Greece is one of the most alluring travel destinations in Europe and also a popular spot for digital nomads. In this context, great weather, lots of fun things to do, and relaxing Mediterranean vibes make Greece an excellent location for remote workers. On this basis, here is a comprehensive digital nomad Greece guide.
Welcome to Greece: the Land of Picture-Perfect Islands, Ancient Legends, and Mediterranean Flair
When we look at human history, Greece is one of the most famous countries in the world.
Long before the birth of Christ, ancient Greek kingdoms were dominating the Mediterranean and always at the forefront of human progress. As such, school children today still learn about ancient Greek philosophers, the stories of Sparta and Alexander the Great, and the world-renowned innovations in engineering, mathematics, and science.
The timeline of Ancient Greece had many different periods and eras, all of which shaped European history in one way or another.
Today, Ancient Greece lives on through literature, famous ruin sites, and stories that made their way into 21st-century pop culture.
After the ancient Greek period ended (around 60 BCE), Greece lost its standing as a global power and became part of various superstates, including the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Venetian State, and the Ottoman Empire.
The modern nation-state of Greece gained its independence in 1821. Many wars and conflicts followed, and it took until 1949 that Greece took on its current format and Westernized orientation.
By the end of the 20th century, Greece became a member of the European Union and shifted its economic model to favor tourism and other industries. The 2008 Financial Crisis took its toll on Greece, and many challenging years followed.
Today, the Greek economy has partly recovered from a long period of austerity and financial woes, but the 2020 Pandemic created new challenges, especially with the decrease of international tourism.
All financial issues aside, Greece managed to modernize as a country and bolster its infrastructure in the last few decades. As such, Greece’s standards of living are today comparable to other Southern European nations. Better still, its never-ending tourism boom helped the development of its over 200 inhabited islands.
When it comes to Greece for digital nomads, there are several substantial reasons to base yourself here:
- Greece’s climate is among the best in Europe, with high temperatures and endless sunshine from April well into October;
- The infrastructure is on point, and the country is well-connected through ferries and public transport;
- The number of picturesque islands is virtually endless, giving you lots of choices for nomad bases or weekend excursions – aside from all of the fascinating places to visit on the mainland;
- Even though it’s not a “cheap” country, the cost of living is still lower than in Western Europe.
The Best Places to Live in Greece as a Digital Nomad
Where to go in Greece as a digital nomad? With hundreds of islands and fascinating mainland locations to choose from, here are some of the most suitable spots for digital nomads in Greece. On this basis, the following are the best places to live in Greece as a remote worker.
Athens: the Multifaceted Capital City
The best places to live in Greece as a digital nomad undoubtedly include the country’s bustling capital.
Athens has a lot of digital nomad infrastructure, including co-working spaces and nomad-friendly coffee shops. It’s also the economic, cultural, and industrial heart of the country. As such, you’ll find many large universities here, and thousands of young Greeks from all over the country move to Athens every year. There are also lots of historical sites and countless attractions for foodies and night owls.
Better still, close to Athens, you’ll find Piraeus, the largest port in the country with ferries to most islands – as well as ATH, Greece’s busiest airport.
When it comes to disadvantages, Athens isn’t the most beautiful place to live in Greece. It has its rough edges, and many Greece digital nomads won’t want to remain in a buzzing metropolis for too long.
Thessaloniki & Patras: Lesser-Known Big Cities
If you want to stay in a more underrated metropolis, the second and third-largest Greek cities are worth considering.
Thessaloniki is located in the north of Greece, close to the North Macedonian and Bulgarian borders. The region has lots of historical sites – many dating from the era of Alexander the Great. Thessaloniki is also a regional hub, with lots of cultural and culinary things to do.
Patras is the third-largest city in Greece and the capital of Western Greece. Located around 200km west of Athens in the northern Peloponnese, Patras is arguably the most underrated big city in Greece. Like Thessaloniki, Patras is a regional hub with a large student population and lots of tech companies.
In these two cities, the primary nomad benefits include lower prices, a more authentic experience, and fewer tourists.
The Obvious Choices in the Cyclades: Santorini and Mykonos
Many people immediately think of the Cyclades when they hear the word “Greece.”
