Many people around the world have found themselves moving to Athens just after a short trip to the Greek capital. Who can blame them? Athens is a city brimming with life, history and culture enchanting its visitors from the very first moment. However, living and working in Athens isn’t always a cakewalk especially if you’re a foreigner. Here are some things you should keep in mind before making the big decision to move to the Greek capital.
Finding a job
Due to the economic crisis, Athens offers limited job opportunities. That doesn’t mean though that finding a job in the Greek capital is impossible.
There are specific sectors such as the tourism industry that have vacancies and address to foreigners from all over the world.
Especially if English is your mother tongue or you speak many languages chances are you’ll be able to find a job in Athens.
EU citizens and citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland don’t have to apply for a visa or a residence permit. They only have to register in the local authorities.
Those outside the EU, however, will need to apply for a visa.
It’s an application for a three-month entry visa that non-European citizens must obtain at a Greek consulate before moving to Greece.
The average monthly salary in Greece is €900 after taxes while the minimum wage increased to 758.33 euros per month in 2019 from 683.76 euros per month in 2018.
Taxes are calculated based on the annual income and for paid employment, entrepreneurial activities, and pensions up to €20,000 are 22%.
If you’re working as a self-employed either for a Greek or an international company you’ll also have to pay an additional amount of your total income to basic social security contributions.
Renting a house
When moving to a new city one of the first things that everyone strives to take care of is finding a house.
A couple of years earlier that wouldn’t be a problem if the city was Athens.
Nowadays, though, with the rise of Airbnb, the choices are the least to say limited.
Not only rents have increased rapidly but there aren’t many properties available for rental.
Especially in the areas around the city center such as Psirri and Koukaki, the number of renting houses has decreased significantly.
If you look for a place to stay in the suburbs there are higher chances to find one but the process can last around two months.
The average rent price for an 85-square-meter house in a normal area is around €500.
Unlike in other European countries, utilities aren’t included in the monthly rent price.
An average monthly price for heat, electricity and gas is around €150.
“Is Athens a safe city?” is a question that often arises among foreigners visiting Athens or considering to move here.
Even though the Greek capital is by no means ranking among the first 10 safest countries worldwide, street crime incidents occur very rarely.
Tourists and locals should always be careful of pickpockets especially in the city center but in general, Athens is a quite safe place to live in.
Athens isn’t a very expensive city but it isn’t cheap either.
Supermarkets are quite expensive in relation to the average salary but there are food markets selling vegetables and other products at lower prices.
Locals often head to Athens Central Market (Varvakios) for meat or fish while weekly vegetable food markets (laiki) take place in every neighborhood around the city.
The average price for one kilo of tomatoes is €1,60 while for 500 grams of chicken breast you’d have to pay around €5.
Transportation in Athens is quite cheap.
A 90-minute Ath.ena ticket costs €1,40 while a monthly Ath.ena card costs €30.
These types of tickets are valid for any area around Athens except for the Athens International Airport.
The downside of Athens’ public transit is there are very few 24-hour buses and the metro stops at 00.00 on weekdays and 02.00 on the weekends.
Biking around Athens isn’t common because there aren’t bike lanes yet some locals commute by bike.
Another popular way to get around Athens is by taxi.
Even though taxi rates are much higher than transport fares, they aren’t very expensive.
Leisure activities are part of most people’s daily life and while some of them are for free others have a price.
In Athens, the cost of leisure activities varies depending on the type of activity as well as the place and the district you live in.
An annual membership to a gym for example costs from 80€ to a city’s gum chain.
Yoga studios usually offer monthly memberships with prices ranging from €70 to €150.
Luckily, Athens has many collectives and cultural spaces that offer different leisure activities such as sports classes, art courses and workshops at lower prices.
Entertainment and nightlife
Entertainment and nightlife couldn’t be missing from a guide about living and working in Athens as it’s one of the city’s most important aspects.
The city boasts a diverse cultural scene brimming with museums, art galleries, theaters you name it.
Again, prices vary on what you’re looking for.
The average price for a theater play is €15 while for a ticket to the movies it is around €8.
When it comes to the notorious Athenian nightlife it offers so many choices for all styles and budgets that no one is ever disappointed.
The average price for a drink at a bar in the city center is €7 and for a beer €5.
That doesn’t mean though that you won’t find plenty of cheaper places.
Especially, in neighborhoods such as Metaxourgio and Exarchia, there are numerous local taverns and bars serving food, beverages and drinks at lower prices.
Living and working in Athens can be a very interesting and exciting experience. However, these are some of the most important things you should consider before moving to the Greek capital.
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