Thank goodness Athens is a big city. It can fit all 3.153 million people that make up its population today. No wonder the Greek capital always seems so crowded! Though don't think that you'll have no place here! A good chunk of that population are foreign residents, many of which moved here for work. As for the weather, seeing as it's in the Mediterranean, you can expect warmer climates here. It does get cold at times, but generally, it stays hot and heavy all year long. And when it comes to language, it's Greek all the way in this city. You're better off learning Greek before moving here!
You probably already know that you need a Schengen Visa in order to gain entry to Greece and the rest of the EU. Especially if you're coming from a non-EU country. There's also the option of getting into the country via the ETIAS Visa Waiver Program. If you're eligible, you can travel to Greece even when you don't have a Schengen Visa. But to stay here for more than 90 days (approximately three months), you can register for a Greek residence permit. You can get it within 30 days upon application. This will allow you to stay for at least a year and from there, you can start the legal process of actually moving here.
No matter what you see in movies or on TV, don't expect to use a donkey as public transport in Athens. While that may be more common in the more rural areas of Greece, here in its capital city, public transportation is alive and well. And very efficient too. The metro system here works just as well as you'd expect, taking to the many districts of the city and more. Athens even has a separate railway system for the suburban areas. As well as buses, trams, and trolleybuses by the dozen. Taking a taxi here isn't all that difficult as well, though it'd be a lot easier if you got one via a transportation app.
Now, perhaps one of the hardest parts about moving to Athens is choosing where to stay. Each of the city's neighborhoods has a lot to offer, making the choice that much more difficult. Well, it actually won't be if you're very specific with what kind of lifestyle you want to live here. If you want to feel like you're on vacation in Athens all-day-everyday, the coastal area of Glyfada would work best for you! The Kifissia district, on the other hand, would suit you best if you're more into the swanky socialite lifestyle. But for an authentic Greek lifestyle, live in Monastiraki instead!
You'd expect that the living costs in Athens would be quite high, right? After all, it is a European capital city. It's pretty common to have such expectations. However, that's far from the truth! Would you believe that the most expensive common rental fee in this city is only €1,2000.00? Even if you get a luxurious long-term rental, that's mostly the most expensive you have to pay every month. Of course, actually purchasing your own property in Athens is a different story. That would normally cost you around €1,200.00 to €3,000.00 per square meter. Undeniably pricey but then, that's to be expected!
Source: Flickr.com/Nikos Patsiouris
It's no secret that Greece got the shortest end of the stick when the world economy started having troubles. And it's safe to say that the country really hasn't fully recovered after that. Add to that the current Covid-19 pandemic, let's just say Greece is having quite the moment right now. Its job market is not at its strongest now—especially with an unemployment rate of 17.24%—so it makes finding a job here rather tricky. But, if you really need to get work here now, there are many ways to do it. Logging into job-seeking sites like Jobfind.gr and Indeed might work. As well as going to an employment agency too!
But what about your kids? Will they get the education they need when you all move to Athens? Of course! The Greek capital has its fair share of fine schools, many of which are prestigious international institutions established specifically to cater to kids like yours. Some of them might even be the key to your child going off to the best universities in the world! The likes of the International School of Piraeus, The American College of Greece, and St. Catherine's British School are just some you'd want to take note of when you're on the hunt for your kids' new school here.
Greek healthcare operates on a universal system. This is good news for you who are getting relocated here. It means the moment you become a legal resident, you'll have access to the best hospitals, effective medicine, proper treatments, and the most important part, subsidized rates. That's why it's always important to get covered when you move here, whether you go for the public option or get your own private insurance plan. If you don't you won't be able to get into Athens' best hospitals. The General Hospital of Athens Laiko, The Central Clinic of Athens S.A., and the Euroclinic of Athens S.A. are just some of them worth noting.
With Athens being a notable luxury summer getaway destination, it must mean that many people feel safe enough to go here, right? In a way, yes! Athens isn't the most dangerous city in the world, but it's far from being the safest either. Its crime rate stands testament to that. Currently, Athen's crime rate is 52.63%, right smack in the middle of the spectrum. Pretty moderate by general standards, it simply means you shouldn't have to be on alert all the time while you're here. After all, it's 74.95% safe to walk around the city during the day. At night, it drops to a moderate 44.72%.
Before you settle down in Greece, you really ought to understand its tax system first! How else will you be able to live a hassle-free life? Imagine if you know nothing about Greece's taxes after a year of living here. Even if you don't care all that much about it, in the back of your mind, you'll definitely be worried about how much trouble you might get into. The gist of it is that your income tax rate depends on how much you earn in a year. At the same time, it's important you note that they take capital gains tax, property taxes, and inheritance tax seriously here.
Know this now: you'd be a fool if you don't set up your own Greek bank account when you move to Athens. No matter your opinion on the country's economy, you won't be able to handle your finances properly without one. And what's stopping you? The process for opening an account here is pretty simple! At the same time, do you know what else you need to get here? A local SIM card! Don't think that you won't need one! You'll get exhausted relying on wifi hotspots around the city in order to use your apps here! At least, with a local mobile plan, you can get as much wifi data as you need!
Athens is as much a paradise as a hometown as it is a summer escape. So if you get relocated here, don't you fret! You can live an easy life here as long as you follow what this relocation guide tells you to do, to get, and to understand. When you do, living here will feel like a never-ending vacation!