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A Guide to Greece - The Country

Living in the Sun - International Property Sales

Information kindly provided by Living in the Sun -

The Country

The “Jewel“ in the Mediterranean. Climate, sea, mountains, culture, history, and amazing value for money in both properties and standard of living, Greece really does offer everything at a price you can afford. Your income is taxed less, and the things you buy with it cost less! If you have ever dreamt of “Living In The Sun”, Greece is the place where you can make it come true.

Greece is a full member of the EU. Over the last 10 years demand for holiday and retirement property has increased dramatically. 2001 saw a huge rise in property sales to many foreigners, especially the British, buying now to beat the forecast property boom. The indications are that 2002 will be even busier, as people seize a great chance to buy at a good price. Not only do you get the lifestyle, the climate, and the sheer pleasure of living there, but also perhaps to see the value of the property appreciate considerably. Land prices have risen recently due to the lack of availability of building plots with wonderful views. There is also talk that the Greek Government will increase the size of plot required to obtain planning permission from 4000 sq. meters to 6,000 sq. meters. All the signs suggest that there has never been a better time to invest and buy property in Greece – you too can then enjoy “Living In The Sun”  

greek properties, greek property, grek real estate

Climate Flora and Fauna Population
Currency Air and Seaports, Transport Medical
Crime Working in Greece Income Tax  


Mainland Greece consists of a mountainous peninsula extending some 500 km (310 miles) into the Mediterranean from the Southwest corner of the Balkans, with the Aegean Sea to the east. The Ionian Sea to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the South. In addition to the mainland, Greece has some 3,000 islands, only around 150 of wish are inhabited, comprising around 20 per cent of Greek territory.

The mainland and islands have a combined coastline of some 13,350 km (8,300). The principal structural feature of Greece are the Pindos Mountains extending southeast wards from the Albanian border and covering most of the peninsula. Some 80 per cent of the mainland is mountainous with 20 mountains over 2,000m/6,560 feet (the highest peak is Mount Olympus at 2,900m/9,500 feet) permanently covered in snow. Greece has little flat or cultivated land and woodland covers around half the country. Greece has borders with Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey and the former Yugoslavian State of Macedonia (now independent). 

The mornings are deliciously warm – straight from bed to a breakfast in the sunshine on the terrace or in your garden, where another beautifully warm day awaits. You can sit in the shade of your own olive tree and watch the first sailboats leaving the harbour to catch the offshore breezes, and start planning your day. This is the life! This isLiving Greece.

Greece has a warm Mediterranean climate. The subtropical summers in the lowlands are hot and dry with clear blue skies, often cooled by a system of seasonal breezes known as the “meltemia”. The mountain areas are much cooler and often covered with snow in the winter. Winters are mild in the low lands, frost and snow is very rare. Most rainfall occurs between November and March and often no rain in June, July and August. The outstanding feature of Greases climate is the ample sunshine. On average the sun shines 3,000 hours per year, that’s 8.5 hours a day. Solar heating has becoming popular as a result.

Average Temperatures (C)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
10 12 14 19 24 26 27 29 26 21 17 12

 (The time is 2 hours ahead of the UK.)

Flora and Fauna

The flora in Greece is the richest in Europe, with more than 6,000 species and subspecies of which 700 – 750 can only be found in Greece. Equally rich is the variety of fauna species living, nesting, propagating or migrating in the region. There are 116 types of mammal, 422 fowling species and 447 types of fish registered in the Greek seas. Greece has a diverse amount of vegetation. Oranges, olives, dates, pomegranates, figs, cotton, and tobacco are grown. There are forests containing oak, black pine, chestnut, beech, firs, sumac, Tulips, hyacinths, laurels and numerous wild flowers. The wildlife includes boar, European black bear, lynx, jackal, chamois, deer, fox, badger, weasel, rabbits and hedgehogs. Among the birds are hawk, pelican, egret, pheasant, partridge, stork, nightingale and turtledove. Marine life includes dolphins, sea turtles, squid, octopus, cod, bass, whitebait and red mullet.

