Brits retired to Peloponnese?

My partner & I are seriously considering selling up in the UK and retiring to Greece. We particularly like the Peloponnese and plan to come over in June to travel around looking at different areas. (We've just spent 3 months in Portugal doing the same but decided our hearts lie in Greece!).
Wondering if there are any villages/towns where Brits have settled and which have at least one bar/taverna/shop open in Winter?
Would also love to hear from a couple who have retired there in the last year to hear how you have settled in etc.

Thank you

I bought a derelict house near Monemvasia in 2009 but didn't move furniture from England until 2015.
Good question about winter and spring as it can be lonely if you have a summertime mentality. We have made lots of Greek friends which is so easy over here and so we meet up for meals and drinks on a need to basis.
If you are thinking of staying in Greece for a long part of the year then try for Residency and register for AMKA which is the NHS equivalent.

Anything else please message away.

Just wondering how Brits will legally remain here for more than 90 days in every 180 days allowed if they have not applied for and gained a residency permit before Brexit,thats presuming they were living here then.And how would they be entitled to Greek state health care unless they are paying into the system,retirees can have care,the very basic where its refunded by the British state I think but one wouldnt want to rely on only that.

Hi. We applied for and got Residency status two years ago so we are not restricted to 90 Day rule. The 90 Day's kick in if we travel via Schengen which we sometimes have to do. I know an English couple who live in Greece but didn't apply when we were advised to do so but are doing so now. I have found the Aliens Unit in Sparti Police a great help as has our local KEP, Mayor and Police.
I assume that you have bought a place over here and so you should have a Tax Code for your annual income tax return. You need that to register for AMKA.
Good luck.

Thank you. We haven't bought yet.
We will be making a couple of trips out to look around during the coming months with a view to applying for a FIP visa and will then look to buy.

How exciting. Property prices are at rock bottom so you should get a bargain. I do agree with others and advise renting in the first instance in your chosen area. Down here €200 a month is a common rent away from tourist hotspots.
Flights to Kalamata are starting again which reduces travel time. For longer stays don't discount driving to Ancona that way you have your own car.

I wouldnt say prices are rock bottom,certainly not but after researching property prices in Greece I see very clearly that the Pellopenese is where one might have a chance to buy something quite nice for an acceptable cost,obviously that depends on ones budget.Koroni looked heavenly with OK prices still,dont know for how long that will remain.I would say dont wait too long to buy as they will go up like all property across this planet,crazy prices.

Thank you both for your opinions. We've booked a cheap flight out in a couple of weeks time to Kalamata and will have a hire car. Looking around the Stoupa/Kardimyli area for that week then back early June in our motorhome to travel around for 2 months when we will hopefully find 'our place', area wise, then go from there.  Ideally looking for a village with a minimarket/taverna open all year, within 20/30 mins walk to the coast . UK is too overpopulated where we live now, and anywhere quiet is far too cold!

Just to add that even the old houses are expensive,what looks like old character houses will not be suitable in an earthquake and Greece,Pellopenese is high quake area so before one buys here forget the sunny days looking out to sea with a old period house that requires renovation because you may see your money in a pile of rubble,then you will cry,so,your house must have columns,after all these  major quakes here the building laws were up-graded,more iron was added to columns,higher grade cement mixes,although I have seen some foundations on fairly new complexes that are shockingly shallow.So dont be tempted by those wonderful looking old places,and remember you may be in it when a quake strikes,never buy one with a flat concrete and iron roof that sits on a house(walls) that doesnt have columns,the roof twists and splits through.A big quake recently on Samos caused much destruction,an old house literally burst its flat roof out like an explosion and unfortunately landed on two teenagers walking home from school,they were sadly killed,no body knew they were under the rubble until the council came to clear the mess.So think carefully when buying property here.

for Concertina:

I'm forwarding you a youtube hotlink.  it may (or may not) help people who are dreaming of living somewhere other than home, it shows how intricate and involved it becomes when dealing with prefecture bureaucracies.

