Want to find out the true cost of living in Greece?
You’ve come to the right place!
Greece is a country that has captured the hearts of millions of people. The diverse landscapes, fantastic weather, rich culture, friendly people and delicious Mediterranean food are just some of the reasons people choose to visit Greece. But what gets people thinking about potentially living in Greece?
The affordable cost of living!
From the price of housing to the price of delicious gyros, we have even been lured to Greece because of how surprisingly affordable it can be. Especially when you compare it to other European countries.
In this blog post, we are going to share the average cost of living in Greece. More than that, we are going to do a deeper dive into the cost of living on the mainland versus the cost of living on the Greek islands.
After having lived in Greece for 2 months as digital nomads (and visiting 3 times in 4 years), we will also share our personal expenses below!
Let’s get to it!
QUICK ANSWER: What’s The Cost Of Living In Greece?
The average cost of living in Greece for a single person with a comfortable lifestyle is around $1,835 USD. This number all depends on the kind of lifestyle you want to have in Greece. It’s easy to splash out on a lavish lifestyle on the islands but it’s also easy enough to lower your costs by living in a mainland city.
Mainland vs. Islands
We have visited quite a few Greek cities over the years and this is what we have concluded to be the cost of living (based on our observations and expenses). The cost of living in Thessaloniki is the lowest at around $1,633 USD. The higher cost of living in Greece is $2,043 USD if you choose to live on a Greek island like Crete, for example. Athens’ cost of living is going to be more in the middle at around $1,827 USD.
For a European country, the cost of living in Greece is quite affordable when compared to cities like Amsterdam and Paris which are way more expensive.
Average Cost of Living In Greece: A Detailed Breakdown
What are the accommodation prices?
What are the food prices?
What’s the quality of life like?
When you think of moving abroad, the cost of living is going to be one of the most important things you need to consider. A lot of us dream of a certain lifestyle in a certain place like Greece so it’s important to know if you can afford (or want to afford) the cost of living you could pay.
How did we come to $1,835 USD as the cost of living in Greece? We made an average living cost based on the cost of living for 3x cities: Athens, Thessaloniki and Crete (2 on the mainland and 1 on the island). We’ve taken these numbers from research on platforms like Airbnb or Flatio and we have also used our own expenses we’ve observed while living in Greece.
We felt this was the best way to look at it because we have always wondered whether it would cost much more to live on the islands than on the mainland. The answer is definitely the islands cost more BUT surprisingly not by much! After this section, we have also shared the cost of living in each respective city – Athens, Thessaloniki and Crete.
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REMEMBER: These numbers are from our own research and personal experience after living in Greece for a few months. Most numbers you will see (unless otherwise stated) is for a single person living in Greece. As a digital nomad couple, I will still include what it costs for a couple to live in Greece!
Accommodation – $1,173
Your monthly rent is going to be your highest expense while living in Greece – no matter if that’s on the mainland or the islands. We estimate the average rental price for a one-bedroom apartment to be around $1,173 USD.
The cost of housing will also depend on you – whether you are a digital nomad looking to spend a month somewhere in Greece or whether you are looking to live in Greece long-term as an expat or retiree.
Prices can change dramatically if you rent for 12+ months versus if you rent for 1 month. You can end up spending 2-3 times more if you rent short-term! If you live on an island like Paros or Naxos, your housing cost could be anywhere from $1,500 USD and above! We tried to take a middle ground for the average and think $1,173 is around where the average person will end up.
With this kind of budget, it’s very possible to get an apartment close to the city center. As an expat or retiree, you can unlock low prices because you are staying much longer. If you’re a digital nomad, you are at the mercy of Airbnb/Flatio.
Groceries – $231
While living in Athens, we were only 5 minutes walk to Lidl! One of the main grocery stores in Europe is known for affordable, convenient shopping. There are also local markets across most Greek cities that offer high-quality produce for much less than the usual grocery store if you want to make the effort.
Here’s an example of how much some grocery items cost in Greece:
- 12 Eggs: $3.70 USD
- 1L of Milk: $1.47 USD
- Loaf of Bread: $1.12 USD
- Chicken Fillets: $4.07 USD/lb
If you love Greek food, you’ll enjoy buying a tub of feta cheese like we did (for not very much). I also bought things like olives and the olive oil is all very low-cost when compared to other countries (which makes sense as they are Greek delicacies).
