What is Greece famous for?

Greece profile: Hellas from A to Z

The next vacation in Greece is imminent, so it is worth taking a closer look at the destination Hellas. Where is it blue and white paradise and how many people live there? What do I have to consider as a tourist and where are faux pas lurking? How safe is this country anyway?

We have attached all sorts of interesting facts for you in ours Greece wanted poster summarized from A to Z. This is how you will find a lot of useful information for your vacation. Enclosed you get the most important points about Greece at a glance.

Overview of Greece profile

  • Location: Southeast Europe, Balkan Peninsula on the Mediterranean
  • Population: approx. 10.7 million inhabitants
  • Capital: Athens with approx. 4 million inhabitants
  • Second largest city: Thessaloniki with approx. 1 million inhabitants
  • Land area: 132,000 km² (half the size of New Zealand)
  • National language: Modern Greek since 1976
  • State name: Hellenic Republic, Hellas for short (Greek Elláda)
  • Currency: Euro / € since 2002, before that drachma
  • National flag: blue and white stripes with a white cross
  • Religion: Greek Orthodox Christianity (97% of the population)
  • Time zone: CET +1, one hour ahead of Germany
  • National holidays: 25.03. (Liberation Day), 28.10. (Ochi day)
  • Number of islands: approx. 3,000, of which approx. 130-150 are inhabited
  • Coastline: 13,676 kilometers (almost as much as New Zealand)
  • Highest mountain: Olymp 2,917 meters
  • Climate: Mediterranean climate, mild winters & dry summers
  • Average temperature in July: 30.7 degrees
  • Average rainy days in July: 1 day

Greece from A.kropolis up Zorbas

  1. A - like Acropolis of Athens
  2. B - for Evil Eye in Greece
  3. C - like camping in Greece
  4. D - like documents for vacation
  5. E - like entering Greece
  6. F - like ferries for the Greek islands
  7. G - like hospitality of the Greeks
  8. H - like hotels in Greece
  9. I - like island hopping in Greece
  10. J - like yes and not no
  11. K - like coffee in Greece
  12. M - like rental car for vacation
  13. N - like name days in Greece
  14. O - like Easter in Greece
  15. P - like post from Greece
  16. Q - like quad biking on the islands
  17. R - like religion of Greece
  18. S - like security in Greece
  19. T - like drinking water in Greece
  20. U - like accommodation in Greece
  21. V - like traffic in the Greek islands
  22. W - like hiking in Greece
  23. X - like Xora on the Greek islands
  24. Z - like Zorbas the Greek

A - like Acropolis of Athens

acropolis

The word Ἀκρόπολις is made up of acro (upper or highest) and polis (city). Usually the Acropolis describes the ancient upper part of the city, which was built like a fortress. The best known examples are the Acropolis of Athens and Lindos on Rhodes.

alcohol

In Greece alcohol is drunk frequently (10.3 liters per year per inhabitant), but less than in Germany (11.8 liters per year). Wine, aniseed or grape brandy and beer are very popular among the locals.

Wine and beer can only be bought from the age of 18. The purchase and consumption of high-proof alcohol is only permitted from the age of 20. Unfortunately, the very strict rules on alcohol consumption are rarely checked in practice.

Pharmacies

There are many pharmacies in Greece. Almost every community has at least one and you can usually get all common medicines. However, individual brands may differ from German products.

The Farmakeío (φαρμακείο) even replaces the actual doctor's practice in some places. The pharmacists are very respected among the Greeks. Many residents go to the pharmacy for an initial diagnosis before seeing a real doctor.

job

Almost 30 percent of Greeks are self-employed. This puts the country in first place in Europe. With an unemployment rate of around 20 percent, Hellas is unfortunately the negative leader. Young Greeks in particular have great problems finding well-paid jobs. Incidentally, the Greeks have the highest hourly output per year (approx. 2,000 working hours) in all of Europe.

Athos

On the one hand, Athos refers to the 2,033 meter high mountain on the eastern finger of the Chalkidiki peninsula. On the other hand, this is also the name of the autonomous monastic republic located there. Over 2,000 monks have lived here according to strict Orthodox beliefs for 1,000 years.

B - for Evil Eye in Greece

train

The train network (OSE) in Greece is currently only rudimentary. Trips from Athens / Piraeus to Larissa, Trikala (Meteora monasteries), Florina, Thessaloniki, Volos, Alexandroupoli and Corinth are possible so far. In combination with the bus, however, you can reach all major regions in Greece.

