Athens is one of my favorite cities in Europe. The vibe and energy of the Greek capital is electric and I absolutely love spending time in the city. I’ve traveled all over Athens and Greece and it is probably my favorite country in Europe. Athens and Greece in general is quite a cheap place to live for European standards.
If you’re planning to spend time in Athens for work or as a digital nomad, this post will go in depth about how much things cost in the city and my budget Athens, Greece.
How much does it cost to live in Greece?
Overall cost of living in Greece and Athens is quite low. The GDP per capita of Greece is somewhere around €16,000 and the income disparity is on the higher end.
The average salary for someone in Greece is under €1,000 a month and much lower if you are out of the cities.
Athens cost of living is on the rise
While Athens in general is still quite cheap by Western standards, the cost of living continues to increase. Rent prices have gone up a lot in recent years as well as dwindling supply. Salaries have not kept up with the increase in expenses.
Athens in particular struggles from an affordable housing issue because of how many units are used for Airbnb and how little supply there are in the city center.
As well, Greece has a “Golden Visa” program like that of Portugal where any foreigner who invests €250,000 into a property can obtain Greek and thereby EU residency. This has caused properties in cities like Athens and Thessaloniki, as well as the islands in the Cyclades for example to increase.
Nevertheless, you can still expect to live a much cheaper lifestyle in Athens as you would in places like Rome or Paris. Keep in mind however that the salaries of the typical Greek worker is substantially lower than that of their Western European counterparts. It might be cheap for you but it is prohibitively expensive for most Greeks.
APartment Rental Prices in Athens – €650
Like anywhere else in the world, your rent will be one of your largest if not the largest expense. Athens is an interesting market. Athens is absolutely enormous and is super spread out. There has been a limit on building height for a long time which ensures people build outwards instead of upwards. Rents are generally cheap but if you want to live close to the city center, your prices will go up much more due to the large amounts of Airbnbs.
In general, prices in Athens are very low in comparison to cities in the US or the UK. Keep in mind that salaries are generally quite low in Athens as well. €1000 net salary a month is considered good in Athens after all!
How much are rental prices in Athens?
As I stated before, the rental market in Athens is varies drastically. Depending on what you’re looking for and the neighborhood, you can have a huge range of prices. Generally, if you want to live in the city center, I would say prices are around €8-12 per square meter. The average rent in Athens, Greece for a one bedroom 40m2 apartment in the city center will cost somewhere between €400-500 a month. The average rent in Athens, Greece for a two bedroom apartment will be something in the €600-€800 range.
If you want an apartment with nice Acropolis views and a nice balcony on a top floor, you can expect to pay much more. These apartments are mostly used for tourists and Airbnb so you’ll be paying the premium.
Apartments are generally quite old as the buildings are old in the city center so you can expect to pay much more for a modern style apartment.
Spitogatos and XE.gr are the main rental search websites and you can find a lot of nice properties with these services. However, the best way to find accommodations, short or long term, is to use Facebook groups.
SHort term rental prices in Athens
If you are planning to stay in Athens as a digital nomad for a few months, then you will probably use something like Airbnb to find your accommodations. Short term rentals as you can expect cost much more because you’re renting it from someone who is running a hotel business.
You can find decent monthly rentals in Athens for something like €900-€1,300 a month for a 1 bedroom apartment. These same apartments will probably cost half the price if you are renting for a longer term. Expect to pay more in the summer months as this is Greece’s high season.
What neighborhoods to live in Athens?
Athens is huge. If you ever drive out of the city, you’ll feel like you are in Athens for seemingly forever. However, as a foreigner who doesn’t speak Greek, it’s better just to stay near the city center so you can speak English.
Generally, the most popular and in demand areas are places like Pagrati, Kosmos, Koukaki, and Psyri. I ended up living in Kynosargous which is just south of Koukaki.
Fees for renting an apartment in Athens
Most rental contracts will be 6 months at minimum. You’ll need to pay one month upfront, as well as a security deposit of one month’s rent.
If you use a letting agent, most of the time the renter will have to pay the agent. This is usually equivalent to a month’s rent. Therefore, you can expect to pay 3 months rent upfront for a long term contract.
