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-   -   retiring to greece (https://www.expatforum.com/expats/greece-expat-forum-expats-living-greece/25182-retiring-greece.html)

dorsetknob 4th July 2009 02:20 PM

retiring to greece
 
My wife and I are approaching retirement and are looking for somewhere that our pensions will stretch further than in the UK. We've always liked the Greek Islands, so are trying to get as much unbiased practical information as we can.
Especially from anyone who has made a similar move. We are thinking of renting initially, so some idea of long term rental rates would be a help. Plus a guide to the cost of living. Health care issues. Suggestions of the most suitable islands/areas. And any more relevant information that anyone has would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers dorsetknob.

scoobie 5th July 2009 07:35 AM

There is alot you need to consider, if your ages are of a standard retirement age then you must consider health facilities. Health wise for the future, you would not want to be in a mountain village for instance. Look for somewhere that has regualar all year public transport. You will be entitled to IKA here and need the relevant form , check out the DWP website in the UK. This entitles you to medical care from the IKA clinic. Also consider that most islands, should you need surgery or have a more serious illness , will send you to the mainland for any serious medical care. Sorry to be all doom and gloom but i have met retired people who end up trying to sell their home as they are in the wrong location.
For a bank account they will want to see your pension earnings, you can get a tax number here from the local tax offices, a residency paper from the police. Have a search on line for estate agents on different islands and they often have rentals so this will give you an idea of the cost on each island. If you will have lots of family visiting you should look at the cost of flights to the island, for example Corfu has Easyjet now during the summer which if booked in advance is cheap.
It is best to do internet searches on the islands you are interested in and take it from there.

dorsetknob 5th July 2009 09:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by scoobie (Post 158593)
There is alot you need to consider, if your ages are of a standard retirement age then you must consider health facilities. Health wise for the future, you would not want to be in a mountain village for instance. Look for somewhere that has regualar all year public transport. You will be entitled to IKA here and need the relevant form , check out the DWP website in the UK. This entitles you to medical care from the IKA clinic. Also consider that most islands, should you need surgery or have a more serious illness , will send you to the mainland for any serious medical care. Sorry to be all doom and gloom but i have met retired people who end up trying to sell their home as they are in the wrong location.
For a bank account they will want to see your pension earnings, you can get a tax number here from the local tax offices, a residency paper from the police. Have a search on line for estate agents on different islands and they often have rentals so this will give you an idea of the cost on each island. If you will have lots of family visiting you should look at the cost of flights to the island, for example Corfu has Easyjet now during the summer which if booked in advance is cheap.
It is best to do internet searches on the islands you are interested in and take it from there.

Thanks Scoobie you make a fair point. Yes we are of "normal" retiring age and have to consider things like health care, from what you say maybe one of the bigger islands or possibly the mainland might be better for hospitals etc. Would you say that health care is generally of a good standard and easy to access? Could you give a rough idea of normal living expences, I know it's difficult as we all have such varied lifestyles, but we tend to like the simple things of life. As well as the occasional little treats. Basically we are hungry for any information you might have. if we can narrow our search down to a few preffered areas, we can come over for an extended holiday early in the new year to look for suitable properties. We would certainly lease somewhere for the first year, while renting out our house over here.
Thanks again Dorsetknob.

elen 6th July 2009 06:55 PM

Hi,
there are many nice areas that you can look into. Apart from the well known big islands, I would advise you to consider the island of Evoia, because it is very close to Athens airport, it has a bridge that connects it to the mainland, a new road is currently under construction that will make access a lot easier, it is not very expensive, it has great beaches, it is full of trees, and it still has life during the winter. Basically you can enjoy all the facilities of Athens (hospitals, large shopping malls etc) within 1,5 hour distance without having to worry for a boat. Furthermore, I would advise you to look into the area of Peloponnese - especially the south. I suggest this for the same reasons, though take in consideration that this part of Greece is slightly more expensive because it is crowded withh foreigners who have discovered it 10 years ago and they have made the prices rise a lot... If you chose something in the mainland or connected to the mainland and in any case close to Athens, you do not have to worry if easyjet or any other company change their minds in the future and stop flights close to your home...If you choose to live in a village in Evoia, you can probably have all your basic needs (electricity, water, transport, modest house, telephone, food etc) without having to spend more than 1200 - 1300 Euros per month. But this always depends on the kind of lifestyle each one of us has - I am sure people can get along with less (I can't imagine life without the internet and that costs for example), while others may need a lot more than that.

