Where is it: Greece is located in southern Europe, bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and Turkey
Why do people go here: For history, history and more history (with a little of island fun mixed in). The literary, artistic and philisophical nature of the West finds its humble beginnings in Ancient Greece. You can look at the ancient ruins, walk the same steps of famous figures, and do your best to recall your mythology class. When you’re tired of your history lesson, head to the islands to party on the white-washed beaches.
What are the main entry points: Backpackers usually take a ferry to Greece from Brindisi, Italy to Corfu, an island off the coast, and continue on into the country.
Currency used: Euro
Country Code for Phones: 30
Area codes for Major Cities: Athens 1
Religion: Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%
Population: 11.2 million
Ethnic Breakdown: Greek 98%, other 2%
Government: Parliamentary republic; monarchy rejected by referendum 8 December 1974
Languages: Greek 99% (official), English, French
Major Cities: Athens
Attractions: Beaches, ancient ruins, history
Tourism Office locations and links: Greek National Tourist Organization 2, Amerikis Str. Athens, Greece +30-1-3223-111-9
Off-the-Beaten-Path: Messolonghi, Butterflies Valley, Patmos, Monemvassia
Health Issues: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 6 months of age coming from infected areas.
Tips for Visiting
When to go: Late spring and early fall will find nice weather, ample accomodation and relatively clear beaches. July and August are uncomfortably hot and the streets teem with European, especially Italian, tourists.
Common Phrases: good-bye=yia sou, good-bye (plural)=yia sas, good morning=kali mera, good evening=kali spera, good night=kali nichta, yes=ne, no=ohi
Specific Events/Holidays: Independence Day, 25 March (1821)
Getting Around: Ferries are the best way to get around the islands. Buses are top choice when on the mainland, as train routes are limited.
Good to know: Only a handful of the islands are packed with tourists. Try going where they aren’t as many people.
Cheapest airport to fly into: The cheapest airport to fly into Greece is the Athens International Airport.
Need more information?: Check out the Greece travel guide for more on what to see, where to stay, and how to get there.