthcare options, and the cost of living, as well as the best locations for retirees in Greece.


Whether you're dreaming of a beachfront villa or a cozy mountain retreat, retiring in Greece can be a wonderful way to enjoy a new chapter in your life. So, let's dive in and explore what it takes to retire in Greece.


Section 1: Visa and Residency Requirements


Retiring in Greece sounds amazing, but if you are not an EU citizen, you can't just pickup one day and go and expect to stay long-term, legally, it takes some planning and lots of legal work.


Retiring in Greece requires obtaining the appropriate visa and residency permits. The process can seem daunting, but it is manageable with some preparation and patience.


To retire in Greece, you must have a long-term visa or residence permit. The type of visa or permit you need will depend on your individual circumstances, such as your nationality, age, and financial situation. In general, non-European Union citizens will need a long-term visa, while EU citizens can enter Greece with just their passport and stay for up to three months before applying for a residency permit.


To obtain a long-term visa or residency permit, you will need to provide various documents, including proof of income and health insurance, and in some cases, a criminal background check. It is important to start the process well in advance of your planned move, as it can take several months to complete all the necessary steps.


If you have Greek ancestry such as a Greek citizen parent, grandparent, or great grandparent, you can apply for citizenship and be able to legally live in Greece.


One option for retirees that do not have Greek ancestry is to apply for a Golden Visa, a residency permit that grants permanent residency to non-EU citizens who invest in Greek real estate. The minimum investment required is €250,000, and in some areas, €550,000 and the process can take a few months to complete.



Navigating the Greek bureaucracy can be challenging, especially if you are not fluent in Greek. Consider hiring a lawyer or immigration specialist to help you with the process.


It is also important to note that you will need to renew your residency permit every year, and you must spend at least 183 days per year in Greece to maintain your residency status.

In summary, retiring in Greece requires obtaining the appropriate visa and residency permit. Start the process early and consider seeking professional assistance to navigate the bureaucracy. Remember to renew your residency permit annually and spend enough time in Greece to maintain your residency status.


After 7 years of the Golden Visa, you will be able to apply to become a Greek citizen.


Section 2: Cost of Living in Greece


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One of the main reasons why retirees choose to live in Greece is the relatively low cost of living compared to other European countries. However, the cost of living can vary depending on the region and your lifestyle.


Housing is one of the biggest expenses in Greece, but it is still affordable compared to other European countries. In Athens, the capital city, you can expect to pay around €700-€1,200 per month for a one-bedroom apartment, depending on the location. In smaller cities and rural areas, the cost of housing is even lower.


Food and groceries are also affordable in Greece, especially if you buy local products. A couple can expect to spend around €300-€500 per month on groceries, depending on their eating habits. Eating out is also affordable, with a meal at a mid-range restaurant costing around €15-€20 per person.


Healthcare in Greece is of a high standard and affordable for retirees. If you are a legal resident of Greece, you are entitled to use the public healthcare system. However, many retirees choose to have private health insurance to supplement their coverage.


Other expenses to consider include transportation, utilities, and entertainment. Public transportation is affordable, with a monthly pass in Athens costing around €30. Utilities such as electricity and water are also affordable, with a monthly bill for a two-person household averaging around €100. Entertainment options vary depending on the region, but movie tickets and cultural events are generally affordable.


To manage your expenses while living in Greece, consider learning some basic Greek to communicate with locals and find good deals. Look for local markets to buy fresh produce and consider using public transportation instead of owning a car.


In summary, the cost of living in Greece is relatively low compared to other European countries. Housing, food, and healthcare are affordable, but it is important to manage your expenses depending on your lifestyle and region. Learn some basic Greek to communicate and find good deals, and consider using public transportation instead of owning a car to save money.



Section 3: Healthcare and Insurance


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Greece has a universal healthcare system that provides high-quality care at an affordable cost. Retirees who are legal residents of Greece are entitled to use the public healthcare system, which is funded by taxes.


To access the public healthcare system, you will need to obtain a social security number and register with your local health center. The system covers a wide range of medical services, including doctor visits, hospitalization, and medication. However, wait times for non-emergency procedures can be long.


Many retirees choose to have private health insurance to supplement their coverage and avoid long wait times. Private insurance can provide faster access to specialists and private hospitals.


The cost of private health insurance varies depending on your age and medical history. It is important to shop around and compare policies to find one that suits your needs and budget.


