Thinking about becoming a digital nomad in Athens?
You might be surprised but…it’s often an overlooked destination with more digital nomads flocking to cities like Lisbon or Krakow.
There’s a lot to love about Athens – you’ve got rich history scattered across the city, delicious Mediterranean food and a surprisingly affordable cost of living!
After spending 2 months living in Athens as digital nomads, we can confidently say it’s a rising digital nomad destination that offers remote workers a great lifestyle.
In this complete digital nomad Athens guide, we go through every single piece of information you wish you knew to help you settle into living as a digital nomad in Greece.
From things as simple as getting a SIM card to finding the best places to work, we’ve got you covered in this blog post right here.
QUICK SNAPSHOT: Being A Digital Nomad In Athens
What’s life as a digital nomad in Athens REALLY like? It’s pretty great if you like the bustle of the city, visiting ancient landmarks and tasty Greek food. The only downside to living in Athens was that there wasn’t a big digital nomad community (yet) and it’s not the most aesthetic European city (with all the grunginess around).
We still loved Athens as digital nomads because you won’t be paying painfully expensive prices for everything while still living in the European Union. It’s surprisingly affordable!
Why Become A Digital Nomad In Athens?
The most popular digital nomad city in Europe has to be Lisbon, Portugal. It’s got all you could want in a city as a remote worker – a huge community, coworking spaces everywhere and lightning-fast wifi.
So…why become a digital nomad in Athens if you’ve got other popular spots?
There’s a lot to love about living in Athens, Greece as a digital nomad. We came to Greece for the first time on our honeymoon and we completely fell in love with the country, the people and the cuisine!
We said to each other “Hopefully, one day we can live the digital nomad lifestyle in Athens”. That day came true about 2 years later! While we have to admit it wasn’t everything we dreamed – it was pretty dang close!
Athens is the oldest European capital city with ancient ruins all around, it’s a great place for history lovers. But more than that, being a digital nomad in Athens means you also get:
- affordable cost of living
- high quality of life
- healthy Mediterranean food
- friendly Greek people
- close to the Greek islands
- plenty of coworking spaces/cafes
…and so much more! We could go on and on about why we loved being digital nomads in Athens but we have to give you the whole picture. Because it wasn’t all perfect, in fact it was far from it!
Here’s the digital nomad Athens guide that shares all the information you need to know (the good and the bad) to help you out settling into the digital nomad lifestyle in Greece!
The Complete Digital Nomad Athens Guide (2023)
Want the A-Z of living in Athens as a digital nomad?
You’ve come to the right place!
Athens is the capital city of Greece which means that it’s also got the highest population in the country. If you asked us if Athens was a great digital nomad city 5 years ago, we would probably say no! However, the digital nomad scene in Athens has come a long way!
Matthew and I became Athens digital nomads for 2 months, living the remote work lifestyle in the bustling metropolis! We absolutely loved it but it certainly wasn’t perfect, that’s why we are sharing our honest experience and the small details you should know.
We learned how to do basic things to settle in like buying a SIM card and finding a grocery store but we also figured out the best spots to work/eat delicious food (after much trial and error) and discovered the best neighborhoods to live in as digital nomads.
Let’s get started on this complete digital nomad Athens guide!
Buying A SIM Card in Athens, Greece
There are 3 major SIM card companies in Greece: Cosmote, Vodafone and Wind. We recommend Cosmote (and its subsidiaries) because it has the best coverage across the mainland and the islands.
Vodafone is also a great option if you plan on just staying on the mainland. If you want to head to the islands, the coverage might become a little weaker causing you to lose signal from time to time.
We just found Wind a little more complicated and it was usually closed whenever we passed by for some reason.
Where To Buy SIM Cards
The best way to buy Greek SIM cards is by visiting their respective stores. You can buy them on the streets (usually near metros )or at the airport (usually more expensive) but we suggest making the effort to visit their branches all across the city. We went to the Cosmote near our suburb but there’s a big Cosmote store near Syntagma Square that can help you out.
Price For A Greek SIM Card
We paid about €12.90 for 15 GB of data. Most digital nomads don’t need call/text and it’s usually cheaper when you only ask for data. This was very affordable for us and I think we got a good promo deal. Cosmote has other brands like Whats Up and Frog which will usually offer cheaper prices but you still get Cosmote’s towers/coverage.
TTA TIP: Bring your passport when buying a SIM card in Greece, you will need it!
It’s not complicated to buy a SIM card in Greece. Simply head to a store and ask for a ‘prepaid plan’ and they will help you out.
