Project Description

GREECE: Region by Region

Macedonia: Where is it?

Macedonia is one of Greece’s largest regions, extending onto the Yugoslav frontier in the North, to Mount Olympus in the South, the Albanian frontier in the West and the River Nestos in the East. It has extensive plains and marshlands, making it one of Greece’s most productive agricultural regions. Macedonia is a part of Northern Greece and its capital is Salonica, also known as ‘Thessaloniki,’ which is situated on the Thermaic Gulf. It is famous for its commerce and is known as an industrial city, filled with a youthful and vibrant population a little over 1 million.

 

How do I get there?

Salonika or, ‘Thessaloniki,’ has direct flights travelling to and from London, Athens, Alexandroupolis and a few other Greek cities. There are also railway lines connecting to Athens and Alexandroupolis from Salonika as well as bus connections with Athens, Kavala, Edessa and various other towns surrounding the area.

 

Is it a good place to learn English?

Salonika is a hub to almost 80,000 students all of which are studying for a university degree. The majority of the population speak Greek with English being the most popular foreign language spoken. As learning English as a foreign language is incorporated into many high school curriculums, the younger population of Salonika hold Basic English language skills. That is not to say that the older population does not have a command of the language. All around, there can be basic communication between different people, but if someone is planning on moving to Greece, it is highly recommended that a basic knowledge of Modern Greek is acquired.

 

Salonika (Thessaloniki): Where to live

The city centre, near Aristotelous square, is the most expensive area to live in as is Panorama. Big houses dominate the district of Panorama and important individuals and celebrities can be found living here. The average rent per month to live in a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre is 292.86€.

‘Ladadika’ used to be an industrial area. Nowadays it is known for gourmet and traditional restaurants. ‘Stavroupoli’ can be found on the west side of the city in which the ‘Moni Lazariston’ is situated. This is a complex that hosts various cultural performances including concerts with various artists, both Greek and foreign as well as art exhibitions.  (For more information, please visit: http://www.monilazariston.gr).

The average cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre in Salonika lands around 237.04€.

For more information concerning living costs in Salonika, please visit: http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/city_result.jsp?country=Greece&city=Thessaloniki

 

Where to work

‘Job Trust’ is a HR company that specialises in the recruitment of both locals and foreigners, qualified or unqualified for both long term and short term employment. It is based in Thessaloniki and caters to all services and industry sectors that offer a variety of options and appeals to many of its customers. For more information, please visit: http://www.jobtrust.gr/index.php?Section=12

 

How to get around

Driving cars or motorcycles are a popular choice for getting around. Parking, however, is a free for all, which can be said for most of Greece. A popular mode of public transport is served by buses by the Thessaloniki Urban Transport Organization (OASTH) which covers around 75 routes.

The Thessaloniki Metropolitan Railway began construction in 2006 and serves as a vital and efficient means of transport for the public.

Rail services run between Thessaloniki and the city of Larissa and there is also a regional train line between Thessaloniki and Edessa.

 

How to spend free time

The Arch of Galerius and Rotunda: The Rotunda was built as a mausoleum for the Arch of Galerius which contains various different historic carvings. Although used in many different ways, currently, the Rotunda has become a museum that contains the remains of fine mosaics.

Churches: Salonika is infested with beautiful, historic churches. A walk down ‘Egnatia street’ will lead you to the Early Christian basilica called ‘Agia Paraskevi.’ Another church going west along Egnatia Street is ‘Panayia Khalkeon,’ roughly translated to ‘The Mother of the Gods of the Coppersmiths.’ Egnatia Street can also lend a pathway down to Queen Sophia Avenue which leads to the famous ‘White Tower’ of Salonika. This is both a historic monument as well as a museum on the seafront, becoming the city’s symbol and a popular attraction.

Festivals of Salonika: Salonika is a very happening city with various festivals occurring year round. There’s never a dull moment! The Thessaloniki Film Festival showcases the work of new and emerging filmmakers. Another event perfect for photography lovers is the Thessaloniki International Festival of Photography. This is a well supported event with a number of different photography exhibitions that are held in various locations such as museums and different art galleries. A festival for book lovers takes form in the Thessaloniki International Book Fair which first began in 2003, and has attracted thousands of people.

