Retiring in Greece: a complete guide

1 min readLast updated May 31, 2024by Unbiased team

Discover what makes Greece a popular retirement destination and what the emigration process is like for US seniors.

Summary 

  • According to Numbeo, the average cost of living in Greece is over 26% lower than in the US. 

  • The retirement age for Greek residents is 67, and you will only receive a local pension if you have worked in the country for more than 15 years.  

  • In Greece, there is an annual flat tax rate of 7% on all retirement income, and US citizens are liable for this.  

  • Consulting a financial advisor can make retiring in Greece a smoother process.  

What are the pros and cons of retiring in Greece? 

The stunning island scenery of Greece makes it a pleasant and expat-welcoming environment to retire in. But for US citizens, retirement in Greece is not necessarily easy to achieve. Learn about the pros and cons of living and retiring in Greece: 

Pros 

  • Serene natural beauty and climate: Expect year-round summer, glorious sunsets, and some of the warmest seas in the world.  

  • Retiree-friendly tax incentives: Expat retirees are only taxed at a flat rate of 7% for all income, whether international or local.  

  • Low cost of living: The average cost of living in Greece is as much as 26% lower than in the US, with rent in particular being a point of saving.  

Cons 

  • Bureaucratic challenges: The administrative aspects of Greece’s emigration programs and public services are known to be complicated and time-consuming.  

  • Economic instability: Greece has faced economic struggle in recent years, which can negatively impact retiree finances and access to funds.  

  • Language barriers: Although English is spoken in more tourist-populated areas, quieter areas may present communication challenges for non-Greek-speaking retirees.  

What are the best places to retire in Greece? 

There are many good places to retire in Greece. Where you choose to live depends on your lifestyle preferences and budget. Here are three of the best places to retire in Greece: 

  • Crete: This large Greek island has a gentle climate, a bustling village atmosphere, and stunning beaches close to urban cities like Heraklion and Chania.  

  • Athens: The capital city of Greece, Athens offers access to world-class healthcare programs and cultural gems, making it a dynamic and scenic place to retire.  

  • Santorini: The tranquil island of Santorini is globally renowned for its sunsets, warm seas, and picturesque village communities. It is a peaceful and laid-back place to live out your golden years.  

At hat age can you retire in Greece? 

The retirement age for men and women in Greece is 67.  

Unless you have contributed more than 15 years to the Greek labor force, you are not eligible to receive government-provided retirement benefits, such as pensions.  

What is the average cost of retirement in Greece? 

To qualify for a Greek residence permit, you must prove that you earn at least $2,150 per month or $25,800 annually.  

The average cost of living as a retiree in Greece is approximately $1,000, making the minimum income requirement for retirees almost double what is realistically likely to be spent. However, any money you do not spend in a month can be set aside for future savings.  

Do you pay taxes after retirement in Greece? 

In 2020, Greece passed a law that makes all retirement income subject to a flat rate of 7% annually.  

This taxation applies to both international and local forms of retirement income, including pensions, annuities, and Social Security benefits.  

If you own property in Greece, you will need to pay property tax, which is also a flat rate of 7% annually. Property tax in Greece is relatively high, so it is advised to monitor tax rates in this area.  

What programs are there for emigrating to Greece? 

There is no retiree-specific emigration program for US citizens, but there are several routes you can take if you want to retire in Greece.  

A Greek residence permit is the easiest way to emigrate to Greece. You can obtain one by proving you have a stable source of income, such as investments or a pension fund, or by owning property in Greece above a certain value. The former is easier to obtain.  

What visas do I need to retire in Greece? 

US citizens who want to retire in Greece will need a long-term residence permit. This type of visa can only be applied for while living in the country.  

Some of the documents you will need include a valid passport and proof of a stable and regular income of at least €2,000 ($2,150) per month or a minimum of €24,000 ($25,800) in a Greek savings account. You will also need evidence of full-coverage medical insurance with a Greek insurance company.  

What are my healthcare options in Greece? 

Greece has a stable and comprehensive healthcare system that is typically more affordable than US medical care options.  

Medical insurance is a prerequisite for retiring in Greece, so you will need to obtain coverage from a private insurer either way.  

What is the state of the economy in Greece? 

Greece’s economy has seen ups and downs in the past, and only in recent years has it shown signs of recovery. There has been a history of high unemployment and low income, which impacts public access to public services and demonstrations of civil unrest.  

If you are planning to work before retiring in Greece, hiring a financial advisor or retirement planner to understand how the economy may impact you is recommended.  

Is Greece a good place to retire? 

Greece’s sparkling beaches, healthy Mediterranean food scene, and laid-back culture can make it a good place to retire.  

Bureaucracy and economic instability can be a challenge, but overall, the retirement-friendly tax laws and high quality of life can be worth the investment.  

Get expert financial advice 

Greece is one of the most popular international retirement destinations for its well-preserved cultural traditions, beautiful landscapes, and warm climate. Its flat annual taxation rates make retiring in Greece an attractive prospect, but the process of doing so can take an extended period of time. 

Get matched with a financial advisor or retirement planner at Unbiased to learn more about how to retire in Greece and what you need to do to prepare financially.  

Writers

Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.