greece-travel

Travel guides to Greece and the Greek islands

Modern Greek State Facts

Greece became a member of the European Union (then European Communities) in 1981, the Schengen Area in 2000 and the Eurozone in 2001. It has been a member of NATO since 1952 and a founding member of the UN since 1945, the OECD, the WTO, the OSCE. and the International Organization of the Francophonie. The unique cultural heritage of Greece, the large tourism industry, the prominent shipping sector and its geostrategic importance classify it as a middle power. It is the largest economy in the Balkans and a major investor in the region. It is considered a developed country with a high per capita income and a very high rate of human development. It was ranked as the 29th best country in terms of quality of life in the world for 2015

Capital city: Athens
Official languages:Greek
Religion
Orthodox Christianity
system of government
Presiding Parliamentary Democracy
Population
10,815,197 inhabitants

Geography

Greece occupies the Southern tip of the Balkan Peninsula in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Cradle of civilization and birthplace of the gods, land of legend and beauty which has inspired centuries of art and the essence of philosophy, Greece welcomes the world. Since Greeks are naturally unselfish and friendly, they give visitors a warm welcome. They offer a sunny country of great natural beauty and magnificent monuments. The capital of Greece is Athens and the second largest city is Thessaloniki. The port of Piraeus is Europe’s largest port.

Attractions

Apart from its world-famed historical and archaeological relics, modern Greece provides many attractions to the traveller. The many islands and indented coastline, so characteristic of Greece, provide ideal beaches, yachting harbours and fishing places. For those who prefer the mountains and the inlands to the sea, for the huntsman. the mountain-climber, the hiker, the camper and the motorist, there is a vast wealth and variety of beautiful scenery richly scattered with relics of the Golden Age. Greece is one of the 20 most popular world tourist destinations. According to the Ministry of Tourism, in 2018 it was visited by 33 million people, a large number compared to its 11 million population. The beaches, the sunny summers, the natural diversity, the nightlife and the abundance of archeological monuments are poles of attraction for the visitors.

The Greek islands:

islandsMore than 3000 islands and islets (from those more then 200 are inhabitant) are spread like pearls in the Greek seas of the Aegean archipelago, the Ionian sea and the Cretan sea as we can see in a map of Greece. In the Aegean are the the Sporades islands Alonissos, Skiathos, Skopelos and Skyros. The north Aegean islands: Ikaria, Lesvos, Samos, Limnos, Samothraki and Samos as well as smaller islands like Psara and Agios Efstratios.

More south in the the south east Aegean are the islands of the Dodecanese: Patmos, Lipsi, Leros, Kalymnos, Symi, Nisyros, Tilos, Astypalea, Rhodes Greece , Karpathos, Kastelorizo, Chalki and smaller ones like Fournoi, Agathonisi, Pserimos etc. To the south of Cyclades is the largest island of Greece, Crete and south of Crete the small island of Gavdos the southernmost island of Greece.

West of the Dodecanese and south of the large island of Evia are the Cyclades islands including Andros, Tinos, Syros,Mykonos, Paros, the island of Naxos, Ios the island mostly for young people, Amorgos, Anafi, Folegandros, Sifnos, Serifos, Mylos, Kythnos, Kea ,the celebrate volcanic island of Santorini and many smaller islets. In the Saronic and Argolic gulf are the Saronic islands: Salamis, Aegina, Agistri, Poros, Hydra and Spetses. The islands of Kythira and Antikythira located south of Peloponesse and they belong to the prefecture of Piraeus. Finaly in the Ionian sea are located the Ionian islands of Corfu, Lefkada, Ithaca, Paxi, Kefalonia and Zakynthos.

Beaches and coasts of Greece

Greece has one of the largest coastlines in the world – about 16,000 km – branching off into countless beaches, beautiful small beaches, charming coves and bays. The Aegean Archipelago, the Ionian Sea and the Libyan Sea are a water “embrace”, in which the mainland ends and the vastness of the Greek islands stretches.

The Greek coasts are world famous and extremely popular as they are famous for their purity, the clarity of their waters and their unique diversity. In Greece you will enjoy beaches, open, with a length of many kilometers, windless small bays and coves, sandy beaches with sand dunes, pebbled shores, coastal caves carved into steep cliffs, beaches paved with the characteristic dark skies.

Local cuisine

greek cuisineGreek cuisine is mainly Mediterranean, it has something in common with the traditional cuisines of Italy, the Balkans, Turkey and the Levant (part of the Middle East).
Modern Greek cuisine has a wide use of vegetables, olive oil, cereals, fish, wine and meat (white & red). Also other important products are olives, cheese, eggplants, zucchini, and yogurt. The main characteristics of Greek sweets are nuts and honey, while various fruits are often used, mainly for the so-called spoon sweets.

Another important aspect of Greek cuisine is the appetizers which is a collective name for a variety of small meals, usually served with wine, ouzo or tsipouro in taverns and restaurants. The majority of tourist restaurants serve Continental or Greek food of good quality. There are also a number of typically Greek dishes like mousaka (alternate layers of eggplant, ground meat and white flour and milk sauce agreeably spiced), souvlakia (meat on small spits) and dolmadakia (rolled vine leaves containing rice, ground meat and spices).

