Greece is one of the most popular and, in terms of accommodation at least, cheapest places to live in Europe with many expats, digital nomads and remote workers choosing to base themselves in the country. Financial problems during the 21st Century have had a damaging impact on the Greek economy with real estate prices crashing, but that does have benefits for anyone looking to move to the country. In this post, we’ll look at the cheapest places to live in Greece as well as the cost of living in different cities and regions.
5 of the Best Cities to Live in Greece & Work Remotely
1. Thessaloniki, Greek Mainland
Thessaloniki is Greece’s second largest city but it differs considerably from Athens in many ways and may suit those looking for urban living without some of the more unpleasant aspects of life in the capital. We have a full Thessaloniki digital nomad guide which helps explain why.
A port city in the northeast of the country, Thessaloniki is closer to Tirana, Skopje and Sofia than it is to Athens. It is though very much part of Greece’s historical heartland and is often referred to as the country’s cultural capital. It is particularly well known for its cuisine with an array of excellent waterfront eating options one of the highlights of living or visiting there.
Other things in Thessaloniki’s favour are its low cost of living. Of the big cities and most popular islands, it certainly ranks amongst the cheapest places in Greece to live in and it’s not too difficult to get by on under 1000 Euros per month. Disadvantages may be the relative lack of a major digital nomad community and the climate which is cooler than most other parts of Greece with sub-zero nights common during the winter months.
Estimated Living Costs (explanation below) – 750-1150 Euros/month
2. Chania, Crete
When you think of Greece, there’s a good chance you think of beautiful sun-kissed islands rather than the Greek mainland. There are plenty to choose from with over 150 inhabited islands spread around the Eastern Mediterranean.
By far the biggest and most populous is Crete. Approximately 600,000 people live there permanently with many more visiting each year. It’s a great destination for those looking to live close to both the sea and the mountains with the latter perhaps Crete’s most defining feature. There are more than 30 summits that reach a height of greater than 2000 metres which is perhaps surprising given nowhere on the island is more than 30 km from the sea.
In terms of bases, Chania may be a better bet than Crete’s largest city Heraklion. Chania is another good culinary destination with a beautiful old town which has a long and complicated history which has seen civilisations come and go from the Turks and Byzantines right through to the Arabs.
Estimated Living Costs – 800-1200 Euros/month
3. Rhodes, Rhodes
Just across the Med from Crete, lies Rhodes, a Greek island but only a short hop from Turkey and the popular resort of Marmaris. It is the 4th largest of the Greek islands but is still a pretty small place with a population of a little over 100,000, meaning there’s not quite as much going on as on Crete or certainly on the mainland.
While Turkey is close, it’s around 12 to 24 hours by ferry to Athens and Southern Greece (there are flights), so it is quite an isolated location and you should bear that in mind. However if you’re looking for a laid back lifestyle in one of the sunniest corners of Europe, Rhodes is a good option.
Approximately half of Rhodes’ residents live in Rhodes Town but the island is small enough that you can pick another village or quieter beach and make it your base. Rhodes has a decent-sized nomad community and its southerly location ensures the summer “tourist season” lasts longer than in other Greek destinations with average highs of 20°C or more from April right through to November.
Therefore if your priority is beach weather for as much of the year as possible, Rhodes is tough to beat in Greece or indeed much of Europe and it is blessed with some gorgeous bays and undeveloped beaches with good windsurfing and kitesurfing conditions.
Estimated Living Costs – 750-1200 Euros/month
4. Corfu, Corfu
If you’re looking for a party kind of place with lots of international visitors, then Mykonos is probably your best bet these days in Greece. However the high costs there make it somewhere you may prefer just to visit rather than live and Corfu might be a better bet for nomads seeking nightlife and that “holiday” atmosphere, as well as slightly more reasonable living costs.
Corfu does still rank as one of the most expensive places to live in Greece but it is still relatively affordable by most European standards. Less than half the size of Rhodes, Corfu can get a bit crowded and touristy during the summer months but it’s a really good location with ferry links to nearby Southern Italy creating great opportunities for travel. It’s also so close to Albania that you could practically swim across so there’s no reason why you can’t explore the Balkans too whilst basing yourself in Corfu.
Life on Greece’s 7th largest island is usually good fun with lots of events and festivals for a place so small. It’s a nice option for anyone looking for island life with an international atmosphere and the cobblestone streets and Venetian architecture of Corfu Town ensure it’s not short on charm or history either.
Estimated Living Costs – 800-1300 Euros/month
5. Athens, Greek Mainland
While a city that does divide opinion, Athens is certainly worthy of its status as one of the best options for living in Greece and it remains the heartbeat of the nation.
First, perhaps it’s worth getting the negatives out the way. The impact of the “crisis” of the late 2000’s has lingered long on and is more evident in parts of Athens than just about anywhere else in Europe with homelessness and high unemployment rates combined with decaying streets and gloomy suburbs. That’s before you get onto the traffic, noise and pollution which have long plagued this city.
However Athens has cleaned up its act to some extent in terms of those factors and today is a real city of contrasts with some charming neighbourhoods and no shortage of lively bars, restaurants and rooftop terraces with views of the awesome Acropolis which continues to watch over this city as it has done since many centuries before Christ.
Its size will also be an advantage to some and it should be a bit easier to meet a wider range of people in Athens than in some of the other mainland cities which attract very few digital nomads, remote workers or international folks.
Estimated Living Costs – 800-1300 Euros/month
Greece Estimated Living Costs Calculation:
We estimated the cost of living in Greece in the table below and the cities featured above, with a bit of help from the data in Numbeo’s cost of living guide.
They are designed to be a guide only as everyone’s spending habits are different but it should give you a feel for how the major cities and destinations compare. They are designed to cover all typical living costs including the cost of renting accommodation.
The lower figure might loosely resemble the cost of living in Greece for international students and anyone living in a flatshare and looking to watch what they spend. The upper figure might be more suitable for those looking to enjoy more evenings and days out whilst renting your own private apartment.
It’s also important to note that Greece is quite unique in terms of what percentage of your money will go on what. The economic crisis drastically cut the value of housing and as such you can find fantastic value throughout Greece on rented accommodation including Airbnbs. However the price of average goods in supermarkets are often surprisingly high and a regular source of anger amongst locals who have seen their wages cut.
What are the Cheapest Cities to Live in Greece?
The following table shows the estimated cost of living in 18 towns and cities right across Greece including the mainland and the islands.
|City||Estimated Cost of Living (Monthly in Euros)|
We couldn’t find enough data for the most popular tourist destinations such as Mykonos and Santorini but it’s safe to say you can expect to pay a lot more to live in such places when compared to elsewhere in Greece. There are also very significant seasonal variations in some of the more touristic islands so bear that in mind if you are a nomad looking to spend just a few weeks or months in Greece. Avoiding July and August will save you a lot of money in such places.
Away from those real tourist hotspots, the cost of living in Greece compared to the UK, France or indeed the majority of Western European nations, is very affordable. Of the 18 featured above, the northeastern city of Xanthi, located only 100 km west of the Turkish border, ranks as the cheapest place to live in Greece.
Overall there’s not much difference in costs between the cheapest cities in Greece though and even the most expensive destinations are quite easy to get by on relatively little thanks to the low accommodation costs.
Read More – The best and cheapest places to live in Spain