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Looking to Pair Golf and Real Estate? Try Greece.

With its myriad beaches, picturesque islands and excellent cuisine, Greece has long attracted vacationers and second home buyers from all over the world. The country’s up-and-coming golf scene is another draw to add to this list.


New courses are being built in Greece, or have recently debuted, while existing ones have seen renovations. And according to Michael Valdes, president of the real estate firm eXp Global, the sport is driving a growing real estate market that’s appealing to buyers from places such as Britain, the United States, Scandinavia, Germany and France.



“Golf is a new discovery in Greece and an additional reason for second home buyers and retirees to purchase a property in a country that already has a lot to offer,” Mr. Valdes said. “A decade ago, people flocked to the Algarve in Portugal or southern Spain when they wanted a golf home coupled with other diversions. Now, they’re turning to Greece.”


Greece’s affordability, compared with other vacation home destinations in Europe, is helping to push the market forward, Mr. Valdes said. “Your money will go a lot further here than it does in many other countries,” he said.


Katerina Katopis-Lykiardopulo, an Athens-based hospitality and real estate consultant, agreed and said that the price for a three-bedroom single-family home near the water starts at $350,000. “Further, day-to-day living is inexpensive with regards to prices for groceries, meals out and entertainment such as concerts and movies,” she said.


The high quality of life in Greece is also compelling to second home buyers, according to the New York-based Greek chef Maria Loi, who is filming a series for PBS in Greece titled “The Life of Loi: Mediterranean Secrets.”

住在纽约的希腊厨师玛丽亚·洛伊说,希腊的高质量生活对别墅买家也很有吸引力。她正在为PBS在希腊拍摄一个名为《洛伊的生活——地中海的秘密》(The life of Loi: Mediterranean Secrets)的系列节目。

“The weather is generally sunny year-round; the food — produce, meats and seafood — is fresh and healthy,” Ms. Loi said. “Plus, the locals couldn’t be friendlier, and the infrastructure is strong with good roads and hospitals.”


According to sothebysrealty.com, searches for Greece and golf lifestyle increased by 205 percent from January through July of this year, compared with the same period in 2021. Also, Savvas Savvaidis, president and chief executive of Greece Sotheby’s International Realty, said that the company had $50 million in home sales in Greece in 2022 in areas or developments where golf is a main interest, compared with $10 million in 2017.


Most of the market for golf homes in Greece is concentrated in the Peloponnese, but Glyfada, a suburb of Athens, and the island of Crete, also figure in.


Here is a look at the real estate markets in the three areas:


The Peloponnese


Located in southern Greece, the Peloponnese is a vast peninsula that covers more than 8,200 square miles. Ms. Katopis-Lykiardopulo said that the region had Tuscan-like rolling hills and olive groves and a long, scenic coastline. “It’s incredibly beautiful and definitely the heart of golf and golf homes in Greece,” she said.


Costa Navarino, in the southwest Peloponnese in the Messenia region and about a three-hour drive southwest of Athens, is a nearly 2,500-acre golf-centric development with four 18-hole courses. The Dunes Course, featuring views of mountains and tall sand dunes and designed by the German professional golfer Bernhard Langer, opened in 2010, along with the first phase of the resort. The Bay Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones II and notable for its unobstructed sea views, followed the next year.


Two more courses, designed by the Spanish professional golfer José Maria Olazábal, opened in February and have views of the Ionian Sea and Bay of Navarino. Nuno Sepúlveda, Costa Navarino’s general manager of golf, said that although the courses were private, membership was not required to play; the cost is about $240 a round. “Anyone is welcome,” he said.


Costa Navarino also has three hotels,: the Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort; the Westin Resort Costa Navarino; and W Costa Navarino. A Mandarin Oriental is scheduled to open in 2023.


Evgenios Dendrinos, the resort’s real estate director, said that the development offered residences that were branded (affiliated with a hotel brand) and unbranded. Eighty apartments and 10 villas are complete, and 43 more villas are slated to be ready by early next year.


The apartments are part of the Residences at the Westin Resort Costa Navarino and average 1,200 square feet in size. They feature sea views and a contemporary aesthetic that’s inspired by local architecture with elements such as stone walls and archways; prices start at $700,000 for a two-bedroom property.


