GREECE

A cultural tour in Greece and the islands is a complement to general culture : not only antique masterpieces such as the Minoan, Mycenaean or classical civilizations but also Byzantine, Franc, Venetian, Ottoman monuments are worth being discovered.  Some privileged moments in the islands such as the arrival of a ferry, a market, a wedding party, the sound of a bouzouki, picturesque landscapes…  This all means a travel through Greece .

By the cut-out character of its coasts and especially by its islands, Greece is a country of the sea.  Corfou , Santorini , Mykonos , Rhodes are the most popular destinations but history is also present everywhere else : Minoan sites in Thira (Santorini), the sacred island of Delos (Mykonos), medieval souvenirs in Rhodes and Kos , the sacred island of Patmos

In these page, we invite you to discover more islands presenting each different attractive aspects : history, nature, local culture, water activities, sports…

Greece at a glance

Official Name Hellenic Republic.Greeks also call their country “Hellas” or “Ellada”
Date of Foundation 03 February 1830
Capital Athens
Largest Cities Athens , Thessaloniki , Larissa, Patras , Heraklion (Crete)
Area 131,957km2 of which 87% sea
Coastal Boarders In the South : Mediterranean Sea - In the West : Ionic and Adriatic Seas
Language The official language is Greek. English is widely spoken
Currency Euro
Time Zone GMT+2; CET+1; EST +7
Electricity 220V. European standard round two-pin sockets. 
Food As with many Mediterranean nations Greek food is very healthy, fresh and enjoyable.
Water Tap water is chlorinated and, therefore, safe to drink. However, it is recommended that you consume bottled water, which is readily and cheaply available.
Communications Greece has three GSM operators, all of them offering 3G services and almost 95% coverage over the country. Internet service is available all around the country. 
International Dial Code +30

History :

-3000    "Greece before the Greek". Slow development of the human societies.
-2600    Age of bronze. Arrival of invaders coming from Anatolia.  Creation of the first cities. New invaders : the first Greek. Beginning of the Mycenaen and Achaean eras.  Hellade is being populated.
-1100    Geometrical and archaic era.  Religious life is being renewed, the pantheon being organized.  Appearance of Apollo and Artemis.  An alphabetical writing is being created. Creation of the "polis" (city-state).
-500      Classical Greece , the Medique Wars, the century of Pericles
-359      Philip II of Macedonia conquers Greece .
-323      Alexander the Great conquers the Orient. Decline of Greece during the Hellenic period and development of the Greek Kingdoms of Orient
+395     Greece , that naturally came to the Byzantine Empire, is not secured from the barbarian invasions (Huns, Slaves).
+617     The Slaves arrive with complete tribes and get settled till southern Greece
+1200   The Latin States of Greece .  At the end of the 4th Crusade, Greece is included in the lands to be shared by the winners : Venice chooses commercially important places such as the Ionian islands, Rhodes , Crete, Thrace.
+1458   Greece under the Ottoman domination.  The conquest of Greece began far before the fall of Constantinople.
+1821   Fight for the independency. Greece becomes a monarchy with Othon of Bavaria.  The Ottomans recognize Othon I and the Hellenic independency.
+1924   Republican Greece and a succession of Military Coups with a restoration

Geography :

Greece consists of a large mainland at the southern end of The balkans , the Peloponesos peninsula (separated from mainland by the canal of the Isthmus of Corinth) and numerous islands (around 1500) including Crete, Euboea , Rhodes , and a series of island groups (Dodecanese, Cyclades, Sporades, Ionia, North Aegean).

Greece as more than 15.000 kilometers of coastline and a land boundary of 1160 kilometers.  Approximately 50% of the territory is covered with forests and 80% is hilly or mountainous.  Mount Olympus, located in northern Pieria prefecture near Thessaloniki , is the highest mountain with 2917m at its peak.  Once considered the land of the gods, it is today extremely popular among hikers and climbers who deem its height as a challenge.

In Northeastern Greece another high altitude mountain rage, the Rhodope range, spreads across the prefectures of Macedonia and Thrace.  This area is covered with vast, thick, century old forests including the famous Dadia.

Population

Greece’s population (11 million) is 98% Greek although Greece has various linguistic and cultural minorities. A non-comprehensive list of these would include Turks, Macedonian Slavs, Pomaks and various Roma groups.  A number of religious minorities exist including a Muslim minority in Western Thrace who represent about a third of that region’s population.