Crystal-clear water, incredible beaches, and unique white houses are typical for the Cyclades, and two islands are world-famous in this regard.
Santorini is one of the most romantic places in the world and among Greece’s most visited destinations. The island is magnificent, but does it work as a nomad base? Well, sort of.
Santorini is more developed than other Greek islands, with more accommodation choices, nightlife options, and coffee shops to work from than other locations. It is, however, also one of the most expensive places in Greece and insanely crowded during the summer months.
The same applies to Mykonos. The difference here is that Mykonos is more of a party destination with a well-known LGBT scene. Mykonos has everything, but lots of towns focus on upscale partying. Consequently, there are fewer all-inclusive holidaymakers and honeymoon travelers than in Santorini.
As such, Mykonos and Santorini are superb holiday destinations, but their high prices and over-tourism in summer dampen their suitability for digital nomads.
A top tip here would be to go before or after peak season (May or October). During these months, the weather is pleasant, the prices will be slightly lower, and there will be less mass tourism.
Relaxing, Lesser-Known Islands in the Cyclades: Milos, Naxos, and Syros
When it comes to underrated islands in the Cyclades, there are three that I would recommend.
First, Milos is a spectacular island with volcanic landscapes and not too many tourists. It’s remote, not as developed as the other Cyclades, and even Greeks like to keep it to themselves. As such, if you’re looking for something off-the-beaten-path, Milos might be a choice.
Next, Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades and an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s popular among Greeks, but there aren’t as many international tourists, who usually skip it in favor of Mykonos and Santorini. Naxos has lots of great hiking trails but also exotic beaches and historic sites. Thanks to its size, the island might offer the best combination of nature, architecture, and history in the Cyclades.
Finally, Syros is the capital of the Cyclades and one of the only Greek islands that don’t rely on tourism. The island has a large shipyard and various other industries. As such, Syros is one of the most authentic Greek islands. However, that doesn’t mean that there is nothing to see. Syros is small, but the picture-perfect hillside town of Ano Syros is undoubtedly worth a visit.
- Read my guide on the Best Things to do in Syros
Crete: the Largest Island
When it comes to digital nomad Greece hotspots, Crete might be number two behind Athens.
The island has over 600k inhabitants, making it more than a resort destination built on tourism. There are lots of natural wonders, historic sites, and charming cities.
Chania is the best place for digital nomads in Crete, with a lot of remote working infrastructure and a thriving nomad community. The downside is that it’s on the expensive side for Greek standards.
Other Digital Nomad-Friendly Greek Islands: Corfu and Rhodes
Finally, we can mention two more islands to complete our digital nomad Greece guide.
Corfu is located in the Ionian Sea, close to Albania. Nature and architecture here are different from other Greek islands, and it’s arguably one of the best islands to visit for history buffs. It’s a charming place to base yourself in summer, but it’s not as well-connected due to its location.
Rhodes is a typical resort destination. Situated close to Turkey, it has a lot of historical sites and world-class beaches. Its resort-focused layout, however, considerably reduces its authenticity.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Greece is higher than in the rest of the Balkans, and food, leisure activities, and transport are more expensive than in Croatia, for example. Nevertheless, you still get more for your money than in Italy or Spain, especially if you aren’t traveling during peak season (July/August).
Here is a breakdown of one month of digital nomad expenses in Athens:
- One-bedroom Airbnb in Koukaki: 650€ per month;
- Food and drinks: 500€ per month;
- Transport and weekend excursions: 300€;
- Tourist activities: 100€;
- Miscellaneous like a gym membership, SIM Cards, and hairdressers: 50€.
Total Greece nomad budget: 1,600€ (~1,900 USD) per month
As you can see, Greece is not necessarily a low-cost country. There are, however, ways to get that budget down significantly if you stay on the outskirts, rent through a local agency, or reduce tourist excursions and nightlife expenses. As such, rent and tourist activities will take up a substantial chunk of your budget.
Infrastructure, Connectivity, and Transport
Greece’s infrastructure is now on par with most of Southern Europe, and in some places, even Western Europe. Especially the ferry services are impressive, considering that there are so many routes and small islands to serve.