Don’t Want The Hassle? Try An eSIM Instead.
Getting a local SIM can be pretty annoying and if you want a good deal, you’ll have to wait to get into the city for some data. In some cities, we also prefer having data right away for safety reasons.
The solution? Get an eSIM instead. You don’t need to go to a store or any of that, you simply connect to the wifi at the airport and buy your plan right there! It will be activated in a matter of minutes and bam you’ve got data! Almost like magic…almost.
We recommend using eSIM providers like Nomad or Airalo. They usually provide affordable deals for data and it’s fairly easy to set up – you just download the app and sign up! We covered the eSIM providers available for digital nomads more in-depth in our eSIM complete guide here if you want to learn more.
We’ve got a referral code (MATTHE8846) for the Airalo app if you want $3 USD off your first purchase. If you want the cheapest option though, go through the hassle of buying a local SIM card to save some money!
Best Time To Visit Athens for Digital Nomads
Wondering when to visit Athens? We can tell you it’s not always warm and sunny like some people may think!
The best time to visit Athens is from April to June and September to early November. If you visit during this time which is known as the shoulder seasons – you will get much lower prices for your stay, it will be less crowded and you still get a high amount of sunshine throughout your time.
The worst time to visit Athens is from July to August and late November to March. The first half is way too hot and extremely crowded everywhere while the latter is simply too cold to enjoy all that Greece has to offer! During winter time, the islands tend to literally shut down where restaurants and cafes are closed which is something to keep in mind if you want to do weekend getaways to the islands of Greece.
As digital nomads, we are always looking for the best times to visit a place because we want to get better prices and we would rather not battle the crowds. If it means a couple of rainy days during our stay or the weather changes from warm to cool, that’s still fine with us!
Interested in a more detailed guide on the weather? We’ve got a complete “Best Time To Visit Greece” article to help you out.
Where To Stay in Athens – The Best Neighborhoods
Trying to figure out where to stay as a digital nomad in Athens? There are some pretty great neighborhoods in the Greek capital…and some not-so-great areas you should avoid.
Here’s a quick snapshot of where to stay in Athens for every kind of traveler:
- PLAKA – Best for first-time visitors to Athens
- KOUKAKI – Best overall area for every traveler
- PANGRATI – Best area for digital nomads or expats
- GAZI – Best area for travelers on a tight budget
- KOLONAKI – Best area for families
If you’re going to be a digital nomad in Athens, we suggest staying in Koukaki or Pangrati. In these Greek neighborhoods, you’ll have good access to public transport and you’ll be close to the city center without being too close to all the tourists. These areas also have more affordable accommodation options for long-term stays of a minimum of 1 month!
We can’t recommend Plaka for digital nomads because it’s just way too central to all the hustle and bustle. The accommodation is also super expensive in this area because you are practically in the heart of the city center.
The 2 areas you should avoid are Omonia and Syntagma Square. If you want to explore Athens at night, these are the 2 areas you don’t necessarily want to walk around. Don’t get me wrong, Athens is a very safe city! Petty crimes still occur (even in the safest of cities) and Athens is no exception. These areas are known for some pickpocketing and scams during the late hours which you’ll want to avoid.
Honest Cost of Living for Digital Nomads In Athens
The real question that most people are after…what does it cost live as a digital nomad in Athens? Matthew and I always track our expenses and have a budget in place to help accurately portray the cost of living in different digital nomad destinations like Medellin, Antigua, Playa del Carmen and much more.
Our real cost of living in Athens as digital nomads for 2 people was $1,827 USD. We thought we did pretty well in sticking to our budget although the dining out budget was much higher than we expected (we love Greek food okay!).
Here’s where all our cost of living in Athens was spread out:
|Activities & Entertainment||$55|
For a popular European city, we think this is quite a great cost of living! If you become a digital nomad in Paris or Amsterdam, you can easily 2x what we paid from the get-go. The fact that we are so close to the Greek islands and have access to healthy, affordable Greek food makes this such a reasonable price for both of us!
Rent is going to be your biggest expense. It was our first time being digital nomads in Europe and we expect to pay way more than we usually would for say Thailand or Bali. We got a really nice, modern one-bedroom apartment in the Pangrati neighborhood for a great price. This price of $1,152 USD seemed to be pretty average for the area for a short-term listing (1 month on Airbnb).
Remember: This is our PERSONAL expenses! That’s how we chose to spend our money and you can choose to spend more or less. It’s up to you! We think you can definitely go cheaper and you can easily splash the cash too. We try to have a balance and that’s the number we came to in the end.
