Where is Greece located?

What countries border Greece?

Greece Weather

What is the current weather in Greece?


Greece Facts and Culture

What is Greece famous for?

  • Food and Recipes: The main meal of the day is lunch, served in the early afternoon. However, lunch is becoming less important as... More
  • Family: The elderly are respected, and have much authority in society. They are addressed by courteous titles and are served... More
  • Fashion: Conservative dress is preferred. Traditional costumes are worn at folk festivals and on special occasions. More
  • Visiting: It is very common for friends and relatives to drop by unannounced in rural towns. Unnanounced visits occur less often... More
  • Recreation: Ancient Greeks were proud of their athletic skills and held the first Olympic Games in 776 B.C. These games were... More
  • Cultural Attributes: While women have gained greater prominence and rights in the last generation, Greek society is still male dominated. Men... More
  • Dating: Young men and women socialize like the rest of Europe. They enjoy dancing, visting clubs and eating out. More
  • Diet: While tastes vary between urban and rural dwellers, certain foods are common to all Greeks, such as lamb, seafood, olives... More

Greece Facts

What is the capital of Greece?

Capital Athens
Government Type parliamentary republic
Total Area 50,949 Square Miles
131,957 Square Kilometers
Location Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and Turkey
Language Greek (official) 99%,
GDP - real growth rate -2.3%
GDP - per capita (PPP) $25,600.00 (USD)

Greece Demographics

What is the population of Greece?

Ethnic Groups Greek 93%, other (foreign citizens) 7%

note: percents represent citizenship, since Greece does not collect data on ethnicity
Languages Greek
Nationality Adjective Greek
Nationality Noun Greek(s)
Population 10,607,051
Population Growth Rate 0.04%
Population in Major Urban Areas ATHENS (capital) 3.414 million; Thessaloniki 883,000
Predominant Language Greek (official) 99%,
Urban Population 61.4%

Greece Government

What type of government does Greece have?

  • Executive Branch: chief of state: President Ekaterini SAKELLAROPOULOU (since 22 January 2020) head of government: Prime Minister Kyriakos MITSOTAKIS (since 8 July 2019) cabinet:... More
  • Suffrage: 17 years of age; universal and compulsory More
  • Citizenship: citizenship by birth: no citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Greece dual citizenship recognized: yes residency... More
  • National Holiday: Independence Day, 25 March (1821) More
  • Constitution: history: many previous; latest entered into force 11 June 1975 amendments: proposed by at least 50 members of Parliament and agreed... More
  • Independence: 3 February 1830 (from the Ottoman Empire); note - 25 March 1821, outbreak of the national revolt against the Ottomans;... More

Greece Geography

What environmental issues does Greece have?

  • Overview: Greece, a rugged country of mountains and islands. The land area, including the islands, is 50,270 square miles (about the... More
  • Climate: Greece has mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Athens daytime summer temperature averages 90°F and often exceeds 100°F for periods... More
  • Border Countries: Albania 282 km, Bulgaria 494 km, Turkey 206 km, Macedonia 246 km More
  • Environment - Current Issues: air pollution; water pollution More
  • Environment - International Agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change,... More
  • Terrain: mostly mountains with ranges extending into the sea as peninsulas or chains of islands More

Greece Economy

How big is the Greece economy?

  • Economic Overview: Greece has a capitalist economy with a public sector accounting for about 40% of GDP and with per capita GDP... More
  • Industries: tourism, food and tobacco processing, textiles, chemicals, metal products; mining, petroleum More
  • Export Partners: Italy 9.5%, Turkey 7.9%, Germany 7.9%, Cyprus 6.1%, Bulgaria 5.5%, US 5.2% More
  • Import Partners: Germany 10.6%, Russia 9.4%, Italy 9.2%, China 5.7%, Netherlands 5.5%, France 5%, Iran 4.5% More

Greece News & Current Events

What current events are happening in Greece?
Source: Google News

Interesting Greece Facts

What unique things can you discover about Greece?

