Living and working in Athens

Explore the opportunity to live and work in Athens. A guide for European workers in Athens.

Living and working in Athens

Working in Athens

Athens, the capital of Greece, is a vibrant metropolis with a rich history and culture that can be traced back to ancient times. In addition to its cultural significance, Athens also has a growing economy and offers numerous opportunities for adventurous jobseekers.

Why working in Athens?

Most people know Greece from their last vacation or travel documentaries. There are several reasons why people would like to live and work in Athens.

The high quality of life in Athens: The pleasant climate, breathtaking scenery, and diverse culture make Athens an attractive destination. Additionally, Athens offers a relaxed way of life and a pleasant working atmosphere, which are the main reasons for most immigrants to choose to live in Athens.

Wanderlust: Although the flora, fauna, and climate in Greece differ greatly from those in Central Europe, Athens is only about 2 hours and 40 minutes away by flight from, for example, Berlin. However, upon arrival, one feels as if they are on a different continent. Since Greece is part of the EU, it makes the country the perfect destination for expats who want to live in a Mediterranean climate but still value proximity to their home country.

Financial attractiveness: Due to the lower cost of living in Greece, salaries for mid-European workers may be higher than in their home country. Both food, transportation costs, and rent are significantly lower in Athens than in, for example, Germany or Austria. More detailed information on this can be found below.

Jobs in Athens

In recent years, Athens has become an attractive location for international companies. Although Greece's unemployment rate is relatively high in European comparison, interesting job opportunities for Europeans are available in the Greek capital offered by numerous service companies, startups or tourism companies.

The most well-known companies in Athens include the National Bank of Greece, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, and Vodafone Greece.

Some of the most in-demand jobs in Athens are:

  • IT experts and developers
  • Sales representatives and marketing specialists
  • Customer service or technical customer service
  • Tourism & hotels
  • Food service

Jobs in the service industry offer promising job opportunities, as they are offered in various European languages, making jobs like customer advisors popular among young Europeans who want to gain work experience abroad. Many employers not only cover the costs of private health insurance but also organize the flight to Athens and accommodation on site.

If you are looking for current European-language jobs in Athens, you can find suitable positions on our website.

Average salary in Athens

Salary in Athens can vary greatly depending on factors such as the profession, experience, and qualifications of the employee, as well as the employer. In general, wages in Athens tend to be higher than in other parts of Greece, as it is the country's capital and an important economic hub. Nevertheless, salaries are lower compared to Germany, although significantly lower cost of living must also be taken into account.

The minimum wage in Athens was set at 650 euros per month in 2020. This amount applies to full-time employees and may vary depending on the industry and collective bargaining agreement. There is also a minimum wage regulation for part-time and low-wage employees.

The average gross annual income in Athens is about 22,000 euros, which means a monthly net income of about 1,200 to 1,500 euros, depending on taxes and social security contributions.

In addition to 11 national holidays, as a full-time employee, you are entitled to at least 20 paid vacation days. Accordingly, the total number of free days adds up to 31!

Requirements for working in Athens

To work in Athens, you need a work permit and, if necessary, a visa, depending on your country of origin and the type of employment. EU citizens do not need a work permit, but may need a residence permit if they plan to stay in Greece for more than three months.

Furthermore, you need to apply for a social security number and a tax number. By receiving a social security number, you are entitled to health and unemployment benefits. The tax number, as the name suggests, is needed to pay income tax. You can apply for this at the tax office.

Typically, your new employer will assist you in obtaining your residence permit, social security number, and tax number.

Living and working in Athens

Culture and Lifestyle in Athens

Living in Athens

In Athens, the city comes to life! The residents take pride in their vibrant city and its history. The lifestyle in Athens is a fascinating blend of modern and traditional influences. People enjoy spending time in cafés and restaurants to enjoy local culinary delights. Greek cuisine is famous for its fresh ingredients, olive oil, and herbs.

A typical habit in Athens is to go out and eat late at night. The city is a paradise for night owls, with numerous bars, clubs, and cafés open until the early morning hours. Live music, dance, and socializing are part of the Athenian way of life.

