Greeks are famously hospitable people – you go from stranger to friend in a flash, as long as you’ve answered the series of questions on where you’re from, why you came and your entire family history on both sides. And there’s nothing a yiayia loves questioning more than someone moving solo! So what is life like moving to Greece as a single person?
Written by Diana Giannoulis, of Corfu Home Finders.
Greeks are always delighted that foreigners love their country enough to move here, and are at pains to help out wherever they can. If you move to a village, then you’re instantly part of that village and welcome in the coffee shop, mini market, bakery or wherever the locals gather! Increasingly, overseas buyers in Greece are moving single. The digital age means that people no longer need to based in the UK or in a large city, but can work from virtually anywhere.
Moving to Greece as a single person
So, if you’re moving to Greece as a single person, could you find ‘the one’? There are around 5.5 million singles in Greece, or around half of its population, according to none other than the UN. Now, this does include all age groups, and there is a bit of a skew towards the younger generation. However, still, among people aged in their 40s and 50s, around one in four women and one in five men are single.
Thinking of coming out to see homes? Find out more about what you need to do to make a success of it in our free Viewing Trip Guide.
Attitudes in Greece can be a little different to the UK – as my fellow expat Olivia tells us, ‘Greek attitudes to LGBT can be a little conservative, although it varies from place to place. Generally, in big cities like Athens and Thessaloniki, people are much more liberal, and likewise, in the islands because of tourism’.
How do you meet people in Greece?
So, how do people in Greece meet? Well, firstly, your village or town is a ready-made social life. Many moving to Greece as a single person do buy a smaller house, perhaps in need of a bit of work. After all, un-renovated properties start from around €20,000 and completed from around €60,000. As you’re introduced to one workman, he will introduce you to the next and so on, and soon you know half the village! This means you’re welcome at local events, saint’s days and other celebrations. Chances are there will be other non-Greeks already living in the village who can explain all these to you, and they in turn can offer you their experience.
Villages don’t offer the only social life. In most areas where there a few foreigners there are organised events, coffee mornings, language lessons, table top sales. Increasingly, you’ll also find charitable events for things like beach-cleaning where you can meet a cross section of residents, and be appreciated for your contribution. Many of the larger islands have theatre or music groups, art exhibitions… If you master the language through one of the many courses available, there are also Greek organisations which might be of interest.
Your village or town is a ready-made social life. One introduction leads to another and, before you know it, you’re firmly established!
Social media, like anywhere else in the world, has taken off. Much of eastern Europe prefers Badoo, but Greece, like the UK, is all about Tinder. However, although is the most used, it doesn’t mean it’s heavily used. Greeks do still prefer to meet the old-school way. Facebook groups are also a great way to find a ready-made community to get involved in and meet people through.
What if I don’t speak Greek?
Obviously, the local language here is Greek, and people will be absolutely delighted to see you making the effort! They know how difficult it is for us to learn. However, if your Greek’s a bit rusty, fear not – many locals speak excellent English and language tandem exchanges can be a great way to meet people! In the islands and Athens in particular, English proficiency is relatively high among most age groups.
Finding work in Greece
If you need to work in your new country then be prepared to be flexible. It may well be that you can’t find a match for your professional qualifications, since many Greek areas outside the major cities have their incomes based in tourism. Many jobs are seasonal, and not terribly well paid. You may find you are accepting a far lower wage than you have been used to. However, if you are prepared to be flexible and consider any type of work, you will probably find something. Equally, the internet opens all exciting possibilities of contracting remotely to UK companies – working on a UK salary and having Greek expenses isn’t to be sniffed at!
Find out how to access medical attention when you move overseas in our Healthcare Guide.
In the course of your new life, perhaps romance will come along who knows – in a sociable friendly community, there are always opportunities. If you are a fan of the Durrells TV show you will recall that several members of the Durrell family, of varying ages, all found romance on several occasions. If you keep your wits about you, enjoy your new home and the pace of life, and maybe romance will find you!
The Greece Buying Guide takes you through each stage of the property buying process.The guide will help you to: