Greece

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Greece sits at the meeting point of three continents—Europe, Asia and Africa—on the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula. Falling under the Adriatic-Ionian (EUSAIR) macro-region, Greece borders Bulgaria and the Republic of North Macedonia in the north; Albania in the northwest; and Turkey in the northeast. Around 6,000 islands are scattered throughout the Aegean and Ionian seas, some of the most famous being Crete, Rhodes, Corfu and the Cyclades, the cluster that circles around the sacred island of Delos. Nearly half of the 16,000 kilometres of coastline is claimed by Greece’s islands, while 80 percent of the country boasts hills and mountains—making it one of the most mountainous countries in Europe. Towns in the north like Loutra Pozard and seaport Krinides (whose claim to fame is being the home of the first Christian church in Europe) feature thermal waters and mud baths that have earned Greece a place along the European Route of Historic Thermal Towns, one of five EU Cultural Routes that cross through the country.

How to get there?

Athens International Airport acts as a port of entry into Greece and links to the underground metro, bus routes, and ports of Piraeus, Rafina, and Lavrion. All of the Greek islands are linked to the mainland by ferry. The Aegean and Argosarosikos islands and Crete are mainly linked with the ports of Piraeus and Rafinas, while the Ionian islands can be reached from the ports of Patras, Killinis, Igoumenitsas and Astakos. International trains also connect Greece’s second-largest city of Thessaloniki with Sofia, Skopje and Belgrade.

  • Time Zone
    GMT +3
  • Population
    10.77 million
  • Capital
    Athens
  • Official language
    Greek
  • Currency
    € or EUR

EU citizens (and members of the Schengen Area) do not need a visa to visit Greece.

Cultural Routes in Greece

Part of the Adriatic-Ionian region, Greece is home to five Cultural Routes: The Phoenicians’ Route, Routes of the Olive Tree, Iter Vitis, the European Cemeteries Route, and the European Route of Historic Thermal Towns.

The Phoenicians’ Route

This route “fosters Mediterranean intercultural dialogue,” highlighting places the Phoenicians once stopped for trade, such as Crete and Delos, on the nautical journeys that date back to the 12th century.

Routes of the Olive Tree

A universal symbol of peace, olive trees date back millions of years, with the dedicated “olive tree civilization” extending from Greece throughout Euro-Mediterranean countries. These routes celebrate all of the players involved in olive tree production (artists, farmers, small producers), and, according to the website: “These routes are a gateway to new cooperation between remote areas that would otherwise be condemned to isolation.”

Iter Vitis Route

Wine production is one of the key symbols of identity in Europe, and this route preserves the heritage of wine biodiversity. Iter Vitis highlights local viticulture in Crete, as well as the vineyards of Mylopotamos on Mount Athos.

European Cemeteries Route

Cemeteries are seen as historical museums, offering an interesting insight into local history. The Cemetery of Athens, for example, was the first official cemetery built in the city in 1837 and features the graves of famous Greeks.

European Route of Historic Thermal Towns

Thermalism in Europe dates back to Roman times, but some of the continent’s most famous towns reached their height in the 18th and 19th centuries when the railway encouraged travellers to journey to medical and health spas like Loutra Pozar in the north of Greece.

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