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Best Cities for Digital Nomads in Greece

Digital Nomads Greece
Pelion Homes create workshare spaces for Digital Nomads Credit: Stathis Cataropoulos

Greece and its cities and islands is the perfect country for the post-pandemic, self-disciplined Digital Nomad.

Blessed with a temperate climate, a high standard of living, mouth-watering food, affordability, and a laidback attitude, Greece could become a top destination for digital nomads.

After over a year of lockdown and most of us being forced to work from home, the traditional concept of going to the office has now been morphed into a moveable, digital experience.

Even better, and with the latest European surge of Covid receding, remote workers have the freedom to pick up their computers from the dining room table and work near crystal blue waters or a verdant mountain range anywhere in Greece.

Digital Nomads Greece
Pelion Homes for Digital Nomads/Credit: Stathis Cataropoulos

Enter the age of digital nomadism

Teamed with the rapid turnaround of digital transformation workers involved in blogging, web development, media, marketing, co-working share spaces, and art have been flocking Greece of late.

Incredibly, if Greece attracted 100,000 Digital Nomads a year, it would be almost equivalent to the weekly income brought in by 2.5 million tourists.

More recently, travel insurance comparison site InsureMyTrip examined the latest data available for countries with remote working visas to assess which ones offer the best and worst opportunities for Digital Nomads.

Greece was marked sixth out of the first top ten countries.

Top cities or islands for Digital Nomads in Greece

Greek Reporter spoke to digital nomads who have voted for their top five areas, some previously not considered, of living and working in Greece.

They are Athens, Chania on Crete island, Syros island, Volos and Pelion.

Athens

Athens, which has an overall score of 3.6/5 on NomadList. The Greek capital has fast, free Wi-Fi everywhere, a good quality of life score, and is high on the fun and safety scale. It has a great variety of districts, archeological sites, cafes, restaurants, coworking spaces and bars and many opportunities for entertainment. However, it is a bit pricey, with an average cost of living for a Nomad at approximately €2,504 per month.

Digital nomad: Bart van Poll, co-founder of Spotted by Locals, a blog about city guides with insider tips by locals in 81 cities, registered in the Netherlands.

­­­­­­Average cost of food per week

About 75 euros.

Average rent per week

Between 75 and 125 euros for a 1-bedroom apartment.

Cost of entertainment on average per week

Bart van Poll says he spends about 40 euros a week for tickets and drinks. “Athens is a haven for underground culture. The rent is cheap, so we see a lot of young artists who cannot afford making a living as an artist in their own country, come to Athens,” he tells Greek Reporter.

“Before the lockdown, I attended exhibition openings, musical performances or theater at least a few times a week. It feels like Athens must have the highest density of theaters and outdoor cinemas per capita in the world.”

Greece Digital Nomads
Digital Nomad and co-founder of SpottedByLocals, Bart van Poll lives in Athens/Credit:Bart van Poll

Unique tours and history close by

Van Poll lives in Petralona. “We are lucky to have the Filippappou Hill with lots of archeological history just behind our house. I go there almost every day. Other than that, I’m not really a ‘sightseer.’ I love just walking around and exploring new neighborhoods, spotting street art and small neighborhood stores that haven’t changed for decades.

Co-working space

“There are lots of amazing co-working spaces. My favorite is Impact Hub in Psirri.”

Internet speed

He says, however, that internet speed is a disadvantage. “I disagree with NomadList,” he tells Greek Reporter.

“In our apartment, we get 10 Mbps download speed/1 Mbps upload, which is lousy! Fiber is being rolled out everywhere around the city, and I can’t wait until it reaches our area. In the meantime, if I need a faster speed, I use 4G internet from either Wind or Cosmote, which are both superfast and reliable.”

Any other perks?

“As far as I know, there are no special perks offered by the Athens Municipality. But I think Athens doesn’t need any perks! Even without free fiber internet, I wouldn’t move anywhere else!” van Poll says.