Blue zone

Blue zones are regions around the world in which people have a particularly high life expectancy and are in excellent health. The Greek island of Ikaria was declared one of the five Blue Zones by the scientist Dan Buettner. Almost every third ikariote reaches the age of 90 years.

Working with National Geographic, Buettner and his team found that Ikaria is actually the region with the highest percentage of 90-year-olds in the world. Even 100-year-olds are not uncommon on the island. In addition to old age, there are lower cancer rates, few heart diseases and hardly any dementia in old age.

You can find out what makes the island of Ikaria so special here: Our highlights on Ikaria

Bougainvillea

The bougainvillea, also known as the triplet flower, is probably the most famous plant in Greece. It blooms in many iridescent colors, such as pink, purple, purple, red, and white.

With its almost lavish display of flowers, it adorns many white house facades on the Greek islands and the coastal regions of the mainland. The bougainvillea is originally from South America.

Evil look

The evil eye denotes a belief that is present in Greece and many parts of Asia Minor. It is believed that some people can bring mischief through their gaze. Especially through eye contact with blue eyes, the “evil forces” can be transmitted.

The person concerned can therefore be attacked by headaches, streaks of bad luck and curses. Amulets and talismans with a turquoise eye are supposed to ward off evil forces. They are a welcome decoration and furnishing item and are also very popular as souvenirs.

C - like camping in Greece

camping

Camping in Greece has become increasingly popular in recent years. Most of the tent and caravan sites are on mainland Greece. Especially the Peloponnese peninsula, the coastal region of Epirus and Chalkidiki are very popular with campers. There are also some campsites on the island of Crete.

30 years ago Greece was considered a true free camping paradise. Free camping on the beaches of Mykonos & Co. was not uncommon back then. However, this has changed. Free or wild camping is officially prohibited in Greece. However, it is tolerated in not too touristy regions and even on beaches.

The condition is that all remains, especially rubbish, are taken back with you! On some islands of the Cyclades, as well as on Ikaria and Nisyros, many Greeks come to wild camping every summer.

D - like documents for vacation

diplomacy

Germany and Greece have excellent diplomatic relations. If you lose your ID while on vacation, the German embassies or consulates can provide help. The following cities and islands provide support in problem cases:

German Embassy Athens, German Consulate General Thessaloniki, German Consulate Komotini, German Consulate in Patras, German Consulate Volos, German Consulate in Chania - Crete, German Consulate in Heraklion - Crete, German Consulate Corfu, German Consulate Rhodes, German Consulate Samos, German Consulate Syros .

You can find more information here: Consulate finder in Greece

Documents

You need your identity card as the most important document for your vacation in Greece. A passport is not absolutely necessary, unless you are planning a trip to neighboring non-EU countries (Turkey or Albania). Children under 12 years of age need a child's passport.

It is also advisable to take your vaccination card with you to Greece. You shouldn't forget your driver's license if you plan to rent a rental car, scooter or quad. When entering the country with your own car, you must carry the green insurance card and the registration certificate part 1 with you.

Drones

Drones are becoming more and more popular with vacationers too. Single drone flights are generally allowed in Greece. A valid drone liability insurance is required.

However, if you want to fly the drone further than 50 meters, a permit must be obtained from the Greek airline company (HCAA). You will also need to register with the local police before the flight.

People's privacy must generally be respected. In addition, flights over populated areas, private properties, hospitals and military facilities are prohibited. The eight kilometer distance to airports must be strictly observed!

You can find detailed information from our colleagues Bina & Francis from the blog Drone Camp: Drone Laws Greece

E - like entering Greece

entry

When arriving by plane from Germany, only the boarding control takes place at the place of departure. A valid identity card is required as an entry document for this. There will be no further passport control after landing in Greece. Minors traveling alone require a declaration of consent from their legal guardian.

When entering with your own car, e.g. by sea from Italy or by land from Albania or North Macedonia, random checks of the trunk may be carried out. The green insurance card for your car must be carried with you.

You can find extensive information on the subject in our article: Getting to Greece

Entrance fees

Most archaeological sites and museums require entry to maintain and maintain the facilities. Entrance fees increase with the popularity of the site, for example, the Acropolis in Athens costs 20 euros per person. There are discounts for seniors over 65 and free admission for children and young people under 25 from EU countries, upon presentation of their identity card or passport.

earthquake

The Mediterranean region is one of the most seismically active areas in the world. Numerous earthquakes have been documented from ancient times to the present day. Our earth's crust consists of individual plates that move in different directions.