We find this is our usual cost of groceries for the month in a developed country. This seems to be pretty average unless you shop at the local markets and have some pretty great connections there (for discounts)!
Dining Out – $242
The dining out costs varies from person to person. Some people enjoy a night out, eating at nice restaurants and ordering a couple of glasses of wine. Some people would rather spend their money on shopping and choose to cook at home instead. We like to think we are somewhat in the middle and that’s how we came to $242 USD for a single person that eats out 2-4 times per week in Greece.
The best thing about dining out in Greece is that you have tons of options at all different price points.
You can have a fancy dinner that costs $50 USD+ or you can eat at a local taverna for $18 USD including a pitcher of house wine. But the best thing? You can buy 1 pork gyro for as little as $2.50 USD – yes you read that right! This was pretty tempting and Matt had one almost every day.
Transport – $64
Your transportation costs in Greece are fairly low, like most European cities. In cities like Athens, you’ll have access to a bus system and a metro system. For Thessaloniki, it’s only a bus system which is very affordable. We only paid $2.00 USD for the Thessaloniki Airport bus! However, for the islands – you might have to look into getting a scooter or a car depending on where you live.
A ticket for the bus or metro is more or less $1.20 USD each way. You can lower this by getting a monthly subscription instead of paying for each ride. Taxi fares start from $4 USD but they also have Uber/Beat available which can cost much less. Our average Beat ride cost about $3.50 USD per way for a 7-10 minute ride!
Phone Plan – $14
Getting a SIM card in Greece is fairly affordable!
We paid $13.76 USD for 15 GB of data per month. There are 3 phone companies – Cosmote, Vodafone and Wind. The best company with the widest coverage is Cosmote. The reason our plan was that cheap is because they were offering a promo deal!
Phone plans in Greece cost can start as low as $12 depending on the amount of GB you want and if you want calls/text.
Activities & Entertainment – $53
This cost really depends on you! There are plenty of free activities in Greece which makes it such an amazing place to live. If you want to spend money on museums or visiting historical sites – it’s all pretty affordable. There are also certain days when museums or landmarks (like the Acropolis) are free during the year. We paid $0 because we visited the Acropolis on OXI day!
You can spend more in this category if you take weekend trips to the islands (or the city). They might cost more but not by much. You can always find cheap RyanAir flights to islands like Crete or Milos for as low as $20 USD.
Gym Membership – $58
A gym membership is pretty affordable across Greece! This was an average we took based on your standard gyms versus group classes (eg. pilates). I paid around $106 USD for an unlimited membership at my pilates studio in Athens.
You can find standard gyms at a much cheaper price around $30-40 USD instead. It’s all up to you and the kind of gym you are looking for. You can find most forms of exercise in Athens without any issues!
Our Personal Cost of Living In Greece
We think one of the best ways to get a *real cost of living is by getting to see what someone else spends. That’s why we are sharing our honest cost of living in cities like Athens, Thessaloniki and Crete.
We were digital nomads in Athens for 2 months which means we can give a more accurate cost of living. For Thessaloniki and Crete, we spent a few days in each city and simply observed the prices for things like coffee, groceries and transport. In order to get the monthly cost of living for these 2 places, we simply multiplied our costs for the month!
Here’s our personal cost of living in Greece for 3 locations:
Cost of Living Greece – Athens
Athens is the capital city of Greece and 3.5 million people call it home. It’s a beautiful city with some rough edges, a bustling commerce scene and a great base for a lot of people looking to move to Greece.
We chose to base ourselves in Athens for 2 months because it’s easy enough to catch the plane or the ferry to other islands in Greece. It’s also a cheaper option to live on the Greek islands!
The lifestyle in Athens is pretty great – you get amazing restaurants, bars (some are on the world’s 50 best bars list), affordable housing prices and vibrant social life. We only intended to stay for 1 month in Athens but we extended for another 30 days because we were just enjoying the lifestyle so much!
The monthly cost of living in Athens starts from $1,827 USD for a single person. If you’re a couple like us, it will be more like $2,316 USD for 2 people. Here’s the breakdown:
Athens Monthly Cost of Living For A Single Person:
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Athens Quick Price Facts:
- 🏠 1 Bedroom Apartment in a Nice Area: $850 USD per month
- 👩🏻🍳 Restaurant Meals: $12-$50 USD
- 🥙 Street food: as little $2.50 USD
- 🍺 National beer (bar): $4.00 USD
- 🍷 Glass Of Wine: $4.50 USD
- ☕️ Coffee: $3.30 USD
Athens is a wonderful city to live in, especially if you want a nice lifestyle without spending too much each month on your cost of living in Greece. This Greek city is a great base with pretty average prices for things like groceries, entertainment and dining out.
