At the height of summer, it is not just any country that comes to mind, but sunny Greece, filled with nearly 6000 islands. The country, located in the southernmost part of the Balkan Peninsula, offers unforgettable natural landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and countless opportunities for fun and relaxation. In fact, we have described the perfect tourist destination, haven't we? However, what is it that you need to know in case you are planning not just a vacation but a move to Greece, find out in the following lines.
Greek: the language of Homer
Greek is one of the oldest languages in use today. It dates back nearly 5,000 years, and under its influence were formed Latin and the modern languages that derive from it. Over 13,000,000 people speak Greek, including in Cyprus, Albania, and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean. It was Greek that much of the work of Classical antiquity was written in, including the iconic Odyssey and Iliad, the writings of Plato and Aristotle, and even the New Testament. To this day, in many Christian churches, services are conducted in Greek.
If you are planning a move to Greece, we advise you not to go unprepared. Familiarize yourself with some of the most well-known expressions in Greek, which will not only come in handy when it comes to settling in the country but will definitely bring you closer to the locals who will appreciate your efforts to use the language. Important expressions are for example:
- Yassu! - Hello/ Goodbye!
- Kalimera! - Good morning!
- Harika! - Nice to meet you!
- Tee kanis? - How are you?
- Efharisto! - Thank you!
- Signomi - Excuse me
You can learn Greek for free through various online resources and mobile apps. Watching videos and movies in Greek is a great way to improve your pronunciation, and communicating with native speakers can make you more confident when it comes to using slang expressions and phrases used in everyday life. There are also a number of paid language courses you can start before actually moving to Greece (such as training at the Hellenic Culture Centre).
Moving to Greece and finding a new home
The real estate market in Greece offers some of the lowest prices for renting and buying a home in the country. By 2022, Greece is the only EU member state where rental prices are actually falling. The cost of residential property in the country varies depending on the location you choose.
Rents when moving to Greece depend on the location of the home (in central areas or on the outskirts of the city) and its size and amount to:
- One bedroom apartment: between 250 and 500 € per month
- Three-bedroom apartment: 320 and 900 € per month
Finding a suitable job position after relocating to Greece
Finding a promising job after moving to Greece is one of the first steps you can take to ensure peace of mind and security. Among the most developed industries in the country are the service and tourism sectors. Particularly common among expats is teaching English.
You can search for jobs in Greece through a recruitment agency or online job search portals. Be proactive when it comes to making new contacts with the local community, as Greeks prefer to work with people they know and trust.
The work culture in the country is based on hierarchy. Work attire is formal, mostly in dark colours. The working week is 40 hours long and can be divided into 5 days of 8 hours or 6 days of 6 hours and 40 minutes per day. When the working day exceeds 6 hours, employees must take a 15-minute break. Additional hours worked shall be paid at 120% of the normal hourly rate. Exchanging gifts among colleagues during holidays is common for Greeks.
According to Statista, the average annual salary for 2021 is €16,235. The sectors that employ the most people in the same year are processing manufacturing, transport, public administration, education, and warehousing.
In fact, Greece is one of the most suitable countries in case you work remotely. The combination of affordable prices, favourable climate, excellent cuisine, and a wide range of entertainment options is a dream come true for anyone who can afford such freedom of work. The country also offers a visa for digital nomads.
Moving to Greece with kids
The decision to move with children to a new country largely depends on the education standard there. In Greece, the emphasis is on education. An interesting fact is that as many as 56% of the local population has a university degree. The education system is divided into three levels - primary, secondary, and higher education with the option of voluntary post-secondary education.
Primary education includes two years of kindergarten and primary school (for a period of 6 years), which children start once they turn 6.
Secondary education is divided into two levels - Lower secondary and Upper secondary. Lower secondary education covers a broad range of subjects, while Upper secondary offers more narrowly specialised training. It lasts for 3 years in one of two types of schools - the Unified Upper Secondary School (Eniaio Lykeio) and the Technical Vocational School (TEE). After moving to Greece, children also have the chance to attend music, church, or sports schools.
