Greece is a beautiful country and one of the most fascinating vacation destinations. Located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa, the country has an amazing history, beautiful sceneries, welcoming people, and delicious cuisines.
Sure, you may know a thing or two about Greece, including that it is one of the oldest countries in the world, or even heard something about Greek mythology. But we will be sharing the most interesting facts about Greece that you probably did not know.
1. 80% of Greece is a mountainous region
The majority of Greece is mountainous. Mount Olympus, located on the border between Thessaly and Macedonia, is the highest mountain in Greece. It is also one of the highest peaks in Europe at 2,917 meters above sea level. It also has other well-known mountains such as Taygetos, Pelion, and Parnassus.
2. It has over 6000 beautiful islands.
There are a lot of beautifully landscaped islands in Greece. These islands are spread throughout the Aegean Sea. Out of the 6000, only 227 of them are inhabited. Visiting each island ensures you get a unique and mind-blowing experience as they both differ in culture and terrains.
3. Greece is home to 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Greece has 18 heritage sites based on cultural and natural significance in the country. Out of the 18 sites, 16 are based on culture, including the Temple of Apollo, the Mediaeval City of Rhodes, and the Acropolis of Athens. Mount Athos and Meteora are heritage sites for their natural and also cultural significanceAmazing Santorini facts!
- Santorini island is beautiful and home to different color beaches. It has black, white and red beaches.
- It is commonly known as the most popular island to visit in Greece.
- Santorini island is an active volcano and the world’s only inhabited caldera.
- More than 100 varieties of grapes are grown in Santorini.
4. One of the sunniest places in the world
The country is one of the sunniest places in the world. Rhodes in Greece has about 300 sunny days each year. It is an advantage that sees the island accepting tourists all year round.
5. What about the diverse array of wildlife?
There are a lot of unique animals and wildlife in Greece’s ecosystem. Interesting enough is that some of these animals are only found on specific Greek islands. Examples include; Beech Marten, the Mediterranean Monk Seal, and the Cypriot Mouflon.
6. Archaeological museums in Greece
When it comes to museums, the country has more archaeological museums than any other country in the world. The most famous museum is the Acropolis found in Athens. Apart from it, there is the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes, the National Archaeological Museum, and many others.
7. Miles upon miles of pristine blue coastline!
Greece has an impressive coastline of about 16,000 kilometers (around 9942 miles). More than half of these coastlines are found around the thousands of islands in Greece.
8. Greece is the third-largest olive producer in the world.
After Spain and Italy, Greece is the third-largest producer of olives. The country produces 2.2 metrics tons of olive every year. Apart from this, it has more olive varieties than any other country in the world. Thanks to this, olive oil is a staple in Greece.
9. Ancient Greek facts
- The capital city Athens is the oldest capital in Europe. Its origins date back to more than 3000 years ago.
- The first Olympic games took part in Greece more than 2500 years ago. Women were forbidden to participate or watch the ancient games.
- There were over 1000 cities in ancient Greece.
- Ancient Greeks cleaned their clothes with sacrificed animal fats.
10. Culture and Lifestyle in Greek
- Greece’s capital city Athens has the most theatrical stages in the world. At a total of 148 theaters, the number surpasses Broadway’s and London’s West End theaters.
- A third of the country’s population resides in the capital city, Athens.
- Greece has over 4000 official traditional dances that are practiced throughout the country.
- The Greeks value family a lot, such that grandparents usually live with their children’s family.
- Greece’s ancient alphabet is the oldest written language still in use in the present day.
- It is common to celebrate name days instead of birthdays in Greece.
- Most Greek names are derived from religious saints.
11. Greek cuisine
Greece has a diverse culture that offers various cuisines. Some of the interesting facts about Greece cuisine are:
- The national drink of Greece is Ouzo.
- A typical full meal in ancient Greek includes olives, bread, and wine.
- Lunch is the most important meal. The Greeks refer to it as ‘mesimeriano.’
- Ancient Greeks believed that milk was a sacred food.
- Tzatziki, Feta cheese, Gyros, Souvlaki, Moussaka, Greek salad, Spanakopita, Kleftiko, Calamari, and many other dishes are some of the foods that you should try when you visit Greece.
12. The Country’s name
Greece’s official name is the Hellenic Republic (known as Hellas or Ellada). It is believed that the country was named after the Greek goddess of wisdom, inspiration, and intelligence. The goddess was the daughter of Zeus and Metis.
13. The capital of Greece is named after the goddess Athena.
As the myth goes, Athena was chosen by the people to be the leader of Athens after she won over the people with the gift of an olive tree. Poseidon, who also wanted to be the leader of the city, offered the people water. But Athena’s gift was deemed of a higher value.
14. Newborns are not given birth names when they are born.
They are baptized around their first birthday and given names. Usually, the name given is an important issue in any Greek family as most times they are named after their grandparents. They do this to ensure the family legacy is continued. So, the next time you visit Greece and find children or cousins in the same family named ‘Christos,’ don’t be surprised.
Tourism in Greece constitutes about 16% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). A lot of people visit Greece such that in the summertime, visitors are more than the Greeks. Approximately more than 16 million tourists visit Greece each year. These numbers have led the country to have more international airports than most countries.
16. The Greek flag
Greece’s flag has blue and white horizontal stripes (nine stripes). They stand for the nine syllables of the Greek motto “Eleftheria I Thanatos” (Freedom of Death). The color blue represents Greece’s sky and sea, while white stands for purity of the struggle for freedom.
On the flag upper left corner, there is the traditional Greek Orthodox cross.
17. Other facts about Greece
- Compulsory military service for all Greek men.
- Kalimnos island in Greece is the leading sponge producer in the world.
- Greece contributes about 7% of the marble produced in the whole world.
- Finding a coin in your slice of the New Year cake is believed to bring good luck.
- Football is the national sport.
18. Ikaria is one of the world’s blue zones where people have the longest lifespans.
Ikaria island is among the five blue zones in the world. Blue zones are where people have the longest lifespans in the world. On the island, people live into their 90s.
19. Interesting facts about Greek Mythology & Architecture
- Present Greece still deems Greek mythology to be relevant. Ancient Greece had twelve Olympic gods. Some of the prominent ones are; Zeus (leader of Olympians), Hera (Zeus’s wife and sister), and Athena (goddess of war, defense & wisdom).
20. Hercules was a great hero in Greek mythology.
“Taking the bull by its horns” is a famous saying that comes from the Greek myth. It is when Hercules saved Crete from a raging bull by seizing its horns.