The majority of Greeks (95-98%) have at least nominal membership in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The other religious minorities are Greek Muslims (Thrace), Roman Catholics (Patras, Corfu, Syros , Paros , Tinos and Naxos ), some Protestants and some Jews mainly in Thessaloniki
Some groups in Greece have started an attempt to reconstruct Hellenic polytheism, the ancient Greek pagan religion.

Economy

Greece has a capitalist economy with the public sector accounting for a considerable part of the GDP.  The Greek tourism industry remains thriving and its contribution in the growth of the GDP is considered important through foreign exchange earnings.

The country is also a global leader in shipping (ranking first in terms of ownership of vessels and third by flag registration).

Export of manufactured goods including telecommunication hardware and software, agricultural products, other foodstuff and fuels also account for a significant part of Greece ’s income.

Greece is the largest investor in Southeastern Europe as far as the previous sectors are concerned.

Since Greece became a full member of the European Union in 1981, it has been a beneficiary of cohesion funds along with Portugal, Spain and Ireland.  Those funds have proven to be particularly helpful in the nation’s remarkable economic development of the last 25 years.

SANTORINI
SANTORINI

Santorini is one of the most ruggedly beautiful and dramatic places on earth. Santorini, also known as Thira, is the most southern of the Cyclades islands and one of the most popular destinations in all of Greece.

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MYKONOS
MYKONOS

Mykonos is the most popular and sophisticated holiday resort of the Aegean. Luxury yachts from all over the world dock at its harbors, ferries arrive daily from Piraeus, Rafina, and Lavrion.

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ATHENS
ATHENS

Athens alone is worth a trip to Greece: the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the Acropolis Museum, the Plaka area, Monastiraki area, the antique agora, the Syndagma (Constitution) Square are – just to name a few ...

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RHODES
RHODES

Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese Islands and fourth largest of all Greek Islands. Located in the south east Aegean, Rhodes lies very close to Turkey. Rhodes is often called "The Pearl of the Mediterranean" and...

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SYMI
SYMI

Symi is a small island with a rich historical background and is part of the  Dodecnese islands chain. The coast exists of sequentially cliffs of rocks and beautiful sandy caves. The isolated...

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KOS
KOS

Kos, birthplace of Hippocrates, father of medicine, looks like a huge floating garden.
The Asklepieion (from the Greek name of Hippocrates, Asklipios) became famous as the leading "hospital" of ...

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KALYMNOS
KALYMNOS

Kalymnos, a municipality in the southeastern Aegean Sea, belongs to the Dodecanese and is located to the west of the peninsula of Bodrum, between the islands of...

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PATMOS
PATMOS

Patmos is not a big island, but it is one of the best known. "The Jerusalem of the Aegean" is one way of describing Patmos or Patnos, as it was referred to on a 5th century inscription. It was here that St. John the...

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SAMOS
SAMOS

Samos, one of the most easterly Aegean islands just a stone’s throw from the coast of Turkey, is renowned for its wines, particularly for the white muscat wine found nowhere else.

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IKARIA
IKARIA

Icaria is probably one of the most beautiful Greek islands. It is very mountainous and at some points quite inaccessible, with lovely, green valleys, wild falcons and some amazing beaches.

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FOURNI
FOURNI

The Fourni-archipelago lies in a triangle formed by Ikaria, Samos and Patmos. The cliffs of the islands, overgrown with macchia, split up into fjord-like bays, providing postcard views that we invite you to enjoy here.

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SYROS
SYROS

The great thing about this island is that it has everything a Greek island should have: nice beaches, taverns and bars, but it has not been too adjusted to tourism.

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NAXOS
NAXOS

Naxos, the largest island of the Cyclades, is home to the tallest mountain, Mount Zeus (1,010 m). In the most popular island chain for tourists, Naxos is relatively quiet, quaint, and charming.

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PAROS
PAROS

Paros is the Grand Central Station of the Aegean. Most boats stop here. The town, full of foreigners and bars, is the head of the smaller villages and the island of Antiparos.

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LESVOS
LESVOS

Lesvos, or Mytilini, Jewel of the North Aegean is an island of natural beauty just five kilometers from the coast of Turkey, to the north of Chios and south of Limnos and is the third largest of all Greek islands.

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CHIOS
CHIOS

Chios is an island ideal for family and single travelers alike, for those who seek history and culture and for those who simply want to experience Greece.

