Given that Greece is full of golden sandy beaches, turquoise waters and moderate weather even in the winter time, it is little surprise that the Mediterranean country is a favourite for retirees.
Greece is one of the perpetual favourites for retirees from northern European countries and the US, but also elsewhere.
Undoubtedly, the country’s aficionados will boast about how the whole land takes credit for the most beautiful sun-drenched islands, mind-blowing beaches, diverse landscapes, mouthwatering food and timeless traditions.
But then again, when it comes to stretching your Social Security payments or savings, one must factor in more “banal” parameters.
Affordable accommodation, low cost of living, healthcare, safety and transportation assume more importance when the golden years approach, not to mention the hassle of navigating the logistics.
Aligned with the soaring numbers of senior expats looking to relocate, Greece has initiated programs to showcase the framework for a perfect reception of every retiree, by providing useful information, services and advice: The 7% flat tax rate (a tax program for foreign pensioners who decide to live in Greece), the Golden Visa program and Happy Retirement are initiatives focusing on attracting the golden agers.
Peloponnese: Quiet, historical and surprisingly affordable
The Greek peninsula, while not as popular as the globally fabled Cyclades, offers the advantage of living on the mainland while feeling that you are on an island.
The diverse nature, with mountains coexisting with lacy beaches - mind you in warmer years, the beach season lasts from April to early November - is one of a kind.
Here you can really exploit everything the Peloponnese has to offer as the distance from north to south is a bit over 2 hours (Korinth-Gythio app. 2 h. 15 min.).
Should culture and history be your drive, search no more: The whole of Peloponnese is deemed as an open-air-museum: Epidaurus, Olympia, Sparta, Mistras, Nafplio, Mycenae and dozens of other important ancient historical sites and settlements dot the area.
It’s by actually joining these “dots” in full geographical and historical context that you will be able to comprehend the Greek mentality.
If you are thinking of buying property, there are many affordable options in the Peloponnese. In fact, you might want to consider the Region of Mani with stone towers for sale from as much as €55.000,00.
Rhodes: The sunniest place in Greece!
The 3.000 hours of sunshine per year, rank apparently first in Rhodes’ factsheet. Along with a coastline of appr. 220 km, impressive towns and picturesque villages, vibrant nightlife and delicious cuisine, the capital of the Dodecanese is one of the top destinations for foreigner retirees.
Blending has been -history wise- proven to be key to Rhodes’ blooming progress so no wonder Greece’s 4 largest island is home to thousands of expats. Not only do they benefit from the extended summer-season but also from the strong community bonds: these well-established groups offer firsthand experience and recommendations on various aspects of daily life making your transition period smoother. What you will not find in Rhodes is language problems.
The internationally touristic vibe of the island accounts for limited if any language barriers since as most inhabitants speak at least English.
For a one-bedroom apartment prices begin from €350/month and if you are willing to put in a bit of effort and work you can find property to buy starting with €55.000 (one bedroom apartment).
Crete: Abundant with everything
Pristine beaches and heavenly mountainous landscapes, delicious traditional food and the most hospitable locals comprise Crete’s brand name but in essence the island’s timeless edge is authenticity.
Chania, Heraklio, Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, Ierapetra are some of the cities you can reside in, if you fancy a more urban lifestyle (only in terms of amenities), otherwise the island figures countless hidden gems that could turn into your own private paradise.
Many nationalities including Brits, Germans, French, Dutch, Swedish, Italians and Americans amongst others having a soft spot for the Cretan mentality have found here a second home. The CIC (Cretan International Community) is one of the groups supporting expats based in Rethymno.
Apart from meeting for coffee and organizing social events these groups have pooled all the practical info you need to plan your relocation as a retiree.
In a nutshell, Crete has built up to a solid retirement recommendation with easy access from most places in the world, medical infrastructure, mild climate, and relatively low cost of living.
Syros: The hub of the Cyclades
The dream of retiring to an island… Relocating to a Greek island year-round is not to be compared with one’s summer experience, as when it comes to the Cyclades, winter life can be rather difficult.
Syros, however, could be eligible for best retirement destination: As the administrative capital of the Cyclades, Syros remains fully functioning 12 months a year with a population of appr. 20.000 people (2021).
Its close proximity to Athens either by ferry or airplane and the operating General hospital provide a much-needed safety net boosted by a wide array of entertainment options (art openings, theatre, festivals).
The local expat community may be quieter but has played a significant part in Syros remaining vibrant all year round and benefits from island-hopping to the neighboring Cyclades.
This good-on-paper option is accompanied by beautiful landscapes, impressive architecture and genuine nobility instilled and reflected in every aspect of the islanders’ life. Syros does take pride in its renowned elegance and generously reciprocates with a most craved laid-back lifestyle.
Victoria Savvinopoulou is a columnist for Travel.
READ MORE: How Many Islands Does Greece Have?