The true cost of expat life in Athens may come as a pleasant surprise

The true cost of expat life in Athens may come as a pleasant surprise

The true cost of expat life in Athens may come as a pleasant surprise

If your dream of living in Athens has grabbed you and won’t let go, the city’s genuinely cheap cost of living is an essential study.

The majority of online reports and surveys on various countries’ costs of living are based on first-world expat professional salaries and pension payments.
Consequently, the levels of affordability quoted almost always exceed the average disposable income of those on less generous pension payments or wages. Many destinations considered ‘affordable’ quote living costs based on US pensions of $1200 to $1500 a month – amounts which, for example, British expat retirees on the state pension of half that amount or expat workers on average wages simply couldn’t match.

Given that some degree of inflation is unavoidable no matter where they’re settling, it’s important for would-be expats o understand the real costs of living like a local rather than existing within the local expat community bubble. Athens, for example, is still far cheaper for local living than the majority of other European destinations, with costs including rentals relative to the average wage in the city, but living the same lifestyle as in the home country is bound to wreck basic budgets.

Rentals in the Greek capital have doubled during the past four years, with the average one-bedroomed home now costing around €450 a month, far cheaper than in London and even lower in less fashionable areas. Utilities such as electricity and fuel rely on consumption and property size, but won’t go over €120 monthly, and around €20 monthly will buy internet access. New arrivals need to take the city's colder winter weather in account when calculating utility costs.

Expats who can’t live without eating out and having fun along with a few beers will get a pleasant surprise in Athens as, compared with the UK and USA, the city’s nightlife is surprisingly inexpensive, especially in areas popular with locals. Transportation in the city includes the metro, buses and taxi transportation, all of which are also surprisingly inexpensive. For example, a five mile taxi trip will cost just €12, and a month’s journey to and from work tops out at an average of €30.

As with every expatriate destination, imported foods and other goods in Greece are far dearer than their locally-produced alternatives, but Greek produce is priced for local wallets and is just as good or even better. The really good news is the average cost of healthcare insurance at around €50 monthly for expats, and prescription drugs are also cheap as most are easily available over the counter at local pharmacies.

Expats considering Greece as a genuinely inexpensive lifestyle alternative should realise deliberately inflated costs for foreigners just aren’t done, not just in Athens nor in the rest of the country.

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