Retirement Rankings

Overall Ranking

Quality of Life

Integration and Acceptance

Economics

14th

93.22 pts

11th

79.29 pts

13th

64.89 pts

5th

79.22 pts

Category Rankings

Weather

6th


Healthcare
14th


Flight Distance
10th

Security

12th


Migrant's Acceptance

15th


English Proficiency

6th

Cost of Living

4th


Tax Optimization

2nd

Country Population: 10,310,587

Weather

Greece’s climate is predominantly Mediterranean, offering mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers, with variations across its diverse landscapes. Spring in Greece is pleasant, with temperatures between 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F), making it perfect for exploring the blooming outdoors and historical sites before the summer crowds arrive. Summers are notably hot, with temperatures soaring above 30°C (86°F), particularly in southern regions and the islands, though the “Meltemi” wind can bring some respite in the Aegean. Autumn sees warm weather gradually cooling, ideal for beachgoers enjoying the warm sea, while winters, especially in northern and mountainous areas, are colder with potential snowfall, contrasting with the milder conditions in southern Greece and the islands.

Regional climate differences are pronounced; northern Greece experiences colder winters with more precipitation and snow in elevated areas, whereas southern Greece and its islands enjoy very mild winters and hotter summers. Western Greece and the Ionian Islands are known for their lush, green landscapes due to higher rainfall levels. Cities like Athens reflect the typical Mediterranean pattern—hot summers and mild winters with sparse rainfall concentrated in colder months, offering a predictable pattern that influences both daily life and the optimal times for tourism and outdoor activities.

Healthcare

The healthcare system in Greece, ranked 14th globally by the WHO for quality of care, blends public and private sectors to offer comprehensive medical services, reflecting the medical sophistication akin to other EU countries. While the public healthcare system, ESY, provides universal care to citizens and some expats through a national insurance scheme, private healthcare offers additional options, including premium services for medical tourists who seek treatments like dental care and IVF at lower costs than in other EU countries. However, the economic crisis of 2009 led to funding cuts, impacting essential care and increasing wait times for medical services.

Navigating the Greek healthcare system can present challenges for foreigners, especially due to language barriers and bureaucracy in public healthcare. Private health insurance is a popular choice among expats for its ease and quality of service. Healthcare accessibility varies significantly between urban centers and remote islands, with pharmacies in less populated areas providing a surprising range of medical services. For expats, integrating into this system involves obtaining an AMKA number and choosing a suitable insurance scheme, ensuring they understand their healthcare options, whether they’re residing in bustling cities or tranquil islands.

Expats over 65 looking for private health insurance can expect a wide range of pricing, from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars per month for comprehensive coverage, which typically includes benefits like private hospital stays and specialist visits, with some plans offering medical evacuation. More basic or mid-level plans with higher deductibles is priced lower, around $200 to $600 per month, but may come with coverage limitations and higher out-of-pocket service costs. Additionally, some expats opt to supplement the public healthcare system with private insurance, a cost-effective strategy to bridge coverage gaps, particularly for dental and vision care, or faster specialist access, enhancing the overall healthcare experience in Greece.

Flight Duration

Flights from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York to Athens International Airport (ATH) in Greece offer a range of options, accommodating various travel preferences and budgets. With 34 different airlines operating on this route, passengers can select from non-stop flights or choose among 33 different transit options, providing flexibility in terms of layover locations and durations. The quickest non-stop flight takes approximately 9 hours and 33 minutes, offering a direct and efficient way to reach Athens from New York.

For non-stop flights from JFK to ATH, the journey typically lasts around 9 hours and 33 minutes, with ticket prices fluctuating based on various factors like season, booking period, and the airline, usually ranging from $600 to $1,500 for a round-trip economy fare. During peak seasons such as summer and major holidays, these prices can escalate. Alternatively, opting for connecting flights can present a more budget-friendly option, with prices possibly ranging from $400 to $1,200 for an economy round-trip ticket. Though these connecting flights are more economical, they require longer travel times due to additional stops and layovers, offering a trade-off between cost and convenience.

Security

greece

Greece holds a Level 1 rating from the US State Department travel guide, suggesting that it’s generally safe for travelers, with the nation ranking 60th out of 163 on the Global Peace Index, indicative of its relatively peaceful status. While violent crime is not prevalent, visitors and residents should be vigilant against petty crimes like pickpocketing and bag snatching, particularly in tourist-dense locales and on public transport in cities such as Athens. Scams targeting tourists are also something to watch out for, emphasizing the importance of staying informed and cautious in bustling areas.