If you’re crossing mainland Greece, buses are often the best choice. The suburban bus company KTEL serves almost every town in Greece, mostly leaving from Athens and regional bus stations. There are also trains, but not that many routes exist as of now.
Renting a car is easy and uncomplicated. Most international companies are present, but you can often find better deals with local agencies – especially on the islands. The best course of action is to ask your landlord, hotel, or Airbnb host which rental agency to take. They usually have deals for guests, and they’ll direct you toward the most trustworthy company.
When it comes to internet speed, Greece is lagging behind most of Europe. General Wifi speed isn’t terrible, but don’t expect superfast Wifi in Airbnbs, hotels, or coffee shops.
There are three major SIM Card providers: Vodafone, Cosmote, and Wind. Cosmote is expensive but supposedly better than the others. I used Vodafone, and their speed and coverage were satisfactory.
Accommodation in Greece for Digital Nomads
The easiest choice is undoubtedly Airbnb. In cities like Athens or Thessaloniki, there are limitless options for relatively low prices. You could naturally rent through a local agency – for much lower prices – but that process isn’t straightforward in Greece. Many won’t rent out for less than six months, and the administrative hurdles can be substantial.
On the islands, Airbnb also exists, but the offer isn’t as extensive. If you’re traveling spontaneously or during the high season, it could be challenging to find a vacancy. In that case, guest houses can be a worthwhile alternative.
You can find hotels of every size and style, but they won’t come cheap, especially if the location is a tourist destination.
Digital Nomad Greece Guide: Remote Working Locations
In Athens and Thessaloniki, remote working locations are not in short supply. Coffee shops can be an alternative, but most of them won’t have fast Wifi.
Here are some of the best Greece digital nomad working spots in different cities.
- Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center: one of the best places to work remotely in Athens. The vast cultural center is home to Greece’s national library, coffee shops, and a large observation deck on the 8th floor;
- The Underdog in Athens: a coffee shop in an old warehouse where you can enjoy some of the city’s finest brew and stay in a cozy environment with your laptop all day long;
- Impact Hub: a large chain of international co-working spaces with a branch in central Athens;
- Coho in Thessaloniki: one of the best co-working spots in Thessaloniki with all modern amenities and charming coffee corners.
- Workhub Chania: a great place to work remotely in Chania, Crete, one of the most popular places to live in Greece for digital nomads.
Culture and People
Greece is a proud nation where history is omnipresent and where people cherish their culture and traditions.
Aside from that, Greece offers a mix between European efficiency and a laidback Mediterranean attitude. As such, there are lots of reminders to take things slowly. Whether it’s the service culture, the daily rhythm, or the slower general lifestyle, you’ll notice that you are in Southern Europe.
Especially on the islands, stress is a non-existent concept. Combine this slow lifestyle with a Mediterranean diet, and you’ll see why Greece traditionally had one of the highest life expectancies in Europe. The calmer lifestyle is healthy, but it sometimes baffles Western European or American visitors, especially those who are doing business.
Digital Nomad Greece Guide: FAQ
Is Greece Safe?
Yes. Like in any other major tourist destination, watch your belongings and use common sense, and you won’t have any trouble.
Is There a Greece Digital Nomad Visa?
Like other European countries, Greece announced that it would introduce a bespoke digital nomad visa in 2021.
At the time of writing, the Greece digital nomad visa isn’t yet available, but according to the migration ministry, it will combine flexible stay policies with attractive tax incentives.
At the moment, Greece digital nomads will need a Schengen visa or use the 90-day visa-free option if they are eligible. Find more info on the visa policy of the Schengen Area here.
How Are English Levels in Greece?
Thanks to Greece’s tourism boom, English levels are among the highest in Southern Europe. You’ll be able to communicate in most places, but learning a few Greek phrases is nonetheless recommendable, especially in rural areas.
Are There Many Fellow Nomads in Greece?
There are many digital nomads in Greece, especially during the summer months. In Athens, Thessaloniki, and Crete, nomad communities exist, but there aren’t comparable to the ones in Portugal, for example. With the imminent introduction of the Greece digital nomad visa, the number of remote workers in Greece will undoubtedly rise.