The islands of the South and East Aegean, the Lower Ionian Islands, part of the Peloponnese peninsula and the Euboean region are located on the Aegean and Hellenic plates, respectively. This microplate is bounded in the north by the Eurasian plate and in the east by the Anatolian plate. The movements of the plate lead to tension here again and again.

The Hellenic Arc is considered to be the southern limit of the African Plate and extends from the Ionian Islands via Crete to Rhodes. Submarine tremors can occur precisely along these edge areas.

In the event of an earthquake, keep calm! In buildings you look for protection under stable tables or door frames. In the open air you stay away from the sea and look for elevated undeveloped areas.

Events

Greece is definitely one of the most celebrated countries in Europe. In principle, there are smaller or larger celebrations and events several times a month. The most important events are Easter and the Assumption of Mary (August 15th). The whole family meets at these times and there are celebrations for several days.

The individual name days of Giorgos, Giannis, Nikos & Co. are also often extensively celebrated by the Greeks. More on this at the point Name days. Almost every vacationer has the chance to enjoy a (folk) festival during their stay in Greece. The best thing to do is to ask the Greeks on site which event is coming up in the next few days.

F - like ferries on the Greek islands

Ferries

The ferry network in Greece is very well developed. Ferry connections are the only supply option for some Greek islands without an airport. Especially within a group of islands, such as the Cyclades, Sporades or the Dodecanese, ferries go to the individual islands almost daily.

The major ferry companies that also allow vehicles to be taken are BlueStar, Hellenic Seaways, Superfast, Minoan Lines and Anek. There are also many small ferries that are only used to transport people. The prices for a ferry trip depend on the distance from the island. As a rule of thumb: approx. 10 euros per hour of travel time.

bicycle

Cycling is not necessarily one of the favorite pastimes of the Greeks. The car or the scooter come first as a means of transportation. Nevertheless, bicycles are also available for hire in most holiday regions. The quality ranges from simple bikes to modern e-bikes.

Holidays and celebrations

The Orthodox Easter (Páscha) and Assumption of Mary (Kímisi tis Thetókou) are the most important celebrations in Greece. Furthermore, the carnival season (Apokries) and Pentecost (Agíou Pnévmatos) are celebrated differently depending on the region.

Important holidays are: January 1st New Year (Protochroniá), January 6th Three Kings (Theofánia), Rose Monday (Kathará Deftéra), March 25th Independence Day and the Annunciation (Evangelismoú), May 1st Labor Day (Protomaiá), May 28th. October Oxi Day and the Christmas holidays on 25./26. December (Christoúgena).

vacation

You have to be a Greek school child! The pupils are granted a full four months of vacation. There are Christmas, Easter and summer holidays. The summer vacation lasts over eight weeks and begins on the penultimate Friday in June each year.

On the first Monday in September, the free time is over again. The most important argument for the long duration is of course the high temperatures. This is also the time when many parents take their annual leave. That's why it can get really crowded on many beaches in Greece, especially in August.

Holiday apartments and houses

In recent years, the number of private accommodation available has increased steadily. So you have a wide selection of simple bungalows, comfortable holiday homes and luxurious villas for your Greece vacation.

The traditional accommodations are particularly recommended. The trend is moving away from prefabricated concrete buildings. Many old ruined houses are being restored piece by piece. A certain minimalist luxury creates typical Greek flair in these boutique villas.

On the FeWo-Direkt platform you will find many beautiful holiday homes: Greece holiday homes

Mainland

Greece is not a pure island state. 80 percent of the country's area belongs to mainland Greece. Even if the islands have an unmistakable charm, the mainland is in no way inferior.

Many coastal locations in Greece also exude the typical island flair and are considered insider tips by Greece connoisseurs. The regions in the hinterland, on the other hand, score with a very varied nature. Dense forests, high mountain ranges and fertile plains are waiting to be discovered.

You can find more travel tips for mainland Greece here: Mainland Greece

flag

The Greek flag is striped blue and white. The blue symbolizes the sea and the sky. The white stripes symbolize the purity of the struggle and the independence of the country. A white cross on the flag symbolizes the country's Christian Orthodox tradition.

refugees

Since 2015, more and more refugees have been arriving in Greece by boat. Most of the refugees head for the islands of the East Aegean (near Turkey) such as Lesbos, Kos, Chios, Samos and Leros. However, the refugee crisis does not impose any restrictions on holidays in Greece.