The Greece Property Guide consider all the information you need to know to transition into life in Greece quickly and easily.

Moving to another country is a huge life change. For this reason, it’s important to allow yourself a little time to get into the swing of things. There’s no shame in missing home, but to help you get used to Greece and everything life here involves, here are our tips for settling in…

You’re buying into the world’s most philosophical and deep thinking culture

A philosophical country:

When you move to Greece, you’re doing more than just buying a place in the sun, you’re buying a piece of the world’s most philosophical and deep thinking culture. Philosophy is not some airy-fairy talking shop, Greek philosophers were the first scientists and their findings, like Shakespeare’s writings, have helped us understand what it is to be human. If you’re moving to Greece, it’s worth giving the writing of Aristotle and Socrates a whirl.

No escape from politics

The Greeks also invented democracy, the art of rhetoric and political argument. After ten years of political upheaval that would make even the British wince, if you want to join in any discussion in your local cafeneon, you will need to know the main players in Greek politics. Elections are, in theory, every four years, on a system of proportional representation, but usually come around much more often than that. The Greek parliament has 300 seats, with 250 contested and the largest party given a bonus of 50 seats to encourage stable government. The main political parties are:

SYRIZA: “The Coalition of the Radical Left”, currently in government under Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. It came to power in January 2015 on an anti-austerity ticket but has abandoned that position and is making great efforts to fulfil tough bailout conditions set by the EU and IMF.

New Democracy (ND): Greece’s traditional centre-left ruling party is making a comeback in the opinion polls under a new and reforming leader.

Golden Dawn (XA): Greece’s neo-fascist far-right party. Even in the height of the crisis gained only a few MPs.

PASOK: The Panhellenic Socialist Party is Greece’s traditional left-wing party. It is largely blamed for Greece’s financial crisis.

Communist Party of Greece (KKE): A hardline Marxist-Leninist party.

Potami; Meaning The River, Potami is centrist and pro-Europe.

Independent Greeks (ANEL): A conservative, pro-Church party opposed to immigration. It opposed austerity and repaying Greek debt but is in coalition government with Syriza.

Members of the lgbt community, during the pride festival in thessaloniki

A gay pride rally in Thessaloniki (Yiorgos GR /

LGBT Rights

Greece is an open and tolerant society, but it does lag behind the UK a little in attitudes to LGBT lifestyles. It was one of the first countries to legalise homosexuality, in 1951, but only equalised the age of consent (from age 15) and allowed civil unions between same sex couples in December 2015. A survey conducted after the Civil Union Bill was adopted found that 56 percent of the public supported it with 29 percent opposing it. The Greek Orthodox Church led the campaign against gay rights and its power is stronger than in most western nations. TV shows in Greece are relatively prudish, rarely including gay characters and refusing to show even the tamest same-sex canoodling.

Popular LGBT areas include Gazi, in Athens, Eressos in Lesbos and the island of Mykonos.

A recent survey by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) found that Greece ranked 16th out of 49 European countries for gay rights. Same sex couples are still unable to marry in the same way as heterosexual couples, to adopt children, pay for maternal surrogacy services or have state access to IVF treatment.

Popular LGBT areas include Gazi, in Athens, Eressos in Lesbos and the island of Mykonos.


The Greek cafeneon: your table awaits

Café lifestyle

The kafeneía, usually translated as cafeneon, is usually the hub of any Greek community. Greeks drink twice as much coffee per head as the British, but it’s about more than coffee. Cafés are the most popular meeting place for young and old, men and women, although you’ll usually see the older folk in a traditional cafeneon, drinking strong, Greek coffee, while the youngsters stick to the trendier modern kafeteria and drink cappuccino or frappé. At Christmas, the island cafeneons become gambling dens, and it is always somewhere you will be able to practice your Greek and find any local service from bathroom fitter to taxi driver.

Watching British TV

No matter how deep we settle into our new communities, most of us love a dose of home grown TV every now and then. The usual method is using a “virtual private network” (VPN), a service that allows you to mask your location in Greece and receive TV services via the internet, as if you were in the UK. This is legal, if a breach of the broadcasters’ terms and conditions. UK broadcasters try to prevent the VPN operators, so you may need to change supplier every now and then. You may wonder why they would want to stop you watching British TV. Primarily, it is down to broadcast rights – broadcasters earn a lot from selling programmes and formats to foreign stations – and copyright issues.

Some British TV is available in Greece. You can watch British football via a local channel called Nova

You can also get a satellite dish, though you will need very large dish to receive UK channels, plus a UK based subscription. Some British TV is available in Greece. You can watch British football matches via a local channel called Nova, which has bought the rights, and Netflix is also available to watch in Greece, with monthly subscriptions starting below €10.

Shortly before the Brexit vote, the European Union had put into place new rules that would have forced the BBC and Sky to offer their services in other European countries too. That seems likely to be abandoned, but could be part of the Brexit negotiations.

Download the Greece Buying Guide today

The Greece Buying Guide takes you through each stage of the property buying process, with practical recommendations from our experts who have been through the process themselves. The guide will help you to:

  Ask the right questions
  Avoid losing money
  Avoid the legal pitfalls
  Move in successfully

Download your free guide to buying in Greece

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