Cost of Living in Thessaloniki- $1500 In Greece’s Seaside Culture Capital




  • Monthly budget in Thessaloniki for a Single Person = $1,500 <skip to budget details>.
  • The beautiful Thessaloniki waterfront, one of the longest in Europe, adds to the quality of life.
  • Social life revolves around eating with friends. You spend less eating and drinking than having just cocktails at a bar. 

Daily life on the Greek islands comes with tremendous benefits: delicious greek food, thriving culture, and stunning natural beauty. There is a reason why Thessaloniki is considered a top retirement destination. I just never thought a low cost of living to be one of the reasons.

I’ve lived in Thessaloniki for 20 years. Before moving to Greece, I spent two years in Germany. I’m also originally from Manhattan, and I travel between Greece and California two or three times a year. All of which gives me an excellent perspective to compare the monthly living cost of different major cities. 

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This collaboration with Amber and her dog Fiona describes their budget in the port city of Thessaloniki, Greece.

My husband is originally from Thessaloniki, though he also lived in Germany and Manhattan for several years. Moving to Thessaloniki was my idea. I wanted to raise my bi-cultural daughters here, and there are things about the Mediterranean quality of life that is important to me. To my pleasant surprise, the lifestyle I value is readily available in Thessaloniki at a low cost.

The currency used in Greece is the Euro (EUR). At the time of this writing, the exchange rate is 1 US Dollar (USD) = 0.85 EUR

What Is The Cost Of Living In Thessaloniki?

Centrally located in Thessaloniki, Aristotelous Square is the beating heart of the city.

$1500- Cost of Living in Thessaloniki Greece Details [HIDE]

Total Monthly Expense$1530
Taxi 1 time per Week35
Total Transportation Expense67
Travel Health Insurance50
Health Care Expense50
30 minute massage 1 time per month12
Personal Care (Shampoo, etc.) & Household Items (Soap, etc.)20
Total Personal Care and Misc Expense82
Exchange Rate to $1 USD to Euro (EUR)0.85
Rent- 1-bedroom apartment Exoches Neighborhood530
Cell Phone + Home Internet + Landline59
Total Housing Expense724
Home Cooked Meals 16 times per week302
Light Breakfast with Coffee 2 times per week36
Budget Meal- Greek Food 3 times per Week77
Splurge Meal w/ wine 1 time per Month71
Total Food Expense484
Coffee with Friends- Coffee and Treats once per Week21
Drinks with Friends- Wine and Meze once per Week102
Total Entertainment123
Monthly Bus Pass32

 EDITOR'S NOTE :  The $1,500 is an adjusted budget for one-person. In her post, Amber describes her spending per month for her family of four. The adjusted budget above represents what a single person living in Thessaloniki would spend per month.

Not counting my fixed expenses, I spend perhaps 800 EUR (about 960 USD) per month. That covers groceries - but for a household of 3 or 4, getting coffees and cocktails with friends, going out to eat and getting take-out - again for 2 to 4 people, going to the cinema, buying minimal clothing, getting occasional haircuts, taking taxis, and so on.

If I skip a couple of evenings out, I can set aside enough for a weekend getaway at least every other month. For one person, 600 EUR (720 USD) - not counting rent, utilities, insurance, and cell service - is ample for an enjoyable lifestyle. That monthly budget allows for all your shopping (food, clothing, incidental housewares, etc.), going out, and socializing over coffee, drinks, or dinner, and plenty of cultural activities, including occasional out-of-town trips.

How Does The Cost of Living In Greece Compare To The US?

Look at the cost of living comparison below representing the Top 4 essential expenses in the US: housing, food, transportation, and healthcare. These 4 expenses make up 68% of the average living costs in a major city.

Even when comparing the most expensive city in Greece to a medium-cost city in the US (Portland), the lower cost of living in Thessaloniki saves you nearly $14,000 a year.

Essential Living Costs

















Total Average Per Month



Save 47% on Major Monthly Expenses

What Does An Apartment Cost In Thessaloniki?

Expat life in Egnatia means walking past historical monuments like the Arch of Galerius, built in the late 3rd century.

