This is yet a very interesting topic that even before start writing i have no idea how long this post is gonna be. I can write so many things but i will try to give you all the information you need in case you are either wondering about the cost of living or want to move here.
Before i begin let me tell you that this is part of a contest from the @OCD team that you can find here. Another reason that contest or write-up is so interesting for me is that it falls under the umbrella of many different communities like LeoFinance for example.
This post will contain both financial info as well as cultural so be ready. I will mention it below as well but i expect a lot of questions from you after i finish so read it carefully!
A Few words about Athens, the Capital of Greece
As you know Athens is the Capital of Greece and it's a city with a lot of history. That means that whenever you go to the center of Athens you will see ancient ruins of an old empire that brought democracy along with other things in the whole world.
Athens currently has a population of 4.5 million people which makes the city the biggest one in terms of that. Now let's say you decide to live in Athens. Before doing so we need to clarify what's exactly is the reason you want to stay in Athens.
For example, everything is different if you come alone to work, come with a family or come to study. I live in Athens since i was a child so i pretty much know how things are and what you should be aware of.
I won't talk about the history of Athens you can do a search but i will, later on, mention some awesome places to visit in case you are wondering. I am also gonna mention some cultural traditions you may want to hear.
Ahh note that the weather in Greece is awesome. Not too cold winters and we have a lot of sunny days, so many that sometimes we want a little bit of rain or clouds, imagine that! During the summer and pretty much mid-Spring, it's already hot outside!
Cost of Living in Athens
Besides what i mentioned above about your state (student, alone, with family) you need to take into account your financial state. I have to warn you that things are a bit tough.
In the last couple of years, the prices of housing in Athens skyrocketed especially in areas in the center of Athens. Now, there are the suburbs as well, where most people live and it's not far from the center.
Also, a lot of big companies aren't located in the center so you don't have to live there, it all depends on where your current work is. As in many countries the "west side" is considered a cheaper area and the north side a more wealthy one.
The salary is a very complicated thing in Athens. The minimum wage after taxes is 550 euro and trust me on this, for living in Athens 550 euro are nothing. A basic or starting salary in most cases is usually close to 600-650 after taxes, maybe 700 in some cases.
Now it depends on the job ofc if you are in the IT industry you can expect higher wages that may start from 800 euro. Also, note that Greece has a lot of tourists and if you work in jobs around tourism for the season that may last 6 months you will be paid way more.
Sometimes the salary working on seasonal jobs you can earn even 2000 per month, it usually is close to 1000 though, maybe more if you work on islands. Note, that it isn't as easy as it sounds cause most of the time you will need to work 6 days per week for more than 8 hours but you may also receive tips as well.
Now, most people don't buy a house because it's quite expensive, A house of 80-100 square meters can cost from 80k to 160k. Just make an average of 1,400€ -1,650€ per square meter. Ofc it depends on the area as well and how old is the house.
As i said nowadays most people rent, especially people that are coming to Athens from other parts of Greece or from abroad. The rent can vary as well with 1 bedroom apartments starting as low as 200€ to as high as 500€. Let's say an average of 350€ to be more exact.
If you decide to rent an apartment in the center you can expect a higher rent and if you rent somewhere with high criminality level you can expect as low as 150 euro. Also, for some reason, if you are closer to any mountains surrounding Athens you will pay more as you have a better view and you are closer to nature.
There are many opportunities though. For example, i have a friend that rents a 2 bedroom apartment in the center of Athens in an awesome neighborhood for 350 euro and another one in the west side with 1 bedroom paying 500 euros. If you are a student though there are opportunities to stay at a dormitory for free.
If you are from countries that are used to traveling a lot of miles for work or anything else then you will have no problem with transportation in Athens, otherwise, you will have an issue.
We have busses, a metro station, and 2 other different trains. Some companies provide you with cards or they have corporate busses as well. Depending on where you work with public transportation it may take for you to go to your work even 1+ hour. That's the maximum though. By car, it may take less not because it's far but because the streets are crowded during morning hours.
If you decide to use public transportation the ticket is 1.20-1.40 euro if i remember correctly for 1-1:30 hour (i don't remember if it's 1 or 1:30 hours, to be honest). You can buy an unlimited monthly pass for 30 euros which can be used for both busses and trains. If you are a student all the above prices are half. The price of gasoline is 1.50-1.60 euro per liter which is quite expensive if you ask me.