Effie Houseas, owner of Nannies of Greece is also a digital nomad operating from Athens. The site matches experienced and reliable nannies/maternity nurses/governesses with families. It also finds housekeepers, elderly care workers, gardeners and private chefs for businesses and households.

Digital Nomads Greece
Digital Nomad and owner of ‘Nannies of Greece’/Credit: Facebook

 ­­­­­­Average cost of food per week

50-70 euros. 

Average rent per week

150 euros per person. 

Cost of entertainment on average per week

20-50 euros on average. In summer it can be 50-100 euros. 

Houseas tells Greek Reporter that she lives an eight-minute drive from the center, “so there is the Acropolis, museums and so much more that is on offer in the city of Athens, including beaches, shopping and theatres.

Co-working space

“I barely use the office, truth be told, preferring to work in the combined lounge and dining area where the space is large and bright – a benefit from working from home. I also use cafes to meet up with clients,” Houseas says.

Internet speed

90 Mbps. 

Any other perks?

“I can work from any location I want. I am free to visit home as needed. I get to work outside in beautiful locations and cafes to meet nannies and, also make the experience more convenient for my clients,” the owner of Nannies of Greece, says.

Crete

Chania on Crete Island has an overall score of 3.02/5, has fast internet, a good quality of life score, but is regarded as costly at €2,765 per month.

However, the island has a ‘Work from Paradise’ initiative and focused on extending the 5G network to encompass the whole island, including accommodation geared to Digital Nomads.

Crete has great variety. You can choose lying on one of the stunning organized beaches of Crete, where you can easily find Wi-Fi or 4G connection, or stay in a mountainous village and forget being on an island.

Digital nomad Morgane Oleron is the operations manager of GreekEscape , a program in Crete for remote workers and digital nomads, combining co-working and co-living, registered in Switzerland. She is based in the city of Chania.

Cost of food on average per week

“We do not provide food, but we are very close to supermarkets and restaurants, and we have a fully equipped kitchen for our residents to cook. We have dinners together every now and then, and we also have cooking classes with locals that can be organized if our residents wish to do so,” she tells Greek Reporter.

“On average, our guests spend 200 euros per week on groceries and outdoor activities.”

Cost of rent on average per week

“At the moment, we have a monthly offer between 1,350 and 1,750 euros for a whole month for a private double ensuite with balcony (option to have a duplex room). Everyone has access to the whole house (kitchen, living area, co-working space, terrace, infinity pool, and garage).”

Cost of entertainment on average per week

Oleron says that GreekEscape offer two events a week that are set, and are open to organizing more things, depending on the residents’ wishes and time.

“The social event can be learning to cook Greek food, doing dance classes, or having barbecue on the terrace. The business event can be a skill-sharing event, a workshop on a specific topic (such as cryptocurrency investments, social media marketing, productivity tools, etc.) led by our community manager or one of our residents who wish to share his or her knowledge. The events are part of the stay,” Oleron tells Greek Reporter.

Unique tours and history close by

“There is lots to do around Chania! It’s a beautiful old town and so lovely to discover. For nature lovers there are the gorgeous beaches, hiking opportunities, or horseback riding. There is also walking the Samaria or Imbros gorges, diving, boat tours, and enjoying the food and wine. There are many restaurants and bars to try out,” Oleron says.

“Our villas are a 10-minute walk from the city and the old town, as well as the historical and naval museums. There is also the option to take a day trip to the peninsula of Akrotiri, to have a swim, or visit the monasteries and the archeological site of Aptera. You can also visit wineries and fishing villages on the coast,” she adds.

Co-working space

GreekEscape has a shared living and co-working space available for to its residents with ergonomic chairs, printers, scanners, white boards, flipchart, stationery items, high-speed internet and a room that can be booked for calls.

Internet speed

There is 50 Mbps internet connection installed in each villa with different antennas on each floor.

Any other perks?

“We also offer extra services such as transfer from the airport, cooking classes with locals, and the ‘Escape tours’ – it really depends on what the residents want to do. Our Escape Tours can range for 20 euros per person to 150 euros per person.