Students can apply for higher education with their grades from the national exams after finishing upper secondary school. Higher schools in Greece are divided into:
- Polytechnics (AEI)
- Technological Education Institutes (TEI)
- Academies (military and religious)
There are both public and private schools at all levels of education. Interestingly, tuition at public universities in Greece is free for those coming from EU and European Economic Area (EEA) member countries. Some of the most popular majors are philosophy, architecture, politics, and history.
Relocating to Greece with a pet
The most important aspects to pay attention to in case you are planning a move to Greece with a pet are:
- Required vaccinations and microchips
- Required documents
- The 5-day rule
Preparation of the animals should start at least one month before arrival in Greece. They must be microchipped in accordance with ISO Standard 11784 or Annex A to ISO standard 11785. The implantation of the chip should take place before the rabies vaccination. Possession of an official certificate certifying that the rabies vaccine has been administered at least 21 days before travel is compulsory. Other recommended vaccines are DHLPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus) and Bordetella (for dogs), and FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia) for cats.
The necessary documents for transporting a pet can be found at the vet. They include:
- EU Health Certificate (which must be issued within 10 days before travel)
- Rabies Certificate
- Airline Health Certificate
- USDA Endorsements for the Microchip Implantation Record
The animal's arrival must comply with the 5-day rule for travel in the EU, which recommends that the difference in its arrival and your arrival in Greece should not exceed five days. Otherwise, the procedure is complicated, and you have to pay additional fees.
Moving to Greece and driving
People with driving licences issued in EU countries (including Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein) are not obliged to replace their licence. After moving to Greece, it is valid until its original expiry date. Not so for expats who have acquired their licences in non-EU countries, who must replace their licence after a maximum stay of 185 days in Greece.
Before replacing or issuing a Greek driving licence, you must carry an international driving licence along with your original one. Replacement is done at the Citizen Service Centre and requires the following documents:
- Application form
- Copy of passport
- Valid driving licence (translated and certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
- Copy of the residence permit (issued at least 185 days before the exchange)
- Passport photo
- Proof of paid stamp duty
- Document from the institution that issued the original licence certifying its validity
- Health certificate (issued by a GR registered with the local Transport and Communications Department)
- Document from an ophthalmologist
Specific when it comes to driving in the country is that many of the road signs are in Greek only. Drivers are often impatient and create risky situations and the fines for breaking the rules are high.
Greek health care system
Health services in the country are provided by the local social security fund EFKA. It offers free health care and access to a variety of insurance organisations. The local health insurance system is divided into public and private (associated with shorter waiting times, access to more health services, care in higher-end hospitals, etc.).
The public health insurance system in Greece (ESY) offers health services to all residents and expats in the country. These include general and specialized medical care, hospitalization, laboratory tests, reduced-price medicines, maternity care, and access to specialized medical equipment.
IKA - the largest social security organisation in Greece - looks after the rights of expats and workers in the country. Self-employed expats can benefit from the OAEE fund. Another way to guarantee health services and benefits is by taking out international health insurance. Arrivals from EU member states can use their European Health Insurance Card if they need a public health service.
Nature and climate
Greece is an excellent choice for living if you don't like cold weather. This is because of the country's favourable Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and dry summers. The weather is sunny most of the year, there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, and July and August are the most active tourist months.
During your free time after moving to Greece you can visit:
- The coastal temple of Sunion
- Temple of Poseidon
- The Plaka neighbourhood in Athens
- Meteora Monasteries
- The area of Delphi
Interestingly, as many as 18 of Greece's landmarks are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, making it a suitable destination for any lover of culture, history, and archaeology.
Moving to the country will, among other things, give you access to authentic Greek cuisine: one of the best in the world. It is also characterised as one of the healthiest and most balanced. Some of the main ingredients it includes are olives, olive oil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, tomatoes, cheese, meat and fish, and all kinds of other seafood.
Sunny Greece offers great living conditions. Low housing prices, warm people, rich historical and cultural heritage, and free education are just some of the arguments to help you say yes to a long-term move to the Mediterranean country. Do you have further questions about the details of your move? Don't hesitate to contact the experienced team at Movega Removals, a company with extensive expertise in transport services throughout Europe. Find us via our contact form or chatbot feature.