Jump to content


Photo

Moving To Crete


  • Please log in to reply
40 replies to this topic

#1 Antoinette

Antoinette

    Tourist

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts
  • Location:Santa Monica, California, USA

Posted 18 August 2006 - 10:31 PM

I live in Santa Monica, California which is a beach community outside Los Angeles. Aside from being horribly out of sorts with my government, I am weary of all the traffic, noise polution, over crowding and smog. As we say,"Time to get out of Dodge".

In my old Hippy days I spent two wonderful weeks years ago camping on a beach near Heraklion. Fell in love with the beauty of the island, its' history and the warm friendly people. Have been reading all the blogs and trying to absorb as much information as I can. Still have questions.

Is it possible to lease a flat or must you rent month by month.
What is the cost of living...bottomline?
If you lease a flat, is it possible to sub-let during the summer months(a time when I plan to head to cooler climates)?
Is Internet access as available as it seems?
Is a car necessary? Would a scooter do?
How hot and how cold does it really get?
What are the essentials one should bring?

Any feedback would be welcome!

#2 Retired in Crete

Retired in Crete

    Crete Expert

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 176 posts

Posted 19 August 2006 - 07:10 PM

Hi Antoinette,

Will do my best to answer your questions:

Is it possible to lease a flat or must you rent month by month.
It is usual to rent month by month, I have not seen any leases for sale but that does not mean that there arn't any!

What is the cost of living...bottomline?
Really difficult to answer this as everyone leads different lifestyles. For starters, the average income in Greece is about 9,000 Euros per year. In Crete I suspect that it is even less. If the "Locals" can exist on this so can you.

If you lease a flat, is it possible to sub-let during the summer months(a time when I plan to head to cooler climates)?
As I have already said I have not seen leases, can only suggest that you talk to your prospective landlord. In Crete all things are possible!!

Is Internet access as available as it seems?
Parts of the Island have broadband, but not all. Dial up is, I think, available everywhere. In the West of Crete telephone lines are hard to come by as they have run out of numbers! I am told that this is being rectified but they are currently quoting up to 2 years for a line. In the East of Crete there is no problem and you can get a line in a few days. Almost every town and village has an "internet cafe".

Is a car necessary? Would a scooter do?
Yes if you want to live dangerously!

How hot and how cold does it really get?
Last Summer the hottest day we had the temp on our terrace was 47C (but only one day and there was no breeze, usually the breeze keeps the temp down. Today 38C). The coldest last winter, in January was 5C.

What are the essentials one should bring?
Difficult one this. I am tempted to say "Whatever is important to you that you cannot get here", The only things that we miss from the UK are people, our children, grandchildren and friends.

I hope this helps, good luck with your plans,

John
Cornwall - Great at any time of the year.

#3 Greglegrec

Greglegrec

    Tourist

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts
  • Location:Chania

Posted 20 August 2006 - 03:06 AM

I am not retired at all but I will as John, try to help you. My answers are connected to my own personnal experience...

Is it possible to lease a flat or must you rent month by month.
We are renting a small house with a normal renting contract (lease for one years). But we also found people renting flat month by month with increased price in the summer.

What is the cost of living...bottomline?
Depends where you live and what you buy :D Chania is very expensive. South of the island is very cheap. Restaurants, bars pubs are cheap. Clothes and shopping (furtinutes, ...) not so cheap. I would rather say expensive. But the daily life : eating, going to the supermarket, buying a bread, is not expensive at all.

If you lease a flat, is it possible to sub-let during the summer months(a time when I plan to head to cooler climates)?
Depends with the owner. Need to be discussed with him.

Is Internet access as available as it seems?
In the north of the island no prob at all. Surrunding every big cities, you can get DSL connection. In the south, DSL is coming. Actually, the three providers offers 256, 512 and 1024 DSL connections. Those are still slow in comparison of US or France and so. But it works quite well. Despites, ADSL is really expensive !!!! Greece has within Europe, the most expensive prices for phone and Internet

Is a car necessary? Would a scooter do?
Depends again how you live. We do not have a car... but we live 10 km far away from chania and we can take a bus. If you live in the south or in the moutains, for sure, you need a car

How hot and how cold does it really get?
Not so hot here. The average temperature for the summer is 30 day... and night

What are the essentials one should bring?
... open-mind and happiness

#4 Antoinette

Antoinette

    Tourist

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts
  • Location:Santa Monica, California, USA

Posted 20 August 2006 - 03:22 AM

Dear John,

Thanks for the quick reply!