Athens Internet Speeds – Is The Wifi Fast Enough?
Yes! We expected it to be mediocre but we have to say, the wifi was stable and relatively fast.
At our apartment, we got around 30-40 Mbps which was fast enough for the kind of work we do. If you visit cafes around Athens, they will be a little lower speeds but it just depends on where you go. We’ve had speeds of 20 Mbps and 50 Mbps!
The Athens wifi speeds are stable and fast enough for digital nomads to work remotely without any issues. While it isn’t the fastest we’ve seen (500+ Mbps in Lisbon), it’s very decent and just fine for most of the things you need to do online.
Is There A Coworking Space For Digital Nomads In Athens?
Yes, you can find plenty of co-working spaces spread all across the city of Athens. The only thing is that they can be pretty ‘corporate’ but that’s most coworking spaces in Europe!
Here are the top coworking spaces in Athens for digital nomads:
- Vios Coworking Athens (Historic Center)
- Impact Hub (Psyrri)
- Selina (Omonia)
These coworking spaces charge around $130 – $160 USD for a monthly unlimited membership. They all have high-speed wifi in case the average speed of 30 Mbps just won’t work for you. If you love coworking spaces, these are great options located pretty much all in the city center.
3 Best Cafes for Digital Nomads In Athens to Work From
Want to work from cafes instead? If you asked us if there was a ‘work from a cafe’ scene in Athens a few years ago, we would say ‘definitely not’.
However, since then, the third wave coffee movement has swept across this Greek city. There are many more specialty coffee shops serving some amazing coffee with carefully selected beans and made well by trained baristas.
With this movement, we have seen it become (a little) more normal to pull out a laptop to get some work done. That’s why we decided against a coworking membership so that we could try all the best cafes to work from in Athens for digital nomads!
Here are our favorite cafes to work from in Athens with decent seating and reliable wifi:
- Dope Roasting Co
- Third Place
- Six Dogs
- The Underdog
- Plegma Coffee & Living
We split our time between working from home and working from cafes – this was a great sweet spot for us! I struggle with concentration when working from home and a cafe helps me focus. We always had the best, most productive sessions when we worked at Dope Roasting Co. It’s such a reliable option and a comfortable place to stay for a few hours!
It’s great to see how far the cafe scene has progressed in Greece and we can only expect more great things to come for digital nomads in Athens!
Is There A Digital Nomad Community In Athens?
This is probably the biggest con of living in Athens as a digital nomad…
…there was barely a community! We tried our best to find some, downloading apps like Meetup.com but the events never felt quite right. There were a lot of crypto bros and more expats with events (than digital nomads).
We didn’t make any digital nomad friends while living in Athens but rather we had a welcoming local community which was super special. I went to a great pilates studio in Athens and they were so friendly to me – it felt like I was part of the community!
The other reason we probably didn’t find a good crew of digital nomads was that quite a few of the meetups on Facebook groups were centered around partying. This is great if you are feeling lonely (very common as a digital nomad) and want to meet new people! Unfortunately, that’s not really our scene anymore.
Here are some groups you can join to find a community in Athens:
You can also download the app, Meetup. We have had a mixed experience using this app for meeting people. For Athens in particular, we didn’t find it too useful. There were a few coworking meetups but didn’t seem like people went. However, Meetup is very popular in Lisbon so it’s good to keep on your phone and have a look through!
Transport Options – How To Get Around Athens
It’s very easy to get around Athens. You have plenty of options (some affordable, some a little more costly). Here are your transport options:
We found Uber or Beat (the more local ride-sharing app) to be surprisingly cheap! We usually took a 10-minute drive and it would only cost us around 3.5-4.5 euros. That’s why we struggled to take public transport!
If you live close to a bus stop or a metro line, that’s ideal. You can easily hop on and off for very little cost (around 1 to 1.5 euros per trip)! We didn’t live close to a bus stop and the metro line was a 17-minute walk away so we didn’t both most times!
Taxis tend to be more expensive. When we first came on our honeymoon, they seemed to charge waay more and barely used the meter. If you want to avoid the negotiation, you can use Uber or Beat everywhere!
Where To Get Groceries In Athens
You have plenty of options to go grocery shopping in Athens, Greece! There are your regular supermarket chains but they’ve also got nice local markets where you can barter and find some good deals on produce.
Matthew and I only lived about 5 minutes walking from a LIDL, it was super convenient for us and we just stuck to shopping from there. The LIDL has pretty much everything we could want – the feta was cheap, the olives were tasty and it’s an affordable place to do your groceries overall.