Villas range from 2,500 to 12,000 square feet and have between three and seven bedrooms, private swimming pools and large patios. Environmentally friendly features include green roofs that naturally cool homes and minimize the use of air conditioning, recycled and local building materials where possible, solar water heaters, recycled water and ample natural light to cut down the reliance on artificial lighting. Prices start at $1.3 million.


Costa Navarino homeowners have access to amenities that include multiple restaurants, a spa, two gyms, concierge services, a tennis center with 16 courts, a kids club and a watersports center.


Looking to the eastern Peloponnese, in the region of Porto Heli, Kilada Country Club, Golf & Residences is a $400 million development that’s opening next year. It spans almost 500 acres on a hilly plot of land and has panoramas of the Mediterranean Sea.


According to Miltos Kambourides, the founding partner of the project’s developer, Dolphin Capital, Kilada’s main selling point is the Jack Nicklaus signature course. He said that the development’s first phase would include the course, a beach club, 90 home lots and numerous townhouses and apartments. Prices for the latter begin at $480,000 while lots cost at least $350,000.




Located a 20-minute drive south of central Athens, Glyfada is a suburb that is part of the Athenian Riviera because of its setting along the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea. Elegant and sprawling, it has upscale stores, vibrant beachfront restaurants and cafés and stylish bars.


Glyfada is also home to the country’s oldest golf course, open since 1962 and part of the Glyfada Golf Club of Athens. With views of Mount Hymettus, it is a forest like setting that includes an abundance of pine and olive trees and was renovated last year.


“The face-lift coupled with the increased interest in the Athenian Riviera as a destination has definitely brought in an influx of international home buyers,” said Fanis Spiliotopoulos, owner of the Athens real estate firm Infocasa. “Most are from Scandinavia, England and Germany.” He said that his sales of properties near the course doubled in total dollars in 2021 from 2020.


Glyfada offers apartments in high-end developments, some of which have swimming pools and gardens. The suburb also has single-family homes, but Mr. Spiliotopoulos said that many have been torn down in the last decade to make room for new apartments, which are primarily in four-story buildings. He said that apartment prices start at $557 per square foot and reach up to $836 per square foot for top-floor sea view properties with private swimming pools.


Besides golf, Glyfada offers numerous diversions for homeowners, with beach going topping the list. Mr. Spiliotopoulos said that the beach season runs from April to November. Outside of these months, homeowners can enjoy culture in Athens at sites like the National Archaeological Museum, the new Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art and the recently refurbished National Gallery in Athens.


“Glyfada is a very desirable area to live because of the seaside setting and because you get the best of many worlds,” Mr. Spiliotopoulos said. “As a prospective golf home buyer, it’s a strong proposition for an investment.”




The largest of the Greek islands, Crete is situated south of the mainland and is easy to reach with its two airports that operate flights between Athens and cities throughout Europe.


Crete’s main golf course is at the Crete Golf Club, a members-only establishment near the capital city of Heraklion. Open since 2003 and designed by the golf course architect Bob Hunt, it was built on a hilly plot of land and features vistas of the nearby mountain range and the Aegean Sea.


The club’s owner, Eftichios Vassilakis, said that the course was extensively renovated in 2018 with new landscaping, trees and water features, and that most members are vacationers or second home buyers who own properties in the area.


Mr. Savvaidis, of Greece Sotheby’s International Realty, said that there was a fast-growing real estate market near the club. “People, mainly Europeans, always bought in Crete because of the scenery and beaches, but the golf is captivating new buyers,” he said.


Mirum Elounda Villas, just under an hour’s drive from the course, is among the most upscale options and has spacious homes that have between five and six bedrooms, large indoor and outdoor spaces for entertaining and swimming pools. Mr. Savvaidis said that prices start at $2 million and that homeowners have access to amenities that include a private beach, a spa, watersports and several restaurants.


The coastline near the Crete Golf Club is also dotted with single-family homes and apartments. Mr. Savvaidis said that the latter is a little more affordable, with three-bedroom residences in upscale buildings averaging $600,000.


Although it’s an island, Crete is autonomous from mainland Greece, he said. “It functions like its own country with good health care and a solid infrastructure,” he said. “It’s a destination that ticks all the boxes of everything you want from a vacation home, with golf as the newest highlight.”

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