LIFE IN THESSALONIKH

Living in Greece

Greece is located in south-eastern Europe, on the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula; it lies at the meeting point of three continents – Europe, Asia and Africa. Greece borders to the North on Bulgaria and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (F.Y.R.O.M.), to the Northwest on Albania, to the Northeast on Turkey; to the West it is washed by the Ionian Sea; to the South by the Mediterranean Sea and to the East by the Aegean Sea. Greece has a Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine, mild temperatures and a limited amount of rainfall. Due to the country’s geographical position, its rugged relief and its distribution between the mainland and the sea, there is great variation in Greece’s climate. In summer, the dry hot days are cooled by seasonal winds, while mountainous regions have generally lower temperatures. The winters are mild in lowland areas, with a minimum amount of snow and ice, yet mountains are usually snow-covered. Moreover, a common phenomenon is the occurrence of different climactic conditions during the same season (for instance, mild heat in coastal areas and cool temperatures in mountainous regions).

Below, you can find some very useful information about our beautiful country:

GENERAL INFO

Capital of Greece: Athens
Official Language: Greek
The currency: Euro
Population: 11.360.183 (2010 estimate)
Political info: The country is a Presidential Parliamentary Democracy
Calling Info: The international calling code of Greece is +30

COST OF LIVING

The cost of living in Greece is affordable for everyone. Below you can check a list with indicative prices for a number of basic products and services:

    • Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre: 385/month Euros
    • Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre: 325/month Euros
    • Sandwich: from 2.00 Euros Greek Souvlaki: from 1.80 Euros
    • Big bottle of water: 1.00 Euro Greek coffee “to go”: from 1.00 Euro
    • Cappuccino coffee at a cafe: 3,5-5 Euros
    • A refreshment at a kiosk: 0.70 Euros
    • Drink at a bar: from 6.00 Euros
    • 1,5 hour ticket for all means of transport: 1.00 Euro
    • Monthly Pass for all means of transport: 34.22 Euro
    • Taxi (5km within center): 6.00 Euros
    • Basic (Electricity, Gas, Water, Garbage): 91,67 Euros
    • Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: 12 Euros
    • Combo Meal at McDonals or Similar: 6.50 Euros
    • Internet (24Mbps, Flat rate, Cable/ADSL): 21.00 Euros
    • Museum Tickets: 4.00 – 12.00 Euros
    • Cinema Tickets: 7.00 – 10.00 Euros

BANKS

Major international banking institutions, credit card companies and ATMs in and around Athens are plentiful and easy to access. Banks are open to the public Monday through Thursday 08:00 to 14:30 and Friday 08:00 to 14:00, except for public holidays. The “Open24” Bank (Eurobank) is open mornings and afternoons, as well as on Saturdays. Foreign currency may be exchanged for euros at most Greek and foreign banks and at exchange bureaus located in the city center.

BUDGET

The most efficient way to make the best of your money is to decide on a budget for your living in Greece and stick to it. It’s important to have a clear idea of how much money you have to spend each month and what your essential costs are, so you know how much you have left to spend on non-essential things. We will be happy to assist you with further information regarding local costs.

GASTRONOMY

Greek gastronomy has recorded a history of around 4,000 years. Within Greek nutritional tradition, taste blends harmonically with high nutritional value. Dozens of scientific studies have shown the positive effect of a balanced Greek diet on a person’s health, beauty and longevity. In addition, the nutritional culture of the Greeks has traditionally added an extraverted social dimension to the table, combining tastebud satisfaction with recreation and communication, and thereby maintaining even today some overtones from ancient feasts. In contrast to what many people believe about Greek cuisine, you will discoverer that “moussaka”, “souvlaki” and “choriatiki” (Greek salad) are not the only worthwhile Greek dishes. Greek cuisine consists of a large variety of dishes that can fully satisfy the gastronomic quests of both vegetarians and meat lovers. Most vegetables and fruit are cultivated in natural ways and you can buy them at both the weekly flea markets in all city areas, and in super markets (the latter option being more expensive). Do not forget to also try the Greek cheeses, especially feta cheese. Greek meat tastes very good, due to the relatively traditional feeding methods of animals as compared to other developed countries. Mediterranean fish and seafood is also tastier than its ocean equivalent.