Housing Costs


A one-bedroom apartment in the Exoches neighborhood rents for 400 - 500 EUR (480 - 600 USD). Excoches is central, but not “downtown.” You can walk the seafront promenade and be at the city center in half an hour.

We bought our apartment years ago before real estate prices increased. Today, our three-bedroom apartment and a big veranda would rent for about 1200 EUR / $1445 per month. The average price for a typical two-bedroom apartment in our neighborhood - in an older building without parking, is roughly 700 - 800 EUR (840 - 960 USD).

Additional Housing Costs

Whether you rent or own in Thessaloniki, you have a monthly maintenance fee for the elevator, cleaning the common areas, and so on. That’s usually around 30 EUR (36 USD). Heat for a 2 bedroom apartment is about 80 - 100 EUR (96 - 120 USD), electricity is about 60 - 70 EUR (72 - 84 USD) a month. The total cost of utilities and additional fees averages $135 per month. 

 INSIDER TIP :  Three Things to Know About Renting an Apartment in Thessaloniki-

  1. Upfront Housing Costs- New expats moving to Thessaloniki need to budget for significant monthly rent upfront. Landlords require a deposit for the first and last months' rent and a real estate agent commission on contract signing.

    Also, appliances are not basic requirements. You may need to purchase a washing machine, refrigerator, and stove separately.
  2. Elevators and Balconies- Two features are nearly ubiquitous in Thessaloniki apartments. A balcony is a basic amenity. Get one big enough to drink your coffee on and hang your laundry. If you see a place without a balcony, keep looking. Only the very oldest buildings have no elevators. Unless you find a recent restoration, if the apartment is that old, you will have other problems to worry about down the line. 
  3. Doors are important- While Thessaloniki is a safe city, break-ins are on the rise. A security door is a critical feature - try to find an apartment with one.

What Are The Best Neighborhoods in Thessaloniki For Expats?

I recommend Exoches, conveniently located close to the sea and the city center. The neighborhood has all the essentials: supermarkets, schools, parks, quirky shops, and lots of cafes.

A little further from town, but with a more beach vibe is Karabounaki. The neighborhood is roughly 25% more expensive. Karabounaki appeals more to families; housing options focus on larger apartments. One-bedroom apartments are scarce, though you may find something small for perhaps 700 - 800 EUR (840 - 960 USD).

Expatriate families from the UK and US also favor the individual houses in the Panorama suburb on a hill, outside of town.

For single expats, I recommend living directly in the city center. Stay away from the expensive accommodations below Egnatia street. Magically, the rental prices immediately above Egnatia street drop drastically. Some buildings are older, but the architecture has character. Egnatia street was the original posh neighborhood before the wealthy people moved to the suburbs. My daughter rents a shared Egnatia two-bedroom apartment with a large living room and pays 500 EUR (600 USD) a month, without utilities. If you prefer a flat without roommates, rental prices for a one-bedroom apartment start at 400 EUR (480 USD).

 INSIDER TIP :  Apartment Hunting In Thessaloniki- A google search will give you several websites with listings in English and lots of photos - here’s one real estate site. The real estate agents get one month’s rent commission from both the tenant and the landlord.

The upfront commission is another reason to spent time carefully looking for the perfect flat. Moving mistakes will hurt your wallet.

What Is Your Food Budget In Thessaloniki?

The ocean provides freshly caught delicious meals daily

Food Costs


Our eating lifestyle - like most Greek families - is one main sit-down meal - either a late lunch or dinner. Then a snack or a generous salad and a glass of wine, maybe with some fruit and some cheese.

Breakfast is simple, usually coffee or tea and some cereal or yogurt. If you are out running errands, you can pick up a sesame bread ring, koulouri, from the street vendor for .50 EUR - about 60 cents. A spinach pie or sweet bougatsa for breakfast will cost about 1.50 - 2.50 EUR (1.80 - 3 USD) from a quality bakery. Add 2 EUR (2.40 USD) for a cappuccino or a Freddo espresso.

Grocery Shopping In Thessaloniki

Grocery shopping in Greece does not mean what it means in many other countries. Heading to the food markets is not a chore but a pleasurable social activity involving leisurely browsing in different shops.