 

Epirus: Where is it?

Epirus is situated in north-western Greece, between the Ambracian Gulf in the south and the Albanian frontier, the Pindos Mountains and the Ionian Sea. Epirus is a rugged and mountainous region whose territory historically extended into southern Albania. The chief town in Epirus is Ioannina or, ‘Giannena,’ which has a small population a little over 110,000 people.

 

How do I get there?

Ioannina, or ‘Giannena,’ has air services linked to both Athens and Salonica (Thessaloniki). It also has bus connections called KTEL connecting to Athens and other towns in surrounding areas.

 

Is it a good place to learn English?

The most popular language spoken in Ioannina is Greek. Yevanic Greek is an outdated and rare dialect to come along, however, some elderly Romaniotes (Jewish population living amongst Greek populations) in Ioannina may still practice this dialect. English is not as popular amongst locals. However, there are various private teachers to hire for private English lessons. For more guidance,   ‘EKEP’ is an information resource centre for education and vocational guidance: http://www.ekep.gr/english/EKEP/main.asp

Ioannina (Giannena): Where to live

There are various different areas in Ioannina, all of which enjoy a comfortable and relaxed lifestyle. The area of Papingo is divided into two remote villages, Megalo Papingo and Mikro Papingo. This is simply translated into ‘Big’ and ‘Small’ Papingo. There is limited transportation access to these villages which maintain a traditional Greek spirit, usually attracting mountain hikers or people who enjoy a simpler, calmer life.

Another area, Bizani, is infested with numerous different villages with various different communities. However, the area’s population remains limited compared to other major cities as it is a little over 4,200. Konitsa is very close to Ioannina and is a centre for many regional villages. It has a slightly larger population larger, mostly dominated by local Greeks.

There isn’t a large difference in rent per month for a one bedroom apartment in the city centre or outside the city centre. For example, an average amount paid for properties in the centre falls around 298.33€ whereas outside of the centre, people usually result in paying 235.00€. For more information concerning living costs in Ioannina, please visit: http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/city_result.jsp?country=Greece&city=Ioannina

 

Where to work

There are various industries that Ioannina excels in. It is primarily famous for its spring water ‘Zagori,’ which is sold all over Greece. It is also popular for its production of the well-known Greek feta, a crumbly cheese used in a lot of salads. It is also famous for its silverwork as well as its variety of hookahs available in different sizes and colours. They can either be used as decorations or used to smoke.

There are also a few hotels for people who are interested in a job in hospitality. However, job opportunities can be considered to be limited.  ‘Tip Top Job’ is a very helpful site that will list different vacancies available in Ioannina catered to the different industries people are interested in. For more information, please visit: http://www.tiptopjob.com/search/jobs-by-industry/m/1000215_-catering-hospitality/s/8628_-ioannina

 

How to get around

The most popular form of public transport is taxis which are quite cheap as well but it’s always nice to have the freedom of your own car.

For inexperienced drivers, a strong, recommended piece of advice would be to stay away from purchasing or renting a motorcycle as some of the roads are not as well-kept as they would be in larger cities. Therefore, individuals would be a lot safer driving a car. There are various car rental shops, including one right at the airport called ‘Budget Rent a Car.’ For more information, please visit: http://www.budgetrentacar.gr/car-rental/ioannina-car-hire.htm

 

How to spend free time

Islet: In the centre of Ioanna is a small lake called Pamvotida. This lake encircles a small islet which serves as a major tourist attraction. Locals and tourists can visit this location as there are various boat trips that run to and from the islet quite often. A one-way ticket for the boat usually costs no more than 2 Euros.

Museum of Ali Pasha: The islet previously mentioned is also home to the 16th-century Pandelimonos Monastery, now the museum of Ali Pasha. It is also the location of Ali Pasha’s death and holds great historical value as this was the monastery he took refuge in once he was being pursued by Turkish troops. A tour of the museum is free but a tip is customary to the tour guide.