(1998). Population Density: 79.7 per sq km. The capital Athens has a population of 3,072,922 (1991). Greek is the official language although English is widely spoken and understood in most tourist areas. There is a growing foreign community, particularly retires from Briton and other EU nations, most choose to live outside the towns in quaint villages that can offer some stunning locations where one can enjoy a more relaxed life style.

The Greek people are warm and welcoming, and visitors and residents alike find themselves quickly making friends and joining the community. Spend time in the local Cafinion or Taverna and you’ll be a local in no time at all.

Greek. English and other foreign languages such as German and Italian are widely spoken in tourist areas. English is taught at most schools and given the long association with Britain, there is a very warm welcome for British visitors and residents. Most road signs are bi-lingual, and there are English newspapers and radio stations. Satellite TV is, of course, available. You feel right at home here very quickly, and integration into the community is quick and easy.

The Euro is now the official currency of 12 EU member states including Greece. Foreign currency can be exchanged at all banks, savings banks and bureau de change. Exchange rates can fluctuate from one bank to another, so shop around.

Traveler's cheques in all major currencies are widely accepted and can be exchanged easily at all banks. Generally, banks in Greece charge an exchange commission of 2 per cent. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take travelers cheques in Euros, Pounds Sterling or US Dollars.

Credit & Debit cards are widely accepted although less so in petrol stations.

Currency restrictions: The import of local and foreign currency is not restricted provided any amount exceeding Euro 10,000 is declared on arrival. The export of local and foreign currency is allowed although amounts over Euro 2000 require an import Declaration form issued on arrival.

Banking hours - Mon-Thurs 0800-1400; Fri 0800-1330. Banks on the larger islands tend to stay open in the afternoon and some during the evening to offer currency exchange facilities during the tourist seasons. The GNTO bureau in Athens can give full details.

Air and Seaports, transport

Direct flights operate from most major European cities to the new international airport of Athens, Thessaloniki, Crete, Rhodes, and Corfu. From May to November many additional charter flights fly to the popular tourist locations in mainland Greece and her Island, so getting there is easy, and there are flight bargains to be found.

Several seaports in Greece are considered busy by any standards accommodating sailing’s of passenger ships, cruise ships and freighters. The port of Piraeus, Patras, Thessaloniki and Heraklion are all

convenient embarkation points to set sail on a Mediterranean cruise or ferry to Italy, Israel, Egypt or the Black Sea.

You drive on the right, and a visitor from the UK holding a valid driving license from his country or an international one is allowed to drive.

Taxis run from town to town on a shared basis carrying up to 6 people.

Petrol is inexpensive at about 0.45p (0.75 Euro per litre) that’s nearly half the price we pay in the UK.


Greece has a reciprocal health agreement with the UK. Refunds for medical treatment are available from The Greek Social Insurance Foundation on presentation of form E111 (available from UK post offices) Local chemists can diagnose and supply a wide selection of drugs.

For emergencies, ring 166 (public ambulance). Many ambulances without adequate facilities have air-ambulance backup.

Further help and advice on medical treatment can also be provided by the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT) at 34 Themistokleous Street, 106 78 Athens, (Tel: (1) 381 6404)

We do recommend that you obtain a private health insurance, phone or E-mail us for details


Greece has an extremely low crime rate – one of the lowest in the world - it’s a very safe and law abiding place to visit and to live. It’s also a pollution free environment, apart from the centre of Athens. When many countries are seeing crime rates rising, particularly street crime, Greece is a safe haven where you can live without these fears. Theft is very uncommon, and everyone feels very secure.
Working In Greece

Any national of an EU member country has the right to work in Greece or any other EU country.

Non EU nationals can obtain a work permit in Greece if a vacancy matching their qualifications exists.

For more information contact the Employment Inspection Services or the Ministry of Labour (Department for Foreigners Working in Greece) Tel: Athens 5295245, Fax: 5242942 )

Income Tax

Anyone who earns income originating in Greece is required to file a tax return for his entire earnings, Greek law makes no distinction between Greek citizens and other nationals whether permanent residents or not.

Temporary residents of Greece are taxed only on income earned and sourced in Greece

A UK/Greece tax treaty eliminates double taxation.

Anyone who owns a car with Greek license plates must file a tax return.


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