Utilities and Bills in Athens – €150
In addition to the rent, you’ll have to pay gas and electricity separately. If you are here on a long term lease, you will have to set up these payments separately. Lots of apartments nowadays will just quote you an all in price depending on the length of your lease.
Gas and electricity generally vary between €100 – €150 a month depending on the prices of gas and the time of the month. The winter months get very cold at night and there is no central heating in most of the apartment buildings in Athens. The insulation on many of the buildings are quite poor as well so you will definitely feel the cold in the winter (and the heat during the summers).
Wifi in Greece is comparable to most other cities in Europe. You can get a decent internet package for €20-30 a month. For shorter term rentals, a lot of these packages are already included.
Gym prices in Athens – €50
Working out is important for me so I make sure to find the best gyms in every city I go to. I’ll keep this short and say that Athens has a pretty terrible offering of gyms and fitness clubs.
The quality of gyms in Athens is mediocre at best and it’s not even that cheap. Don’t expect any nice gyms in Athens that you might find in places like Cape Town or even in Frankfurt where I lived.
The few gyms that I went to in Athens like Holmes Place, Yava Fitness, Golden Gym, Bodyshape etc. are all pretty terrible. I guess I’ve just become accustomed to superior quality gyms where I’ve lived.
Holmes Place is the only gym that has a “premium” vibe but even then it is pretty terrible. It is the most expensive gym in Athens with a price of €70-€100 depending on how long you sign up for. The other gyms on the list are between €40-60.
The gyms in Athens are nothing to look at so just get in, get your workout done and get out.
Cell Phone prices in Athens – €10
As with most of Europe, mobile service plans in Greece are generally quite cheap. The cost of data at the various providers around Greece is not expensive. Of course it is not cheap like it is in places like Georgia or Thailand, but you won’t break the bank here.
The main mobile providers in Greece are:
Cosmote is the national carrier and has the most comprehensive coverage in Greece. However, if you are just staying around Athens, all three carriers will more than suffice. It’s only when you get to more remote areas like that in Northern Greece where some carriers will excel vs others.
You can find prepaid packages on Cosmote for €8-9 a month for 4 GB of data. You can top up data for around €1-2 per extra GB. If you are staying long term, you can look at opening a post paid contract which will make things even cheaper.
As Greece is part of the EU, you can also open a phone plan in any other EU country and use it freely in Athens.
Dining Out And Socializing In Athens – €800
Going out to restaurants with friends is a way of life in Greece. It is also very reasonably priced and you get much more bang for the buck vs places like the US or UK. Hanging out at restaurants, cafes, wine bars is a way of life in Greece and you can expect to do a lot of this if you live in the country.
Eating out in Athens
There are countless restaurants in Athens of all different cuisines so you’ll never get sick of the options around you. Greek food is probably my favorite cuisine in Europe so I never tired of it.
The best part of Greek food is that it is so versatile. You can spend as little as €5 on a delicious quick street food meal of gyros and souvlaki but with €20-25, you can have an amazing meal at a traditional taverna with various meze and wine.
I spend a lot of money dining out as I rarely cook. I’m also a bigger guy so my protein consumption is larger than the average person. Therefore, my dining out budget is probably not reflective of most people so do your own calculations accordingly.
Drinking at bars in Athens
There is an abundance of nightlife in Athens. It’s very common to meet people for drinks and cocktails and there are endless options to be found in Athens. Generally, you can get a glass of wine for €4-5 at a trendy wine bar. Cocktails will be €9-10 at a nice cocktail bar. You can pay more of course if you go to fancy rooftop bars overlooking the Acropolis.
Some pricing examples are given below to give you an idea of the standard cost of living in Athens.
- 0.5L of beer at a taverna – €2-2.5
- 0.5L of local wine at a bar/taverna – €5
- Cocktail at a nice central Athens bar – €9-10
- Gyros pita (so delicious) – €2.5
- Stick of souvlaki (about 100-120g of pure meat) – €1.6-€1.8
- Greek salad (enough for two people) at a taverna – €6-7
- Espresso in a nice cafe – €2
- Meal at a taverna for two people – €30
- Cinema tickets – €7 per person
- Glass of wine at a nice wine bar – €5-6
Cost of Transportation in Athens – €40
Transportation in Athens is generally quite cheap. There is a comprehensive bus and metro system that services all parts of the city. As I live in the city center, I mostly just walk around the city. From one end of the city center to the other is about 1 hour by foot and it’s rare that I ever walk this much at once.