Cost of Living Greece – Thessaloniki
Is Thessaloniki an underrated Greek city? We think so! After spending a couple of days in Thessaloniki, we thought “wow, this would make a great digital nomad destination”. You have all the shopping and commerce like Athens, you get a beautiful water promenade and it’s cheaper than Athens/the islands.
Out of the 3 locations listed here, Thessaloniki has the lowest cost of living in Greece. The total monthly living expenses come to $1,633 USD for a single person. If you’re a couple like us, it’s more like $2,256 USD.
The cost of housing is much less compared to Athens or the islands. More than that, you will get better value for your money in Thessaloniki. Your one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Thessaloniki will be much nicer and maybe even more spacious than in Athens.
We have a lot of thoughts on the 2 largest cities in Greece – here’s a complete guide on Athens vs Thessaloniki if you’re wondering which one to visit. In terms of the cost of living in Greece, Thessaloniki is going to be the cheapest!
Here’s the breakdown of the monthly cost of living in Thessaloniki:
Thessaloniki Monthly Cost of Living For A Single Person:
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Thessaloniki Quick Price Facts:
- 🏠 1 Bedroom Apartment in a Nice Area: $725 USD per month
- 👩🏻🍳 Restaurant Meals: $10-$45 USD
- 🥙 Street food: as little $2.50 USD
- 🍺 National beer (bar): $3.50 USD
- 🍷 Glass Of Wine: $4.00 USD
- ☕️ Coffee: $3.15 USD
Thessaloniki is a great city for those looking to lower their cost of living without sacrificing their lifestyle too much. There’s still a great cafe, bar, and restaurant scene to enjoy and there’s plenty of things to do in the city plus surrounding areas! It’s a little further away from the popular Greek islands but it might be worth the savings!
Cost of Living Greece – Islands
Dreaming of living in Greece but ‘island Greece’, not mainland Greece?
There’s quite a contrast between the beautiful, narrow streets filled with bougainvillea and the concrete jungle of buildings with graffiti in cities like Athens. With that island life in Greece comes a higher cost of living!
Some of the best islands to actually live and not just be a tourist in (yes I’m excluding Santorini) are Crete, Naxos and Paros. You might have to get your own form of transport in Paros and Naxos because the public bus system isn’t very reliable. Crete has better access to public transport within the cities of Chania and Heraklion but it might also be more fun if you have your own car here! Crete is the biggest island, after all.
We will use Crete as an example because it’s probably the most liveable island with easy access to shopping and groceries!
Here’s a breakdown of the cost of living in Chania, Crete (an island in Greece):
Crete Monthly Cost of Living For A Single Person:
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Crete Quick Price Facts:
- 🏠 1 Bedroom Apartment in a Nice Area: $900 USD per month
- 👩🏻🍳 Restaurant Meals: $15-$55 USD
- 🥙 Street food: as low as $3.00 USD
- 🍺 National beer (bar): $3.50 USD
- 🍷 Glass Of Wine: $4.00 USD
- ☕️ Coffee: $3.65 USD
Crete has all the infrastructure of a city but also all the beauty of an island. There are so many beaches with clear, blue water to jump in! It’s a very big island – it takes more than 3 hours to get from one side to the other, making it hard to get bored in Crete. The best place to live in Crete is Chania because it has quite the romantic charm to it as it’s also known for being a honeymoon destination while still having easy access to shopping and grocery stores.
Did The Cost Of Living In Greece Surprise You?
The real cost of living in Greece is about $1,761 USD for a single person ($2,396 USD for a couple). Whether you live on the mainland or the islands, this is an estimate of what life in Greece could cost you.
Is it cheap or expensive? When you compare the cost of living in Greece to other European countries nearby, it is way more affordable to live here. With easy access to world-class islands, delicious Mediterranean food and friendly local people…
…what more could you ask for?!
We hope you found this cost of living guide helpful! We have been tempted to move to Greece many a time and that’s why we have looked into the cost of living in Greece a little deeper than your average tourist. It’s a stunning country, how can you not?!