First, there is the farmers’ market (“laiki”) twice a week for fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish. We spend 25 - 30 EUR (30 - 36 USD) twice a week. This budget buys more fruits and vegetables than I can easily carry, including fish, shrimp, mussels, or whatever looks fresh. If there is no tempting seafood, we get a free-range chicken.

We spend the money we save on not eating out on high-quality ingredients for cooking. Our weekly food budget covers cheeses, meats, fish, produce, nuts and fruits, treats, wines, and beer averages 100 EUR (120 USD). The cost breakdown is about half our budget goes to the farmer’s market, and half goes to the supermarket and specialty vendors: meat butcher, cheese shop, and Greek wine guy.

How Much Does Eating Out In Thessaloniki Cost?

Basic Meal $6- Typical Greek Food- souvlaki or gyro in a pita and a beer - 5 EUR, max (6 USD). Gyro places serve large portions of grilled meats with side salads. You can buy a couple of meat platters and some sides for around 10 EUR (12 USD) per person.

Mid-Range Restaurant $24- Mediterranean bistro - about 20 EUR (24 USD) per person, including house wine or distilled spirits (ouzo, tsipouro, tsikoudia). Thessaloniki has an impressive international food scene, and there are lots of inexpensive bistro-style places making dishes with locally sourced ingredients and classic flavors with new interpretations.

Expensive Restaurants $72- Fresh Caught Fish for 60 EUR (72 USD) per person. Rationally living by the sea should mean inexpensive seafood. But Greeks are willing to pay for wild-caught fish. Fresh fish is categorized by the quality and charged by kilo. Expect to pay 60 EUR (72 USD) per kilo for the very finest and not less than 40 EUR (48 USD) per kilo for simpler fish.  

Splurge-Worthy Dining $47- Lobster, priced at 80 - 120 EUR per kilo, is a luxury treat. Usually served as lobster pasta, with a mid-range bottle of wine and all the sides, this comes out luxury splurge meal at 40 EUR / $47 per person.

Budget Breakfast $2- A sweet cream-filled Bougatsa 

Mid-Range Restaurant $12- Bakaliaro with Skordalia - salt cod with garlic sauce

Splurge Dining $47- Lobster pasta with a mid-range bottle of wine

How Much Money Do You Spend For Entertainment?

Ladadika, a popular neighborhood for cafes, bars, and restaurants near the harbor.

Entertainment and Sports


Thessaloniki is the second biggest city in Greece. If you are looking for an active social life, the city delivers. 

  • The Cultural Capital $varies- The city offers a massive selection of cultural activities, from gallery openings (free) to theater performances and concerts. Tickets to live concerts of foreign touring bands run between 20 and 30 EUR, generally (24 - 36 USD). Tickets for Theater and Opera can run between 12 EUR (14.40 USD) for a small avant-garde production to 50 EUR (60 USD) for a touring ballet or opera.
  • Museum Entrance $5- Museum and Archaeological sites have an admission from 4 EUR to 8 EUR (4.80 - 9.60), depending on the site/museum. I’ll go whenever there is a new show or if I am researching something. There are also many excellent Free Museums in Thessaloniki.
  • Cinema Tickets $10-  The full-price movie tickets are 8 or 9 EUR (9.60 - 10.80 USD), but there are almost always discounted tickets or 2-for-1 specials for less busy days. The Therina or summer cinemas are ideal for movie lovers to enjoy a film outdoors in a garden under the stars.
  • Coffee with Friends $4- A coffee in a lovely cafe is about 3.50 - 4 EUR (4.20 - 4.80 USD), plus another euro for a tip. Coffee almost always comes with a small treat - a couple of cookies or a small slice of cake.
  • Drinks with Friends $8 - I go out perhaps once a week in the evening for drinks with friends or a casual meal, as above. A cocktail or good glass of wine runs from 6 to 9 EUR (7.20 - 11 USD). But more often, we will have ouzo and mezes.
  • Yoga or Pilates classes $60 per month- Variety of clubs offering Pilates, Yoga, and other Wellness- There are many small-group Pilates and Yoga classes. The monthly cost ranges range from 50 to 80 EUR (60 - 96 USD) depending on the class size and frequency. 

