Living in Greece: Pros, Cons, and Real-Life Experiences

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July 8, 2024

Living in Greece offers plenty of advantages that shape everyday life: sun, beaches, history and friendly people. However, moving to Greece also means navigating a slow and often frustrating bureaucratic system, where basic administrative tasks take much longer than expected. The laid-back Greek lifestyle, while enjoyable, can sometimes clash with our expectations, and communication often relies on in-person interactions rather than emails. Despite these hurdles, many find the slower pace of life and the overall experience in Greece rewarding and would not trade it for their previous lifestyle in other countries.

This recorded webinar hosted on our YouTube channel discusses the pros and cons of living in Greece as shared by three speakers with diverse backgrounds and experiences: Nicoletta, Julianna and Aimée.

Nicoletta's Key Takeaways

Nicoletta, who is one-quarter Greek, shares her journey of moving to Greece and the positive impact on her lifestyle and personal growth.

A new chapter

  • When Nicoletta first moved to Anafi, the tiny island next to Santorini, she learnt that the slow way of life allowed her to change her hectic lifestyle in the big cities of Milan, Rome, and London, where she used to live.

Navigating the challenges of Greek bureaucracy

  • Despite showcasing the positive aspects of living in Greece like cultural richness, there are several challenges to keep in mind, such as bureaucracy, which Nicolette says is a bit “annoying”.
  • In the recording, Nicoletta adds that dealing with paperwork in Greece can be quite challenging and time-consuming. Only recently, after COVID-19, some services have become available online. Previously, everything had to be done in person, often involving multiple visits to different offices and a lot of back-and-forth. Here are some of her suggestions: some text
    • Patience is essential when navigating this process.
    • Be prepared to deal with a very slow system in Greece. It can take a long time to complete tasks; for example, collecting eight documents for a property sale took over three months, which locals considered quick. This reflects the laid-back Greek attitude of siga, siga, which means slowly, slowly, where things eventually happen but at a relaxed pace.
    • Adjusting to this mindset is important to avoid frustration.
    • This relaxed lifestyle has its positives, such as enjoying life at a slower pace, but can be frustrating when it comes to work. Additionally, communication is often not conducted via email, unlike in places like London, making it more challenging to get timely responses.
  • As a final point, high taxation is a significant challenge, especially for business owners. Despite these negatives, the speaker remains happy with their decision to live in Greece and has no desire to return to Italy or London.

Julianna's Key Takeaways

Juliana highlights the beauty of Greece, friendly people, and quality of food, but also mentions challenges like the “me first” attitude and patriarchy.

Positive first impressions

  • Julianna was raised in Estonia. She moved to Greece as a teen. She describes feeling initially surprised upon arriving in a new place, finding people there to be open, loud, and articulate, similar to the Estonians. This experience made them feel at home. It was nice to encounter others like them, which was a significant and positive aspect of her move.
  • The speaker expresses why she loves Greece: some text
    • Diverse nature, including mountains, rivers, seas, and various types of beaches.
    • Vibrant colors of the landscape, such as green, blue, and turquoise.
    • Greece is a beautiful and raw country with unspoiled nature.
    • Positive experience with the local people, particularly Thessaloniki.
    • High quality and variety of food, especially fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish.
  • Julianna compares living in Thessaloniki and Athens. She finds people in Thessaloniki to be more laid-back and friendly, while those in Athens are more cautious due to competition. Despite this, she had a positive experience in Greece, and felt embraced by the local people. She initially lived in Thessaloniki but now resides in Athens, appreciating the friendliness in smaller cities.

A few downsides

  • Despite the perks of living in Greece, Julianna also shared some negatives: some text
    • She discusses the "me first" attitude, where people often prioritize themselves and teach their children to do the same. This behavior is considered normal in Greece and can be seen in situations like cutting in line.
    • This "me first" attitude in Greece has softened over the years, particularly among younger generations, though it is still noticeable. Another negative point she mentions is the patriarchy, especially in business. She feels this has been a norm, but observes that it was more pronounced in the early 2000s, where women were given less important tasks than men, compared to now. Despite being 41, she sees a change over time in societal attitudes.
    • Like Nicoletta, Julianna recognizes the lack of government support for freelancers and small businesses.
  • Despite these challenges, she emphasizes her love for the country, acknowledging both positive and negative aspects. She concludes with gratitude for the opportunity to share her perspectives, noting that every country has its own mix of good and bad points.

Aimee’s Key Takeaways

Aimée talks about her experience moving to Greece for her Master’s degree and deciding to stay during the pandemic. Originally from Mexico, Aimée came to Greece to pursue her Master's Degree as part of the Erasmus program. This experience has been vastly different from what she had initially expected.


  • Aimée remarks that Greece is quite safe in comparison to the other places where she has lived before, with locals being very accommodating.
  • Even though Greece has relatively low cost of living compared to most European countries, supermarket prices are still expensive.


  • Aimée breaks down what ‘Greeksplaining’ is. Some Greek people can be a little intrusive, and don’t know how to respect boundaries.  


In the webinar hosted on our YouTube channel, each speaker’s background influences their view of Greece, with Nicoletta emphasizing personal growth, Juliana focusing on social dynamics, and Aimée highlighting academic opportunities, as well as the phenomenon of ‘Greeksplaining’. Despite facing obstacles like bureaucracy and patriarchy, the speakers express a deep love for Greece and appreciate its natural beauty, friendly people, and high quality of life.

For expats who are looking to immigrate to Greece, books can provide valuable insights into Greek culture and traditions, helping newcomers acclimate to societal norms and expectations. Understanding the cultural nuances and challenges can lead to a smoother transition and better integration into Greek society.