Your ultimate guide to retiring in Greece


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Greece is an increasingly popular destination for retirement due to its pleasant way of life, beautiful weather, and stunning seas. Whether you enjoy cultural events in the cities or immerse yourself in nature while trekking through unspoiled areas intertwined with the country’s rich history, Greece can offer a very fulfilling retirement.

The clear azure waters, long sandy beaches, and intimate coves provide delightful opportunities for lounging in the sun and swimming in the sea. Retiring in Greece from the USA is relatively straightforward, especially with good organization and timely completion of necessary paperwork. It’s a dream come true for many foreigners to retire in Greece.

Visa requirements for retiring in Greece

Before deciding if Greece is the right retirement destination for you, it is a good idea to plan longer stays, see different locations, and immerse yourself in the local culture. As an American citizen, you can visit Greece for up to 90 days without a visa, which allows you to assess if it’s where you’d like to spend your retirement years. If you plan to stay in Greece for more than three months, you’ll need to apply for a D Visa, also known as a “long-stay visa.”

Other non-EU citizens, like those from the UK, will need to obtain a visa before moving to Greece. To acquire the visa, you must visit the Greek Consulate in your home country, attend an interview, and submit the required documents.

Required documents for your visa application:

  • a valid passport
  • a biometric passport photo
  • a completed visa application form in English
  • a medical certificate from your doctor
  • proof of adequate medical insurance
  • a copy of your penal register or criminal record from your country of origin

Once you’ve decided to stay in Greece, even if there is time left on your visa, or if you’ve been in Greece for less than 90 days as an American, you’ll need to apply for a residence permit. To obtain the permit, you must demonstrate a regular income of at least €2,000 ($2,200) per month or a minimum of €25,000 ($27,500) in the bank, along with renewed medical insurance to cover your stay in Greece.

Many non-EU citizens find the Golden Visa Retirement Scheme to be the most convenient way to obtain permanent residency. By investing at least €250,000 ($275,000) in Greek real estate, you can apply for the Greece Golden Visa and acquire permanent residency in less than two months.

This program not only grants you permanent residence but also makes you eligible for Greek citizenship after seven years, provided you pass the required citizenship exam. Additionally, the Golden Visa allows holders to enjoy visa-free travel within the Schengen Zone.

Best places to retire in Greece

Greece offers a wide range of attractive places to retire, including cities, towns, villages, and islands, each with its own unique character. Your choice of location will depend on your budget and preferred leisure activities, whether it’s golf, swimming, hiking, or delving into Greece’s rich history and archaeology.

Best Greek cities for retirement: 

  1. Athens
  2. Thessaloniki
  3. Patras

Best Greek islands for retirement: 

  1. Crete
  2. Corfu
  3. Skiathos
  4. Skopelos
  5. Naxos

Cost of living when retiring in Greece

The cost of living can vary, with a modest lifestyle possible for as little as $750 to $900 (€700 to €850) per month, excluding rent. However, a budget of $1,500+ (€1,400+) can make life more comfortable, depending on your lifestyle.

The cost of living also fluctuates, with city center rents being more expensive compared to suburban areas. Prices for fuel and essential goods tend to be higher on islands like Santorini but more reasonable on others like Crete.

In Antikythera, an isolated island south of the Peloponnese, the Greek Orthodox Church launched a project in 2019 to encourage new residents by offering a home, a piece of land, and a monthly payment of €500 ($550) for the first three years.

Pros and cons of retiring in Greece

When considering retiring in Greece, there are several pros and cons to consider.

The pros in favor of retirement in Greece:

  1. fantastic Mediterranean weather
  2. some of the most beautiful beaches in the world
  3. spectacular islands
  4. low cost of living
  5. low crime rate
  6. an abundance of history and archaeology to discover
  7. welcoming locals
  8. relaxed pace of life
  9. focus on locally grown fresh food, one of the world’s healthiest diets
  10. good healthcare system

On the other hand, the cons of retirement in Greece include:

  1. potential overcrowding by tourists during the peak season, especially on popular islands
  2. the challenge of learning Greek
  3. legendary Greek bureaucracy
  4. potential challenges in the countryside, such as outdated infrastructure and limited Wi-Fi access

Moving to another country, especially as retirement age approaches, can be daunting. Successfully retiring in Greece from the US requires thorough research to choose a location that suits your needs.

Before buying a property, it’s advisable to rent in your desired area to gain a better understanding of it and identify any potential issues, such as limited public transport or amenities.

Once you make the right decision, you can look forward to many sun-filled days in beautiful Greece.

Discover more practical guides and fun facts about living in Greece

​​This article originally appeared on MyDolceCasa and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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