Know out front that this  is from my colleague in Limoges, France.  Know that each country has a number of different categories in residency.  know that each country has variations on these categories when asking for citizenship rather than long term residency.  but, knowing that this is what one person has faced in one country may help lots of others make their peace with the volume of documentation necessary  -   in greece  -  or the country you wish to emigrate to.  Understanding what Leon is dealing with will help a lot of people understand the boundaries of the process; the details will vary by residency category, citizenship request, and possibly by region within one country.

Concertina, for you, you may need to be fluent in written and spoken greek.  you will need to seriously comb through the website published by greece.  that website may (or may not) have not easily noticeable links to the pages that you need.  to get your citizenship will require a lot of documents translated into greek by a translator certified by the greek government.  not only that,  different bureaucratic clerks will each have different forgetfulness problems.  it may take several, if not many, trips to the prefecture (or what ever it is called in greece) office to finally get ALL the documents every bureaucrat wants to see.

hope this helps with understanding.  it's something I've been researching for years.  have done the boots on the ground in france and find it "do-able."  that said, I have decided that I need a milder marine climate and am focused, now, on greece.

if you wish to talk to me off forum, please look up my email on my profile page.  please and thank you, jane.

Hi,thankyou so much for your post,very helpful to us all- would-be moving- around- folks.I have actually been here for around twenty years.Even though I was European i had to show lots of paper work,like marriage certificate,I had to legalise in the UK my birth certificate and marraige,the UK is of course a dream to deal with in these matters,so easy and polite.There is a government office fairly central in athens that translates your paper work,they have a different floor for each language required,men stand outside saying...oh would you like us to take that in for you,less stress....they want money...NO NO.and they probably duplicate your papers.I applied for a residents permit at the said required time,mine is a ten year one as I had been living here for years,renewable on expiration,that allows me to go,live where I want in EU.My husband is Greek so that makes life easier.We have been toying with the idea of France on his retirement,property is cheaper but rapidly going up considerably.However Im very keen on very pleasant weather,I have a family history of bronchitis and suffer in damp winters and Im afraid in older age of cold damp bones.The big heat here is not for so long and one must adjust ones home so as to protect against the worst of it.But as I said before the evenings and nights of summer allow one to really enjoy ones life outside.People put fans outside in summer which helps.All I can say must go through the sometimes trauma of paper work,its how it is,dont give up,everything passes,good and bad,no pain no gain.Greece has got better and civil servants have been tamed down somewhat,a kind of begging is required at all times and one thousand thankyous whilst visiting the said offices.When I was at the special police office for my residents permit the young woman would keep saying...out now...and now...oh dear,but I came out after several visits and a wait of a month and it was in my hand,time to celebrate!!!

Just to say I never wanted to gain citizenship,I was OK with being a member of the European Union,now I have my residency permit so Im OK.Getting citizenship is quite difficult here,the tests are made purposely hard on the language side.Brexit has been a big blow for people from UK and those who had duel citizenship,one being UK and elsewhere,and its a shame that that freedom of movement has gone away.

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Hi Sandie,
We made a move to the Peloponnesus late last year, bought a house near Petalidi, 30 mins from Kalamata, there's lots of places that have tavernas tucked away and a little supermarket. Koroni was mentioned, we go often and it's a lovely place, good luck, have fun, if you find yourself getting serious on the idea I'd organise your AFM numbers and also you bank account here, the later can be a real hassle we found re paperwork!

I second most of what Sandie wrote. The tax code is easy enough to get. The rule for how much you need in the bank is officially €4000 minimum and or your pension paid into the bank account. I am with Alpha Bank and they are appalling. A Greek phone also helps.

Anyone moving to Greece needs to know that things are done a lot different there - the difficult things are made even more difficult and paradoxically the easy things are even more difficult (contrary to what you may believe)

Greece needs tons of patience and you need to both be informed and have experts to hand to help you - I am Greek/British and speak fluent Greek and am I believe well educated on a many related Greek matters (legal - process - culture etc) but still struggle without expert help - all you need is to find 1 or 2 competent professionals and if they like you and you look after them they will both look after you and likewise introduce you to other hi quality professionals in many areas

I can be contacted for advice if you get stuck as I have probably faced most problems you may face

We've bough a renovation in the village of Prosilio about 4 years ago, with a view to living there half the year once we both retire. We love the area so much we are now renovating a second house ourselves. Prices in Kardamyli are not rock bottom, in fact they are very high and prices generally are going up. Buy now in a small village away from the coast where prices are cheaper and  renovate one of the old houses if you can rather than add to the many characterless new builds popping up. Get a good architect - your real estate contact will help you find all the professionals you'll need and yes get yourself a tax code, greek mobile phone and then bank account as soon as possible. Good luck.