ATMs/Making Payments in Athens
Greece uses the Euro as its currency which it adopted back in 2002. The code for the Euro is ‘EUR’ and the sign looks like this €. If you travel to most of the countries in the Schengen zone, they will use the same currency.
Card payments are a thing everywhere in Athens. We had zero issues paying by card for things like groceries, restaurants, coffee and more. They also usually accept pay wave/cardless/tap (however you say it) if your card can do so.
ATM Companies To Trust
Across the city, there are plenty of ATMs everywhere. These are the biggest and most popular ones that you can trust to withdraw your money.
- Alpha Bank
- National Bank of Greece
- Piraeus Bank
The only ATM you have to avoid AT ALL COSTS is Euronet. It’s quite a passionate dislike because their fees are ridiculous and they get all the tourists arriving at the airport withdrawing money from there. Save yourself some euros and wait till you get into the city or till you see any of the above bank ATMs instead!
Are ATMs Free In Greece?
Unfortunately, we had to pay every time we withdrew money. We didn’t come across any free ones – if you do, we’d love to know! Matthew absolutely loathes paying ATM fees (lol).
You can expect to pay anywhere between 2.5 to 3.5 euros per withdrawal. If you want to get some cash out, we suggest getting a big chunk so you don’t have to pay that fee every couple of days. It’s not nothing, I mean you could buy a coffee for that!
Travel Cards You Can Get
If you’re a digital nomad already, you will know about Revolut or Wise. They are great travel cards to convert, exchange, withdraw and send money from anywhere in the world.
We have written extensive reviews of Revolut (and Revolut Metal) and Wise, but we recommend having both cards! We use Revolut daily and Wise is great for bigger money transfers. They both worked well in Greece for us!
In short: you don’t have to worry about the ATMs in Greece! Card and cash are possible almost everywhere. Just don’t withdraw from Euronet or Matt will give you a side eye!
Our Favorite Restaurants in Athens, Greece
You’ve closed the laptop and you are done with work. You look up and look around you then it hits you – you’re hungry! This happens to us almost weekly when we finish the day and straight away want to eat somewhere good.
We’ve got you! Whether you just want a simple (but delicious) gyros or if you want Italian for dinner, there’s something for everyone in the Athens food scene. Another reason we think it’s a great place to be a digital nomad!
Here are some of our favorite spots to eat as Athens digital nomads:
- Sfika (Greek)
- Tuk Tuk Thai Street Food (Thai)
- TAVERN – GRILL MANDRAKI (Greek)
- Cupola (Italian)
- Lithos Tavern (Greek)
- Takis Bakery (Pastries)
- Anglais Athens (Rooftop Bar)
- The Traditional (Greek)
- StreetWok (Chinese)
They have a lot of different international cuisines if you ever get tired of Greek food. A lot of the restaurants in Athens are fairly affordable if you compare them to the prices you’ll see on the islands like Santorini. We loved going out during the weekends and finding cool new spots in the city!
Is Athens Safe For Digital Nomads?
Yes, Athens is one of the safest cities in Europe. According to the US Department of State, Greece is a low-threat country.
Even though there is quite a big population of people (3.7 million inhabitants), it’s relatively safe for all kinds of travelers (digital nomads, solo female travelers, families).
The most common crime in Athens would be petty theft such as pickpocketing or scamming people (over-priced taxis or incorrect restaurant bills). These kinds of crimes are more common during the late hours of the evening, in sketchy neighborhoods like Omonia or crowded tourist areas like Syntagma Square and Monastiraki Square.
This charming European city attracts millions of people from all over the world every year and they are still able to be relatively safe for most people. Athens is safe for digital nomads and all other kinds of travelers! Just be aware, stay vigilant and don’t fall for any scams.
Digital Nomad Athens: Is It Worth It?
Yes, being a digital nomad in Athens is awesome!
We absolutely enjoyed our time exploring the city, eating at all the restaurants and living the digital nomad lifestyle in this Greek city. There are so many things to do plus you’ve got the Greek islands only a short flight or ferry ride away! The affordable cost of living will also attract digital nomads to this rising digital nomad destination.
The only downside might be that there isn’t a big digital nomad community yet. Join all the groups you find and reach out – you never know who you could meet!
Matthew and I love Greece, it was a dream come true to try out the digital nomad lifestyle in Athens. We hope you found this detailed digital nomad Athens guide helpful and have the best time in Athens for us!
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