TRAVELLING TO GREECE

By plane, ship, train or car, or even a combination of transportation means, traveling to Greece is relatively simple and quick, even though it is situated at the southernmost corner of Europe and the Balkan Peninsula. Apart from the large airports in Athens in Thessaloniki, there are also smaller airports that service trips to and from the other large cities and the more famous islands in the Aegean and Ionian Seas. The railway and road networks link Greece with the rest of Europe via the neighboring Balkan countries, while the large ports of Piraeus and Igoumenitsa handle the arrival of coastal ships via mainly Italy.

By air

The most important entry point by air in Greece is “Eleftherios Venizelos” International Airport in Athens. From the first day it began operations in March 2001 it has won international awards and distinctions, but more significantly, it has won the hearts of the visitors who consider it to be one of the most functional and comfortable airports in Europe. It is situated 33 km southeast of Athens and there is rapid access to the airport via the Attiki Odos, a central road artery connecting Athens with the airport region, as well as through dense scheduling of the Metro and Proastiako Suburban Systems. More info about El. Venizelos Airport at www.aia.gr

By sea

The main volume of European visitors travelling to Greece by car uses modern high-speed ferries, which sail between Greek ports and ports in neighboring Italy. There are daily routes from Patras and Igoumenitsa to Italy, and specifically to the ports of Ancona, Bari, Brindizi, Venice and Trieste. These routes are serviced with new ships that offer all modern comforts. In order to better cover the ever increasing demand for mobile home transportation, shipping companies have scheduled ships with specially configurated areas for campers and caravans (towed and automotive).

By car

Greece ‘s road network covers 117,000 km. Following the modernization of the two large national highways, the construction of a major section of the Egnatia Road, etc., driving along most of the national highway network is now easier and problem- free. There are numerous gas stations, restaurants and parking areas sited along the length of the road network, allowing drivers and passengers to stop and rest briefly. The border crossing points for entering Greece by road from the neighboring Balkan countries are Exochi Drama and Promahon for Bulgaria, Evzones Kilkis for FYROM, Kakavia in the Ioannina Prefecture for Albania and Kipoi Evrou for Turkey.

DRIVING LICENSES

E.U. Member-State citizens may use their own national driving license, while citizens of other countries must have an international driving license together with their own valid national driving license.

Living in Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki (520 km. north of Athens) is the second largest city in Greece and the most important administrative, cultural, and business centre in Northern Greece.

Built on the seafront, it is a modern metropolis bearing the marks of its stormy history and its cosmopolitan character, which give it a special beauty and charm. Being the second largest city in Greece, Thessaloniki combines 2,320 years of history with every facility and excitement that a modern European city can offer. It is undoubtedly a must-see destination and a great place to live, especially for young people. It is a town with rich history and an exciting present bustling with life and movement.

Byzantine churches, Roman constructions, modern architecture, intensive nightlife and stunning beaches – this is the essence of Thessaloniki. The city’s large avenues, parks and squares provide nice green spaces, and trees line the commercial streets. Old houses and Neoclassical buildings stand side by side with modern constructions.

Below, you can find some useful tips about your everyday life in Thessaloniki:

FOOD

The city is also known for its great cuisine. No one can resist the tasteful sweets which are undisputed local trademarks of Thessaloniki. Further, nobody can ignore the huge number of taverns which offer special Greek dishes of the highest quality. Enjoy grills and inventive recipes, seafood, traditional Macedonian food, oriental and European cuisine.

BEACH LIFE

During the summer months you can visit the nearby beaches with many hotels, marinas, play courts, camping places, taverns, etc. Most of the beaches have been awarded with the blue flags by the European Union thanks to the high standards and the clear waters.

NIGHT LIFE

The nightlife of Thessaloniki is well-known all over Greece! There are many bars, clubs, music halls and entertainment venues for all tastes and ages. Due to its high concentration of students and the resulting large number of entertainment options for young crowds, Thessaloniki is often labeled by Athenians as “the party capital of Greece”.