I have been reading more and information tells me unless I have a death wish, buying a scooter is not an option. Looks like you agree. Not a big problem seeing as there seem to be car rentals galore and good public transportation.

I did a quick calculation and if I am not wrong the temperature gets over 100F in the summer. Will be a time for me to head to Ireland or some other cooler place.

Also, not a problem with the cost of living. My needs are very simple and see no reason to change. All one really needs is a roof over your head a a bunch of good books.

I know I will miss my friends, but with luck some of that motly crew will come for visits. since most of them have the money and time to travel.....and a love of travel is one of the many things we share....that and sailing.

Plan to make the move in a year and a half, but will come for a visit before that time just to scope the living situation and reassure myself that I am making the right decision. It will be dificult to leave my country, because I really do love the land and the people, but the political and economic climate is intolerable to anyone with half a brain. We are old (well, not so old yet) Hippy radicals from the late 60s and 70s. My pal Michael is looking at Mexico and So. America, another pal is moving to Thailand, another to New Zealand...the list goes on. It is a sad state when you think about it!

Again, thanks. Was a pleasure hearing from you.

Antoinette

#5 Retired in Crete

Retired in Crete

    Crete Expert

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 176 posts

Posted 20 August 2006 - 02:49 PM

Antoinette

A kindred spirit!!! I was sailing on Tuesday with a Greek friend who has a 35ft yacht. I sold my own boat when I left the UK as I could not find a crew to sail it here with me.

Yes, it does get a bit warm here in July and August. As I write this (3.30 pm Sunday) the temperature is 40C (104F), but it is a dry heat and there is a nice breeze so it is not at all unpleasant. Also we have air-con which makes it easy to sleep at night as I like a cold bedroom.

It is sad that so many people have become disillusioned with their homelands. I read somewhere that over a million British have left the UK in the last 3 years and a recent UK survey showed that a third of the population planned on retireing abroad. It cannot be only the UK weather that they do not like!

I love my new life in Crete, although it is not Utopia, and consider myself extreemly fortunate to be able to live here and that the Greeks allow me to share their beautifull island.

John
Cornwall - Great at any time of the year.

#6 Pam

Pam

    Crete Explorer

  • Club Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 378 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Neo Chorio, Crete

Posted 21 August 2006 - 11:54 AM

Hi, Antoinette - have you looked at the "Living in Crete" web site - that has a lot of useful information. All the best with your plans and do keep us informed.

We're also planning to move to Crete in a couple of years time, though not because we're fed up of England. We like the area we're living in - quite cosmopolitan, probably have about half a dozen different nationalities living in our street, but when I don't have to work, we'd prefer to live in a better climate and a beautiful country - North London certainly can't be called beautiful!

Pam & Bob

#7 Antoinette

Antoinette

    Tourist

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts
  • Location:Santa Monica, California, USA

Posted 22 August 2006 - 10:10 PM

I will check out the "Living in Crete" web site. Thanks for the tip.

Sailing is a big part of my life. been doing it since I was a child. Sail mostly on Catalina 30s and 38s and an Ericson 40. Sailing keeps me sane, think is is better than Prozac anyday. Recon if I am living on an island there should be many opportunities to get on the water. At one point, I thought of buying a boat on the East Coast and sailing across...that insanity lasted about two weeks before better judgement kicked in.

Plan to visit Crete sometime in early December...and really looking forward to the trip.

Antoinette

#8 Henry Hooray

Henry Hooray

    Crete Explorer

  • Club Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 311 posts
  • Location:Bath, England

Posted 31 August 2006 - 11:54 AM

Retired wrote:

I could not find a crew to sail it here with me.


Oh, but I would have been only too happy to pop down on occasion to crew for you!!!

On the subject of moving country: when I moved across the sea to the UK thirty years ago I felt I moved to the best country I had been to for living in, for calling home. My wife (English, met her 'only' twenty years ago) and I enjoy travelling, not just in Greece and the rest of Europe, but wider afield too, and we are both looking forward to spending not a few weeks but a few months abroad at a time.

