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Frequently Asked Questions

What is it like Living on Crete?

Frequently Asked Questions : Answered!

 

Q & A - Answers by Resident Ex-Pats in Greece and Our Team in Crete

AnswerTips-enabled

The answers to the following FAQ questions are based on personal experiences by the Brits in Crete team as Brit and Irish ex-patriates Living in Crete, and information gleaned from the Greek Embassy in London, the British Consulate in Crete and from various personal discussions - over a raki, beer or coffee in the local kafeneio with other Ex-Pats in Crete. We make no guarantee that the answers are 100% accurate. The laws in Crete do seem to change very quickly and sometimes with alarming frequency. So if you act on something using the information contained here, don't get miffed if it is seemingly outdated by the time you read it! :-)

 

By far the most frequently asked questions about Crete relate to when are the dates for Easter? and what are the other public holiday dates in Greece?

F.A.Q. When is Greek Easter? Is it the same as our Easter? Answer: Some years Orthodox Easter matches the dates of the Catholic and Protestant Church Easter dates, more often than not they do not. You can plan your schedule when you know the respective dates from here. Another page lists Greece's Public Holidays.

FAQ. I want to buy/start a business in Crete, is it fairly simple to do this?


Answer. If you want to buy or start a business in Crete you will need:

  • - A Tax Number (AFM). You will need a copy of your passport with more than six months left in its validity) and a copy of your Birth Certificate. To obtain the tax number you will likely need a residency permit of more than 6 months. You will need your tax number to enable you to buy stock/consumables at trade prices.
  • - To get a residency permit. You will need a copy of your passport and four (4) Passport Size photographs. If you own property you may be also asked for a copy of the deeds or your building permit and you may be asked to show a bank book to prove you can support yourself.
  • - Have ALL your tax affairs in the UK or Eire up to date 100% with a UK or Irish Tax clearance certificate.
  • - To obtain respective trade related Licenses (eg Health Certificate for a fast food business).
  • - To locate and use a good English and Greek speaking lawyer and accountant. It is nigh on impossible to do anything business wise without these two valuable services.
  • - To apply for an IKA social insurance book: you will need a form E121, E111 or E119 along with a copy of your passport and possibly tax form for E121 and E119.

NOTE: Rule of Thumb in everyday dealings. Always take your original documents along too when giving copies to officials or company representatives. The copies often have to be officially "certified" as copies.

PS: Everything is complicated in Greece!

FAQ. Which is better? To Buy a house, or Build One in Crete/Greece?

You have 3 Main Choices:

Once you have decided whether to buy a ready built house and renovate or build your own, you will then need to decide whether you want a Stone House, a Concrete House or a Procat (also spelt Prokat) House, each has it's own merits and disadvantages.

FAQ on Stone Stucture Answered:

Stone is very strong and stays cool in the hot summer months, and with proper sealing around doors and windows, can be warm in winter, otherwise is could be quite nippy, especially around the legs and feet.

FAQ on Concrete Structure Answered:

Concrete is not very pretty but has similar qualities as stone with regards to temperatures in summer and winter. The downside to concrete construction is that it tends to be prone to damp during winter and the rainy season. Concrete also needs be painted every year and maintained, otherwise the surface can become unsightly.

FAQ on Procat/Prokat Houses Structure Answered:

Procat Houses are basically pre-fabricated houses which can be produced in any design you wish with as many bedrooms, features and fittings as you like (or can afford) from set room configurations and layouts. The prices are very reasonable and the finished article comes with a lifetime guarantee and is earthquake proof. To take care of the buraucracy and taxes, you still need an architect to oversee the build.

  • Procat Heraklion
    There is a Procat local dealer's office in Heraklion. It is to be found on the road to Moires having exited the E75 motorway. At the slip road traffic lights filter right in the direction of the Makro superstore. The procat one story offic is nestled in a parking lot environment and is located on the right hand side of the road. Showrooms however are located about 5kms on the main E75 motorway in the direction of Rethymnon leving Heraklion. See an interesting old thread in the Brits in Crete Forum discussing Damp Issues and various building constructions - including Procat/Prokat homes. Costs have escalated since the thread. For more discussion on Procat house do a search with the search box on this page. Just enter "procat and see the results.

See also dedicated page on buyingadvice and to property developers and other buying a property in Crete links in this website.

House Rental can be between a basic €200-600 a month and up. Even houses with pools are surprisingly inexpensive. It does not say much for the return on the investment (ROI) for the owner of a Cretan property. But remember in Greece, most families buy to own and keep their houses and to pass on to the next generation. Then there are swimming pools.

FAQ. Is the weather on Crete hot and sunny all year round?