Besides the concerts and performances, the other cultural events of the year are the Thessaloniki International Film Festival each fall, the Documentary Festival in early Spring, and the Biennale of Contemporary Art. There is plenty to experience in Thessaloniki on any budget. Thessaloniki earns its moniker as Greece's Cultural Capital.

How Much Does Transportation Cost?

The 2nd largest airport in Greece allows easy access for weekend getaways.



Transportation costs are not a significant factor in living in Thessaloniki if you live in the city center.

You can rent a car for around 20 EUR (24 USD) a day, but you would only use it for out-of-town trips.

Public transport is a bus network, with tickets for 1 EUR for a single ride, up to 2 EUR for four rides, or the express bus that goes to the airport. If you plan on riding the bus frequently, a monthly pass is available for  27 EUR / $32. 

There is no Uber in Greece. A taxi ride from the center of town to my neighborhood costs between 5 and 10 EUR (6 USD - 12 USD), depending on where I am in town and the hour - they are more expensive at night. Make sure the meter is on, but most taxi drivers are honest.

Bicycles and, increasingly, electric scooters are very, very popular ways to get around Thessaloniki. There are a limited number of bike lanes, but the waterfront has a clear bike/scooter path, which is one of the quickest ways for people to get around.

Walking in Thessaloniki- This is a highly walkable city, with short distances for the most part - the downtown feels like a big city, but it’s very compact. In addition to the waterfront promenade, there are wide sidewalks and many pedestrian streets in the center. There’s heavy traffic, but plenty of traffic lights and crossings. Because we are close to the sea and have a constant breeze, the air quality is usually very good for walking and biking.

International Flights

The Thessaloniki Airport Makedonia (SKG) airport is easy and cheap to get to - 2 EUR (2.4 USD) via public bus.

The Thessaloniki airport is a hub for low-cost European Union airlines. Budapest, for example, is just over an hour away, and flights are often around 60 EUR (72 USD) round-trip.

Airport Pick Up-  Avoid the stress and hassle of finding a taxi in a strange country. Get a safe airport pickup with no hidden costs.

Travel Cost To Other Greek Cities

Thessaloniki makes a good home base for travel. We are centrally located, within easy reach of exciting and often inexpensive destinations. The ease of taking trips is one of the best things about living here. 

  • Halkidiki beaches- a prime tourist destination for both residents and international visitors. This famous peninsula delivers the Greek Island experience, but without the ferry ride. During the summer months, Thessaloniki empties as people head out to Halkidiki for the weekend. Sithonia beach is our family favorite, but many Thessaloniki locals prefer the beach bars of Kassandra.
  • Wine Tasting- enjoy a weekend drive through gorgeous wine country while stopping for a tasting flight.
  • Mt. Olympus- is an hour away for those who like hiking and climbing. 
  • Athens- Trains are an inexpensive way to reach Athens. With a new track, you can reach the capital city in just over 4 hours, for under 50 EUR - about 46 EUR (55 USD) for a one-way ticket.

Other Costs When Moving To Thessaloniki

View from the old walls surrounding the historical center of Thessaloniki.

  • Co-Working Desk $60 per month- There are some co-working spaces in Thessaloniki with desks, internet, coffee machines, etc. The average price is about 50 EUR (60 USD) per month. There are also some great cafes in Thessaloniki for getting some work done.
  • Mobile Internet Plan $96- Two cell phones, home internet access, and a home phone line with a substantial supply of international minutes to talk with the US, UK, and Germany costs roughly 80 EUR (96 UDS) per month.

Affordable Luxuries in Thessaloniki

  • Maid Service $60 per day- The average price of a professional and thorough house cleaning runs about 50 - 60 EUR (60 - 72 USD) for all-day service.
  • Upscale Salon For Women $36- Greeks are very well-groomed, and there is a whole industry around this. There’s a lot of competition, and every neighborhood has inexpensive hair salons and nail salons. You can get a haircut for as little as 5 EUR (6USD). If you want a classy salon experience, you won’t need to pay very much compared to some cities - I spend around 30 EUR (36 USD) for a good haircut and styling, and leave a 5 EUR (6USD) tip.
  • Massages $12- A clean and professional, no-frills studio only charges 10 EUR (12 USD). Specialty massages and body and beauty treatments run as little as 20 EUR (24 USD).

