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The country of Greecemarker is located in southern Europe, on the southern end of the Balkan peninsula. Greece is surrounded on the north by Bulgariamarker, the Republic of Macedoniamarker and Albaniamarker; to the west by the Ionianmarker Sea; to the south by the Mediterranean Seamarker and to the east by the Aegean Seamarker and Turkeymarker. The country ranges approximately in latitude from 35°00′N to 42°00′N and in longitude from 19°00′E to 28°30′E. As a result, it hasconsiderable climatic variation, as discussed below. The country consists of a large mainland; the Peloponnesemarker, a peninsula connected to the southern tip of the mainland by the Isthmusmarker of Corinthmarker; and around 3000 islands, including Cretemarker, Rhodesmarker, Corfumarker, the Dodecanese and the Cycladesmarker. Greece has 15000 kilometres (9300 miles) of coastline.

80% of Greece is mountainous, and the country is one of the most mountainous countries of Europe. The Pindusmarker, a chain of mountains lies across the center of the country in a northwest-to-southeast direction, with a maximum elevation of 2 637 m. Extensions of the same mountain range stretch across the Peloponnese and underwater across the Aegean, forming many of the Aegean islands including Cretemarker, and joining with the Taurus Mountainsmarker of southern Turkey. Central and Western Greece contain high and steep peaks dissected by many canyons and other karstic landscapes, including the Meteoramarker and the Vikos Gorgesmarker - the latter being one of the largest of the world and the second deepest after the Grand Canyon, plunging vertically for more than 1100 meters.Mount Olympusmarker is the highest point of Greece and the fourth highest in relative topographical prominence in Europe , rising to 2 919 m above sea level. The Rhodope Mountains form the border between Greece and Bulgariamarker; that area is covered with vast and thick forests.Plains also are found in Eastern Thessaly, in central Macedoniamarker and in Thrace. Western Greece contains lakes and wetlands.


Greece's climate is divided into three classes:A Mediterranean climate features mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Temperatures rarely reach extremes, although snowfalls do occur occasionally even in Athensmarker, Cycladesmarker or Cretemarker during the winter. The southern suburbs of Athens are in the Mediterranean zone, while northern suburbs have a temperate climate.

Physical geography

Greece is located in Southern Europe, bordering the Ionian Seamarker, and the Mediterranean Seamarker, between Albaniamarker and TurkeymarkerGeography - note:strategic location dominating the Aegean Sea and southern approach to Turkish Straits; a peninsular country, possessing an archipelago of about 3,000 islands. The Country can be divided in three main geographic areas. The mainland, the islands and the Aegean basin.

It has a total area of131 940 km²Of this, land area is 130 800 km², internal waters (Lakes and rivers) account for 1 140 km².Land boundaries measure 1,228 km, bordering Albania 282 km, Republic of Macedoniamarker 228 km, Bulgariamarker 494 km, Turkey 206 km

Greece's coastline measures 15 021 km.

Regions of Greece

Cities and islands of Greece
Greece's cities, main towns, main rivers, islands and selected archaeological sites


Mainland Greece forms the southernmost part of the Balkan peninsula, in the north including parts of the historical regions of Macedonia and Thrace, further to the south narrowing into a "Greek peninsula" in its own right, including historical Epirus, Thessaly, Achaeamarker, Boeotia and Atticamarker, and concluding in the separate peninsula of Peloponnesemarker, comprising the historical territories Spartamarker, Corinthmarker and Argosmarker, all surrounding the peninsula's heartland of Arcadiamarker.

The major mountain range of Greece is Olympusmarker, separating Thessaly from Macedonia. Its highest peak rises to 2,919 m above sea level, making it the highest of the entire Balkan peninsula, more than 500 m higher than Botev Peakmarker, the highest peak of the Balkan Mountainsmarker proper.