 

(Thrace) Komotini: Where is it?

Thrace is in the north-east and only became a part of Greek territory in 1913. Its region is a long, narrow strip of land that stretches between the northern Aegean and Bulgaria and from the River Nestos in the west to the River Evros, creating a frontier with Turkey. The capital is Komotini and its land is considered to be largely fertile, allowing agriculture to flourish.

 

How do I get there?

Travelling to Komotini can be done by airplane as the closest airport is in Alexandroupoli and the second closest is in Kavala. Komotini however, does not have a port. Therefore, if one is travelling by land, there is a good highway network for those wanting to drive. Public transport is also an option. Public and inner city buses run throughout the city as well as through its outskirts. The railway (OSE) also has connections from Komotini to Athens and Salonica.

 

Is it a good place to learn English?

Although Greek is popular, Turkish is another language that is spoken in Komotini as there is a small Muslim society that accounts for around 40% of the population. In effect, this has led to the embrace of Western and Oriental influences within Komotini’s society, making it a truly original city.

 

‘Find My Favourite Teacher’ is an online website that helps people from all over the world connect with teachers who are helping people learn English in Greece, including, but not only restricted to, areas such as Komotini. The price of private lessons is reasonable and the teachers are very qualified, with the majority having a diploma in higher education (university degree).

For more information, please visit: http://www.findmyfavouriteteacher.com/students-home.php?lang_id=en

 

Komotini: Where to live

There are quite a few residential areas within Komitini such as Kosmio and Thrilorio, both quiet areas. More business areas include, but are not limited to, areas such as Kikidio and Ifantes.

However, the city centre of Komotini is lively with a youthful population due to the University of Democritus’ campus location- only 3 km away from the city centre. There is also a general fusion of Western as well Oriental influences in everyday life, adding to the areas charm.

On average, to rent a one bedroom apartment in the city centre costs around 280€ whereas a one bedroom apartment outside of the city centre on average costs 220€. If you are looking to buy property however, the price per square meter to buy an apartment in the city centre is 2,050€ whereas outside the city centre lands around 1,125€. For more information of living costs in Komotini, please visit: http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/city_result.jsp?country=Greece&city=Komotini

 

Where to work

Although historically Komotini’s agricultural industry was and still is a major contributor to its economy, the services industry also plays a major role with more and more restaurants, cafes and various other shops opening up in the centre of the city. ‘ExpatAd’s’ is a good website that posts different employment advertisements and opportunities in Komotini ranging from bar work to teaching for private lessons. For more information, please visit: http://www.expatads.com/118292-Komotini/posts/6-Employment/

 

How to get around

Although Komotini doesn’t have a port, there are various transportation links that lead into the area. There are various motorways that connect to Komotini. There are inner city buses that connect to many villages as well as other cities in Greece. There are also train connections with OSE that travel to Athens as well as Salonika and occasionally to Istanbul. ‘Kayak’ is a site that helps filter the best companies to rent a car from in Komotini according to the dates that it is needed. For more information, please visit: http://www.kayak.com/Cheap-Komotini-Car-Rentals.59084.cars.ksp

 

How to spend free time

Museums: There are plenty of museums to be discovered in Komotini such as the Byzantine, the Archaeological, the Folklore and the Ecclestiastical museum. For a more general look into Thrace’s history, the Archaeological museum is the primary choice. However, the Byzantine museum contains a more private collection of artefacts dating back to the Byzantine era. Opening times can vary for each one so it is best to plan your visit ahead of time.

Mount Papikio: Located in Komotini in Rodopi, this mountain is also the centre of Byzantine monasteries and can be accessed through various villages. The relics of old monasteries can be discovered here. It also offers itself as a great opportunity for a long hike or climb for the more daring travellers.

 

(Peloponnese) Patras: Where is it?