“We can organize a hike or even book a diving trip with a local diving school for our residents,” Oleron notes.

Digital Nomads Greece
Digital Nomad artists and interior designers have their base in Crete at AllOutDesigns/Credit: AllOutDesigns

Digital nomad Steve O’Donnell, a street artist/interior designer of All Out Design is also based in Chania.

Registered in Ireland, he is part of a team of fine artists who design rooms and paint to expansive surfaces, such as walls and ceilings.

Cost of food on average per week

60 euros. 

Cost of rent on average per week

“We own our home.”

Cost of entertainment on average per week

“We spend 50 euros on average per week, mostly on dining out!”

Unique tours and history close by

“Koukouvaya Café is a must visit, and Katholiko Gorge is a beautiful hike with an incredibly rewarding swimming spot at the end,” O’Donnell tells Greek Reporter.

Co-working space

Workhub Chania

Internet speed

“We have fibre-optic which is very fast!”

Any other perks?

“A short walk to Oasis, the best gyros place in Chania on Voloudaki street!”

Digital nomad Alexandra Kafka, Founder of Urban Yoga Lab, is a mindfulness coach and yoga teacher based also in Chania. The company is registered in the UK.

Digital Nomads Greece
Alexandra Kafka, Director of Urban Yoga Lab and Mindfulness Coach at Ballos beach in Crete/Credit: Urban Yoga Lab/Denis Khakimov

Cost of food on average per week

50 euros. 

Cost of rent on average per week

“250 euros, but I am sharing costs with my partner, who also works remotely. Plus, the place is a mini villa because it helps me do my virtual webinars and workshops in a nice setting,” Kafka says. 

Cost of entertainment on average per week

50 euros, which includes drinks, dinner in a taverna and sunbeds! 

Unique tours and history close by

“The amazing beaches of Ballos, Elafonissi and Falassarna. And Chania is a very beautiful, historic town.

Co-working space

“Our villa.”

Internet speed

9.85 Mbps download speed, 7.8 Mbps upload speed 

Any other perks?

“Being able to work near the pool, garden, and barbecue in our villa, as well as the different venues all throughout beautiful Crete!,” she tells Greek Reporter.

WorkNParadise in Crete is also another initiative which offers any professional or Digital Nomad the opportunity to “escape” to work in Crete; to learn new skills in workshops and events, and to meet other like-minded digital professionals, while enjoying many leisure and outdoor activities, and the best cuisine Crete has to offer. 

Syros

While Mykonos, the cosmopolitan hub of the Aegean, has fast internet, a good quality of life score, and high on the fun and safety scale, it’s a bit pricey, with an average cost of living for a Nomad at apx €4,846per month.

There are hundreds of Greek islands, and a lot of Digital Nomads are flocking to the smaller unassuming types, such as the Cycladic gem, Syros, which has been ready to meet the needs of these new teleworking tourists for a while. The island is blessed with special beauty, steep terrain, golden beaches and crystal-clear waters.

Digital nomad Betty Chatzisavvidou is a visual designer of Monkey and Donkey based in Syros.

Digital Nomads Greece
Digital Nomad Betty Chatzisavvidou and the sunset she witnesses in her home in Syros/Credit: Donkey and Monkey/ Betty Chatzisavvidou

Cost of food on average per week

50-70 euros.

Cost of rent on average per week

100 euros when you rent by the month.

Cost of entertainment on average per week

20-50 euros.

Unique tours and history close by

“The island of Syros has a unique and long history. There is a song about this Syros saying, “I feel like you put a spell on me, my beloved Syros” – and that’s exactly how most of us feel about this place,” Chatzisavvidou tells Greek Reporter.

I had come up four times for vacation when I decided to live on this island,” she tells Greek Reporter.

Co-working space

“I work from home.”

Internet speed

“100 Mbps! I never had any issues during web meetings with clients around the world, not even when my internet was at 50Mps.”