Crete is the largest island of Greece and the second largest (after Cyprusmarker) in the Eastern Mediterranean.The island has an elongated shape: it spans 260 km from east to west and 60 km at its widest, although the island is narrower at certain points, such as in the region close to Ierapetra, where it reaches a width of only 12 km. Crete covers an area of 8,336 km², with a coastline of 1046 km ; to the north it broaches the Sea of Crete; to the south the Libyan Seamarker; in the west the Myrtoan Seamarker, and toward the east the Karpathion Sea. It lies approximately 160 km south of the Greek mainland.

Crete is characterized by a mountain range crossing from west to east, formed by three different subranges:
  • the White Mountains or Lefka Orimarker (2,452 m);
  • the Idi Range (Psiloritismarker ( ) 2,456 m);
  • the Dikti Mountains (2,148 m);

These encompass fertile plateaux, such as Lasithi, Omalos and Nidha; caves, such as Diktaion and Idaion; and gorges, such as the famous gorge of Samaria. The protected area of the Samaria Gorgemarker is the home of kri-kri, while Cretan mountains and gorges are refuges for the endangered vulture Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus).

There are a number of rivers on Crete, including the Ieropotamos River on the southern part of the island.

Crete straddles two climatic zones, the Mediterraneanmarker and the North African, mainly falling within the former. As such, the climate in Crete is primarily temperate. The atmosphere can be quite humid, depending on the proximity to the sea, while winter is fairly mild. Snowfall is common on the mountains between November and May, but rare in the low lying areas, especially near the coast when it only stays on the ground for a few minutes or hours. However, a truly exceptional cold snap swept the island in February 2004, during which period the whole island was blanketed with snow. During the Cretan summer, average temperatures reach the high 20s-low 30s Celsius (mid 80s to mid 90s Fahrenheit), with maxima touching the upper 30s to mid 40s (above 110 Fahrenheit).

The south coast, including the Mesara Plainmarker and Asterousia Mountains, falls in the North African climatic zone, and thus enjoys significantly more sunny days and high temperatures throughout the year. In southern Crete date palms bear fruit and swallows remain year around, not migrating to Africa.

Ionian Islands

The Ionian Islands are a group of seven islands. The six northern islands are off the west coast of Greece, in the Ionian Seamarker. The seventh island, Kythiramarker, is off the southern tip of the Peloponnesusmarker, the southern part of the Greek mainland. It should be noted that Kythira is not part of the periphery of Ionian Islands (Ionioi Nisoi), as it is included in the periphery of Attikimarker.It should also be noted that the Ionian Islands do not correspond to historical Ionia, which is today part of western Turkey.


The islands of the Aegean Seamarker, situated between mainland Greece to the west and north and Anatoliamarker to the east; the island of Cretemarker delimits the sea to the south. The ancient name of the Aegean Sea are traditionally subdivided into seven groups, from north to south:

Maritime claims

Continental shelf:
200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Territorial sea:
 (reserving the right to a future extension to  )


Mostly mountains with ranges extending into the sea as peninsulas or chains of islands with 13 regions. It also includes of rocky conditions and mountainous terrain. However the surrounding bodies of water fed the surplus olives and grapes in Greece.

Land use

1.) Arable land:19%
2.) Permanent crops:
3.) Forests and woodland:
4.) Other:
23% (1993 est.)Irrigated land:13 140 km² (1993 est.)

Climate and environment

Greece has three well defined climatological areas; Mediterranean, Alpine, and Mid-European Temperate.

1.) Natural hazards:severe earthquakes, droughts, wildfires

2.) Current issues:air pollution/water pollution

3.) International agreements:
party to:
Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified:
Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol

Image:Pontikonisi.jpg|The Pontikonisi island in Corfumarker.Image:Greece_Santorini_Oia_Coast_by_day.JPG|The rugged coastline of the volcanic island of Santorinimarker.Image:Agrafa_Templa.jpg|Spring in Agrafa.

See also


  1. CIA World Fact Book, [1]

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