Moving an entire life to another country is a life-changing event. A lot of things need to be taken into consideration and to each individual’ s decision the various factors will be weighted differently, in accordance to his priorities and interests. Due to the economic crisis and the stereotypes that prevailed as a result, retirees were hesitant to choose Greece as their retirement destination. However, this trend was overturned and now Greece has re-established itself as a preferable choice.
The Greek mild climate
Firstly, the country’s mild climate is its greatest advantage. There are no extreme temperature changes, the seasons are clear. The warm summer days and the winter cold are beneficial for people suffering from respiratory diseases, as they are not burdened by the humidity that characterizes the northern regions of Europe. Furthermore, the sunny and clear days have a soothing effect on people’s psychology, increasing optimism and cultivating a positive outlook on life in general. It is exactly on that brightness that various yoga retreats and sanctuaries in the nature began their operation, integrating another service to the economy.
Re-establish your bond with nature
The natural beauty of the country which combines mountain and sea landscapes in harmonious alternations is a great lure for those seeking to re-establish their bond with nature and reclaim the tranquility lost in the crowded streets of modern cities. There is a pan-European shift in the way we perceive our relationship with nature which is directly related with the climate crisis. Slowly but steadily we are witnessing the emergence of citizens’ movements in the form of voluntary groups with environmental protection objectives. Greece has kept up with this trend: various groups have formed particularly in the rural areas aiming to protect the uniqueness of the natural environment and raise awareness over human activity that endangers it. Retirees that have lived in countries where recycling and environmental protection are at a much more elevated level can have a very positive input in local communities and achieve a smooth integration for themselves.
Greek local authority support for foreign retirees
It is important to note that particularly local authorities are aware of the positive impact that foreigners can have in their communities and have undertaken initiatives in order to facilitate their movement and support them in their needs. For instance, municipalities have launched websites in the English language where relevant information on the administrative requirements can be found. On a central level, the government has introduced a provision enabling retirees who receive pension from a foreign state to transfer their tax residence in Greece and make use of a favourable tax regime. The provision was put forward by Law 4714/2021 and reads as follows: An individual, who (1) is the recipient of a pension from a foreign state (2) with which Greece has an agreement on administrative cooperation and (3) who has not been a Greek tax resident for the previous five (5) out of six (6) years, can apply to the competent tax authority to fall under the privileged tax status. The latter provides for a tax rate of 7% for this income. The individual is obliged to declare all his income, whether obtained abroad or in Greece.
Greece’ s cultural aspect
Another benefit from retiring in Greece is the cultural aspect. When thinking of Greece in terms of history and civilization, the first picture to a foreigner’s mind is that of Acropolis. Nonetheless, throughout the country’s territory there are numerous monuments and archaeological sites. In addition to the monuments of classical antiquity which have been preserved and are a key element of the cultural heritage of Greece, there are castles and forts of the Byzantine and Ottoman eras that prove the continuity of the Greek presence and serve as factual evidence of the part of humanity’s history that took place in this corner of the world. Furthermore, the country that gave birth to the arts continues this tradition, with a very rich artistic production. Various music festivals are organized all year long while theatrical fans can choose among numerous theatrical performances, some of them taking place in the ancient theatres of Epidaurus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.
Greek investment in public infrastructure
Addressing more practical issues in relation to the management of everyday life, Greece has taken advantage of its participation in the EU and has invested in infrastructure. Indeed, the country has an exemplary road network and public transport, both economical and safe. The economic crisis signalled the privatization of ports and airports which have been modernized and offer competitive services to their users. Moreover, the Covid-19 crisis has made more than obvious that the public health system in Greece is functioning and providing high quality services, despite popular belief as to the contrary. Certainly, there is room for improvement and short backs to be overcome but the picture is not as negative as presented and one can be sure that he/she will receive the care needed, depending on the problem he is facing. Last but not least, the country took advantage of the recent crisis to strengthen its digital infrastructure, indicatively by providing secure and fast internet connections.
Cost of living in Greece
On another note, the cost of living is low when compared to other European countries. In addition, there is an abundance of high quality agricultural products that can support a balanced diet, especially the Mediterranean diet which is considered one of the most healthy and balanced.
Finally, the financial crisis has led to a significant drop in prices but also to a significant offer of properties to sell which in turn resulted in a revival of the real estate market in Greece. Due to the seismic character of the country, the properties meet very strict urban planning standards and therefore, are particularly safe for private residence. Acquiring a property can perhaps be used complementary to the Golden Visa provisions that allow for real estate owner whose property is estimated at €250,000 to apply for a residence permit that can be extended to his family.