Last update01:19:34 PM

Back You are here: Home Lifestyle Life The Expat Social World on the Greek Islands

The Expat Social World on the Greek Islands

Living permanently on a Greek Island doesn’t mean that you have to lose all links with home. In fact if you are worried about not having much contact with expats, don’t despair as many of the Greek islands have a large expat community, which offers many different and exciting activities to help foreign newcomers to the islands feel welcome and to enhance their social lives. There is such a wide variety of organized groups that you will soon find plenty of friends and perhaps new hobbies because the islands offer everything from playing the fiddle to organized girly chatting. We take a look at some of the activities on four of the most popular islands.



Corfu is one of the most popular islands in the Greek islands for both tourists and expats who have made the island their permanent home. There are many activities for the expat community to get involved in and numerous opportunities to meet new people. The expat community on Corfu is very welcoming, sociable and genuinely wants to help newcomers feel at home. You will also find the majority of new arrivals are ‘adopted’ by locals to become part of their family, which makes life all that more colourful.

The services and the facilities that are on offer here include official services by the British Consulate, a branch from the local British embassy in Greece, a Catholic Church with services in  Greek, an Anglican Church, two local libraries, which provide a host of English books on a lending library basis, an English magazine, which is published monthly, British food shops that sell the food that we all crave once we have left, shops that sell British house wares as well as many British style bars and restaurants selling English fayre. The majority of the English style bars are located in the main towns and within walking distances from the bus stops. The bars have a typical Brit style with snooker tables and dart boards and they offer those Brit games we all love like quizzes, bingo and best of all English pub grub. Expats can also enjoy many informal special interest and hobby groups, for example in the town of Kontokali there is a monthly women’s group held in a different house. At these meetings a specialised beautician gives a range of beauty treatments and massages as well as providing the ideal situation for ladies to catch up n all of the local gossip. There are many other activities like coffee mornings and car boot sales in local bar car parks. You are not under any pressure to join in with the expat community, but the option is there should you want to.


Rhodes expatriate population is a staggering 15% of the islands population and this figure is growing every year. There are many social opportunities for expats here and the key aim is to make everyone feel welcome and accepted. You don’t have to British to join although many of the activities are organized by Brits. There is everything here from organized swimming clubs to running groups. Just on the outside of the town Lindos there is a women’s group called ‘Sex in the Foreign City.’ The group aims to help women to meet other expat women so that they can widen their social circle. The group meets fortnightly in a local hall for drinks and lots of interesting girly talk! Anyone 40 years and above can join the group and information can be found in the towns local bars. The running group is open to anyone who wants to keep fit, male or female and the swimming group is aimed at anyone who wants to use swimming as a form of exercise or for those who want to learn to swim. There are also other groups where people meet to swap English books. There are several English restaurants on the island with traditional pub food like fish and chips and apple crumble and occasionally they hold activities such as karaoke, pool, darts competitions and quizzes.


Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and consequently one with a large expat population. Many expats come to Crete to retire, whilst others come to set up businesses here, with many Irish and British expats owning bars and restaurants to serve the expat community as well as the holiday market. The Irish bars, which are dotted all over the island are typically themed in white and green and offer celebrations for St Patrick’s Day serving lots of Guinness. One of the bars also offers tuition on the fiddle. Other social activities include a mixed gender Football Saturday and a slimmer’s group for those who wants to keep fit and lose unwanted weight The group meets up in the town of Chania each week where they weigh in and talk about healthy eating as well as tasting little diet treats imported from the UK such as Weight Watchers sweets and low fat chocolate bars. For those who desperately want to integrate into the local Greek community, there are daily language lessons, which will help you to improve your language skills very quickly


Santorini is one of the islands with a smaller expat population, but it still offers plenty to do should you want to make friends with like-minded expats. There are several bars offering a wide range of activities; in the town of Perissa, there is a local bar run by a family, which moved to Santorini from Winchester in 2005. This family have been in the bar trade all of their working lives and consequently offer a wide range of social activities. Other activities which are available to expats include snorkeling groups with British instructors, horse riding through the countryside and coffee mornings. Expats on this island are warm and friendly and always willing to lend a hand.