dorsetknob 6th July 2009 07:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by elen (Post 159196)
Hi,
there are many nice areas that you can look into. Apart from the well known big islands, I would advise you to consider the island of Evoia, because it is very close to Athens airport, it has a bridge that connects it to the mainland, a new road is currently under construction that will make access a lot easier, it is not very expensive, it has great beaches, it is full of trees, and it still has life during the winter. Basically you can enjoy all the facilities of Athens (hospitals, large shopping malls etc) within 1,5 hour distance without having to worry for a boat. Furthermore, I would advise you to look into the area of Peloponnese - especially the south. I suggest this for the same reasons, though take in consideration that this part of Greece is slightly more expensive because it is crowded withh foreigners who have discovered it 10 years ago and they have made the prices rise a lot... If you chose something in the mainland or connected to the mainland and in any case close to Athens, you do not have to worry if easyjet or any other company change their minds in the future and stop flights close to your home...If you choose to live in a village in Evoia, you can probably have all your basic needs (electricity, water, transport, modest house, telephone, food etc) without having to spend more than 1200 - 1300 Euros per month. But this always depends on
the kind of lifestyle each one of us has - I am sure people can get along with less (I can't imagine life without the internet and that costs for example), while others may need a lot more than that.

Hi elen, thanks for the info, certainly food for thought. The idea of island life while being close to the mainland sounds like the best of both worlds. Are your numbers for a single person or a couple? We enjoy the simple pleasures of life, plus a nice glass of red in the evening, so feel we can live quite cheaply. But even so your figure would push us close to our limit. As we would be relying on state pension plus moderate private income. Roughly how much would you estimate the rental on a 2 bed property on the island? Do you live on Evoia/Have you been there long? What would you say is the best and worst of your life in Greece in comparison to the UK? Sorry to ask so many questions, but for warned is forarmed as they say.

Cheers dorsetknob.

scoobie 7th July 2009 06:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dorsetknob (Post 158783)
Thanks Scoobie you make a fair point. Yes we are of "normal" retiring age and have to consider things like health care, from what you say maybe one of the bigger islands or possibly the mainland might be better for hospitals etc. Would you say that health care is generally of a good standard and easy to access? Could you give a rough idea of normal living expences, I know it's difficult as we all have such varied lifestyles, but we tend to like the simple things of life. As well as the occasional little treats. Basically we are hungry for any information you might have. if we can narrow our search down to a few preffered areas, we can come over for an extended holiday early in the new year to look for suitable properties. We would certainly lease somewhere for the first year, while renting out our house over here.
Thanks again Dorsetknob.

Hi , the area that Elen suggested sounds great and for the mainland, Nafplio is wonderful but as Elen said the prices are more expensive there. The cost of rentals depends on what you want, apartment or house? Basically around 400 euros upwards. Electricity has gone up somewhat but still cheaper than the Uk and the Gas bottles for heaters or cooking are around 16 euros a bottle. Water is cheap also. To eat out living here you can do cheaply with the local small tavernas. Shopping is also cheaper than the Uk from what i have been told.
I think the medical care is better than the Uk, it is easy to book a doctor and also easy to see specialists at the hospitals, a little chaotic but definately easier than getting to see a specialist in the Uk. If you get internet connection then sign up to SKYPE for a few euros a month you can call all over Europe for free, a great invention. I think the best thing is to search on line at the cost to buy and rent with estate agents, you will get a clear idea of the price differences around Greece. For sure spend a holiday here to investigate fully if it is the right place for you. Also consider the winter months, as i know people who live in the North where it is much colder so the cost of heater goes up greatly then. Crete has good facilities, Corfu where you can get a ferry to Italy all year,all the larger islands really. On the mainland you can also look around Kalamata on the West and the resorts south of it like Kardamilli and Stoupa. remember if you buy here always worth putting in a much lower offer than is stated as they are nearly always flexible.

dorsetknob 7th July 2009 08:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by scoobie (Post 159371)
Hi , the area that Elen suggested sounds great and for the mainland, Nafplio is wonderful but as Elen said the prices are more expensive there. The cost of rentals depends on what you want, apartment or house? Basically around 400 euros upwards. Electricity has gone up somewhat but still cheaper than the Uk and the Gas bottles for heaters or cooking are around 16 euros a bottle. Water is cheap also. To eat out living here you can do cheaply with the local small tavernas. Shopping is also cheaper than the Uk from what i have been told.
I think the medical care is better than the Uk, it is easy to book a doctor and also easy to see specialists at the hospitals, a little chaotic but definately easier than getting to see a specialist in the Uk. If you get internet connection then sign up to SKYPE for a few euros a month you can call all over Europe for free, a great invention. I think the best thing is to search on line at the cost to buy and rent with estate agents, you will get a clear idea of the price differences around Greece. For sure spend a holiday here to investigate fully if it is the right place for you. Also consider the winter months, as i know people who live in the North where it is much colder so the cost of heater goes up greatly then. Crete has good facilities, Corfu where you can get a ferry to Italy all year,all the larger islands really. On the mainland you can also look around Kalamata on the West and the resorts south of it like Kardamilli and Stoupa. remember if you buy here always worth putting in a much lower offer than is stated as they are nearly always flexible.

