Written by Christopher Nye,
3rd May 2018

If you are moving to Greece on a full-time basis, you will need to consider how you are going to afford your life there.

Do you have savings to live off? Will you be receiving a UK pension? Will you be working in Greece – and if so what are your options? Or do you have other money-making ideas that you are looking forward to putting into play?

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How much is the cost of living in Greece compared to the UK?

The first thing you will need to consider is how much it costs to live in Greece – and how this compares to your life in the UK. The cost of living is Greece is 32% cheaper than you may be used to in the UK. The biggest cost difference can be seen in housing (57% cheaper) and transportation (50% cheaper).

The first thing you will need to consider is how much it costs to live in Greece.

Can you afford to live in Greece on a UK state pension?

Depending on your age when you draw your pension, you will receive between £120 and £159 per week. This works out to £500-689 per month. Of course, the amount you need per month will depend on a number of factors, such as whether you have bought your property outright, or if you are paying a mortgage or rent. According to numbeo, the cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment in a city centre is on average around £243 per month. This can easily be covered with money to spare as part of the state pension. For a larger property, it will cost around £460, leaving less for other costs on a monthly basis. Depending on your needs you may well need to look at other ways of making extra money to support your life.

How easy is it to find full-time work in Greece?

Finding a full-time job can be a daunting task. Even in the UK when you speak the language and can quickly gain an understanding of the job market. Looking for a job in another country is a whole different ball game. As we know, Greece has a very different economic picture than the UK. This does cause extra difficulties – but does not make this task impossible. Spend some time thinking about what you need and what you can do before you go. Such as the kind of work you can realistically expect to do, whether your current qualifications and experience are recognised in Greece, how good your language skills are, and whether you will find the right job in your chosen destination.


Could you see yourself as a digital nomad in Greece?

It is important to remember that Greece has a fairly high unemployment rate (21%). This could make it harder for job options to be found. It also means Greek companies may be more inclined to hire Greek nationals. Self-employment often proves to be one of the best options available.

Do you need a work permit to work in Greece?

Currently, UK nationals do not need a work permit to work in Greece. As long as you register on arrival and receive a residence permit if you’re staying for longer than three months. You will then share the same rights and benefits as Greek nationals in terms of pay. However, it’s still not completely clear how the land will lay once the UK have officially exited the EU. Those already living in Greece and registered as resident will be able to enjoy the same benefits they do already. But those who enter the country after may well have to receive a work permit or similar to do so. As more about this situation becomes clear, we will keep you up to date.

If you’re making the move, you should speak to a currency and payments specialist about how to get money sent to you in Greece. We recommend Smart, ranked highest on Trustpilot for money transfer and currency exchange.

What sort of jobs can you find in Greece?

One of the most popular jobs with expats in Greece is teaching English. Usually to Greek children at school or after class, but also adults in evening classes. You will be required to obtain a permit to teach English in Greece. To be granted this you must have a validated university degree and a certificate of proficiency in Greek. It’s also a good idea to work towards a Teaching English as Foreign Language (TEFL) or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certificate. Other popular options with expats in Greece include working at the British embassy in Greece, or with a British company with offices here.

One of the most popular jobs with expats in Greece is teaching English.

What are your self-employment options in Greece?

Given the amount of business that takes place via the internet these days, remote self-employment is a very real possibility. The digital nomad lifestyle is growing ever popular in Greece. With people taking advantage of working on the beach, by the pool or from the comfort of their home. Many of the larger cities and islands, such as Crete, Athens and Mykonos have become particularly popular with this community. Crete has become renowned for its speedy internet connectivity.

You may be able to continue working for a previous employer in the UK, or even a number of employers/clients. If you are considering taking this route, it’s a good idea to spend some time networking in the UK. You will also need to make sure that the property you choose to buy/rent has good internet access!

How can you make money from your property in Greece?

Bed and breakfast

Whether you want to fund your entire lifestyle, or just supplement your income or pension, there are a number of ways you can make money from your property in Greece. One option is to set up your property as a bed and breakfast. The first thing you need to know if you decide to do this is that you must register for a special licence from the Greek National Tourist Organisation (EOT). This can take time so it’s a good idea to begin this process as far in advance as is possible. Spend some time looking at the local area and how many B&Bs there already are, because if the EOT feel it is saturated, they will not issue anymore licences.

To apply for this licence you will need to provide a police certificate from the UK showing that you have no criminal record, a completed application form in Greek and a signed declaration of your intent. If you are already a resident of Greece you will also need your latest Greek tax return and a certificate from the Greek police rather than the UK forces. We would recommend engaging the services of an English-speaking lawyer in Greece to help you set up your business. They will also be able to make sure that all your documentation is translated into Greek by a registered translator.

If you would like to make money from your property you have the option of becoming an Airbnb host.

Once you have your licence and are up and running, you will need to renew this ever year, at a cost of €100. It is essential that you do this. You will not, however, be required to set up as a business. You can run as a sole trader, as long as you have all relevant paperwork and file your tax return annually. We would also recommend engaging the services of a good accountant.

There are a number of goods and services that you will be required to provide to your guests on a day-to-day basis. It is advisable to have excellent WiFi and TV facilities. You will need to be able to direct them to the nearest beach, town and restaurant. You will also need to think about advertising, particularly online with a company with the right expertise for marketing your property and services in Greece.


If you would like to make money from your property without setting up a B&B, you also have the option of becoming an Airbnb host. To do this you will need to spend some time thinking about whether this is going to be an occasional thing, a source of secondary income, or eventually an Airbnb business. Make sure you have all the information you need in advance, such as reports on how your area performs on Airbnb.

Think about what kind of people will be attracted to your property’s facilities and the local amenities. For example, are you near a beach? Make sure you have all the furniture you need – especially for anything sleep-related. Additionally you will need to ensure that you have the right kind of insurance. When you are ready to sign up, we would recommend spending time over your listing. You need to differentiate yourself from the competition, and make sure you highlight anything appealing about your property.

Download the Greece Buying Guide today

The Greece Buying Guide takes you through each stage of the property buying process.The guide will help you to:

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

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