The Peloponnese peninsula or, ‘Peloponnesos,’ is in the most southern part of Greek mainland and is met by the Gulf of Corinth in the northern part of the peninsula. Its lands portray a great variety of landscape as it is mostly broken up by hills and mountains. It’s highest mountain is Mount Taygetus, reaching up to 2,407 metres and Patras is its largest town.

 

How do I get there?

Patras is situated at the foothills of Mount Panachaikon and its port serves as a link for trade with Italy and other western European countries. It acquires the principal port of the Peloponnese, therefore, ferry services run frequently that connect to different ports in Italy as well as boat connections to the Greek islands of Kefallinia, Paxi and Corfu. The railway line also connects to Athens, Corinth and Pyrgos. There are also bus connections to Athens and Pyrgos.

 

Is it a good place to learn English?

Considering the fact that Patras is the third largest city in Greece and boasts a big student population, English is a language that is a lot more welcome and spoken within Patras’ society. From a very young age, Greeks are taught the basics of English as they are surrounded by it, whether it is from their school system, their keen interest in one of the most popular languages in the world or from constant exposure to American pop culture such as music videos, films or television shows all portrayed in their original language, English. There are always courses to learn Greek at the University of Patras, their contact number is: +30 261 099 7120

 

Patras: Where to live

There are many different areas that you could move to. The city centre is a guarantee for a lively and buzzing social life with a youthful population as there are three universities in Patras, the University of Patras, Hellenic Open University and Technological Educational Institute of Patras. The average cost of renting a 1 bedroom apartment in the city centre is around 270 € on average. For those interested in buying n apartment in the city centre, the cost per square meter averages around 1,400 €.

There are also wider, urban areas that are options when you are moving to Patras such as the town of Rio where the University of Patras is located or even Paralia, a very popular area with  beach resorts for those who love to swim and enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle as the population is around 6,000. It costs 200€ to rent a 1 bedroom apartment outside of the city centre whereas if you are interested in buying property outside the city centre, price per square meter is around 1,400€ – not a great difference with the price of buying property in the city. For more information, please visit: http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/city_result.jsp?country=Greece&city=Patras

 

Where to work

Patras is a city that thrives on the service industry. Its main employment derives from tourism, retailing and even banking as the regional headquarters of most Greek banks are located in Patras. If you are fortunate enough to speak Greek fluently, there are always opportunities to work in higher education as the city has three large universities. Furthermore, native English speakers could benefit as well as English is a very popular choice when it comes to Greeks wanting to learn a foreign language.

‘Glass Door’ is a website that helps you find any current job opportunities within the city you are moving to. Click on the link and type in Patras as your ‘location’ to view all ongoing employment opportunities:   http://www.glassdoor.com/index.htm

 

How to get around

Car, bus and motorcycle are all important means of transport in Patras. Bus lines also have connections that run to and from the University of Patras and other suburban towns such as Paralia. As a busy city however, a motorcycle may seem as a more attractive option of travelling every day, especially for people who have to commute every single day back and forth to work. The car company ‘Hertz’ has offices both at the airport as well as in Patras, both of their addresses are provided on the site where you will be able to find good quality automobiles to rent until you decide to purchase your own or resort to public transport. For more information, please visit: https://www.hertz.gr/en/Patras

 

How to spend free time

Patras Carnival: Patras is world-renown as a cultural city infused with creative individuals and a passion for the arts. It also boasts one of Europe’s largest carnivals that takes place mid-January. There are a series of celebrations, each full of colour, creative costumes and a festive environment that appeals to everyone!

Rion-Antirion Bridge: This is the bridge that connects to the Peloponnese, leading to Patras. It almost reaches 9,500 feet in length and was built to accommodate seismic activity. It opened the same year Greece hosted the Olympics, 2004, and the first person to cross it was a runner holding the Olympic torch. Not only is it a beautiful drive over the sea, it is also the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world.

Municipal Gallery of Patras: Founded in 1988, this gallery is dedicated to celebrate Greek painters such as Nikos Kounelakis, Ioanis Doukas and Georgios Samartzis. It also houses several paintings of important Greek prime ministers including Demetrios Gounaris, Demetrios Maximos and more. Entrance is free!