How Much Does Health Care cost In Greece?



 EDITOR'S NOTE Private Health Insurance For Expats-  The $50 above represents travel medical insurance covering you worldwide.

The $260 price below refers to the Greek public healthcare system called ESY, available only to legal residents. Expatriate retirees looking to stay long-term in Greece can qualify for ESY after after receiving a residence permit. 

However, to apply for a residence permit, you will need prior proof of private health insurance. Travel medical insurance meets this residence permit requirement.

Will My Home Country Health Insurance Cover Me?

Most likely no. Most health insurance will not cover you for any injuries sustained outside your home country. To get protection while living abroad, there are two options:

  • Travel Health Insurance- This will cover you for unexpected medical issues while overseas. However, the coverage requires you to maintain insurance in the United States or your respective home country. I pay roughly $50 per month for complete coverage with no deductible.
  • Expat Medical Insurance- If you retire abroad, expat health insurance is a more complete option. Expat Medical Insurance is the "normal" insurance you are familiar with from home. Coverage is built for people who live in a country versus traveling. While more expensive than Travel Medical Insurance, premiums are still cheaper than in the US. 

In Greece, health insurance coverage is combined with the national pension (equivalent to social security in the US). A combined payment of 220 EUR / $260 covers medical services for the family (spouse and kids) and pension for the primary insured person

Some specialists are not on the health plan. Paying for medical out of pocket is between 50 and 80 EUR (60 and 96 USD) - the higher price even includes some in-office tests. 

Will I Have To Pay Taxes Living In Greece?

You are considered a tax resident in Greece if:

  • You spend at least 183 days in Greece in any 12-month period, or if
  • Your "center of vital interest" is in Greece

There is no official definition for what determines "vital interests," but Greek Authorities take into account:

  • Ownership of assets in Greece.
  • Children’s schools.
  • Country where your family resides.
  • Country where your family usually spends holidays.

Greece has a double taxation treaty with the US. 

What Is Not Included In The Monthly Budget?

Expat Taxes

If you stay longer than 183 days, many countries will consider you a tax resident. Being an expat may help you save money on your taxes. Talk to a tax professional to see how tax residency applies to you. I partnered with a firm specializing in expat taxes to secure a special deal for Nomadic FIRE readers.

Use the promotion code "Nomadic25Consultation" for $25 off a tax consultation to get you started. 

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Moving Costs

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What Are The Visa Requirements For Greece?

Halkidiki is a popular vacation spot for city locals and tourists.

US citizens visiting for up to 90 out of 180 days do not require a visa to enter Greece. The country is in the Schengen agreement. Foreigners looking to visit strictly for vacation or tourism can enter Greece as part of the Schengen Visa. Schengen is expressly for tourism and is not ideal for retirees or digital nomads looking for long-term options. 

Other countries can determine their visa requirements on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

What About A Greece Retirement Visa?

Greece does not have a specific retirement visa program. However, there are two visa options for expats looking to retire in Greece.

  • Financially independent people (FIP)- If you can prove a monthly income of at least 2000 Euro / $2355, you can qualify for a renewable two-year long-term stay visa. The income can be retirement income, pensions, or savings but cannot be generated from work in Greece.
  • Residency by Property Investment- Sometimes referred to as a Golden Visa, this renewable five-year residence permit is available for expat retirees who purchase real estate property in Greece worth at least 250,000 EUR / $295,000.

Both the passive income and the investment visas are the subject of a future post detailing the complete requirements and process to get fast-tracked residency. Sign up below to get updates as soon as the article is published. 

Compare Cost Of Living In THESSALONIKI, GREECE

Still researching the best cities for retirement? Check out our extensive Cost of Living collection for the best expat destinations. Get insider information and real examples of expat life from people who have spent years living abroad. I've compiled all the information you need: cost breakdowns, insider tips to save money, and detailed examples of the quality of lifestyle you can enjoy. 

