Greece

Greece is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. The coastline of Greece is about 9,000 miles long (10th in the world). There are many good beaches on the coast, where tourists like to spend time. Warm, Mediterranean climate is one of the main factors that attract tourists to Greece. But Greece is one of the most famous countries in the world not only because of the sea and the climate.

Greece has had a huge impact on the development of European civilization. Many modern concepts of science, art, culture and democracy arose in Greece in ancient times. Many of the ancient Greek words penetrated in most of the world's languages. The culture of ancient Greece was foundation of achievements of other countries. The Greeks used creatively achievements of more ancient eastern civilizations. In ancient Greek culture and arts get unprecedented development and were largely saved and used by other European nations.

More than two thousand years ago, Greece became part of the Roman Empire. Between two centers of civilization was an intensive cultural exchange. A large number of ancient Rome citizens visited Athens and other Greek cities. The Romans were delighted with the achievements of ancient Greece. It is well known saying of the Roman poet Horace Quintus Flaccus Horace's: “Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit” (Conquered Greece has captivated their wild conquerors). Until now, the culture of Ancient Greece is one of the main factors that attract here large numbers of tourists. Greece is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe.

Tourism in Greece

Greece was visited by approximately 15.5 million foreign tourists in 2012 (a bit less than in previous years).
Tourism revenues amounted to more than EUR 10 billion.
On average, one foreign tourist spends in Greece 646 euros. (Acquisition of income from tourists is the main reason why most countries seeking to develop tourism.)
Most number of tourists comes to Greece from Germany, Britain, France and Russia. Residents of Greece most often travel to Turkey, Bulgaria and Germany.

The largest number of tourists comes to Greece in June, July, August and September. More than 70% of tourists organize their trip to Greece on their own; others use the services of travel agencies.
In the north of Greece, Macedonia region, tourists are attracted by the resorts and hotels in Khalkidhiki, Thessaloniki. Most visited city in the central part of Greece is the capital of the country, Athens city. Very popular with tourists from European countries are numerous islands. Most number of foreign tourists arrives in Greece through airports of Athens, Iraklion, Rhodes and Thessaloniki.

The most popular tourist destinations in Greece:

History and culture: Athens, Delphi, Corfu, Crete.
Beach holidays: Khalkidhiki peninsula, Rhodes island, Mykonos, Santorini, Paros and Crete.

General information about Greece

  • Greece, the official name: the Hellenic Republic (Ελληνική Δημοκρατία, Ελλάδα, Hellenic Republic).
  • Capital: Athens (Αθήνα).
  • Population: 10.8 million people.
  • Area: 131,957 km².
  • Telephone code: 30.

Greece is located in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Greece also has a large number of islands (approximately two thousand islands; from 1200 to 6000 according to various estimates). Greece bordered by the Aegean Sea to the east, Ionian Sea to the west, the Mediterranean and the Cretan Sea, to the south. The coastline of Greece is 13,676 kilometers long (8,498 miles). It has borders with Albania, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey.

The capital of Greece, Athens is located on the south of the Greek mainland. The second largest city of Greece is located in the north of the Greece. There is also one of the most popular summer holiday destinations, Khalkidhiki. The largest Greek peninsula Peloponnese located to south of the capital. The largest islands in Greece are Crete, Euboea, Lesbos and Rhodes. Greek islands are very popular with the people of Europe as a place for vacations.

The largest cities in Greece

Athens

Athens (Αθήνα) is the largest city and capital of Greece. In Athens live more than three million people, about a third of the total population of Greece.

Athens is located in central part of Greece, on the plain. The city is surrounded by mountains to all sides except south-west. To south-west of the city is the sea (Saronic Gulf).

Athens is one of the oldest cities in Europe. City appeared more than ten thousand years ago. It was named in honor of the goddess Athena. Around the fifth century BC, the city was the center of ancient Greek civilization. The Peloponnesian War greatly weakened the city, but a few more centuries Athens remained a major center of culture, art and science in Europe. Later, the most famous city in Europe has become Rome.
The most important objects of transportation in Athens are the Piraeus port and an international airport “Eleftherios Venizelos”. The most famous landmark in Athens is Acropolis. There are a large number of museums in Athens. Athens is one of the major tourist centers of Greece.

Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki (Θεσσαλονίκη) is the second largest city of Greece. The city is located in the northern part of Greece, in the Macedonia region. The city's population is about 365,000 people (more than 1.1 million people along with suburban areas). The city was founded in the year 315 BC.

