Geography of Greece

NASA composite satellite image of Greece


Politics and government of Greece

Greece is located in southeastern Europe on the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula. Greece is bounded in the north by Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, and Albania; in the east by Turkey; and in the west by the Ionian Sea, south by the Mediterranean Sea and east by the Aegean Sea. 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 has considerable climactic variation, as discussed below.

The country consists of a large mainland; the Peloponnese, a peninsula connected to the mainland by the Isthmus of Corinth; and around 3,000 islands, including Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, and the Dodecanese and Cycladic groups. Greece has around 15,000 kilometers (9,300 mi.) of coastline.

About 80% of Greece is mountainous or hilly, thus making Greece one of the most mountainous countries of Europe. Western Greece contains lakes and wetlands. The Pindus Mountains are the country's central range, with an average elevation of 2,650 m. The range continues by means of the Islands of Kythera, Antikythera to find its final point in the Island of Crete and Rhodes. The islands of the Aegean Sea are peaks of underwater mountains that are a geological extension of the range.

Central and Western Greece contain high, steep peaks dissected by many canyons and other karstic landscapes, including the Meteora and the Vikos Gorges - the latter being one of the largest in the world as well as the second deepest after the Grand Canyon, plunging vertically for more than 1,100 meters.

Mount Olympus range has the highest point in Greece at Mytikas peak that according to the last measurements is at 2,919 m above sea level. Mytikas is considered also the fourth highest in prominence of Europe (saddle to summit real height). Northern Greece presents another high range, the Rhodope, located in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace; this area is covered with vast and thick century-old forests like the famous Dadia.

Plains are also found mainly in Eastern Thessaly, Central Macedonia and Thrace.


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 Athens, Cyclades or Crete during the winter.
  • An alpine climate is found primarily in Western Greece (Epirus, Central Greece, Thessaly, Western Macedonia as well as central parts of the Peloponnese like Achaea, Arkadia and parts of Lakonia where the Alpine range pass by).
  • A temperate climate is found in Central and Eastern Macedonia as well as in Thrace at places like Komotini, Xanthi and northern Evros; with cold, damp winters and hot, dry summers.

The southern suburbs of Athens are in the Mediterranean zone, while northern suburbs have an alpine climate.

Map of Greece

Fauna and Flora

About 50% of the Greek land is covered by forests with a rich varied vegetation which spans from Alpine coniferous to Mediterranean type vegetation.

Seals, sea turtles and other rare marine life live in the seas around Greece, while Greece's forests provide a home to Western Europe's last brown bears and lynx as well as other species like Wolf, Roe Deer, Wild Goat, Fox and Wild Boar among others.


Geographic coordinates: 39°00′N 22°00′E

Map references: Europe


total: 309,050 km²

land: 130,860 km² mainland-islands

water: 1,140 km² lakes-rivers 177,050 km² Aegean basin-Islets-Ambrakikos Kolpos-Korinthiakos Kolpos-Patraikos Kolpos all of them located within the boundaries of the territory (Attention: this refers neither to the territorial waters nor to the Ionian sea territorial waters, just to the enclosed Aegean region within the country itself bordered by the Peloponnese, Kythera and tens of other surrounding islets, Crete, Karpathos and other surrounding islets, Rhodes, the Dodecanese and the NE Aegean Islands with the exception of Imvros (Gökçeada) and Tenedos (Bozcaada) both belonging to Turkey. Out of this area to the east, the Aegean continues but that part out of the aforementioned Aegean basin belongs to Turkey.)

Area - comparative: slightly bigger than Arizona

Land boundaries:

total: 1,935 km

border countries: Albania 282 km, Bulgaria 494 km, Turkey 931 km (206 km in the Evros river at NE Greece and 725 km in the Aegean from Thrace to Rhodes), the Former Yougoslavian Republic of Macedonia 228 km

Coastline: 15,021 km

Maritime claims:

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

territorial sea: 12 nautical miles

Climate: Three well defined climatological areas; Mediterranean, Alpine, and Mid-European Temperate

Terrain: mostly mountains with ranges extending into the sea as peninsulas or chains of islands

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m

highest point: Mount Olympus 2,919 m

Natural resources: bauxite, coal in lignite form, magnesite, petroleum, marble, zinc, nyckel, lead, hydropower, wheat, fruit and vegetables, tobacco, olives, salt, sugar beets, grapes, cotton, livestock

Land use:

arable land: 19%

permanent crops: 8%

forests and woodland: 50%

other: 23% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 13,140 km² (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: severe earthquakes

Environment - current issues: air pollution; water pollution

Environment - 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

Geography - 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.

Retrieved from ""
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License