Final Thoughts: Expat Living in Thessaloniki

Affordable living cost is not what makes my life in Thessaloniki so satisfying. How I spend that money is what brings a smile to my face in the morning.

My daily expenses directly support my local community - the beekeeper I get my honey from personally, farmers who grow my tomatoes, and the small family stores where I buy cheeses. My money is spent on my neighbors, my community, and my friends. That feels amazing inside.

Resources for Working and Living Abroad

Save Up To 40% On Your Moving Costs

EmbarkEx is Nomadic FIRE's new service to save you money on packing, trucking, and shipping overseas moves for expats who want to live and retire abroad.

I have partnered with 10,000+ pre-screened global moving companies to save you time and money. Fill out our 60-second form and get 5 quotes from accredited moving companies competing for your business. Compare and save by clicking the button below.

Protect Your Health While Abroad

Your home health insurance is unlikely to provide coverage for you while overseas. Get premium health insurance designed for expats and digital nomads that protects you anywhere you are in the world, even during a pandemic.

Use A Virtual Mailbox To Keep A Permanent US Address And Receive Important Documents and Packages

Get a US street address you can use while you are overseas. Use a digital mailbox with a REAL physical location to receive mail from USPS, FedEx, and UPS.

A virtual mailbox can receive and forward all your important documents and packages, replace credit cards, maintain state residency, get checks deposited, or file business and tax applications.

Start Speaking A New Language In 30 days

Pimsleur is the best method I have found to get to "Survival-Level" quickly when learning a new language. With Pimsleur, I can ease the stress of arriving in a new country and start speaking with people in my neighborhood. Ordering food, getting directions, haggling prices, and making friends is 10X easier when you can communicate in the local language.

Achieve better results using Pimsleur's short classes and organic learning methodology vs. the mindless repetition, endless verb conjugations, and tedious memorization of other language courses. 

Transfer Money Internationally

For expats and nomads, Wise offers an International Bank account for your money transfers. It's an easier and cheaper alternative for paying your bills while overseas.

Looking to buy property abroad, Wise has a Large Transfer Rate for even bigger savings. 

Get Your US Expat Tax Questions Answered

US Expat taxes are the most complex in the world. However, living abroad comes with potential tax advantages, but mistakes are very easy to make. It is no wonder many expats are frustrated. 

Avoid complications, penalties, and fines, Taxes For Expats is here to help.

Travel Tools and Resources

Skyscanner- My favorite airline search tool to find all the cheapest flights in one place.
Airport Pick-Up Service- Arrive at your destination stress-free with a private car cheaper than most taxis. 

Loctote- My favorite day pack. Secure your belongings while walking around town.


I have traveled to over 40 countries to give you the best ways to save, invest, and live overseas for less cost than in the US. After five years of traveling, my list of places to live keeps getting longer. To give you more information on the best places to live abroad, I partner with experts from the expat community.

You want insider information from people with feet in the street? I only work with expats with real-life experience living in countries you want to know about. Together you get updated info on the best neighborhoods, detailed Cost of Living examples, money-saving advice, and recommendations on the local places to eat, drink, and see.

Are you a travel blogger with information you can share on living in another country? Contact me and let's talk about collaborating on a guest post. 


Amber Charmei, originally from Manhattan, moved to Greece a couple of decades ago to experience the same chaotic urban intimacy, but with a longer backstory and better swimming. She writes on travel, art, culture, and cuisine - in print magazines and on the web - and at provocolate, where she shares everything she loves about living a contemporary life in an ancient place.

About the author

Hi, That's me. I'm Marco Sison. I am a survivor of the corporate rat race. I started Nomad FIRE to show you an alternative to the stress and grind of 70-hour weeks to pay off a mortgage, student loans, and countless bills. After getting laid off in 2015, I said screw it all and retired early at 41 years old. I have traveled the last eight years to over 50 countries to show you the best ways to save, invest, and live in amazing countries for 70% less cost than the US. I have been featured in: US News & World Reports, HuffPost, MSN Money, USA Today, ABC Network, Yahoo Finance, Association of MBAs, the iTunes documentary Seeking FIRE, and the Amazon Best-Seller, Abroad: Expats That Thrive . [view press...]

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