Copyright 2004-2016  Carol Palioudaki.  Business in Crete.
Living in Crete
Business in Crete
Index  > Settling In > Business
Business in Crete
Opening a Business in Crete

There are a number of opportunities for buying or starting a business in Crete;
popular businesses include bars, tavernas, shops or a hotel/apartment complex.

Local Crete estate agents advertise businesses for sale on the web so that’s a
good place to start your search, and there are also business listings for sale on our

Whether you are setting up a business from scratch or purchasing an existing
business, it is vital that you employ the services of a Greek lawyer and a local
accountant to advise you on the legalities, liabilities and taxes.

Opening your own business takes time and determination – finding premises,
registering the business at the chamber of commerce, the tax office, the national
insurance office and applying for operational licences (if required) -  but it can be
achieved with the help of a local lawyer and accountant who will guide you through
the whole process.

Most small businesses in Crete manage to make a steady income but don’t expect
to make a small fortune and be aware that the economic crisis has forced many
small businesses to close.

The tourist orientated businesses in Crete resorts close during the winter months
and rarely do small summer businesses make enough money to see the owners
comfortably through the winter months when they close. Generally the most
successful businesses are those that are in a position to cater to the needs of
and locals with a year-round clientele.

Self Employed

Professionals and tradesmen must register with the appropriate professional or
trade organisation to operate legally in Greece. For help with getting qualifications
recognised and translated go to any
KEP Centre (citizens service centre) or lawyer.
In many trades a course and an exam in Greek must be undertaken, irrespective of
whether you have the equivalent or higher qualifications from another country, in
order to legally work a trade in Greece.

You should use the services of a local accountant to register, and you will need his
services year-round as a self employed individual to deal with national insurance
contributions, VAT and taxes.

Due to the hassle and expense for tradesmen and professionals to become legally
self employed many non Greek tradesmen and professionals practice their trade 'off
the books', particularly amongst the expatriate community, but be aware that it is
illegal to practice a trade or business without being registered and you will find
yourself on the wrong side of the Greek tax authorities.


  • Once you register a business or as self employed you are obliged to make
    monthly contributions to the National Insurance fund for the self employed,
    OAEE / TEBE (pronounced Te-Veh), or TAE – the Merchants fund.

  • Running a bar or taverna can mean very long hours and hard work with little
    time to enjoy the lifestyle that you are probably moving for.

  • For any business dealing with food and drink the owner and staff must
    undertake a series of health checks and obtain a health certificate / book.
Living in Crete guide book
Index  > Settling In > Business
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Working in Crete             National Insurance/IKA              Tax