As the cultural centre of Greece, Athens offers many opportunities for art and culture lovers. Visitors can visit museums, theatres, and art galleries to immerse themselves in the city's rich history and culture. Athens is known as the birthplace of democracy and home to many ancient Greek philosophers and poets, whom you have surely heard of.

In addition to its cultural significance, Athens also has many celebrations. Residents celebrate religious festivals such as Easter and Christmas and national holidays such as Independence Day on March 25 with great enthusiasm. Overall, there are 11 national holidays to look forward to in Athens:

  • New Year's Day - Sunday, January 1
  • Epiphany - Friday, January 6
  • Independence Day - Saturday, March 25
  • Good Friday - Friday, April 14
  • Easter Monday - Monday, April 17
  • Labor Day - Monday, May 1
  • Whit Monday - Monday, June 5
  • Assumption of Mary - Tuesday, August 15
  • National Celebration Day - Thursday, October 26
  • Christmas Day - Monday, December 25
  • Boxing Day - Tuesday, December 26
Living and working in Athens

Cost of Living in Athens

The cost of living in Athens is lower than in German cities. However, there are exceptions, such as imported food. To give you a better idea of the cost of living in Athens, here's a comparison between Athens and Berlin.

Rent

The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Athens is around €500 per month, while in Berlin the average rent for a comparable apartment is around €700 per month. That's a difference of 40%. However, if you like sharing your life, you can easily get a shared room in Athens for around €200 per month. You can find out where it's best to live further down in the article.

Transportation

The cost of public transportation in Athens is cheap. A single ticket for the subway or bus costs around €1.40. In Berlin, the same ticket costs around €2.90. For a monthly subscription to public transportation, you pay around €30 in Athens, while in Berlin, the same subscription costs around €81. This means that the cost of a monthly subscription in Berlin is 170% higher than in Athens.

Groceries

The cost of groceries in Athens is generally lower than in Berlin. Half a kilo of apples costs around €1.20 in Athens, while in Berlin, you would pay around €2.00 for the same amount. A liter of milk costs around €1.00 in Athens, while in Berlin, you pay around €0.80. For a kilogram of chicken breast, you pay around €7.50 in Athens, while in Berlin, you pay €10.00 for the same amount.

Living and working in Athens

Neighborhoods of Athens - Where to live in Athens?

The city is divided into many neighborhoods, each with its own characteristics and peculiarities. From historic districts like the Acropolis and Plaka to modern neighborhoods like Kolonaki and Glyfada, there are plenty of sights and activities to discover in Athens.

The neighborhoods also differ in their residents and lifestyles, from busy business districts to bustling tourist areas.

Plaka - Plaka is a historic neighborhood at the foot of the Acropolis. It is known for its narrow, picturesque alleys lined with taverns, cafés, and souvenir shops. It is a popular tourist destination and a great place to enjoy traditional Greek cuisine and music.

Monastiraki - Monastiraki is a bustling market district in the heart of Athens. It is famous for its flea market, which takes place every Sunday and where you can find everything from antiques to handicrafts. There are also many bars, restaurants, and cafés frequented by both tourists and locals.

Psiri - Psiri is a hip neighborhood near the Monastiraki district. It is known for its alternative art galleries, street art, music clubs, and bars. It is a great place for night owls and those who want to experience the lively culture of Athens.

Kolonaki - A wealthy neighborhood in the centre of Athens, known for its designer boutiques, upscale restaurants and cafés, and exclusive atmosphere. It is a great place for luxury shopping and for those who want to enjoy the high life in Athens.

Exarchia - Exarchia is an alternative neighborhood in the centre of Athens. It is known for its political activity, alternative art scene, and independent culture. There are many independent bookshops, theatres, and bars that offer an alternative perspective on Athens.

Glyfada - Glyfada is a beach neighborhood south of Athens. It is known for its luxurious beaches, designer boutiques, and cosmopolitan atmosphere. It is a great place to enjoy the Mediterranean and experience Athens' summer nightlife.

Living and working in Athens

Sights in Athens

The Greek capital is not only significant for its historical role, but also for its diverse and impressive sights. From the famous Acropolis to picturesque alleys and charming cafés, Athens has something to offer for every visitor.

Why living in Athens?