However, we still both think England, with all we can moan and grump and complain about, is the best home for us - so we are indeed very lucky.

And every week that goes by without having been to Crete the more I miss it, the more I suffer from withdrawal symptoms. Haven't been for two years now, and won't be going until next year at the earliest. One of the great things about this forum is that it keeps me in touch with that island in the sun.

Henry.

#9 piggy

piggy

    Tourist

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts

Posted 03 September 2006 - 06:17 PM

. For starters, the average income in Greece is about 9,000 Euros per year.
can you tell me if itv is easy to get work in crete.i have a cleaning/ironing buisness in england,but am quite flexible really.

#10 Arthur Daley

Arthur Daley

    Tourist

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 10 posts

Posted 03 September 2006 - 06:20 PM

Really difficult to answer this as everyone leads different lifestyles. For starters, the average income in Greece is about 9,000 Euros per year. In Crete I suspect that it is even less. If the "Locals" can exist on this so can you.


We are planning to move to Crete and buy a new property but I want to continue working part-time in UK once a month for about 10 days.

This would give an income of about 35-40k pa. We estimate our (Greek) mortgage will be approx 7.5k pa as we have limited funds for a deposit.

My partner is planning to work in Crete but has little idea of what she might earn. Any advice on whether this is a viable proposition (and any attendant pitfalls) would be appreciated.

#11 Retired in Crete

Retired in Crete

    Crete Expert

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 176 posts

Posted 04 September 2006 - 12:49 AM

Wow - lots of questions about working in Crete!

From my screen name you will see that I don't work, but I know a few who do, so I will try to help.

During the summer season, May to October, almost anybody can get work in the tourist industry. OK you will not earn a fortune, you will work long hours (by UK standards) but you will make enough to get by on. Many come to work here just for the holiday season.

Winter, October to April is a different story. For an unskilled worker there is really only olive picking, which is backbreaking work (not that I have tried it!) and poorly paid.

Unless you can speak fluent Greek few other jobs are available. Most of the banks and nationalised industries ie telephone, electricity etc will only employ Greek nationals. Anyway these jobs are considered "the cream" by the Greeks as (currently) they are jobs for life, (the government is trying to change this). Bus driving and being a dustman are also considered good jobs as they provide year round employment. The building industry is dominated by Albanians as they will work for even less pay than a Greek. Things like shop work tend to be seasonal as many shops close for the winter. What is left? There is very little industry on Crete, it is really a "tourist & olive" island.

So what do the people I know do? One does gardening (for hotels) in the summer and hotel maintainence work in the winter. Another has a second hand bookshop, one is a "chippy" for a firm of builders, one has his own bar. One has built up a small business looking after holiday homes. All the others are retired or not working.

Sorry if I am painting a bleak picture, if anyone has a trade or know what they want to do I will try and help if I can

John
Cornwall - Great at any time of the year.

#12 Arthur Daley

Arthur Daley

    Tourist

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 10 posts

Posted 04 September 2006 - 09:51 AM

So would I be correct in assuming that the cost of living is approx 30% less than in the UK overall?

My electric bills here (for 2 people living in a small old rented cottage - which has the dreaded electric storage radiators) comes in at around 1200 a year... I understand electricity is expensive in Crete - but surely it wouldn't reach those astronomical levels?

All the info I can glean from the web says that water & electricity is 'expensive'.. can anyone shed any light on what an average couple in a 2 bed property might have to actually pay for these (and any other) utilities?

Many thanks

Arthur

#13 Retired in Crete

Retired in Crete

    Crete Expert

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 176 posts

Posted 08 September 2006 - 11:14 AM

Arthur,

Firstly, Yes we have found that the cost of living here is roughly 70% of that in the UK. This is only a "feeling" as we have kept no records to justify this.

Everyday things like food are far cheaper than the UK, but some things are far more expensive!
Childrens clothes (unless you visit the local markets) are very expensive. Furniture costs much more and car insurance is horrendous! (In the UK I paid just under 200 per year for a 3 series BMW, fully comp. Here I pay 850 Euro (595) for a little Citroen C3 Plurial, again fully comp).