When choosing a healthcare provider, consider their location, reputation, and the range of services they offer. Some hospitals and clinics may specialize in certain medical areas, so it's important to choose one that meets your individual needs.


It's also worth noting that Greece has an excellent standard of dental care, which is covered by both public and private insurance.


In summary, Greece has a universal healthcare system that provides high-quality care at an affordable cost. Retirees who are legal residents of Greece can use the public healthcare system, but many also choose to have private health insurance to supplement their coverage. When choosing a healthcare provider, consider their location, reputation, and the range of services they offer.


If you become a citizen or already are, there is a free healthcare program


Section 4: Choosing a location in Greece


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When it comes to retiring in Greece, there are many beautiful and charming locations to choose from. Whether you prefer the beach or the mountains, a bustling city or a quiet village, there is a place in Greece that will suit your lifestyle and preferences.


One of the most popular retirement destinations in Greece is the island of Crete. Crete has a warm climate, beautiful beaches, and a low cost of living. It also has a large expat community, which can make the transition to retirement in Greece easier.


The Peloponnese region is another popular destination for retirees. The area is known for its natural beauty, historic sites, and traditional villages. The cost of living in the Peloponnese is also relatively low compared to other regions in Greece.


If you prefer city living, Athens is a vibrant and exciting city with a rich history and culture. It has a wide range of amenities, including world-class museums, restaurants, and shopping. However, it is also one of the more expensive places to live in Greece.


Other popular retirement destinations in Greece include the islands of Santorini and Mykonos, the town of Nafplio, and the city of Thessaloniki.


When choosing a location, it's important to consider factors such as cost of living, climate, healthcare facilities, and access to amenities such as shopping and entertainment. It's also a good idea to visit the area before making a final decision, to get a feel for the local culture and lifestyle.


In summary, there are many beautiful and charming locations to retire in Greece, including Crete, the Peloponnese, Athens, and various islands. When choosing a location, consider factors such as cost of living, climate, healthcare facilities, and access to amenities. It's also important to visit the area before making a final decision.


Section 5: Lifestyle and Culture in Greece


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Retiring in Greece offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a rich and diverse culture. From the ancient ruins and mythology to the modern-day traditions and festivals, there is always something to explore and discover in Greece.


Greek culture is known for its emphasis on family and community, and retirees will find a warm and welcoming environment in Greece. The locals are known for their hospitality and love of good food and drink, which makes socializing and making new friends easy.


Greek cuisine is a major highlight of the culture, and retirees can enjoy fresh and delicious meals at local tavernas and restaurants. From the famous Greek salads and souvlaki to the seafood and meze platters, there is no shortage of delicious and healthy options.


Greece is also known for its lively music and dance traditions, with many festivals and celebrations throughout the year. From the Carnival in February to the Easter celebrations in April, retirees can experience the unique and vibrant culture of Greece firsthand.


The weather in Greece is generally warm and sunny, which means that retirees can enjoy an outdoor lifestyle. Whether it's swimming in the sea, hiking in the mountains, or simply enjoying a coffee at a local cafe, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in Greece.


Retiring in Greece also offers the opportunity to explore the country's rich history and archaeology. From the ancient ruins of Athens and Delphi to the medieval castles and Byzantine churches, retirees can spend a lifetime discovering the country's fascinating past.


In summary, retiring in Greece offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in a rich and diverse culture. Greek culture is known for its emphasis on family and community, delicious cuisine, lively music and dance traditions, and rich history and archaeology. The warm and sunny climate also offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities.


Conclusion


Retiring in Greece can be a wonderful and rewarding experience. From the affordable cost of living and high quality of life to the rich and diverse culture and warm climate, Greece offers many advantages for retirees.


When considering retiring in Greece, it's important to take the time to research and plan for your move. This includes considering factors such as visa requirements, healthcare options, and the cost of living in your chosen location.


Choosing the right location is also important, as different regions of Greece offer different lifestyles and amenities. Whether you prefer the beaches and islands or the mountains and villages, there is a location in Greece that will suit your preferences.


Overall, retiring in Greece can be a great way to enjoy a relaxed and fulfilling lifestyle in a beautiful and welcoming country. With its rich history, delicious cuisine, and warm and friendly culture, Greece is a great choice for anyone looking to retire abroad.


Tip: Book a consultation with a Greece Media citizenship expert that can advise you on the best visa for you.



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