Acropolis - The Acropolis of Athens is one of the city's most famous sights and is considered the most important archaeological landmark in Greece. The imposing Acropolis houses several significant buildings and monuments, including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Propylaea.

Parthenon - The Parthenon is an ancient temple structure located on the Acropolis. It is one of the most famous buildings in Athens and an example of classical Greek architecture. It was built in the 5th century BC and is a symbol of Greek democracy and culture.

Temple of Olympian Zeus - The Temple of Olympian Zeus is an ancient temple dedicated to the Greek god Zeus. It was built in the 6th century BC and is one of the largest ancient buildings in Athens.

Plaka Old Town - Plaka Old Town is a historic neighborhood in Athens known for its narrow streets, old buildings, and taverns. It is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike to enjoy a traditional Greek meal or stroll through the picturesque streets.

National Archaeological Museum - The National Archaeological Museum is one of the largest museums in Athens and houses an extensive collection of ancient Greek artworks and artifacts. Exhibition items include sculptures, vases, and coins that are up to 5,000 years old.

Lycabettus Hill - Lycabettus Hill is a mountain located in the centre of Athens. It offers a breathtaking view of the city and is a popular spot for walks, hikes, and picnics.
Syntagma Square - Syntagma Square is the central square of Athens and an important transportation hub. The Greek Parliament building is also located here, where the famous Changing of the Guard takes place.

Monastiraki Market - Monastiraki Market is a vibrant and colorful flea market in Athens that sells antiques, clothing, and souvenirs. It is a popular spot for tourists to buy typical Greek souvenirs and gifts.

Living and working in Athens

Food and Drinks in Athens

The people in Athens place great value on fresh ingredients and a balanced diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, olive oil, and fish. Dairy products like yogurt and cheese also play an significant role in Greek cuisine.

A typical breakfast in Athens often consists of bread or rolls, olives, tomatoes, and feta cheese. Lunch is usually taken between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm and consists of a hot meal that often includes meat or fish.

For dinner, there are often light dishes such as salads or mezze plates served with various small appetizers such as tzatziki, hummus, or olives.

Some of the most famous dishes in Athens include souvlaki, gyros, moussaka, and taramasalata.

  • Souvlaki - Consists of grilled meat served on skewers and often accompanied by tzatziki, onions, and tomatoes. 
  • Gyros - A traditional Greek dish consisting of grilled meat, onions, and tomatoes and often served in a pita bread.
  • Moussaka - A casserole that is often prepared with eggplant, ground beef, and béchamel sauce.
  • Taramasalata - A dip made from fish roe, olive oil, lemon, and breadcrumbs and often served as an appetizer.

In terms of drinks, ouzo, an anise-flavored liqueur, is one of the most popular drinks in Athens. It is typically served as an apéritif or as an accompaniment to a meal. Another famous drink is Greek coffee, which is served in small cups and is often very strong and sweet.

Safety in Athens

As a citizen or tourist in Athens, one can lead a very safe life. The city has greatly improved in terms of safety in recent years, and there is a high police presence in busy neighborhoods and tourist areas. Nevertheless, it is advisable to use common sense and not leave valuables openly visible in crowded or touristy areas.

Frequently Asked Questions about living & working in Athens

Is Athens a safe city?

Athens is a safe city. The streets are constantly filled with people, creating a safe environment. Like in any city, there may be a few pickpockets. Use your common sense to assess situations well.

Is it expensive to live in Athens?

Athens is more expensive than other Greek cities, but this is not unusual for a capital city. As Athens represents the Greek financial center, purchasing power here is higher than in other places in Greece. Nevertheless, Athens is significantly cheaper to live in than Western European cities.

Is it good to live in Athens?

Athens is chaotic and extremely vibrant. You’ll feel just as alive when you walk through the beautiful streets and let the city work its magic on you.

Food plays a big role in Athens. You’ll find all sorts of delicacies at a reasonable price. The weather is pleasantly Mediterranean, and the beach, as well as plenty of islands, are easily accessible.

In short: Life in Athens is worth it!

What jobs are in demand in Athens?

Jobs as tour guides, in tourism, in the hospitality industry, and the service sector are highly sought after. You can also work as a language teacher in your native language. You can find current jobs in Athens on our website.