Thanks for all the information and suggestions Scoobie. It all helps us focus on the detail of what we want to do. We have a few months before we can begin to finalise our plans, although on a wet and windy day like we have today, it can't come soon enough. All your help is invaluable, please post again if you think of anything else that might be of interest to us.

Kind regards Dorsetknob.

mike-n 11th July 2009 05:40 AM

Hello, I am new in this forum, I am Greek, just retired, and looking for a place in Greece, Turkey, Italy, France, or, if I get daring enough, Egypt.

A few comment on what I read above. Yes, make sure there is a hospital on the island you retire. Winter storms cut off islands for weeks. Syros is what I am eying.

Evia? Not my choice. Evia people are sweet, calmer than the average Greek, but inhospitable and independent. Then, there is Larco, a state mining company, the curse of this beautiful island. You may wake up one morning by dynamite explosions.

As for Kardamyli and Stoupa, yes! Beautiful, and Maniates are straightforward people. Hospitable. On the minus side, land is very expensive hear as Germans have moved in. Also the road to Kalamata is winding and not in the best shape.

The villages northwest of Kalamata are something you should look into. Deserted and mostly occupied by old folks, and lots of Albanian farm workers. Cheap land! Beautiful hills, best climate. On the minus side: The Greek Airforce has a pilot training base near Messini. Horrid jet sound almost daily, day and night. People are warm here.

Myself I am considering Syros. It has a history of culture (imagine Greek hunters playing opera records? God my ears suffer with the pathetic laika songs, men singers wailing, a corrupt genre of Turkish music). It has a hospital, a ship yard, orthodox and catholic churches, and till recently it was Italian territory. I would like some culture in people. This you will not find in Evia or Messinia.

In the same vein, Chios and Lesvos are two island I am considering. Ah! I can visit Turkey in a few minutes daily!

Real estate advice. Why go through realtors? You can save A LOT by consulting local classifieds. I mean a lot! There are several classifieds web pages, one of the busiest is greekads c om

dorsetknob 11th July 2009 08:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mike-n (Post 161123)
Hello, I am new in this forum, I am Greek, just retired, and looking for a place in Greece, Turkey, Italy, France, or, if I get daring enough, Egypt.

A few comment on what I read above. Yes, make sure there is a hospital on the island you retire. Winter storms cut off islands for weeks. Syros is what I am eying.

Evia? Not my choice. Evia people are sweet, calmer than the average Greek, but inhospitable and independent. Then, there is Larco, a state mining company, the curse of this beautiful island. You may wake up one morning by dynamite explosions.

As for Kardamyli and Stoupa, yes! Beautiful, and Maniates are straightforward people. Hospitable. On the minus side, land is very expensive hear as Germans have moved in. Also the road to Kalamata is winding and not in the best shape.

The villages northwest of Kalamata are something you should look into. Deserted and mostly occupied by old folks, and lots of Albanian farm workers. Cheap land! Beautiful hills, best climate. On the minus side: The Greek Airforce has a pilot training base near Messini. Horrid jet sound almost daily, day and night. People are warm here.

Myself I am considering Syros. It has a history of culture (imagine Greek hunters playing opera records? God my ears suffer with the pathetic laika songs, men singers wailing, a corrupt genre of Turkish music). It has a hospital, a ship yard, orthodox and catholic churches, and till recently it was Italian territory. I would like some culture in people. This you will not find in Evia or Messinia.

In the same vein, Chios and Lesvos are two island I am considering. Ah! I can visit Turkey in a few minutes daily!

Real estate advice. Why go through realtors? You can save A LOT by consulting local classifieds. I mean a lot! There are several classifieds web pages, one of the busiest is greekads c om

Wow what a lot of info, thanks for that mike-n all very helpful, just the sort of thing I'm looking for. I do still need some numbers on what things cost, if you can help. Meanwhile you've given me a lot to think about and lots to focus my research on.

Regards dorsetknob.

Janie 12th July 2009 02:30 PM

Retirement to greece
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dorsetknob (Post 158386)
My wife and I are approaching retirement and are looking for somewhere that our pensions will stretch further than in the UK. We've always liked the Greek Islands, so are trying to get as much unbiased practical information as we can.
Especially from anyone who has made a similar move. We are thinking of renting initially, so some idea of long term rental rates would be a help. Plus a guide to the cost of living. Health care issues. Suggestions of the most suitable islands/areas. And any more relevant information that anyone has would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers dorsetknob.

We have already semi-retired to Greece and we chose the beautiful Pelion area. We initially bought a beautiful traditional brick cottage in a mountain village, but realised very quickly that this wasn't working for us - too quiet, not enough variety when eating out etc. So we sold up and bought a piece of land by the coast just at the bottom of the original village and had a house built for us. We have spent the past 8 years living/visiting Pelion and we still think we chose wisely. The nearest large town is Volos where you can buy almost anything you would want, and there is also a large and new hospital. We live in the coastal village of Milina which is very pretty and even in mid-winter most places stay open and residents live here year-round. Hope this is helpful


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