Greece’s political climate is stable, however it is wise for expatriates to stay informed about local news, avoiding demonstrations and strikes, which, though generally peaceful, can lead to disruptions.

Migrants’ Acceptance

Greece finds itself ranked at 114 out of 138 countries in the Gallup Migrants Acceptance Index, indicating a more challenging climate for migrant acceptance relative to other nations. This ranking reflects the nation’s strenuous journey through the migration crisis, where its islands became front-line states in Europe’s migration pathways. While there are stories of warmth and welcome, the prolonged economic strain and the sheer volume of arrivals have inevitably led to complex public sentiments towards migrants. The country’s efforts to integrate migrants have been a mixed tableau, with numerous initiatives aiming to foster inclusion but often grappling with limited resources and varying degrees of public support.

The experiences of migrants and expats in Greece diverge notably due to differing socio-economic backgrounds and public perceptions. Migrants, particularly refugees, often face more formidable challenges in integration, navigating through language barriers, employment hurdles, and sometimes societal skepticism. In contrast, expats typically encounter a smoother transition, aided by their usually higher economic status and a more welcoming social environment, particularly if they hail from EU countries or other Western nations. For expats, integration often involves cultural immersion and adaptation, which is generally facilitated by a supportive expat community and a more receptive host society. Despite these challenges, both groups contribute to the cultural tapestry of Greece, each navigating their unique paths towards integration in a nation celebrated for its history, culture, and natural beauty.

English Proficiency

Greece exhibits a high level of English proficiency, ranking 12th out of 113 countries globally, according to the EF English Proficiency Index. With an EPI score of 602, Greece surpasses the global average score of 493, showcasing the country’s strong command of the English language. Within Europe, Greece is positioned at 10th out of 34 countries, indicating that Greeks have a higher proficiency in English compared to many other European nations. This high level of English proficiency is particularly evident in Athens and other large, tourist-centric cities across the nation. In these urban and tourist-frequented areas, the prevalence of English is especially pronounced, facilitating communication and enhancing the experience for visitors and expatriates.

Cost of Living

The cost-of-living comparison between New York, NY, and Athens, Greece, reveals significant disparities in consumer prices, housing, dining out, and grocery costs. Consumer prices in New York are 84.8% higher than in Athens when excluding rent, and this difference escalates to 175.5% when including rent. Specifically, rent prices in New York are over five times higher than in Athens, underscoring the stark contrast in housing costs between these two cities. Additionally, dining out in New York is almost double the cost compared to Athens, with a 90.0% higher rate. Groceries also follow this trend, being 102.5% more expensive in New York. Despite these higher living costs, the local purchasing power in New York is 107.3% greater than in Athens, indicating that residents in New York typically have a higher capacity to afford goods and services relative to their income.

In a cost-of-living comparison between Athens and New York City, dining out, groceries, and housing exhibit stark contrasts. An inexpensive meal in Athens costs around $16.07, significantly lower than New York City’s $30.00. A mid-range restaurant meal for two in Athens is priced at $56.23, compared to $130.00 in New York City. Groceries follow a similar trend, with a loaf of fresh white bread costing $1.18 in Athens and $4.30 in New York City. The disparity in housing is even more pronounced; a one-bedroom apartment in Athens’ city center averages at $611.43, whereas in New York City, it skyrockets to $4,189.81. Although basic utilities in Athens average $215.63, higher than New York City’s $174.07, transportation costs like a monthly public transport pass are much lower in Athens at $32.13 compared to New York City’s $132.00. Childcare in Athens is also more affordable at $474.00 per month against New York City’s $3,065.64, illustrating the broader trend of New York City’s substantially higher cost of living across various sectors compared to Athens.

Tax Optimization

Becoming a tax resident in Greece requires living in the country for more than 183 days in a calendar year. As a tax resident, you’re taxed on your worldwide income, but the special flat tax rate on foreign pensions can offer significant savings.

Greece offers a compelling tax incentive for retired expats, featuring a 7% flat tax rate on foreign pension income for those who relocate their tax residency to Greece. This policy targets individuals who haven’t been Greek tax residents for five out of the last six years, and it’s applicable only if the pension originates from a country with a tax treaty with Greece. The regime simplifies tax planning, offering substantial savings and making Greece an attractive retirement destination. However, potential retirees should consider the broader tax implications, including worldwide income and other local taxes. To be eligible for this flat tax rate, there is a requirement for a minimum annual pension income, which may vary based on specific circumstances and potential legislative updates.