With dozens of beautiful islands and a mainland dotted with some of the ancient world’s most fascinating historical sites, Greece is an amazing place to visit or live. Costs are also relatively low, particularly when it comes to renting accommodation. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the cheapest places to live in Greece and some of the best cities and island destinations for digital nomads.
Table of Contents
- 5 of the Best Cities to Live in Greece & Work Remotely
- Moving to Greece – Useful Resources
- What are the most expensive and cheapest places to live in Greece?
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.
Thessaloniki is also a student-friendly city and is home to several universities. This gives the city a youthful energy and it’s quite a popular option with international students from around Europe given the relatively low costs.
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. Traffic congestion can also make getting around a challenge if you’re not centrally located.
Estimated Living Costs in Thessaloniki (explanation below) – 950-1450 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 in Chania – 950-1450 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 Turkish resort of Marmaris. It is the 4th largest of the Greek islands and one of the best to live in 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 in bigger cities 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 in Rhodes – 950-1450 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 very 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 expenses.
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 in Corfu – 900-1400 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 Greek debt crisis of the late 2000’s and early 2010’s has lingered long on with homelessness and high unemployment rates combined with decaying streets and gloomy suburbs in desperate need of investment. 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. While it’s one of the most expensive places to live in Greece, living costs in Athens are still affordable compared to almost all major European capitals further west.
Estimated Living Costs in Athens – 1050-1550 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. The figures 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 for one person 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 their 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 massively when inflation is factored in.
Moving to Greece – Useful Resources
- Greece’s public transport network is poorly funded, meaning having a car is an advantage and a necessity in some locations. Discover Cars are a good option for a rental car when your first arrive.
- SafetyWing offer medical travel insurance packages for remote workers in the Netherlands or anyone looking for short-term medical cover before they are fully registered in the local healthcare system.
- Learning some Greek and at least familiarising yourself with the alphabet is a good plan before moving to live in Greece. Consider doing a Greek course with Rosetta Stone.
- Spitogatos is the leading Greek accommodation rental site to use when looking for an apartment.
What are the most expensive and cheapest places to live in Greece?
|Estimated Cost of Living (Monthly in Euros)
We couldn’t find enough data for Santorini but it’s safe to say that it falls into a similar category as Mykonos which is another popular tourist island and the most expensive place to live in Greece according to our data.
There are also very significant seasonal variations in some of the more touristy 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 travel hotspots, the cost of living in Greece compared to the UK, France or indeed most of the best places to live in Spain, is very affordable. Of the towns, cities and islands 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 some of the most expensive destinations are quite easy to get by on relatively little with the country ranking amongst the cheapest places to live in Europe when it comes to renting accommodation.