Yes prices are big time up,many new builds are made of stone,sometimes the outer wall is stone enclosing a normal earthquake build with columns inside,stone houses now are built with an earthquake design in mind,they normally put a traditional tiled roof.The village where I have recently bought above Loutraki lost 99.9 % of its old traditional houses in the 1987 huge quake,the larger village below lost the same so did a nearby other village,the old stuff came down.The owners rebuilt with grants using upgraded standards using columns,one in my village is for sale,it has enough iron sticking up from the roof to hold a block of flats,they were obviously scared to death of quakes,and thats going for around 30 thousand,needs work but could be great,there are others too.Geologists come up to my village twice a year with students to look at the fault lines in the area and the mountain that moved just behind the village,Or it came up and they had to make a new road to get to a mountain taverna.Old houses can come down,yes sterile new builds can be off-putting BUT its possible for people with an artistic leaning to pretty them up and the land whilst resting assured in ones bed that one will not be entombed one day or arrive home to a pile of rubble.

Concertina,thank you for that advice.
The properties we've been looking at online mostly seem to be built in the 2000's. We will make sure we look for the columns you mention.

Thanks everyone. Good to hear that people are happy with their move! One more question- mu partner suffers with rheumatoid arthritis which greatly improved this Winter as we left the UK and spent the coldest months in Portugal. I hear that the Peloponnese had lower temps this Winter, or was that just for a short time at night?

This winter has been different and that would be due I guess to"climate change"bit more damp perhaps,Athens does always get very cold,every winter is of course different,today has become very warm so I guess winter is almost over.Our homes must of course be kept very warm in winter and thats a problem with the cost now,move into just two rooms in winter in ones home,insulate very well,double glazing,thats why I say buy a fairly modern house because they are built with two walls and insulation attached to the inside wall in the cavity,this way you avoid a single skin wall which will allow damp to penetrate your home and your bones.Its not just about earthquakes,new houses here have double walls.Single skin walls can have insulation attached to the outside and be plastered over,this will keep you warm,but also try to make pergolers that hang over from the roof so as to protect the house from rain,snow etc..You must remember that climate change is here and so make plans to insulate and adapt your home to these changes,make sure rain runs away very well from your property,you must remove any earth which is banked up and touching the house,this will transfer damp to the inside especially single skin wall.I cut a trench around my cottage about 12 inches wide,quite deep and filled it with shingle,this way the rain soaks away nicely,no damp mud touching the house.Remember Greek houses have no damp course,even English ones have broken down now on old places.Silicone injection around the house works extremely well on solid bricks but greek bricks have holes in them so thats no good,perhaps it may work on porous stone.The winter is short here and it will get very hot so shade your house well.My husband told me that it was 81 that the quake brought down these villages,it came up out of the sea,a small tunami folllowed and the sea level rose making now a marshy area,great for birds.

Hi there....
I have had a home not far from Kalamata for 17 years and just sold it.
A few words that might help.....
Stoupa is a nice holiday area and gets rather quiet in winter. The road to Kalamata
at first will seem OK, but travel it often and it will soon become a big chore. Kalamata
would be your main shopping area and of course the hospital is there.

On the other side don't consider living in Messini town.  Quite often a bit of trouble there
If the west of the island is of interest look at Petalidi area.  Alive summer and winter but not
a favoured place for main tourism like Stoupa, Kardamili and Finakounda.

Don't get ripped off on car hire......Stravrianos in Kalamata will bring car to airport
and small car (Fiat Panda) will be around 20 euro a day.

Thank you - some great info there and food for thought. We will certainly have a look at Petalidi on our next visit.

