Main land:

Greece consists of nine geographic regions: Macedonia, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Thessaly, Epirus, the Aegean Islands(including the Dodecanese and Cyclades), Thrace, Crete, and the Ionian Islands. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, theIonian Sea to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin and the11th longest coastline in the world in length, featuring a vast number of islands, of which 227 are inhabited. Eighty percent of Greece is mountainous, with Mount Olympus being the highest peak at 2,917 m (9,570 ft). The mainland religions are as below:

Macedonia:

Macedonia is a geographic and historical region of Northern Greece. Macedonia is the largest and second most populous Greek region, dominated by mountains in the interior and the port cities of Thessaloniki (or Salonika) and Kavala on its southern coastline.

It incorporates most of the territories of ancient Macedon, a kingdom ruled by the Argeads whose most celebrated members were Alexander the Great and his father Philip II. The name Macedonia was later applied to identify various administrative areas in the Roman/Byzantine Empire with widely differing borders.

Central Greece:

Central Greece is the most populous geographical region of Greece, with a population of 4,591,568 people, making it the second largest of the country. It is located to the north of the Peloponnese and to the south of Thessaly and Epirus, bordering the Aegean Sea to the east, the Ionian Sea to the west and the Corinthian Gulf to the south. Its climate is temperate along its coastlines, and dry in the interior.

Peloponnese:

The Peloponnese is a peninsula and constitutes the southernmost part of mainland Greece. While technically it may be considered an island since the construction of the Corinth Canal in 1893, like other peninsulas that have been separated from their mainland by man-made bodies of waters, it is rarely, if ever, referred to as an “island”. It has two land connections with the rest of Greece, a natural one at the Isthmus of Corinth, and an artificial one by the Rio-Antirio bridge (completed 2004).

The peninsula has a mountainous interior and deeply indented coasts. It possesses four south-pointing peninsulas, the Messenian, the Mani, the Cape Malea (also known as Epidaurus Limera), and the Argolid in the far northeast of the Peloponnese.

Two groups of islands lie off the Peloponnesian coast: the Argo-Saronic Islands to the east, and the Ionian to the west. The island of Kythera, off the Epidaurus Limera peninsula to the south of the Peloponnese, is considered to be part of the Ionian Islands.

The peninsula has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Its modern name derives from ancient Greek mythology, specifically the legend of the hero Pelops, who was said to have conquered the entire region. The name Peloponnesos means “Island of Pelops”.

Thessaly:

Thessaly is sub-divided into 5 regional units and 25 municipalities. The capital of the region is Larissa. Thessaly lies in central Greece and borders the regions of Macedonia on the north, Epirus on the west, Central Greece on the south and the Aegean Sea on the east. The Thessaly region also includes the Sporades islands.

Epirus:

Epirus is divided into four regional units, which are further subdivided into municipalities. The regional units are: Thesprotia, Ioannina, Arta and Preveza (Parga) It borders the regions of West Macedonia and Thessaly to the east, West Greece to the south, the Ionian Sea and Ionian Islands.

Thrace:

Inhabited since paleolithic times, it has been under the political, cultural and linguistic influence of the Greek world since the classical era, Greeks from the Aegean islands extensively colonized the region (especially the coastal part) and built prosperous cities such as Abdera (home of Democritus, the 5th-century philosopher who developed an atomic particle theory, and of Protagoras, a leading sophist) and Sale (near present-day Alexandroupoli). Under the Byzantine Empire, Western Thrace benefited from its position close to the imperial heartland and became a center of medieval Greek commerce and culture.

Topographically, Thrace alternates between mountain-enclosed basins of varying size and deeply cut river valleys. It is divided into the three regional units Xanthi, Rhodope and Evros, which together with the Macedonian regional units of Drama, Kavala and Thasos form the East Macedonia and Thrace region.

The Fourth Army Corps of the Hellenic Army has its headquarters in Xanthi; in recent years, the region has attracted international media attention after becoming a key entering point for illegal immigrants trying to enter European Union territory; Greek security forces, working together with Frontex, are also extensively deployed in the Greek-Turkish border.

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Greek Islands

Greece has an extremely large number of islands, with estimates ranging from somewhere around 1,200 to 6,000 depending on the minimum size to take into account. The number of inhabited islands is variously cited as between 166 and 227.

The Greek islands are traditionally grouped into the following clusters:

Argo-Saronic Islands in the Saronic gulf near Athens:

Aegina
Angistri
Dokos
Hydra
Poros
Salamina
Spetses
Spetsopoula (private island of a Greek shipowner Niarchos and family)

Dodekanese in the Aegean sea:

164 total islands of which 26 are inhabited.