  • Alexander the Great, one of the greatest military leaders of all time, accomplished his extraordinary conquests as a young man. He died at the age of 33.
  • Greece was once a center for silk production. The Peloponnesus is sometimes called the Morea because of the mulberry trees that grew there and were used to feed the silkworms.
  • Greek characters such as pi or sigma are used for mathematical symbols all over the world.
  • Greeks call themselves “Hellenes,” their country “Hellas” and their language “Hellenic.” The words “Greece” and “Greek” are derived from Roman words used to describe the people of Hellas.
  • Hippocrates, a statue of whom is shown below, was a doctor who lived in ancient Greece. He wrote about 70 works on medicine and ethics. He also wrote an oath for doctors that is still taken by medical doctors around the world.
  • In many schools, the year begins with a benediction by a priest, who blesses the children by touching them with a sprig of basil dipped in holy water.
  • Instead of giving presents on Christmas Day, many Greeks do so on Saint Basil's Day, which falls on New Year's Day. Saint Basil lived in the 4th century and dedicated his life to helping children and the poor
  • Many of the ships that made up the North Atlantic convoys during the Second World War were of Greek ownership and registry.
  • More than 7 million Greeks or persons of Greek origin live outside of Greece.
  • On the Saturday before Easter, it is good luck to smash a piece of china or pottery, which symbolizes the shattering of death.
  • Philotimo is a very important value in Greek culture. It involves generosity, hospitality and respect for others, especially elders. It influences the daily behavior of all Greeks.
  • The blind Homer, perhaps the greatest Greek poet, composed the Iliad and the Odyssey around 800 B.C. The Iliad told the story of the Trojan War and the Odyssey was about the travels of Odysseus, a hero of the Trojan War
  • The marathon race was born in Greece. In 490 B.C., a messenger called Pheidippides ran non-stop from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to bring the news of a Greek victory over the Persians, a distance of about 35 km. At the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, runners retraced his steps and this long-distance race is now a tradition at the Olympics and in many other countries.
  • The New Testament was originally written in Greek and this version is still used in Greek Orthodox Churches.
  • The word lyceum comes from an ancient Greek word lykeion, which denoted the temple of Apollo in Athens. Aristotle established his school in Athens beside this temple.
  • When Greeks go out for dinner to a local tavérna, rather than looking at a menu, they may go right into the kitchen to see what is cooking and choose their meal.

  • Parthenon for the Parthena (“Virgin” or “Maiden”) Athena. The Emperor Theodosius turned the Parthenon into a Christian Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the Franks into a Catholic Church (1204) and the Turks into a Mosque (1458). Part of the Metopes were destroyed by the Christians when the Parthenon was transformed into a Church. The Parthenon in Athens, Greece, was built at the initiative of Pericles. In 480-479 BC Persians destroyed most of the buildings of the Acropolis in Athens.
    The architects were Iktinos and Kallikrates (or Callicrates). Construction began in 447 BC and it was completed by 438 BC, while decorations were added until at least 432 BC for which the sculptor Pheidias (or Phidias) was responsible with around 70 other sculptors working for him. Additional work was done also until 425 BC.
    The Venetian Francesco Morosini (1618-94) destroyed Athena's team of chariot horses trying to remove the sculpture group from the west pediment. In 1686,
  • The Olympic Games 
    began over 2,700 years ago in Olympia.
    Only men, boys and unmarried girls were allowed to attend the Olympic Games.
    Married women were not allowed into the Olympic Games. Any women caught
    sneaking in were punished! Women could own horses in the chariot race
    though.
  • When a child loses a tooth they throw the tooth on the roof for good luck and make a wish so that their teeth will grow in strong and healthy.
  • On New Year's Day, Greek children leave their shoes by the fireplace with the hope that they will receive gifts. Also known as the Festival of St. Basil, gifts are exchanged on this day rather than at Christmas .

Watch video on Greece

What can you learn about Greece in this video?

Greece Guide YouTube, Expoza Travel

Greece Travel Information

What makes Greece a unique country to travel to?

Country Description

Greece is a developed and stable democracy with a modern economy. Tourist facilities are widely available.

Crime

You should take the usual safety precautions you would in any urban or tourist area during a visit to Greece. Crimes against tourists (such as pick-pocketing and purse-snatching) occur at popular tourist sites and on public transportation - especially the Metro - and in some shopping areas in and around Thessaloniki. If you travel by Metro, keep track of your purse/backpack/wallet at all times. Thieves will often try to create a diversion to draw your attention away from your immediate surroundings. These diversions can include accidentally sneezing or spilling something on you and loudly accusing you of having bumped into them. Thieves ride the trains in from the Athens Airport, so be especially careful when you first arrive. You may be tired and a bit disoriented and you may have just visited the ATM or exchanged money. Be discreet when discussing plans and organizing your belongings upon your initial arrival. Always keep a close eye on your suitcase. Try to avoid standing near the doors, as thieves will often wait to strike just as the train/bus doors open and then dash onto the platform and disappear into the crowd. Omonia, Vathi, and Kolokotroni Squares in Athens, while very close to the tourist sites, are areas with high crime rates; Glyfada Square has a significant organized-crime network associated with its clubs, which should be avoided if you get a hard-sell pitch for business. Never agree to go to a bar or club with someone you have just met on the street. Sexual assaults of U.S. citizens, including date or acquaintance rape, are not uncommon. Drink alcohol in moderation and stay in control. Never leave your drink unattended in a bar or club. Some bars and clubs serve counterfeit or homemade spirits of unknown potency.

