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Best Islands for Retirement in Greece

The most important considerations when choosing a place to live in your golden years of retirement are affordability, low cost of living, health services, safety, and transportation. Greece is a popular country for senior expats to relocate because of its desirable climate, warm hospitality, and low cost of living. 

 

Combined with government programs that encourage expats to retire in Greece, like the Golden Visa program, Greece earned its place in International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index as one of the World’s Best Places to Retire in 2023. The ranking has run for 32 years and gave Greece the prize of the World’s 7th Best Place to Retire in 2023.

The Church of Panagia Vlacherna, Corfu

Pensioners in Greece

Simply put, Greece is full of old people. It has one of the oldest populations in Europe and is the 5th oldest population in the world.

 

Walking the streets of Greek island villages, you would think this number is even higher. That’s because Greece’s 65+ residents go about their daily activities and leave their apartments to walk around the neighborhood and even to go to the beach. Go to any island in the afternoon when the sun starts to drop and you’ll see lots of old people swimming in the sea or taking a slow walk on the boardwalk, chatting with a friend. 

 

The cafes and coffee shops are famous for having regular groups of retirees in their golden years, playing cards and backgammon or enjoying an ouzo together. Any large family will have an ever-present grandmother or grandfather who is always present at local feasts and gatherings.

Best Islands for Retirement in Greece

Crete

Crete is known for its wide variety of landscapes, its sand beaches and mountain villages, urban settings, and monasteries. For retirees, the number and variety of activities on Crete will never leave you getting bored. In Chania, you can explore the Venetian port, and in Heraklion you can walk around the historical center. The Palace of Knossos and the Venetian influence in Agios Nikolaos are a great way to engage with local history. 

 

For pensioners, small towns like Almida, Douliana, Elounda, or Agios Nikolaos are good places to settle if you want a small town. Larger towns like Plakias and Rethymnon also have their appeal, but it is best to live on the outskirts of town for peace and quiet. 

 

Many nationalities have found their second home in Crete, especially Brits, Germans, French, Dutch, Belgians, Italians and Americans. The CIC (Cretan International Community) is one example of a group that supports expats, and is based in Rethymno. The CIC organizes social events and helps provide practical info for relocating to Crete.

Gramvousa, Crete

Rhodes

Rhodes is known for its port in Rhodes Town, which has a mix of history, traditional culture, music, and relaxation. To add to these sights, Rhodes has 3,000 hours of sunshine per year and has an impressive 220 kilometers of coastline. This combination makes this Dodecanese island one of the best places to retire in Greece. 

 

Two ideal bases in Rhodes are the towns of Lindos and Archangelos, which are found in the east. Lindos is known for its low-key tavernas, charming alleyways, and stunning beaches. Quaint Greek tavernas, white-washed narrow alleyways, and stunning beaches make it ideal, and Rhodes Town is only 1 hour away.

 

Rhodes is also a home to thousands of expats. They come to Rhodes for the extended summer season and the community bonds. Rhodes is ideal for expats living in Greece because most inhabitants speak English. 

Rhodes Town

Corfu

Corfu is an island in the Ionian that is famous for its pristine beaches and scenic views. The north side of the island is more known for fishing towns and the south is very quiet, with sleepy villages and remote sandy beaches. Roda and Agios Gordios are 2 popular spots for retirees. Roda is ideal because it gives you a starting point to visit both the beaches and the mountains. 

 

The north of the island of Corfu has a wide array of fishing villages, turquoise bays, and seaside towns. It’s the perfect place to experience great food, wine, and Greek culture. As an extra bonus for safety, Corfu has some clinics and hospitals which are open 24/7 for emergencies, like the “Agia Irini” and the clinic “Alexandros Mastoras.”

Old Fortress of Corfu

Syros

Syros is a much smaller island than the above options, and it is found in the Cyclades. Most islands in Greece go into hibernation in the winter. Shops close, service centers shut down, and the population can dwindle when all the tourists leave. 

 

Syros, however, is an exception. Because it is the administrative capital of the Cycladic Islands, Syros functions year-round and has a population of about 20,000 people. The island is also close to Athens, which means you have a safety net if you need to visit a hospital in Athens. 

 

In addition, Syros features beautiful landscapes, stunning architecture, and a laid-back lifestyle. It’s the ideal place in the Cyclades to spend your golden years. 

Church of St. Nicholas, Syros

Greece is of course full of islands that are ideal for settling down in your golden years. We’ve only included a selection, but there are many more to discover!

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