A Guide to Greece - The Country
Information kindly provided by Living in
the Sun - http://www.livinginthesun.com
“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”
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
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.
(The time is 2 hours ahead of the
|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.
10,516,366(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.
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.
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.
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 )
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.
residents of Greece are taxed only on income earned and
sourced in Greece
A UK/Greece tax treaty eliminates double
Anyone who owns a car with Greek license
plates must file a tax return.