In Crete, your electricity bill also includes your TV licence, which is not optional, and the equivalent of Council Tax. We have a 2 bedroom bungalow (85 sq m) with a swimming pool. The filtration plant for the pool runs for 5 hours every day. We cook by electricity, as there is no mains gas on Crete, we have air conditioning, which is currently running all night in one bedroom plus evening use in the lounge, plus fridge & washing machine. Our water is heated by solar panels. Our bill for the period 20/06/06 to 16/08/06 was 43 Euro (30.10). The bills are for 2 months not per quarter as in the UK. The winter period bills are about the same because we sometimes run the air con "backwards" to provide heat and often put the immersion heater on to "top up" the hot water temperature. We have no central heating, we have a large open fire on which we burn logs. Because I am over 60, the kind British Government send me a 200 "winter fuel allowance" which buys 3 tonnes of logs and these, together with what we pick up from the beaches etc, keep us warm all winter.

So far, we have never recieved a water bill so I cannot comment on this.

Hope this helps

John
Cornwall - Great at any time of the year.

#14 DaveW.

DaveW.

    Crete Explorer

  • Club Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 451 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:South Wales

Posted 09 September 2006 - 01:44 PM

'arfur,
You know when you go to Crete and only come back for the 10 days a month for which you earn 35-40k? :P Do you think I could work the other days in the month for you/ :D This would mean that I could also consider retiring to Crete in a couple of years! B) 'cos at the present time on my salary I think that I could retire in about 50 years time...just in time to get a telegram from HRH :)
If you look like your passport picture....you probably need the holiday!

#15 santo

santo

    Crete Explorer

  • Club Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 482 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:North-West, UK

Posted 12 September 2006 - 09:20 AM

Thought you had that telegram last year DaveW. :D :) :P
Santo

It's not the number of breaths you take, it's the moments that take your breath away.

#16 Wim

Wim

    Crete Explorer

  • Club Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,141 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The Hague Netherlands

Posted 13 September 2006 - 11:58 AM

For what's it worth

Just typing "cost of living Crete" in Google search gives a plethora of answers B) I'd say that's not much of an effort...

:)
True is that adage: "He who yields to rule by wooden heads, becomes himself a fool."

#17 Retired in Crete

Retired in Crete

    Crete Expert

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 176 posts

Posted 15 September 2006 - 02:31 AM

Win

Only one problem with what you say. I didn't look on Google.

I got the figure from a government report published in The Athens News and what I said seems to tally with what the locals and my friends here earn.

The Cretan people have an inquisitive nature which sometimes seems outrageous by English standards.
If you buy something they ask how much did it cost, then tell you they could have got it cheaper for you. Without exception, every Cretan who has visited my house has asked how much we paid for it. The first time it happened was two weeks after moving here. I bought a car, with cash, the dealer asked how much my pension was. I was staggered, you don't ask that sort of question. I told him I didn't have one yet and was living on the proceeds of the sale of my house in the UK. Fearing that he would ask how much we sold it for I asked "what do you earn then?" "I made just over 22,000 Euro last financial year" he replied, He was the owner of the dealership. "How much did you get for your house" (the dreaded question) "Not enough" I replied. Since that day I have adopted the Cretan way and ask first!

John
Cornwall - Great at any time of the year.

#18 Assim

Assim

    Crete Expert

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 123 posts
  • Location:Athens

Posted 15 September 2006 - 08:39 AM

It shocked me a bit, at first when I was asked outright by a stranger 'how much do you earn'. Never having been asked that in the UK I didn't know how to answer. I think I'll take your advise RIC and ask first B) I am curious to know if my Greek salary is as good as it sounds.

#19 Arthur Daley

Arthur Daley

    Tourist

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 10 posts

Posted 18 October 2006 - 11:12 PM

Many thanks for all the replies - they are much appreciated. We have now visited Crete and are planning to settle in/near Almerida/Plaka/Kokkino Chorio/Kefalas... New Century Homes seem reputable & cheap... Does anyone have any knowledge/experiences of them?

#20 Antoinette

Antoinette

    Tourist

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts
  • Location:Santa Monica, California, USA

Posted 18 October 2006 - 11:40 PM

Dear Yannis, Thank you for alerting me to "the moving to Crete" discussion. Found the information very helpful. My research has concluded that one person could live comfortably on $1,000 a month. Of course all this depends on ones life style. I will be visiting Crete this May with the intention of a permanent move the following year.