It’s official: Greece is among the best places in the world to retire

22/01/2024

International Living has just released its list of the 17 best places in the world to retire in 2024. Based on its Annual Global Retirement Index, Greece – which is among the most magnetic tourist destinations – ranks 7th on the list. So, let’s take a look at the Annual Global Retirement Index, what it is based on and how it can be helpful.

Crucial factors in choosing a overseas retirement destination

For decades, International Living has been visiting and examining every corner of the world, to pinpoint the countries where the living is good as expatriate retirees, that is later on in life, when a particular set of factors contribute to happier and more balanced everyday living.

Every year, within the framework of an extensive survey, trusted and independent sources in these destinations provide feedback based on their firsthand real­-life experience “on the ground” in relation to seven assessment categories. Their input helps International Living calculate a rating for each category, on a scale of 0 to 100, with the average then determining the rank of each destination in the Annual Global Retirement Index. For reference, Costa Rica, topped the list with the high average score of 83, while Greece in 7th place scored an average of 77.

The seven categories that contribute to the final average score are: housing, cost of living, visa/benefits, affinity rating, climate, development, and healthcare.

For anyone considering retirement overseas, this is a very useful guide. Of course it is not an absolute evaluation, as different factors – eg climate, healthcare or even distance from home country – often depend on personal needs and preferences. But by comparing and contrasting the scores for each country, you can always adjust the results for your own purposes.

So how did Greece achieve its high score?

Variety is one of the key aspects of Greece. You can choose between cosmopolitan cities, bustling resorts and quiet retreats on the diverse mainland or on one of the many popular islands. So let’s break it down into the categories:

  • Housing: 68

This category combines several aspects: ease of buying property as a foreigner, value for money, expat-friendly locations, and property taxes. According to International Living, the cost of housing in Greece is 75% lower than in the US. Comparisons with other European destinations are not that extreme, but various sources confirm that property prices in Greece are around 30-40% lower than countries like Spain, for example.

  • Cost of Living: 79

Just how affordable life in Greece is has been widely recorded. In fact, the most tangible proof is in the fact that the number of expats, retirees and digital nomads enquiring into relocation to Greece is consistently increasing, as are the numbers of those who actually make the move.

  • Visa/Benefits: 76

Greece’s Golden Visa program remains among the most affordable and straightforward options for permanent residency in Europe. Eligibility is based on an investment of at least €250.000 in property, and residency is renewable indefinitely, as long as the investment is held. Permanent residency facilitates free movement across both the European Union and the Schengen zone. Spouses, dependent children, parents and parents-in-law can be included in the main investor’s application.

  • Affinity Rating: 86

This category addresses the heart more than the mind. It reflects expatriates’ experience in terms of making friends, finding community with other expatriates and/or English speakers, and in general their satisfaction with social life in a foreign country. Clearly, this is one of Greece’s fortes.

  • Climate: 70

While Greece’s climate is usually a main attraction for holidaymakers, the rating here reflects the fact that the country actually covers several micro-climates. The north is certainly colder and hosts well-known ski resorts, while weather conditions further south are more in line with the warm Mediterranean climate known for long dry summers and mild winters.

  • Development: 78

This category refers to adequate and clean road networks, public transport, internet availability, infrastructure in general, banking efficiency, and political stability. Greece will exceed your expectations in terms of internet access and speed, as well as public transport and overall stability.

  • Healthcare: 82

The rating here is a combined evaluation of both quality and cost. Greece’s high score reflects the availability of excellent doctors and hospital facilities. However, two things are worth noting: First, that expatriates applying for a residence permit must prove that they have health insurance coverage that is valid in Greece, and second, that health care is not as easily accessible in rural areas. It is therefore advisable to focus on the more populated urban or suburban areas to ensure easy access to quality healthcare.

As investment immigration expert Yiannos Trisokkas noted: “The index compares Greece to retirement destinations across the globe. But for many, higher ranking countries such as Costa Rica (1st), Mexico (3rd) and Panama (4th), are simply too far from home to be an option. Given that the geographical location is a purely personal criterion that depends on an individual’s home country, it cannot be fairly covered in the Global Retirement Index. So for anyone interested in this part of the world, Greece would easily rank higher.”

For further information regarding the acquisition of property in Greece and the latest requirements for Golden Visa eligibility, feel free to consult Velment’s experienced property professionals in Greece. Contact us by email at info@velment.com

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