Uber is very good in the city and the fares are quite cheap. When I’m feeling lazy, I just grab an Uber from one end to the other quickly. There are no private Ubers here as the app is just used by the official taxi group of Athens.
You definitely do not need a car in Athens unless you live far out in the suburbs and/or have family. Parking is a nightmare to find and the price of gas is expensive. Many people do have scooters or motorcycles in Athens however. I love me a good scooter but I find that it the traffic is a bit too hectic in the city to enjoy using one. I’d much rather prefer a scooter for cruising around the Cyclades islands.
As for bicycles, I see almost no people biking. There are not many bike lanes to speak of unfortunately but I wouldn’t be opposed to using something like this!
Here is an example of the prices for transportation around the city
- One way bus/metro ticket – €1.40
- Monthly Athens transportation pass – €30
- Taxi fare from Psyri to Koukaki – €4-6
- Taxi from the city center to the airport – €35
- Bus from the city center to the airport – €10
Cost of Groceries and Household goods in Athens – €100
I didn’t do much grocery shopping while in Athens as I just ate out most of my meals. It’s hard to cook anything cheaper when you can get a delicious charcoal grilled stick of souvlaki meat for €1.6. Not to mention the culture of Greece just centers around eating and going out more than average.
However, if you are keen to do grocery shopping and cook for yourself, then the most popular grocery chains are Sklavenitis, AB Vassilopoulos, and Lidl. Lidl is definitely the cheapest option you have and AB is a bit higher end.
Generally meats, vegetables, and fruits are quite affordable. You can expect to pay more for imported toiletry and name branded groceries. In addition, there are local markets everywhere where you can find fresh products at good prices. I love buying fresh feta cheese at the market (expect to pay €9-10/kg or thereabout). Bakeries are also all over the city selling fresh baked bread as well as various pastries like spanakopita and burek.
Summary of Monthly Living Costs in Athens
Finally, to sum up the expenses I’ve listed here, I spend somewhere around €1,800 a month. In reality, I probably spend a little bit more with one off expenses so let’s call it €2,000 a month.
Of course, this is totally variable with your lifestyle and what you value. I could live in a much cheaper apartment outside of the city center and eat out far less. I could easily keep my budget under €1,500 if I tried. Remember most people in Athens live on €1,000 and make it work.
- Monthly apartment rental (92 m2 place) – €650
- Additional monthly bills (electricity, internet) – €150
- Gym Membership: €50
- Monthly phone bill – €10
- Cost of toiletries and groceries for the month – €100
- Dining out: €800
Total: €1,800per month
Coworking Spaces in Athens, Greece
If you are moving to Athens and planning to be a digital nomad, coworking spaces might be one of your monthly expenses. Athens isn’t a digital nomad hotspot like Lisbon or Tbilisi is, but it is slowly making its way up. They aren’t as nice as the coworking spaces in other cities I’ve been to so keep that in mind.
There have been many coworking spaces in recent years for you to meet up and work at. Athens coworking spaces are generally quite reasonable with prices hovering between €120-€150 a month. A lot of places offer free coffee, tea, snacks, printing etc. which makes it worth it after awhile.
You could get the same offerings at once of the many cafes in the city but your monthly bill might turn out to be the same after buying coffees all the time.
Coworking spaces in Athens
- Stone Soup
- The Cube
- Impact Hub
Cafes to work from in Athens
- The Underdog
- This is loco
- Dope Roasting Co
I hope this guide helps you plan your move to Athens. Athens is not an expensive place by any means, but it’s not cheap if you are hoping to live a lifestyle that is above average for Greek standards.
If you’re a digital nomad and planning to live on a short term lease or on Airbnb, expect to pay much more for rent, especially in the summer months.
Once you are settled in Athens, the lifestyle is very rewarding and fantastic. The social scene is terrific and there’s always something going on. While there is not as big of a digital nomad presence in Athens, I find it was still very easy to meet people. Greek people are quite open and always down for a good party.
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