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Greece Country Guide

Explore Greece in Europe

Greece with the capital city Athens is located in Europe (Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean Sea). It covers some 131,940 square kilometres (slightly smaller than Alabama) with 10,722,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Greece

The terrain features mostly mountains with ranges extending into the sea as peninsulas or chains of islands. The average density of population is approximately 81 per km². The notable climate conditions in Greece can be described as temperate with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Potential natural disasters are severe earthquakes.

To reach someone in Greece dial +30 prior to a number. There are 5,930,000 installed telephones. And there are 13,295,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900/1800 MHz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".gr". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 220V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Greece

Greece Flag Icon

Nine equal horizontal stripes of blue alternating with white; a blue square bearing a white cross appears in the upper hoist-side corner; the cross symbolizes Greek Orthodoxy, the established religion of the country; there is no agreed upon meaning for the nine stripes or for the colors; the exact shade of blue has never been set by law and has varied from a light to a dark blue over time.

Greece achieved independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1830. During the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, it gradually added neighboring islands and territories, most with Greek-speaking populations. In World War II, Greece was first invaded by Italy (1940) and subsequently occupied by Germany (1941-44); fighting endured in a protracted civil war between supporters of the king and other anti-Communist and Communist rebels. Following the latter's defeat in 1949, Greece joined NATO in 1952. In 1967, a group of military officers seized power, establishing a military dictatorship that suspended many political liberties and forced the king to flee the country. In 1974, democratic elections and a referendum created a parliamentary republic and abolished the monarchy. In 1981, Greece joined the EC (now the EU); it became the 12th member of the European Economic and Monetary Union in 2001. In 2010, the prospect of a Greek default on its euro-denominated debt created severe strains within the EMU and raised the question of whether a member country might voluntarily leave the common currency or be removed.

Geography Quick-Facts

SummaryContinent: Europe
Neighbours: Albania, Macedonia, Turkey, Bulgaria
Capital: Athens
Size131,940 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 50,942 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly smaller than Alabama
CurrencyName Euro, Currency Code:EUR
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD).gr
Telephone Country Prefix+30
Mobile Phone Connections13,295,000
Landline Phone Connections5,930,000

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Area131,957 (sq km)97

People and Society

Value nameValueWorld Rank
Population10,772,967 81
Population growth rate0.04 (%)188
Birth rate8.94 (births/1,000 population)209
Death rate10.90 (deaths/1,000 population)41
Net migration rate2.32 (migrant(s)/1,000 population)36
Maternal mortality rate3.00 (deaths/100,000 live births)181
Infant mortality rate4.85 (deaths/1,000 live births)180
Life expectancy at birth80.18 (years)31
Total fertility rate1.40 (children born/woman)205
Health expenditures10.30 (% of GDP)27
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.10 (%)131
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS8,800 103
HIV/AIDS - deaths500 92
Obesity - adult prevalence rate20.10 (%)96
Education expenditures4.10 (% of GDP)105
Unemployment, youth ages 15-2444.40 (%)10


Value nameValueWorld Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity)281,400,000,000 47
GDP - real growth rate-6.40 (%)218
GDP - per capita (PPP)24,900 63
Labor force4,951,000 78
Unemployment rate24.40 (%)172
Distribution of family income - Gini index33.00 99
Investment (gross fixed)10.40 (% of GDP)146
Taxes and other revenues43.60 (% of GDP)31
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-7.70 (% of GDP)194
Public debt161.30 (% of GDP)3
Inflation rate (consumer prices)1.10 (%)13
Central bank discount rate1.75 (%)114
Commercial bank prime lending rate7.15 (%)126
Stock of narrow money120,000,000,000 28
Stock of broad money251,500,000,000 35
Stock of domestic credit388,500,000,000 32
Market value of publicly traded shares72,640,000,000 48
Industrial production growth rate-8.50 (%)167
Current account balance-16,680,000,000 179
Exports26,670,000,000 69
Imports57,920,000,000 51
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold6,900,000,000 82
Debt - external576,600,000,000 25
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home27,260,000,000 62
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad41,490,000,000 39


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Electricity - production57,110,000,000 (kWh)46
Electricity - consumption58,710,000,000 (kWh)44
Electricity - exports2,571,000,000 (kWh)40
Electricity - imports8,517,000,000 (kWh)27
Electricity - installed generating capacity14,360,000 (kW)46
Electricity - from fossil fuels70.50 (% of total installed capacity)105
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants17.00 (% of total installed capacity)100
Electricity - from other renewable sources8.50 (% of total installed capacity)24
Crude oil - production1,751 (bbl/day)95
Crude oil - exports19,960 (bbl/day)53
Crude oil - imports355,600 (bbl/day)25
Crude oil - proved reserves10,000,000 (bbl)93
Refined petroleum products - production440,200 (bbl/day)35
Refined petroleum products - consumption343,400 (bbl/day)36
Refined petroleum products - exports161,400 (bbl/day)36
Refined petroleum products - imports140,800 (bbl/day)41
Natural gas - production1,000,000 (cu m)93
Natural gas - consumption4,737,000,000 (cu m)63
Natural gas - imports4,762,000,000 (cu m)34
Natural gas - proved reserves991,100,000 (cu m)101
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy92,990,000 (Mt)40