Digital Nomads Greece
Monkey and Donkey, visual designer, Betty Chatzisavvidou at restaurant photoshoot, Mikro Karavi, Tinos. Web design, Strategy & Communication, Panagiotis Klappas/Credit: Monkey and Donkey

Any other perks?

“Syros is one of the few islands that doesn’t count only on tourism. It’s also vibrant during the winter period. On the island, we have The Department of Product and Systems Design Engineering (one of the constituent departments of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of the Aegean), which means that it’s a place full of young people,” Chatzisavvidou says.

“In your free time, you can choose between many organized activities and hobbies – from playing theatre, learning to play musical instruments, cooking lessons, hiking, yoga, and any other activity.

“Apart from those things, Syros is an island full of festivals, exhibitions, theatrical plays, workshops and conferences. From Syff (film festival) to Anima Syros (animation festival) and many more!” she adds.

Volos

Volos is a coastal port city in Thessaly and a favorite haunt of Athenians wishing to getaway. It is situated midway between Athens and Thessaloniki and rich in natural abundant beauty with plenty of co-working spaces on offer and strong internet connection.

Digital nomad Markos Korvesis is the co-owner of LeadCompass Career Services, which offers a complete career coaching service.

He tells Greek Reporter that he is currently in the city of Volos (although my base is Athens). “I also regularly travel to other cities and plan to visit Thessaloniki, Edessa, Kastoria, Kalabaka, Karditsa, Lagonisi, and Evia island this year and other islands. I have travelled to 22 European countries during the last three years.”

Digital Nomads Greece
Digital Nomad and career coach at LeadCompass, Markos Korvesis with his computer roaming Greece/Cafe in Evia/Credit: LeadCompass

Cost of food on average per week 

“The weekly cost varies from 25 euros if I cook at home (either Airbnb or hostel) to 50-100 euros if I go out.”

Cost of rent on average per week 

“It could start from 0 up to 10 euros per week if I’m at my homebase in Athens or friends/colleagues/couchsurfing. It changes if I stay at a hostel. The cost would also go up to 200-350 euros if I stay at an AirBnB or hotel for two persons, ” Korvesis tells Greek Reporter.

Cost of entertainment on average per week 

35-50 euros per week.

Unique tours and history close by  

“I like to do local tours- sometimes hire a bicycle, or go on a boat trip, or do walking cave tours, which are about 5-10 euros per tour. However, activities such as rafting, horseback riding, paragliding, canoeing, kayaking, etc., can cost from 5 to 70 euros.”

Co-working space 

Korvesis says that he has not used any co-working spaces so far. “I plan to use them for webinars as my speaking engagements have increased significantly during the last months. Here in Volos, the co-working space is 5-8 euros for two hours (including coffee/tea) for the open space and 40 euros for two hours (private space for webinars).

Internet speeds 

“I have found it’s about 10-15 Mbps on average around Greece. Here in Volos, it’s up to 90 Mbps, which is great, whereas in Evia, it was just 3 Mbps.

Any other perks? 

Relatively inexpensive, but good quality lifestyle!

Pelion

Pelion, newly discovered by Digital Nomads, has many gorgeous villages on offer for those seeking quaint atmospheres and the stunning Pelion Mountains. Time stands still in this work haven of quietness and nature. It is a favorite of discerning Digital Nomads who wish to cultivate creativity and productivity in their work.

Digital Nomads Greece
Digital Nomads, Nicholas Murray and Stathis Cataropoulos run Pelion Homes for remote workers and offer share workspaces in paradise. Mylopota Beach, Pelion /Credit:Stathis Cataropoulos

Nicholas Murray, marketing and retreats manager at Pelion Homes which provide an idyllic haven for modern work, whether you’re a travel addict, a digital nomad, or an entrepreneur working remotely and looking for a change of pace

Cost of food on average per week

“50 to 70 euros – depends on how much you eat!”

Cost of rent on average per day

Approximately 100 euros.

Cost of entertainment on average per week

30 euros.