@The Grocer I'm intrigued that you should say there's often a bit of trouble in Messini town. What sort of trouble do you mean?

@The Grocer

You wrote: "On the other side don't consider living in Messini town.  Quite often a bit of trouble there.

May I ask you - for the second time - to be kind enough to elaborate on that comment/opinion? What kind of "trouble" do you have in mind?

I think that if you are advising expats against buying a place in Messini, then in fairness to the place (and to those expats, for that matter) you should be more specific.

Thank you in advance for your attention.
Hello Phillip
I am wishing to buy a property and retire to Greece….and be a permanent resident…..will my pension be enough to get the residency I require….the property will be purchased in full below the golden ticket….
Many thanks
Hi Christine
Buying in Greece is a fantastic idea but it is full of complicated and often illogical legal and planning issues so you need to 1. Be very patient 2. Have very good advice from a lawyer and notary 3. Be sure you want to go through with this - I have gone through this myself and am well aware of most of the issues - too complicated to explain here but happy to have a chat or zoom call one day if you like - all the best phil
Hello to you both. I've been living in southern Peloponnese for about a year all together.
I learn a lot in the course of anything that I do here, and it seems to me that this place is no more complicated than anywhere else in southern Europe, and possibly easier, as the government is keen to see more expat residents, including from Old Blighty.The golden ticket, as I understand it, will cost you €250k, which is half what it is in Spain or Portugal. Plus your money goes a lot further here than in either of those other locations in terms of property.  You just need to be patient and keep an eye out for value. Good luck.
The main issue is the property you want to purchase - and how honest / realistic and helpful the sellers and their legal representatives are -  if it does not have the correct paperwork your in trouble - most properties in northern Greece are like this so I don't know about the south - I speak and read fluent Greeks so am aware of most of the issues (if I can help in any way)
In short the process is…
1. Find property and agree a price
2. Get the property checked over by a competent and Honest surveyor
3. Have a competent lawyer and notary work together to draft the contract and put in protective clauses for you the buyer
4. Make sure the seller(s) proves they have no debts or other legal obligations towards the property (unpaid taxes, unpaid loan, unpaid water bills etc) as often the leave and hide debts that will become your problem later
5. Close the deal and make sure any follow up paperwork/signatures are obtained
6. Pay the necessary taxes and get the utilities and other things transferred over to you (for which you will need a Greek tax code (AFM) and a Greek bank account (the later of which is involved but doable)

Assume most properties have poor plumbing, electrics, fittings and almost no insulation. Be ready to take on the project if the later is true and be ready to work with complicated plumbers, builders etc…

Then you will have a dream property but this is not an easy path to take for most but if you understand the potential issues and follow the above guidelines you will ease the pain and get better results !

@sandiedawn Hi Sandie! thank you for your post. Well, we were just reading it and thinking “that sounds like us!” We are Cameron and Peter and we spent quite a lot of time and energy on the prospects of moving to Portugal BUT when we visited the Peloponnese this past Fall, we were instantly enamored by it's people, food, history, culture, and absolute beauty that is Greece. Have you guys settled yet? Curious to know if you've made the move. We are planning to retire and move there in April but we are not certain of the area. We are leaning toward Ag. Nickolous by Stoupa, but we also love the convenience and amenities of Kalamata.

@cameronenglishpt Hi . Yes, we moved out 6 weeks ago, and are loving our new life! We are currently renting in Stoupa, near the beach, and have made a deposit to buy a property in the hills behind. It will be a short drive to either Stoupa or Ag Nik and walkable in Winter.

It depends what facilities you are looking for. There are a few bars and restaurants open all year in both Stoupa & Ag Nik (more in Ag Nik), and there are activities you can join if you wish e.g. hiking, yoga, bridge. There are a couple of good size supermarkets in Stoupa but for clothes, shoes etc, we go to Kalamata. It's only 50 mins so suits us to have the peace and quiet here and drive in for shopping etc. However if you're people who like a bit of 'bustle' and a big choice of restaurants etc, then Kalamata may be a better choice. Perhaps you could try to rent for a few months in each to help you decide? Good luck!

Oh, and if you haven't already, have a look at the website: 'parea sti mani'