The basic utilities Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage for 85m2 Apartment will cost around 140.68 euro but you can decrease a bit depending on your usage.
The internet is quite cheap to what i have heard from some Asian friends here on Hive. For a 50 Mbps connection with unlimited data and unlimited phone calls in Greece, you pay around 25-30 euros per month.
I have made a list with some of the prices on many different things for Leofinance so because i don't want to make this post end up with 3000 words you can read below. The post is old, over a month so i don't promote it or something.
You know that you can't actually determine that as we may have different ways of getting entertained. I will give some basic prices though. If you want to go to the cinema you may pay 5-10 euros for a movie.
If you want to have a drink you may pay 6-10 euros for let's say a vodka or 4-5 euros for a beer. The beer can be more expensive depending on which beer you order and way cheaper if you buy it from the supermarket.
If you want to have some street food or order some you may pay 2.5 for souvlaki or 6-10 euro for 8 pieces of pizza. The price range for the pizza depends on what you want on top. You can also pay from 8-10 to over 20 euros per person in a restaurant depending on what you order if that restaurant is a fancy one.
This can be a little bit controversial but i don't really care. I am known to be telling some harsh truths anyways. 20-50 years ago in most of the areas in Athens the criminality rate was very low.
Most people didn't even lock the door in their houses. Due to the economical crisis, corruption of our politicians and through the many "refugees" that came in bulk, the criminality rate increased a lot.
There are certain areas or spots that we that are living in Athens, know that we should avoid especially at night, even in the center of Athens. That doesn't mean though that you are afraid to go out and walk.
For, example, when a cousin along with some friends visited Athens from Australia and stayed in the center i simply told them to avoid certain areas and they had no problem. They didn't even felt unsafe for a second.
The vast majority of the places you will visit as a tourist are completely safe, but if you want to explore on your own then i suggest that you better ask around. Especially if you want to stay in Athens and you don't have a lot of money, ask because there chances that you will find cheap houses in areas with high criminality rate.
Cultural Traditions you need to be Aware
I will start with the most basic thing you need to know about us Greeks and our tradition. Most of our traditions no matter what the event is, it's tied with food and drinks and when i say food i mean a lot of it.
The most important cultural celebrations are Easter and Christmas. You can expect a lot of food on both and especially on Christmas as in most countries we decorate everything including Christmas trees on our houses.
A difference with many countries is that we don't actually share gifts on Christmas but on New Year's Eve. Another interesting thing is depending on which part of Greece you are you may see different celebrations! Also, check below some of our Christmas desserts.
The Easter is also quite fascinating in Greece. We got the Holy week which is a special week tied to what happened with Jesus, at least according to the Orthodox way. Even if you are not someone that believes in God or that God it's amazing to visit the church these days.
For me, it's a bit boring, except maybe the last 3 days but for someone that never witnessed it's amazing. You will hear chants that are different than the usuals and you can take part to the walk of the epitaph.
Also, because we like food the moment which we take the holy light which happens at 12 o clock midnight, we go back homes and guess what, we eat with family and friends. Because that's not enough though we do the exact same thing the next day.
According to our tradition, we eat lambs and the atmosphere smells lambs so if you are vegan you won't like that, if not it will be your favorite day. Once again depending on which part of Greece you are you may see different traditions that are amazing
Finally, we got many celebration days for different saints as well as for fights against Turks and Germans. During these celebrations, you may see a marching of the army or many festivities around towns and ofc what else, food!
Ahh, we also got a very well know Carnival as well. Not like the Brazilian one but if you visit the Carnival in Patra a different city than Athens, which is the biggest Carnival in Greece you will never forget it.
Will i be ok if i am not a white person or believe in another God?
Yes, you will. Greece is a country with so many tourists and in particular Athens and the islands so we are used to anyone. Of course, some people may be biased but that's a tiny percentage.
All in all, try to respect us and our traditions and we will respect you. For example, if you go around and say what a shitty holiday is Easter because you believe in another god then chances are that this will backfire.
I want to say way more but the post is more than 2000 words. I still hope that i gave you an idea of what is going on in Athens both in terms of the cost of living and of what our cultural traditions are.
In this post, i talked about Athens. The cost of living can vary a lot depending on which part of Greece someone may want to live in. Literally, everything changes except the cost of the internet and phone :P
I really hope and i bet that you will have many questions after reading it so i would really like for you to ask me anything, even if it sounds stupid to you, i am all ears!