to eventually live in Greece
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Sep 22, 2013 11:37 AM Last Post By: Nicolapicola
Aug 26, 2013 5:21 AM
to eventually live in GreeceI would really like to hear of any experiences/advice you wish to share and even suggestions of places you loved on mainland Greece and/or Crete. I havent been able to pinpoint an exact town to live in because I like too many areas but my decision will be based on schooling availabilty for my 12 year old son. I have chosen Greece because in my year of living there I experienced the most hospitable and warm people and obviously the sun. I intend being self-sufficient and self-employed and would like to live within the Greek community and not as an ex-pat. I lived in Athens for a year and learned basic Greek and have travelled to mainland and Crete many times since. I will of course be contacting the Greek consulate and buying relevant books but your experiences would be interesting and helpful to me. I particularly remember the areas of Katerini, Lamia, Marathon and the Ambracian Gulf. Thank you x
Aug 26, 2013 8:26 AM
1Well, first and foremost, I do not wish to pry but are you sure you can make a living in Greece (as hardly anyone, including the locals, can these days)? There are a lot of taxes which are suddenly imposed and no-one ever knows what they are going to be, petrol is expensive (amongst other things!) and there are no jobs. The schooling near a big city (I particularly know the Pelion area, which is lovely and Volos is the main city so that is what springs to mind) is likely to be better as it has to serve a lot of people, but I have heard that, like all Government departments, the schools have no money, there are no text-books or few text-books etc and things are very difficult. Also, does your son speak Greek? It will be a bit difficult for him to start a new school at 12 and not to be able to speak the language - my friend's children moved to Greece at the ages of two and a few months so they began their schooling in Greek schools but 12 is more difficult. The hospital staff remained unpaid for more than a yea (I am unsure whether they have yet had their wages paid)r and the doctors were buying basic supplies out of their own money - things in Greece have been and still are very very bad. The other aspect of your post is that you are keen on the sun - mainland Greece can have very cold winters - Katerini that you mention will very often have very heavy snow and ice in the winter. I have had a house on the Pelion peninsula now for 23 years and most winters I would expect to be "snowed up" for a few days if not a couple of weeks.
I don't want to rain on your parade but you need to consider these things very carefully.
Aug 26, 2013 10:36 AM
2Thanks for your comments Nicolapicola, I understand that things are difficult at present in Greece as in most of Europe, I live in the West Country (uk) and times are hard here too. We dont live a particularly decadent lifestyle so our needs are small and initially I hope to be fairly self-sufficient. Have just driven throughout Greece during July and found Diesel to be a lot cheaper than quite a few countries, but other than local trips, once I am settled am not planning unnecessary trips. My sons Greek wont be fluent but adequate to start with and having home-schooled my two eldest (now at Uni) I feel I can give him the back up he needs and pay locally for extra tuition. It is terrible about the hospital situation and can only believe in the situation improving one day. I totally understand the climate in Greece and have even been skiing on Mt Parnassos nothing better than having a true summer and a true winter. I appreciate you alerting me to these concerns.
Aug 27, 2013 3:14 AM
3Check out these sites which has a lot of good info about living here in Greece, and also ask your question on the forums. Contact your embassy also for more info.
I live here since 20 years, am 50 years old but have no kids so it's a bit easier for me. Still- life is not so easy and simple as it's in Sweden (where I come from) and one have to struggle and to plan to make money last. I have an advantage that I am working for 3 months in Sweden during the winter, since here in Santorini one can only find jobs for about 6-7 month a year.
Greece have (since the crise) a very poor social security net and as mentioned, hospitals are not comparable with Brittish ones!
But If you are self-imployed you can be more relaxed, but DO find out a lot more if you want to buy a house, for example. Just rent a house or flat in the beginning. And for your son, buy a English -Greek lingauaphone course. as soon as possible: http://www.linguaphone.co.uk/greek-complete-cd-course.html
Aug 27, 2013 1:06 PM
4After a long process of elimination, we chose to live in the Peloponnese for a number of reasons. It might seem attractive to live on an island but most lack more than basic health care facilities and you could be very isolated in winter unless you went to Corfu, Rhodes or Crete.
What would worry me most in your situation is educational services as the Greek education system is pretty poor to say the very least.
The concern about being self-employed is that you need to have skills that Greeks don't have as otherwise you would be taking work away from the locals - if you could find anyone who would employ you in preference to a fellow Greek and don't underestimate the difficulty of setting up business and the appalling bureaucracy you would encounter. Bear in mind also that many Greeks now earn little more than €35-€40 a day. Do you think you could live on that?
Best of luck whatever you decide but don't paint yourself into a corner. Buying a house is easy. Selling it again is something else altogether.
Aug 28, 2013 4:53 AM
5Yes, if you do go through with this, as Grecophile says, buying a house NOT a good idea. Thousands and thousands are now on the market as people can't pay the property tax being imposed all the time on their properties (many Greek people having inherited several properties and even if they only have 3 ruined walls, no roof and no electricity/water, etc, the property tax is still charged on it - they can't pay the tax on the house they live in, let alone anywhere else, so they've put them all on the market). You wouldn't get rid of it for many years to come. Renting is the way to go.
Sep 13, 2013 11:28 AM
6Thank you all so much for your comments, have taken on board the suggestion of renting which I will undoubtedly do before deciding on an exact area to live. I am sure I would only like to live on the mainland and on the east coast. Have started my son on Greek and took him to Greece a few times in the last two years. I am hoping to home-ed him anyway so schooling wont be a problem to start with. May I ask what this property tax is on a single/only property? I understand this may depend on size of property. Is there a land tax? Is this in addition to a council tax (obviously relevant to Greece). Thank you INGELALEX for your helpful information.
Sep 22, 2013 11:37 AM
7The property tax is levied on owners, not renters, as you probably realise. This changes ALL THE TIME and was started at the beginning of the crisis (probably at the insistence of the moneylending countries, I am not clear). We were first told it was a one-off tax, but the 4th tax demand has now just come out. It is, as you surmised, dependent on size of the building. Mine is single-storey with 5 rooms (I am including bathroom & kitchen and storeroom in these 5 rooms). I had to pay about 300 euros on one occasion and 400 and something on the first occasion (when I found they had vastly overestimated the size of my house and I had to go on a 40 mile round trip and spend a whole morning getting the real size officially accepted). They are also apparently (I heard today) bringing in a tax on all LAND, including forestry land. As no-one has any money left and the olives are non-existent this year, it is pretty unlikely that this will get paid and pretty likely that we will now see disillusioned and desperate farmers blocking roads, etc. I also heard today from my friend living in Greece (don't know if this is true, perhaps the Greek residents reading this can say) that the planned cut in civil servants to save money has been swapped for a cut in about 40% of the teachers, which has brought the remaining teachers out on strike action. Things not going well.
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