Emigrating to a new country is an amazing and life affirming opportunity. Many relocate in search of new opportunities, to retire in the sun or simply to be closer to family and loved ones. Whatever your reasons may be, you will most likely be taking some or all of your personal belongings with you.
Moving your possessions to Greece is not like moving in the UK and involves a completely different process, including export packing, container loading, shipping, export documentation, customs and the observance of local regulations and procedures at destination.
Having been in the removals industry since 1871, White & Company have moved people to Greece and destinations around the globe and were proud winners of the 2016 British Association of Removers ‘Overseas Mover of the Year’ Competition.
Whether you are moving from Aberdeen to Athens, or Cardiff to Corfu, White & Company are prepared for every move with made to measure crates, purpose built storage facilities and an extensive fleet of vehicles equipped to deliver to any city, town or island.
When you move to a new country, and are importing used household effects, there are certain essential documents that customs will need in order to clear your effects. Like most worldwide countries Greece has very strict importation regulations and consequences if regulations are not adhered to.
To ensure that you do not incur any extra charges due to customs delays, it is imperative that you familiarise yourself with Greece’s customs regulations.
The following web sites can assist:
Why Move to Greece?
Set adrift in the sparkling Mediterranean seas of southern Europe, Greece is an ancient country which is commonly attributed as being the ‘Cradle of Western Civilization’. The country’s music, architecture and philosophy has permeated large aspects of European culture and world heritage for thousands of years, bringing us such treasured events as the Olympic Games.
Fast forward to the present day, Greece is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and each year thousands of visitors come to explore the fascinating architecture and history of ancient Athens. Others head to the thousands of beautiful islands to relax in the splendour of the warm Mediterranean sun on Corfu or Rhodes or party on the sands of Crete or Mykonos.
This idyllic picture of Greece contrasts starkly with a country that continues to struggle with the 2010 debt crisis and subsequent austerity measures imposed upon it. Unemployment is rife, particularly among the young and the major cities of Thessaloniki and Athens have become unaffordable to many due to stagnating wages and the high cost of living. Although housing and rental prices have lowered as a result and are generally very favourable compared to other major European cities such as London, but demand often outstrips supply.
Despite the economic turmoil, there are currently over 45,000 expats living in Greece. While it is true a large number of these expats are retirees seeking a slower pace of life on a peaceful island, many are also young business owners and digital nomads carving out new opportunities for themselves in the cities. The good news for expats therefore is that those able to find ways to support themselves and their families can still enjoy the best of both worlds in a constantly evolving country filled with deliciously good food and an enviably warm climate.
Working in Greece
Greece’s biggest industries are traditionally within the service sector, which employs the majority of people and contributes the most to the country’s GDP. Unfortunately, as previously mentioned Greece’s economy continues to experience difficulties and unemployment is high. As such, unless you are a digital nomad or own your own business, working opportunities are few and far between.
One saving grace is the continued success of Greece’s tourism industry which often sees some Brits flock to the islands to work for a season. Greeks are typically prioritised over foreign workers for these roles but some jobs are available for expats. Other opportunities include teaching English as a foreign language, which has proven more popular as many young Greeks look to diversify their options.
The best advice for those who are considering relocating to this beautiful country it is to secure a job before arrival. Learning and being able to speak Greek will give you an advantage.
For help finding employment in Greece visit the following web sites:
As long as the UK is in the EU, its citizens do not need a work or residence permit to live and work in Greece and they can enter with a valid identity card or passport. Britons can reside for 3 months, after this time they must apply for a residency permit.
Greece is definitely a buyer’s market and finding accommodation is relatively easy for expats with real estate being lower than it has been for a number of years. Although expats would be well advised to hire a local real estate agent or mesitis who can speak English in order to advise them on the process. The average cost of purchasing property is currently at €1411 (£1245) per square metre in the centre of the city. Towards the outskirts of the city this drops to €1239 (£1090).
Expats looking to stay in Greece for a short period of time may wish to consider renting a property as this is a very cheap option. Legally, residential lease agreements must cover a minimum of three years. Normally, the longer the lease, the lower the monthly rent. The cost to rent a one-bedroom apartment in the city costs in the region of €279 (£245) per month and on the outskirts €243 (£213).
The following web sites have a selection of properties for sale or rent:
Like other countries in Europe, Greece has high standards of education. In addition, the country has a high student population and many expats can study in any Greek school and at any education level.
Residents in Greece attend public schools for free. Most of the private schools in Greece are extensions of UK and American schools, and tuition for these is paid annually.
Expats, particularly those who only intend to stay in Greece for the short-term, usually choose an international school. These follow a British curriculum or tutor students towards passing the International Baccalaureate (IB), a qualification recognised and awarded back in the UK.
The following site has a selection of international schools and education information:
Moving to Greece is a thrilling opportunity, but also one that requires dedication, plenty of organisation and time to plan and research. For some helpful tips and information on settling into life in Greece, be sure to visit some of the many expat forums online:
The public transport system in Greece is extensive making it easy to get around the country and to the surrounding islands. In the capital, a subway and tram system operates with buses making up the primary form of transport, all of which provide a modern, affordable and safe way to travel. The ferry services operate around the mainland and to the many islands. There are also regional railway lines, which link the main towns and cities.
If you have a valid UK driving licence you can drive in Greece. Be mindful however that driving is not for the feint hearted and you will need to take care when driving as standards are likely to fluctuate massively from what many experience in the UK.
Expats seeking healthcare in Greece are entitled to the same treatment as any other resident in the country. Sadly, due to the recent economic crisis, government spending on healthcare has diminished considerably. This has led to many doctors and nurses leaving Greece and as such you can typically expect long waiting lists and substandard care.
As such most expats opt for private health insurance cover. Private medical facilities are generally less affected by the country’s economic situation. Additionally, many of the staff in private hospitals will speak a reasonable level of English.
There are plenty of pharmacies and many of the pharmacists speak good English. Expats should be warned, that codeine is highly illegal in Greece and you should refrain from bringing medicines containing it into the country, even with a prescription.
Visit the following web sites for further information regarding healthcare provision in Greece:
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White & Company
European Removals since 1871
We recommend a visit from one of our Surveyors for all European moves, so that we can assess your requirements, and the volume of goods to be moved.
Below is a rough guide to the largest cities in Greece:
What Others Say…
Wayne Middleton and Brian Witherford were professional and extremely helpful. Did a brilliant job. Would recommend Whites to anyone. Thanks very much.
Have used this company regularly for 5 years including my time in the armed forces. They are professional and efficient. Will use them again on our next move.
The move went very smoothly and they were very polite.
A very smooth move by White and Co. The team worked very hard and were polite, professional and helpful.