Unique tours and history close by

“The ‘Shakayak Kayaking Tour’ is great fun for adventure seekers and outdoor lovers! We also offer some food foraging, nature-inspired outdoor activities at Pelion Homes. Plus, we arrange seminars and retreats,” Murray tells Greek Reporter.

Co-working space

Pelion Homes and Pelion Retreat Centre.

Internet speed

15 Mbps.

Any other perks? 

“The beautiful nature, and the beaches! And, of course, meeting so many like-minded people.”

Greece’s tax incentive law for Digital Nomads

In late 2020, the Greek parliament passed a new law 4758/2020, which established tax incentives to attract foreign employees, including some 800,000 Greek nationals who left the country during the crisis-era brain-drain.

The law made provision for a persuasive 50 percent tax reduction for digital ‘settlers’ for the first seven years of their relocation to the country. However, as Greek taxes have become rather hefty after the crisis, each Nomad should do a thorough check of the tax laws that might apply to their situation.

There are also additional incentives for investors who are tax residents in the country or startups. 

Digital Nomad Visa

Extended stays in Greece, as in most European Union countries, can be met with challenges if one does not hold a European passport due to Schengen regulations. Non-EU remote workers from the UK or the US, for example, need to be mindful they can only stay in Schengen countries such as Greece for 90 days in any of 180.

If they wish to stay in the country for longer than a simple tourist visa allows, then the ‘Digital Nomad Visa’ – a travel permit that legalizes the status of traveling professionals – will be helpful if they can prove they can financially sustain themselves for the entire duration of their time in Greece. In the meantime, the Greek government is working on a 1-year visa that can be requested online.

Brexit Bonus for Digital Nomads

British citizens are welcomed with the so-called ‘Brexit Bonus’ – and are offered a visa valid for six months, rather than three.

The Digital Nomad Visa for Greece is still in the making — the regulation had not been finalized according to the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) as of the date of writing this article.

Digital Nomads Greece
Digital Nomads Nicholas Murray and Stathis Cataropoulos run Pelion Homes for remote workers who want work share spaces in paradise. Mylopotamos Beach, Pelion/Credit: Stathis Cataropoulos

The ‘Green Passport’ useful to Digital Nomads

The Digital Nomad Visa coupled with the world’s first safe and secure European Union’s ‘Green Passport’ , makes Greece a prime destination for Digital Nomads.

The Green Passport allows approved countries and their local clinics, hospitals, and other trusted partners to upload vetted proof of a negative Covid-19 test, antibodies, or full vaccination. The trusted data sharing will expand to the US, UK, and other countries for a July launch date. The holders of these passports will not be subject to any restrictions on free movement.

For traveling to Greece before July, most EU countries are accepting simple proof of vaccination and any verifiable test results, but also anyone with a negative RT-PCR test taken within three days of arrival.

Digital Nomads Greece
Digital Nomad and career coach at LeadCompass, Markos Korvesis with his computer roaming Greece/Cafe in Evia, Kimi Port, Evia Island/Credit: LeadCompass

Considerations for remote workers

What makes an area the ideal location for a Digital Nomad? The opportunity to launch Start-Ups relatively seamlessly, as seen in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patra, and the island of Crete. Places with good infrastructure are also an obvious choice, such as Kalamata, Crete, Thessaloniki, and Trikala. However, accessibility to banks, natural surrounds, affordability, recreation, and overall quality of life are all second to one thing Digital Nomads require the most: Internet speed.

Free Wi-Fi spots are free to access all over Greece, from dentists’ chairs to cafes in remote regional areas, and this is a bonus in the eyes of many remote workers. There is also the option of purchasing a 4G internet Sim card from the Cosmote carrier for as little as 13 euros a month. This will grant efficient download and upload speeds with excellent coverage.

More importantly, is the steady rolling out of the 5G networks in Greece, 25x faster than today’s 4G.

In any event, Digital Nomads are keen to explore unchartered territories of Greece where lifestyle, food, beaches and excellent internet are an optimum solution to ‘working from home’.

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