Answer. You don't need to be told that from May to September the Cretan (Cree-tan) weather is pretty much guaranteed to be hot and sunny. Then from October to March you can still experience Crete's warm and sunny moments, but it is by no means guaranteed. The Winters generally are less Baltic than the UK but it can rain in Winter ... A LOT, and snow at higher altitudes! Average daytime temperature in Winter ranges from 12° to 16° along the coasts. The north coast is subject to the Balkan winds, while the South coast benefits from milder winds that come from Africa. Allow several degress cooler as soon as you go inland and up to the mountain villages that may be only a few minutes drive away. It is generally estimated that the temperature drops by 1 Degree Celcius for every 100 metres you go higher.

FAQ. Can I import my car from the UK to Crete?

Answer. You can temporarily import a car into Greece/Crete for a period of 6 months or less, check the AA or R.A.C Web sites for Items that are required when driving on the Continent. Tourists from other EU Member States, whose cars are registered in that EU State, are free to circulate in Greece for a period of six months without customs control. The car registration document and proof of ownership of a caravan or boat is required. Travelers should at all times be able to prove to the authorities when the car was brought into Greece.
To qualify for a second period of tax free circulation: either both the car and the owner should be out of Greece for at least 185 days (6 Months) or while the owner is away, the vehicle can remain at a special Customs compound in Greece for the period stated. Greek road tax is payable for all additional periods of circulation. The entitlement to circulate on foreign plates is strictly personal, consequently only the wife/husband or children may use the car in addition to the owner. After the expiry of the period granted by the customs....

For complete information, please go to our dedicated page in this web site to find out more on importing a car to Crete.

FAQ. Which side of the road do they drive on in Crete?

Answer. Like the rest of Continental Europe, Greece drives on the right hand side. That means: "left hand drive". Cretan Driving is enthusiastic verging on the dangerous at times, but if you drive down to Crete, across France and Italy you will already be used to it, where continental driving is just as hectic and speedy. More information and advice in the page on Driving in Crete.

FAQ. Are Cars cheaper to buy in Crete?

Answer.The price of Used/Second Hand cars in Crete is high and often a 3 year old model will only be €1500 or €2000 less than a brand new one, so put any thoughts of buying a €500 'banger' (old car) out of your mind as those sort of vehicles are usually not available here. There is a catch. Carbon Emissions regulations in Greece mean that older cars that emit more toxins pay higher road tax each year that a more engine-efficient, fuel-efficient latest models of vehicle!

FAQ. How can I get to Crete?

Answer. You can fly or you can drive/sail. See Getting to Crete Page for more details of the drive. For a flight you have two choices. 1. From May to October you can fly for approximately £150.00 Return. 2. From October to May the only way to fly is via Athens which can be a lot more expensive and entail lots of waiting around. If you want to get into the removals business and drive both ways, or just load the family and pets in the back, go to this page - it has it all.

FAQ. Are there any English Speaking Schools in Crete

Answer. If you bring your children to Crete they WILL (at time of writing) have to go to a Greek School. There is one European School in Crete funded by the EU. It is in Heraklion and the contact, ask for Mrs Spili. More details on the European School, Crete on our Schooling page. There is another school, that seems a well guarded secret for exclusivity. IN any event a call to the British Consulate staff in Heraklion can advise you.

FAQ. Can I watch any English TV in Crete? and what about the Internet? ADSL (Broadband), ISDN (56K dial up) etc?

Satellite TV
Answer. You can indeed, and for not too much investment either (depending on how much choice you want). €250.00 to €500.00 (one off payment) gets you a HotBird set up (13 degrees East) which features BBC Prime (with annual fee), BBC World, Reality TV, Eurosport and a few Music Channels. There is also Badr - Arabsat (25/26 degrees East) movie channels and all English programmeming, Astra (19 degrees East) "K" satellite distribution, Dutch, German and odd assortment. Best source is to be found at Lyngsat. Check the European pages for satellites between 42 degrees East and 13 degrees East.

The Greek Satellite TV is called Nova and is much like Sky only in Greek. Sky TV is available but without the UK domestic Terrestrial Channels BBC and ITV, (except BBCi, and Welsh Channel 4). The best way to get Sky in Crete is from UK-based, Skysat-Europe, one of the few authorized dealers, permitted under re-organized distribution by BSkyB for its programme packages, under a tighter controlled environment, effective June 2007.

For the adventurous, do a Google/Bing/Yahoo search for "UK TV in Europe" and see what websites currently may be offering UK domestic TV channels online for to you receive British Sat TV on your PC.

It is for practical reasons impossible to receive mainstream, domestic BBC and ITV by satellite directly. Due to contractual obligations and copyright on programmeming, the transponder / transmission footprint carrying domestic programmes on satellite is tight on the borders of the British Isles. If you are very rich and have a house with a very strong roof, it may be possible to receive signals aimed at the UK market with a huge 5 Metre diamter dish, at a cost of between €11,000 and €25,000! Those are the huge dishes you see at many hotels receiving Sky Sports. 