Rhodes
Kos
Patmos
Astipalea
Kalimnos
Karpathos
Kasos
Leros
Nisyros
Symi
Tilos
Kastellorizo

Other islands in the chain include:

Agathonisi
Alimia
Arkoi
Chalki
Farmakonisi
Gyali
Kinaros
Levitha
Lipsi
Marathos
Nimos
Pserimos
Saria
Stroggyli
Syrna
Telendos

Cyclades in the Aegean sea:

Amorgos
Anafi
Andros
Antiparos
Delos
Donoussa
Folegandros
Gyaros
Ios
Iraklia
Kea
Keros
Kimolos
Koufonisia
Kythnos
Makronissos
Milos
Mykonos
Naxos
Paros
Polyaigos
Santorini/Thera
Schoinoussa
Serifos
Sifnos
Sikinos
Syros
Thirasia
Tinos (there are arround 30 uninhabited islands you can visit by boat)

Sporades in the Aegean sea:

Alonissos
Skiathos
Skopelos
Skyros (There are about 26 uninhabited islands at the Sporades that you can visit by boat)

Ionian Islands:

Cephalonia
Corfu
Ithaki or Ithaca
Kythira
Lefkada (Skorpios is a private Island next to Lefkada owned to the Greek shipping billionaire Aristotelis Onasis that you can visit by boat)
Paxi (Antipaxi is 1 of the 37 uninhabited island of the Ionian sea that you can visit with private boat or by tour)
Zakynthos

Crete:

Crete is the largest Greek island by area located at the southern edge of the Aegean Sea.Heraklion is the largest city and capital of Crete. The principal cities are:

Heraklion
Chania (Malia, Elafonissi)
Rethymno
Ierapetra
Agios Nikolaos
Sitia, Gavdos Island

Euboea:

Euboea, which is separated from the mainland and is administered as part of the Central Greece region.

Thracian sea:

Samothraci
Thasos

The Capital of Greece

Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world’s oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning around 3,400 years, and the earliest human presence around the 11th–7th millennium BC. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state that emerged in conjunction with the seagoing development of the port of Piraeus. A centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum, it is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, largely because of its cultural and political impact on the European continent and in particular the Romans] In modern times, Athens is a large cosmopolitan metropolis and central to economic, financial, industrial, maritime, political and cultural life in Greece. In 2015, Athens was ranked the world’s 29th richest city by purchasing power and the 67th most expensive in a UBS study.

Athens is recognised as a global city because of its geo-strategic location and its importance in shipping, finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, culture, education and tourism. It is one of the biggest economic centres in southeastern Europe, with a large financial sector, and its port Piraeus is the largest passenger port in Europe, and the second largest in the world.  According to Eurostat in 2004, the Athens Larger Urban Zone (LUZ) was the 7th most populous LUZ in theEuropean Union (the 5th most populous capital city of the EU), with a population of 4,013,368. Athens is also the southern most capital on the European mainland.

The heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon, considered a key landmark of early Western civilization.

Athens is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Acropolis of Athens and the medieval Daphni Monastery. Athens was the host city of the first modern-day Olympic Games in 1896, and 108 years later it welcomed home the 2004 Summer Olympics. Athens is home to the National Archeological Museum, featuring the world’s largest collection of ancient Greek antiquities, as well as the new Acropolis Museum.

Tips for Travelers*

Greece is a Member-State of the European Union and has ratified the Schengen Agreement. Citizens traveling inside the E.U. just need to show their police I.D. Card without the need of a passport. However, a passport is necessary for a number of other transactions, such as currency exchange, purchases, etc. Driving licences, post, bank or tax cards are not accepted as valid travel documents or proof of identity.

Visas are not required by citizens of Member-States of the Schengen Agreement. Greece follows the provisions of the Schengen Agreement, which abolished controls on common internal lands, at air and sea borders and allows Member-State citizens to travel around without a visa for a short stay period of up to three (3) months. However, airlines and other carriers require a valid passport and/or police I.D. Card or other form of official identification means.

Citizens of the majority of the countries that are not Member-States of the Schengen Agreement require a visa to enter Greece and the E.U. Visitors from these countries can obtain further information from the Hellenic Embassies or Consulates in their countries, or even from their travel agencies.

Visas are not required by holders of valid passports from the following non-E.U. countries if they want to visit Greece and remain in the country for up to 3 months (90 days) within a chronological period of 6 months:

Andorra
Argentin
Australia
Brazil
Brunei
Canada
Chile
Costa Rica
Croatia
El Salvador
Guatemala
Honduras
Israel
Japan
Malaysia
Mexico
Monaco
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Panama
Paraguay
Saint Marino
Singapore
South Korea
USA
Uruguay
Vatican
Venezuela

Note: During their stay in Greece, visitors with a visa must also have suitable insurance coverage for emergency medical or other needs.

 

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