There are many museums, university, “Macedonia” airport, the concert hall in Thessaloniki. The most well-known attractions include the Saint Demetrios, Arch Gallery, Church of St. George, and the “White Tower”.

The city is located in a very favorable location and from the foundation has played an important role in Southern Europe. Currently, the airport of Thessaloniki serves a large number of tourists arriving on the Khalkidhiki peninsula along the summer holidays season.

Patras

Patras (Πάτρα) is located in the north-western tip of the Peloponnese. It is the largest city in the Peloponnese and the third by number of residents’ town of Greece. Patras city population is about 230,000 people. Not far from the city is the bridge connecting the Peloponnese peninsula with Greece mainland. Every year, in February, the city hosts popular carnival.

Iraklion

Iraklion city of (Heraklion) is the administrative center of the Crete Island. The city is named after the hero of Greek mythology Hercules. The city's population is over 170 thousand people. Near the city is located an international airport that serves a large number of visiting Crete tourists. Iraklion port has ferry connections to several cities in Greece.

Rhodes city

Rhodes city is the administrative center of the Rhodes Island. The city is located in the eastern part of the island at the place of confluence the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. The city was known in ancient times as location of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, a giant sculpture the Colossus of Rhodes.

Tourists are advised to visit the well-preserved old town. From the old town you can walk along the seafront to the junction of the two seas. Near the town is an airport that serves visiting the island tourists. From the Rhodes city passenger port tourists can get by ships in the Turkey towns Bodrum and Marmaris.

The most famous island of Greece

Crete

Crete (Κρήτη) is the largest of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. The administrative center of the island is Iraklion city. The distance from the island to the mainland of Greece is about 110 kilometers, to Turkey, about 175 kilometers, to Africa about 300 km.

The island has a large number of archaeological sites. There are three airports on the island (two of them international, Iraklion and Chania).
Thanks to the warm sea and the tropical climate Crete is one of the most popular European resorts. More than 2.5 million tourists visit the Crete island every year. The coastline of the island is 1,046 kilometers long.

The Euboea Island

Euboea (Εΰβοια) is the second largest island of Greece. The island is located in the Aegean Sea, to east of the mainland of Greece. The island is separated from the mainland of Greece by straits. At the narrowest point of the Evripa strait distance between Euboea and the Greek mainland is only 38 meters. There are two bridges that connect the island to the mainland.

Lesbos

Lesbos (Λέσβος) is the third largest island of Greece. The island is located in the north-eastern part of the Aegean Sea, near the coast of Turkey (the width of the strait at the narrowest point is 5.5 km). The island area is 1636 km². The most popular places on the island are coastal cities Petra, Plomari, Molyvos and Eresos. The administrative center of the island, the city of Mytilene, has an international airport.

Rhodes

Rhodes is one of the most popular summer holiday destinations among residents of European countries. The island is located on the border of the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, near the coast of Turkey. The administrative center of the island is Rhodes town. The city of Rhodes has an international airport and seaport. Tourists can make trip by sea to Turkey from the island. One of the island attractions is the Old Town of Rhodes. One of the most popular resorts of the island is the Faliraki village.

The Corfu island

The Corfu island (also used name Kerkira) is located in the western part of Greece, in the Ionian Sea. It is one of the most popular resorts in Greece. The island has an elongated shape (the maximum length of the island is about 65 kilometers). The shortest distance from the island to the mainland (Albania) is approximately 3 kilometers. The administrative center of the island is Corfu town (also called Kerkira).

At the beginning of the 20th century, the island of Corfu was a place for holydays for the European elite. Until now, many wealthy people have villas on the island. The island has many good hotels and beaches that attract many tourists from European countries.

The international airport is located about three kilometers south of Corfu town. During the season, the island is connected by ferry to Italy and Greece. There is a bus service to the cities of Athens and Thessaloniki.

Santorini Island

The Santorini island (also Fira, Thira, Θήρα) is located in the Aegean Sea, at a distance of about 200 kilometers from the mainland of Greece. In fact, Santorini is a group of islands, the largest of which is called Fira (Thira). The name to the Santorini Island was given in the 13th century after the name of the Saint Irene church was situated here.
At present, the name of Santorini is applied to a group of islands and the island of Fira. In 2011, the BBC called the island as “the world's best island”. Most major population centers of the island are Fira, Oia, Emporio, Kamari, Perissa, Imerovigli, Pyrgos and Therasia. The island has an airport which receives charter flights.
Most cruise ships make a stop at the island Satorini. Therefore, the island may be the most visited city in Greece. The island is also popular as a venue for weddings.

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