Dont buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even those widely available, along the sidewalks in Central Athens or Thessaloniki. Not only are these goods illegal to bring back into the United States, the purchase of bootlegs and knock-offs in Greece violates Greek law.

Due to an increase of card skimming at ATMs throughout Greece it is recommended that you use one located inside a bank or hotel. Do not use ATMs located in dark or isolated areas. Before using an ATM, check to see if anything is stuck to the machine and/or if it looks unusual in any way. When using an ATM, always stay focused on what you are doing, and cover the keypad with your free hand to prevent anyone from seeing your PIN.

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Greece, you are subject to its laws, even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Greek laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Greece are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States.

Mace or pepper-spray canisters, though legal in the U.S., are illegal in Greece. Such items will be confiscated and may result in detention and arrest.

If you are arrested in Greece, the authorities are required to notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest. If you are concerned the Department of State may not be aware of your situation, you should request the police or prison officials to notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate on your behalf.

Languages

Greek

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Medical facilities are adequate, and some, particularly the private clinics and hospitals in Athens and Thessaloniki, are quite good. Some private hospitals have affiliations with U.S. facilities, and generally their staff doctors have been trained in the United States or Europe.

Public medical clinics, especially on the islands, may lack resources; care can be inadequate by U.S. standards, and often, little English is spoken. Many patients-- Greeks and visitors alike-- are transferred from the provinces and islands to Athens hospitals for more sophisticated care. Others may choose to transfer from a public to a private hospital within Athens or Thessaloniki. U.S. citizens choosing to do so would arrange for an ambulance belonging to the private hospital to transport them from the public hospital to the private one. The cost of the ambulance for this transfer, as well as all expenses in a private hospital, must be borne by the patient. Private hospitals will usually demand proof of adequate insurance or cash before admitting a patient.

Nursing care, particularly in public hospitals, may be less than adequate. For special or through-the-night nursing care, it is suggested that a private nurse be hired or a family member or friend be available to assist. One parent or a private nurse should always plan to stay with a hospitalized child on a 24-hour basis, as even the best hospitals generally maintain only a minimal nursing staff from midnight to dawn on non-emergency floors or wards.

Please insure that you have an adequate supply of your prescription medications when travelling to Greece as you may not be able to find a local equivalent in the pharmacies.

Safety and Security

The U.S. Government remains deeply concerned about the heightened threat of terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens and interests abroad. Like other countries that are members of the Schengen Agreement for free cross-border movement, Greece's open borders with other members of the Schengen zone allow for the possibility of terrorist groups entering/exiting the country with anonymity. As the first entry point into Schengen from points south and east, Greece's long coastline and many islands increase the possibility that foreign-based terrorists might try to enter Europe through its borders.

Greece continues to experience sporadic violence attributed to terrorist organizations. In 2012, a previously unknown domestic group placed an improvised explosive device (IED) that failed to detonate in a metro train car, and another group crashed a stolen van into the lobby of a corporate headquarters in Athens before activating an attached improvised incendiary device (IID, also known as a Molotov cocktail). In 2013, unknown individuals conducted attacks on the homes of journalists and judges, as well as several political party offices, in Athens and Thessaloniki; a previously unknown domestic group claimed responsibility for planting a small bomb in a prominent shopping mall in a northern suburb of Athens, causing minor injuries to two people; and alleged members of the domestic terrorist group Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei were arrested for armed bank robbery in northern Greece.

Strikes and demonstrations are a regular occurrence. As a result of austerity measures imposed by the government and the ongoing economic recession, labor unions, certain professions, and other groups affected by the current financial crisis hold frequent demonstrations, work stoppages, and marches throughout the center of Athens. Strikes in the transportation sector often affect traffic and public transportation, to include taxis, ports, and airports; most are of short duration, but you should always reconfirm domestic and international flights before heading to the airport. Demonstrations also occur annually on November 17, the anniversary of the 1973 student uprising against the military regime in power at the time.

