People often wonder why I moved to Athens, of all places. On the surface it does seem a little crazy; I spent four years at university studying up to a postgraduate level, only to then move to one of the most deprived cities in Europe and to work in a job that isn’t even related to my degree.
Admittedly, I could make more money in England but I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the life I have now. So what is it about Athens that I enjoy so much? Well, I’ve decided to make a short blog post to explain exactly that.
#1 The Climate
So I think this goes without saying, but living in a city where the winter lasts just a few short months is definitely up there as being the best thing about living in Athens. Who wouldn’t want to finish work and be able to go catch a tan on the beach? Or spend the evening sitting on their balcony sipping a bottle of wine?
The coldest months are December, January, and February with an average temperature of 10-12 degrees Celsius. Therefore, even the winter season is enough so stop English people complaining about the weather, well… you’d hope.
#2 The Food
There’s a common misconception that Greek food is all olives, salads, and fish. If you are into eating healthy, delicious food then you’ll find no shortage of it in Athens and there’s also a fast-growing vegan movement here too.
Clean-eating, meat-free restaurants are popping up throughout the city, but carnivores are not excluded from enjoying the delights of Greek cuisine. My personal, budget-friendly favourite food has to be souvlaki. I’d recommend the Athenian chain, “Street Souvlaki” which own three restaurants across the city. Although, you can find this traditional meaty wrap almost anywhere and will only cost an average of two euros.
You’ll also find bakeries scattered throughout Athens. One of the most popular and my personal favourite is Attika Aptonoieia, where you’ll find a range of mouth-watering pastries; I usually go for a tiropita, which is basically a Greek cheese pie. Regardless, of what type of eater you are, I have no doubts that you’ll enjoy sampling and discovering all the delights which Greece has to offer.
#3 The Greek People
I’m generalizing here, but I’m pretty confident that if you’ve ever been to Greece then you’ll know what I’m talking about. Most of the kindest and genuine people I’ve ever met have been Greek, and as a foreigner here, I get a real sense that I’m welcomed and accepted into their culture.
#4 Cost of Living
Relative to the minimum wage in Greece, which currently stands at €683 per month, living costs are unsurprisingly low in Athens. For example, I pay €360 per month for my one-bedroomed apartment, which even includes all my bills; €30 a month for transport and spend between €40 – €70 per week on food.
#5 A Simple Way of Life
As a minimalist, I enjoy the little things in life. The majority of Athenians don’t have much money, and they have also adopted a simple, minimal approach to living.
I don’t feel any need to spend ridiculous amounts of money on fancy clothes or have the latest smartphone. Instead, I now focus more on the little things. Sometimes that’s just having a coffee and watching the world go by, relaxing at the beach or exploring the city.
Sure, Athens is far from perfect, but it doesn’t pretend to be either – and neither do the people.