Moving to Greece from the US
Thinking of moving to Greece? Well, whether you’re traveling there alone, with your family, or with some furry friends, you’re bound to have a blast.
Greece has something to offer for everyone: history lovers, nature fanatics, foodies, thrill-seekers, party-goers – you name it. We'll admit that if you’re moving to Greece from the US, you might experience a little culture shock to begin with, but you’ll soon get into the swing of things.
Once you’ve learned the ins and outs of Greece – the pros and cons, the dos and don’ts – it’s time to make the leap and move.
Want to make the shipping process a million times easier? Let us take the reins.
All you have to do is answer a few quick questions about your trip on this short form and let us do the hard work. Once we have this information, we’ll pass it on to our trusted shipping suppliers, who will be in touch with free quotes for you to compare. Απλός! (simple!)
Can you picture yourself sunning it up on the breathtaking island of Santorini?
Cost of shipping to Greece from the US
Shipping your stuff to Greece comes with a handful of benefits – it’s more affordable than air freight, it’s better for the environment, and it has a 99.99% safety record.
We’ve calculated the average international shipping rates for some of our most sought-after journeys from major US cities to popular destinations in Greece. The rates are sourced from WorldFreightRates.com, and are based on the port-to-port transportation of a 20ft container of used furniture worth £40,000 – the typical value of the contents of a three-bedroom house (according to Admiral Insurance). The durations are sourced from Searates.com.
This information was last updated in June 2021.
Bear in mind these are estimates only. If you’d like a more accurate idea of how much it will cost to ship your belongings to Greece, just pop your details into this form, and our suppliers will get back to you.
|New York to Aspropyrgos||$1,117.99 - $1,235.67||15 days and 3 hours|
|New York to Thessaloniki||$1,128.53 - $1,247.32||15 days and 17 hours|
|New York to Patras||$1,117.99 - $1,235.67||14 days and 15 hours|
|Los Angeles to Aspropyrgos||$2,745.70 - $3,034.73||28 days and 8 hours|
|Los Angeles to Thessaloniki||$2,771.60 - $3,063.34||28 days and 22 hours|
|Los Angeles to Patras||$2,745.70 - $3,034.73||27 days and 19 hours|
Please note: these container shipping costs exclude typical add-ons such as door-to-door delivery, professional packing/unpacking, and basic insurance cover. Our shipping suppliers normally incorporate these services into their prices, so expect some discrepancy between the rates given here and the quotes you receive. These estimates should be used as an indication only.
Select the size of your move to get free quotes
Cost of flying goods to Greece from the US
Air freight, while having its advantages in terms of speed, is on average 12-16 times more expensive than sea freight. However, if you’re pushed for time, this option might be worth the money.
The rates below are also sourced from WorldFreightRates.com, and are based on the airport-to-airport transportation of much lighter goods – 250kg of household goods, to be precise, worth £40,000 – from major US-origin cities to three major cities in Greece.
Bear in mind that these figures are only for 250kg worth of stuff, whereas the sea freight costs above were for an entire 20ft container, which weighs 2,100kg when empty – nearly 10 times as much. When full, a shipping container is permitted to weigh up to 30,480kg.
|New York to Aspropyrgos||$2,353.50 - $2,601.23||11 hours|
|New York to Thessaloniki||$2,353.50 - $2,601.23||11 hours|
|New York to Corfu||$2,353.50 - $2,601.23||11 hours|
|Los Angeles to Aspropyrgos||$2,353.50 - $2,601.23||15 hours|
|Los Angeles to Thessaloniki||$2,353.50 - $2,601.23||15 hours|
|Los Angeles to Corfu||$2,353.50 - $2,601.23||15 hours|
The lucky people of Corfu, finishing the day off by watching one of the island's magnificent sunsets
Healthcare in Greece
Greece’s national healthcare system (ESY) is made up of a mix of public and private health service providers. Although services are mostly free for residents, patients usually have to pay a fee for prescriptions.
So, if you are an expat, you will be eligible for the same level of healthcare as a Greek citizen – regardless of whether or not you are an EU citizen.
If you are working in the country, your employer must, by law, sign you up and make contributions on your behalf to a State health insurance provider. Expats will also need a social security number, known as an AMKA.
If you are not signed up by your workplace, you can speak to your local EFKA (State Social Insurance Fund) office, and request medical cover. If you are working, you will need 50 days’ contributions towards EFKA before you are covered.
Before your big move to Greece, it’s wise to consider whether you’ll benefit from any extra medical cover while you’re out there.
That’s why we’ve partnered with Cigna for private medical insurance in Greece. With four levels of annual cover to choose from and extra modules for more flexibility, Cigna will sort you out with a plan that suits your needs.
Start building a customized plan with a free quote to protect your most important assets – you and your family.
Cost of living in Greece
Depending on which area of Greece you move to, the cost of living will fluctuate. Athens, for example, is much more expensive than some of the surrounding islands.
To give you a rough idea of the prices you can expect to see, we’ve listed a few examples below.
|Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the center of Athens each month||€579|
|Utilities (gas, electric, phone, internet)||€107|
|1 loaf of bread||€0.80|
|1 bottle of red wine||€10|
|1 liter of whole fat milk||€1.32|
|12 large eggs||€3.62|
|1 liter of gas||€1.45|
|Basic dinner for two in neighborhood pub||€34|
|2 tickets to the movies||€15|
|1 month of gym membership in the business district||€38|
|Price of a beer||€4.37|
Data from International Living and Expatistan, June 2021
Transferring money to Greece from the US
Speaking of living costs, if you’re about to move to Greece, you’ll probably need to convert some of your savings into Euros.
However, it’s best to avoid using high street banks for this process, as you’ll usually have to pay high fees, and you won’t get the best exchange rate.
That’s why we’ve done our research and compared all the major money transfer services on the market, so you can choose the right one. Check out our expert ratings and find the best money transfer provider today.
Working in Greece
If you’ve become accustomed to America’s long working hours, you’ll be shocked to know that Greece has taken things to the next level. According to the OECD, the average employee worked 1,949 hours in 2019 – to compare, the US’s average was 1,779.
Athens – the largest city in Greece, with a population of 3 million – is undoubtedly the working hub of the country. There are, however, lots of job opportunities in smaller cities, such as Thessaloniki and Patras.
Getting a work visa for Greece
All non-EU nationals staying or working in Greece for more than 90 days have to apply for a type D visa (or National Visa). You can apply for this visa either online or through your local Greek Embassy – but remember, you have to get this visa before arriving in Greece.
You’ll need to have the following documents on hand when applying for the visa:
- A valid passport
- Prove of employment contract
- Medical insurance coverage while in Greece
- Criminal background check from the police station nearest the applicant’s residence
Once you’ve arrived in Greece, you’ll also need to apply for a residence/work permit. A few years back, Greece’s residence and work permits were separated, but have now been combined to make the process easier for expats. This means that residence permits can now also include the right to work.
Average salary in Greece
It’s no secret that Greece has a struggling economy – which hasn’t been helped by the coronavirus pandemic – and it shows in the country’s average salary. As of 2019, a typical worker in Greece had an annual salary of $23,930.
This figure will of course fluctuate, depending on the field of work you’re in. We’ve listed a few examples of what you can expect below.
|Job||Average annual salary|
Data from Wise, June 2021
Income tax in Greece
According to KPMG, both residents and non-residents need to pay employment income tax in Greece.
To give you an idea of what to expect, we’ve listed the tax brackets below:
|Taxable income bracket||Tax rate on income for 2020 in bracket|
|€0 – €10,000||9%|
|€10,001 – €20,000||22%|
|€20,001 – €30,000||28%|
|€30,001 – €40,000||36%|
Climate in Greece
Greece’s climate will greet you with hot, dry summers and cold, wet winters. This regular pattern will be more intense in some areas depending on where you’re based – for example, the south experiences blisteringly hot summers, while the north will typically deal with snow in the winter.
Overall, the country has a sunny climate, so you better pack your suncream – temperatures usually reach 86 to 95°F in the summer, and sometimes even 104°F in July and August.
Does it snow in Greece?
Despite its reputation as a perfect summer holiday destination, it does snow in Greece. During the winter, many areas of Greece can get a dusting of the white stuff – especially in the mountainous areas.
Sometimes Greece is affected by cold air drifting in from Northern Europe or Russia. In these cases, even the milder areas of Greece can get snow.
If you’re located on the coast or surrounding islands, however, you’ll probably just get a rainy winter.
The best places to live in Greece
There are a lot of great locations to explore in Greece – so make sure you do your research before you move. You could enjoy the quiet life on one of the nation's many islands, or live it up in some of its buzzing cities.
To give you a headstart, we’ve listed some of the best places to live in Greece below.
Athens: best for work
Greece’s economy has been in turmoil over the past decade, which means unemployment rates are high. Your best bet for work is most probably Athens – Greece’s charming and historic capital.
Here, the tourism industry provides a huge percentage of the city’s job opportunities. And, now that travel restrictions are beginning to ease after COVID-19, the Greeks are keen to get this sector up and running again.
There is also a high demand for English teachers across Athens, so if English is your first language, you’ve got a bit of a head start.
And for any jobs that require a lot of travel, Athens is perfect. With easy access to the international airport, regional flights to most of the larger Greek islands, and train lines to other major Greek cities, the transport links won’t let you down.
Chania: best for retirement
Chania is a safe, picturesque town with a strong sense of community.
Situated on Greece’s second-largest island, Crete, Chania’s large expat community has been steadily growing over the past few decades. With this level of support from other foreigners, you can benefit from a very close-knit community, which you typically don’t get on the mainland.
This city may be small, but there are still tons of activities for retirees to try. Explore the stunning old town center and its quaint local shops, visit the Venetian harbor and its mosque, try some of the locals’ favorite tipples, or dine out at a sea-front restaurant.
And, to top it all off, the cost of living is much cheaper on the island compared to a lot of mainland cities.
Corfu: best for families
With huge green spaces and idyllic sandy beaches, Corfu has plenty of room for kids to burn off some energy – not to mention how easy it is on the eyes.
But this small Greek island is more than just dramatic coastlines. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, cafes, and tavernas to explore. There’s also a number of high-ranking schools in Corfu, so you can make sure your children are getting the best education.
Plus, large sections of the town – especially near the harbor – are pedestrianized, making it a super child-friendly area.
Some small Greek islands also have a legally mandated mikró ýpno between 3-5pm. During this time, everyone stops moving and just relaxes – the perfect opportunity for some quality family time.
7 quick facts about Greece
- To avoid ruining ancient historic sites, high heels are banned in some areas of Greece
- Santorini is an active volcano
- Greece has over 6,000 islands
- Greece’s official name is the Hellenic Republic, also known as Hellas
- Greece is one of the most mountainous countries in Europe, with 80% of the country covered in this tricky terrain
- Greece is one of the sunniest places in the world, with an average of 300 days of sunshine per year
- 40% of the entire Greek population lives in the capital city of Athens
There’s a lot to take on board when it comes to moving abroad, but hopefully this article has helped introduce the important things to know about Greece.
Once you’ve moved past the excitement of having Greek sandy beaches just a stone’s throw away from your home, it’s a good idea to think about the serious stuff: shipping your belongings out there.
Luckily, we’re here to help. Rather than scouring the internet for the best companies and prices, let us do the hard work. Simply pop a few details about your trip on this short form, and our trusted suppliers will be in touch shortly with quotes for you to compare.