FAQ on the Internet Answered:

The Internet
is available in Crete
and ADSL or Broadband. With each passing month it also becoming more widely available, and expansion in bandwidth. In general it is the same price as the UK. More regular TV programmes are viewable via the Internet
in 2007 than ever before. Sky news and BBC main and even regional news summaries are available as video-on-demand (VOD). The two main telecoms service providers in Greece are Otenet and Forthnet. New competitors include CYTA and WIND.

FAQ. What about Mobile Phone etc, Can I bring my UK one? What Networks are there?

Answer:The biggest mobile phone provider in Greece is Cosmote, closely followed by Vodafone. Everywhere you go you will find a Cosmote and a Vodafone Shop. If you are bringing your UK purchased Mobile with you, BritsInCrete strongly recommends that you either:

1. Get the phone "unlocked" in the UK before you come to Greece or

2. A UK Vodafone SIM Card in Greece is expensive with Text Messages costing anything up to 50p a time!! During 2006 the EU stipulated that these mobile roaming costs should be reduced. Buy a Greek Vodafone SIM Card and you'll be fine, even the top up Menus etc can be selected to be heard in English. If you wish to place a few calls only, as with elsewhere in Europe you can buy phone cards from both Forthnet and OTE and any number of smaller companies for around €10. These cards can be found at the street kiosks, usually where newspaper and cigarettes are sold.

That is a quick look at the FAQ's of living in Crete for the British and Irish ex-patriate community. Of course, it applies to other EU nationalities as well.

Other Useful Reference Pages on Ex-pat Living in Crete:

FAQ's on Schools for Foreign Children Answered ..
Being part of the EU, Greece through state organisations has sponsored Schools for Foreign Children, including the EU, European School Heraklion. A true experience of bringing the kids over in "Making the Leap with Kids".

FAQ's on Public Utilities Answered ..
Public Utilities - Electricity and water. Explanation of billing.

FAQ's on Living in Winter is Different Answered ..
Crete - you know the weather is good that is why you come to Southern Greece but Crete also has a winter climate and its house heating implications.

FAQ's on PTT - Post and Telecoms Answered..
Telephone, Internet and Postal Services - what you need to know.

FAQ's Healthcare and Medical Services Answered ..
Essential reading, including the private Cretan Medicare Centres.

FAQ's on Cretan Culture Answered ..
Retaining language and customs yet making foreigners feel inclusive along with choices in local TV Viewing.

Cost of Living 2011 Update
More important direct feedback from those experiencing settling in Greece or who have been there awhile. In the chatter, they mention the differences in supermarket prices and where to obtain favourite goodies, edibles and household products from "back home". All in all, it is a good barometer of the cost of living when on a fixed monthly income when resident in Greece.

Save Water When Staying on A Greek Island Water is a scarce resource that dwindles each year. Our helpful page on conservation of water lists a number of invaluable tips, ones that are common sense in reality. These tips show how easy it is to make the water that you use go further without investment or extra effort. The tips go a long way to help keep your garden and plants well watered thus ensuring they are green and healthy in a Mediterranean setting.

FAQ's on Stores and Supermarkets Grocery Shopping Answered ..
From small village stores, to large supermarket chains, like Carrefour and Lidl, Crete has it all. A Quick guide to what is available.

FAQ's on Citizens Advice Bureaus in Greece (K.E.P.) Answered ..
Your short cut to the Ministries and who is responsible for what.

The Art of Language.

Frequently Asked Questions of how to write CRETE in other languages:

bs:Kreta, bg:Крит, ca:Creta, cs:Kréta, da:Kreta, de:Kreta, et:Kreeta, el:Κρήτη, es:Creta, eo:Kreto, eu:Kreta, fr:Crète, ko:크리티 지역, hr:Kreta, id:Kreta, is:Krít, it:Creta, la:Creta, lv:Krēta, lb:Kreta, lt:Kreta, hu:Kréta, nl:Kreta, ja:クレタ島, no:Kreta, pl:Kreta, pt:Creta, ro:Creta, ru:Крит, sk:Kréta, sl:Kreta, sr:Крит, fi:Kreeta, sv:Kreta, tr:Girit, vec:Creta, zh: 克里特Crete.

Creet, Creat, Krete, Kreet, Cret are all mispellings.

Weather in Crete

Name Days

Tue May 23
no widely known nameday
Wed May 24
MARKIANI
Wed May 24
PALLADIA
Wed May 24
PHOTINI (2)
Thu May 25
no widely known nameday

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