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CRETE at a GLANCE
CRETE at a GLANCE

Crete, the fourth biggest Mediterranean island, is known for it’s richness and diversity and lays on the crossroad between Europe, Asia and Africa.
About 250km long and 57km wide, it's highest point is 2400m.

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CRETE (IRAKLION)
CRETE (IRAKLION)

Heraklion is the capital of the prefecture of the same name and the capital of Crete. It is the administrative, commercial, industrial and agricultural center of the island and has a population of about 130.000 inhabitants.

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CRETE (CHANIA)
CRETE (CHANIA)

The city of Chania is located on the north-east part of the Prefecture of Chania. It is the administrative, economic, commercial and transportation capital of the district. It has a population of over 60.000 residents and is built over the ruins...

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CRETE (RETHYMNO)
CRETE (RETHYMNO)

The prefecture of Rethymno, one of the four prefectures of Crete, lies between Chania and Heraklion. It is full of magnificent beaches, interesting archaeological sites and Byzantine churches, lovely villages, lively resorts and its capital,...

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TINOS
TINOS

Tinos is something like a Lourdes of the Orthodox. Every year, thousands of pilgrims from all over Greece visit the island and the church of the Virgin Mary, hoping that she will do...

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MILOS
MILOS

Only a few years ago, Milos was one of those quiet islands where you would only find empty beaches, very few taverns and nothing else. Today, it has become one of the "trendy" islands for young Greeks to go to in summer, and the island has turned into a quite exciting place.

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IOS
IOS

Ios is one of the most beautiful islands of the Cyclades, given the name - and also the beauty - of a flower called ‘Ion’ that draped in ancient times. According to the ancient tradition, Ios was the homeland of Homer’s mother and the final resting place of the great epic poet.

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SKOPELOS
SKOPELOS

If you are looking for a peaceful island to enjoy your family holidays, Skopelos is your destination. Find yourself in a green surrounding with rich pine forests, crystal blue seas and sandy beaches. Taste...

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SKIATHOS
SKIATHOS

Located at the west end of Sporades group, Skiathos has become the busiest member of the region and the most cosmopolitan island in the Northern Sporades...

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ALONISSOS
ALONISSOS

It is the most remote island of Sporades group - first from the east, surrounded by crystal-blue waters and blessed with rugged natural landscapes; an ideal place of complete contact with nature, mysterious,...

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NAFPLION
NAFPLION

One of the most beautiful Greek towns is Nafplion : it distinguishes mostly for its architecture and the sightseeing. This town played an important role in the Greek War of Independence...

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PATRAS
PATRAS

The history of Patras dates back to the prehistoric times, when the Achaeans tribes were settling towns in Greece.
The town got its name from Patrea, a leader of the Achaeans of Sparta.


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IGOUMENITSA
IGOUMENITSA

Igoumenitsa is often the first taste of Greece many tourist receive being the first Greek ferry stop for the boats from Italy and other Western European destinations. The town is one of the fastest growing cities in Greece, with its large port..

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ZAKYNTHOS
ZAKYNTHOS

Zacinto, commonly called Zakynthos by the past poets, is the southern and third biggest island belonging to the Ionia’s group of islands. It covers an area of 405 km2 where a bit more than 35.000 inhabitants...

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CORFOU
CORFOU

Corfu is something you can't understand immediately. You have to discover it slowly, day after day, as the “Feaci” people did in ancient times : Thousand years ago they stranded in Corfu with their legendary boats and little by...

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SARONIC GULF (Aegina, Poros, Hydra)
SARONIC GULF (Aegina, Poros, Hydra)

The Saronic Gulf forms part of the Aegean Sea and defines the eastern side of the Isthmus of Corinth. It is the eastern terminus of the Corinth Canal, which cuts across the isthmus...

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KALAMBAKA
KALAMBAKA

The town of Kalambaka was built at the foot of the Meteora at the left bank of the Pinios river. The town of Kalambaka is the centre of an important sightseeing area : the Aspropotamos (White river),..

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THESSALONIKI
THESSALONIKI

Thessaloniki, a lively modern city overlooking the Gulf of Thermaikos, is the capital of Macedonia and second largest city of modern Greece.

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KAVALA
KAVALA

Kavala, the second largest city in northern Greece, is the principal seaport of the Eastern Macedonia region and is situated in the Bay of Kavala opposite the island of Thassos.

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ALEXANDROUPOLI
ALEXANDROUPOLI

Alexandroupolis is located 40km from the Turkish border (Ipsala) on the river Evros.

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