A great variety of excellent fish, a variety of good local wines, and excellent honey are available. Excellent bottled wines, Achaia, Santa-Helena, Cambas, Dekelia, Demestika, Marco, Tour-la-Refine. Sweet wines: Robola, Mavrodaphni, Samos, Santorini. Local liquors: Ouzo, Corian­dolino of Rhodes. All Continental wines and liquors are also available.

Hunting

Visitors may hunt al-most everywhere in Greece from Sept. 1 to May 15. Aquatic birds are numerous at Marathon and Souli, near Athens. Passage birds are to be found at Lake Carla, near Volos, Halkis and Limni in Central Greece. The hunting season on aquatic birds and on spring turtle-doves begins March 15 and ends May 15. Partridges and rabbits may be hunted from the end of August to the middle of January

 

Activities

swimmingSailing and Yachting Enthusiasts should get in touch with the several Yachting Clubs .

Yacht owners will want to take advantage of the facilities offered to members of the clubs, where they may be admitted through a member. Regattas are organized during the summer at many ports and islands.

Swimming is particularly pleasant during the summer ,spring and fall seasons. There are good beaches all over Greece and the Greek islands as well as at the coast near Athens

Sports :All the athletic sports and games practiced in other countries are to be found in Greece.

When to visit Grrece

The climate of Greece and especially of the south and the island is typically Mediterranean mild and wet winters, relatively hot and dry summers and, in general, long periods of sunshine during most of the year. Greece is located between parallels 340 and 420 of the Northern Hemisphere and is bathed by the Eastern Mediterranean. Its climate has in general the characteristics of the Mediterranean climate, ie mild and rainy winters, relatively hot and dry summers and a lot of sunshine almost all year round. of the Mediterranean climate.

This is due to the topographic configuration of the country which has large differences in altitude (there are large mountain ranges along the central country and other mountains) and the alternation of land and sea. Thus, from the dry climate of Attica and generally of Eastern Greece, we switch to the humid of Northern and Western Greece. Such climatic differences are found even in places that are a short distance from each other, which occurs in only a few countries around the world.

From a climatic point of view, the year can be divided into two seasons: The cold and rainy winter period mid-October and until the end of March and the warm and dry season that lasts from April to October. During the first period, the coldest months are January and February, where on average the average minimum temperature ranges from 5-10 0 C in the coastal areas, from 0 – 42 C in the mainland and with lower values ​​below zero in the northern regions.

The rains in Greece even in winter do not last for many days and the sky of Greece does not remain cloudy for several consecutive days, as happens in other parts of the world. The winter bad weather is often interrupted in January and the first fortnight of February by sunny days, known since antiquity as “Alkyonides days”. The winter season is sweeter in the Aegean and June islands than in Northern and Eastern Greece.

Climate

summerGreece have a mild Mediterranean climate. Spring and autumn are by far the best seasons to visit Greece. However, there are many pleasant sunny days in the winter, and even in the middle of summer the heat is often tempered by fresh breezes from the sea and moun­tains. The nights are invariably cool and pleasant even after the hottest days of summer
During the hot and dry season the weather is stable, the sky is almost clear, the sun is bright and it does not rain except for rare breaks with heavy rains or thunderstorms of short duration.

The warmest season is the last ten days of July and the first of August when the average maximum temperature ranges from 29 C to 35 C. During the warm season the high temperatures are mitigated by the cool sea breeze in the coastal areas of the country and the north winds. (annuals) that blow mainly in the Aegean. Spring has a short duration, because winter is late and summer begins early. Autumn is long and warm and is often extended in Southern Greece until mid-December.

Currency

euroGreece uses the euro. It is one of the many European countries that use the common currency. All euro banknotes and coins are legal tender in all countries that use them.
The euro is divided into 100 cents.
The official symbol of the euro is €, and the ISO code is EUR. There is no official symbol of the euro cents.

Banknotes: Euro banknotes have the same design in all countries.
Regular coins: All euro countries issue euro coins with a typical national design on one side and a common design on the other. Coins can be used in any Eurozone country, regardless of the design they depict. (eg a one euro coin from Germany can be used in Spain).

Getting to Greece

 

Passports and visas

Visitors from a European Union country (as well as Norway, Iceland and others that are part of the Schengen Agreement) do not require a passport or visa. Visitors from other countries need a passport and, for some, a visa.

By air
The easiest and fastest way to arrive in Greece is by air, unless you are on the Aegean coast of Turkey, or in neighboring countries, Albania, Northern Macedonia, Bulgaria and Serbia, in which case you can come by car or (from Turkey) by boat. There are several international airports and many direct flights to tourist destinations, scheduled and chartered flights.

By train

With the current railway you can reach Greece from all the bordering countries. From Skopje it is probably the fastest way, because the ground is flat and the lines are straight and with few stops. The same is done with Turkey, only the cities and therefore the stations are more, the same as the time you will arrive. Also, you can from Albania and Bulgaria only that the terrain is extremely mountainous and the time it takes to make the same train from Skopje doubles.

egnatiaBy car

In Greece the easiest and fastest way to get there is through former Yougoslavian states and the A1, part of the European highway (E-75) where the speed limit reaches up to 140km / h.
You can also reach Greece via the European highway 90 (E-90) (or Egnatia as it is called in Greece) via Igoumenitsa if you are coming from Italy.

By Ferry

There are daily ferry connections to Greece from Italy and the ports of Brindisi, Bari, Ancona and Venice.