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Telephones - main lines in use5,745,000 29
Telephones - mobile cellular12,128,000 65
Internet hosts3,201,000 32
Internet users4,971,000 46


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Airports82 69
Railways2,548 (km)65
Roadways116,711 (km)38
Waterways6 (km)107
Merchant marine860 12


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Military expenditures4.30 (% of GDP)21

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Acropolis, Athens
The Acropolis of Athens and its monuments are universal symbols of the classical spirit and civilization and form the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed by Greek Antiquity to the world. In the second half of the fifth century bc, ...
Archaeological Site of Aigai (modern name Vergina)
The city of Aigai, the ancient first capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia, was discovered in the 19th century near Vergina, in northern Greece. The most important remains are the monumental palace, lavishly decorated with mosaics and painted stuccoes, ...
Archaeological Site of Delphi
The pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, where the oracle of Apollo spoke, was the site of the omphalos, the 'navel of the world'. Blending harmoniously with the superb landscape and charged with sacred meaning, Delphi in the 6th century B.C. was indeed ...
Archaeological Site of Mystras
Mystras, the 'wonder of the Morea', was built as an amphitheatre around the fortress erected in 1249 by the prince of Achaia, William of Villehardouin. Reconquered by the Byzantines, then occupied by the Turks and the Venetians, the city was abandone ...
Archaeological Site of Olympia
The site of Olympia, in a valley in the Peloponnesus, has been inhabited since prehistoric times. In the 10th century B.C., Olympia became a centre for the worship of Zeus. The Altis – the sanctuary to the gods – has one of the highest concentrations ...
Archaeological Sites of Mycenae and Tiryns
The archaeological sites of Mycenae and Tiryns are the imposing ruins of the two greatest cities of the Mycenaean civilization, which dominated the eastern Mediterranean world from the 15th to the 12th century B.C. and played a vital role in the deve ...
According to Greek mythology, Apollo was born on this tiny island in the Cyclades archipelago. Apollo's sanctuary attracted pilgrims from all over Greece and Delos was a prosperous trading port. The island bears traces of the succeeding civilizations ...
Medieval City of Rhodes
The Order of St John of Jerusalem occupied Rhodes from 1309 to 1523 and set about transforming the city into a stronghold. It subsequently came under Turkish and Italian rule. With the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Great Hospital and the Street of ...
In a region of almost inaccessible sandstone peaks, monks settled on these 'columns of the sky' from the 11th century onwards. Twenty-four of these monasteries were built, despite incredible difficulties, at the time of the great revival of the ereme ...
Monasteries of Daphni, Hosios Loukas and Nea Moni of Chios
Although geographically distant from each other, these three monasteries (the first is in Attica, near Athens, the second in Phocida near Delphi, and the third on an island in the Aegean Sea, near Asia Minor) belong to the same typological series and ...
Mount Athos
An Orthodox spiritual centre since 1054, Mount Athos has enjoyed an autonomous statute since Byzantine times. The 'Holy Mountain', which is forbidden to women and children, is also a recognized artistic site. The layout of the monasteries (about 20 o ...
Old Town of Corfu
The Old Town of Corfu, on the Island of Corfu off the western coasts of Albania and Greece, is located in a strategic position at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea, and has its roots in the 8th century BC. The three forts of the town, designed by reno ...
Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessalonika
Founded in 315 B.C., the provincial capital and sea port of Thessalonika was one of the first bases for the spread of Christianity. Among its Christian monuments are fine churches, some built on the Greek cross plan and others on the three-nave basil ...
Pythagoreion and Heraion of Samos
Many civilizations have inhabited this small Aegean island, near Asia Minor, since the 3rd millennium B.C. The remains of Pythagoreion, an ancient fortified port with Greek and Roman monuments and a spectacular tunnel-aqueduct, as well as the Heraion ...
Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus
In a small valley in the Peloponnesus, the shrine of Asklepios, the god of medicine, developed out of a much earlier cult of Apollo (Maleatas), during the 6th century BC at the latest, as the official cult of the city state of Epidaurus. Its principa ...
Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae
This famous temple to the god of healing and the sun was built towards the middle of the 5th century B.C. in the lonely heights of the Arcadian mountains. The temple, which has the oldest Corinthian capital yet found, combines the Archaic style and t ...
The Historic Centre (Chorá) with the Monastery of Saint-John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse on the Island of Pátmos
The small island of Pátmos in the Dodecanese is reputed to be where St John the Theologian wrote both his Gospel and the Apocalypse. A monastery dedicated to the ‘beloved disciple’ was founded there in the late 10th century and it has been a place of ...