University campuses are exploited as refuges by anarchists and criminals. Demonstrators frequently congregate in the Polytechnic University area; Exarchia, Omonia, and Syntagma Squares in Athens; and at Aristotle Square, Aristotle University, and the Kamara area in Thessaloniki. U.S. citizens should be aware of demonstrations and avoid areas where demonstrations are underway.

While most demonstrations and strikes are peaceful, on occasion violent anarchist groups have joined these demonstrations to clash with police and vandalize public and private property. Riot-control procedures often include the use of tear gas and/or water cannons. Visitors should stay informed about demonstrations from local news sources and hotel security.

There has been a rise in unprovoked harassment and violent attacks against persons who, because of their complexion, are perceived to be foreign migrants. U.S. citizens most at risk are those of African, Asian, Hispanic, or Middle Eastern descent. Travelers are urged to exercise caution, especially in the immediate vicinity of Omonia Square from sunset to sunrise. Travelers should avoid Exarchia Square and its immediate vicinity at all times. The U.S. Embassy has confirmed reports of U.S. African-American citizens detained by police authorities conducting sweeps for illegal immigrants in Athens.

U.S. citizens are strongly urged to carry a copy of their passport or some form of photo identification with them at all times when traveling in Greece.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

While in Greece, you will encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Drivers and pedestrians alike should exercise extreme caution when operating motor vehicles or when walking along roadways or crossing streets, mindful that Greece's traffic fatality rates are the fourth-highest of the 27 nations that make up the European Union. Visitors to Greece must be prepared to drive defensively. Heavy traffic, poor roads, and high speeds pose hazards, especially at night or in inclement weather. Be especially careful if you are riding a motorbike. The law in Greece requires motorcyclists to wear a helmet. You may see many wearing theirs on the arm, but do not be tempted to follow their example. When driving, be sure to double-check rear and side mirrors, as motorbikes will often ride between lanes and pass on both the left and right. On many two-lane highways, slower traffic will drive on the shoulder and cars will pass straddling the center, double yellow line. Talking on a cell phone while driving is illegal in Greece; the police check cell phone call records when investigating accidents. Driving while under the influence of an alcoholic substance is illegal. A breath-alcohol test (BrAC) showing 250-400 carries a fine of 200; from 400-600, it is 700 and a three-month suspension from driving; if your BrAC is more than 600 the case is remanded to the local court of misdemeanors. Additionally, the blood-alcohol content limit is 0.05% (mg/L), lower than the U.S. limit of 0.08%. For motorcyclists, professional drivers, and those holding a license less than two years the limit is 0.01%. Exceeding the limit may result in arrest, heavy fines, and/or license confiscation. There are a number of nationwide auto-service clubs and plans, similar to those in the United States, providing towing and roadside service, which a tourist can call and pay for per service; the largest, quite similar to AAA, is ELPA, whose nationwide phone number is 10400.

Tourists and temporary residents who will stay in Greece for fewer than 185 days, and plan to drive, must carry a valid U.S. license as well as an international driver's permit (IDP). Failure to have both documents may result in police detention or other problems. The U.S. Department of State has designated two organizations to issue IDPs to those who hold valid U.S. driver's licenses: AAA and the American Automobile Touring Alliance. Issuance of an IDP is quick and inexpensive, but must generally be done before a traveler leaves the United States. Vehicles may not properly be rented without the IDP, although sometimes they are. A driver without one, however, will be cited for failure to have one in the event of an accident, and may be open to civil suit as well. Fines are high. Small motorbike rental firms frequently do not insure their vehicles; customers are responsible for damages and should review their coverage before renting. Individuals who expect to spend more than 185 days in Greece should either obtain a Greek license or convert their valid U.S. license for use in Greece through their local Nomarchy Office of Transportation and Communications.

All Countries
Afghanistan Akrotiri Albania Algeria American Samoa Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory British Virgin Islands Brunei Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burma Burundi Cabo Verde Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Clipperton Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Cook Islands Coral Sea Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curacao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Dhekelia Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Eswatini Ethiopia Falkland Islands Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia Gabon Gambia, The Gaza Strip Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guam Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Holy See Honduras Hong Kong Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Jan Mayen Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, North Korea, South Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macau Macedonia Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Marshall Islands Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Micronesia Moldova Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Northern Mariana Islands Norway Oman Pakistan Palau Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Islands Poland Portugal Puerto Rico Qatar Reunion Romania Russia Rwanda Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Sudan, South Suriname Svalbard Sweden Switzerland Syria Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States (US) Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela Vietnam Virgin Islands Wake Island Wallis and Futuna West Bank Western Sahara World Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe