About Greece

Geography It is a peninsular and mountainous country situated in southeast Europe on the Mediterranean Sea, with a total area of 130.800 km2. The country is surrounded by the sea. The Greek islands represent one fifth of the country’s area. Greece has about 1400 Greek islands of which 169 are inhabited. The majority of the islands are scattered in the Aegean Sea between the Greek and Turkish coasts. Greece has a population of 10,610,000 (2000) of which 3.7 million are located in Athens, the country’s capital.

Mobile telephone The network coverage is quite good in most parts of the country except from some areas like mountains and in some small islands. The main operators are Vodafone, Cosmote, Telestet and Q.

Internet Internet is available in all the cities of Greece and in the touristic areas (islands).

Press Greece is the European country with the bigger number of newspapers. There are 18 daily newspapers in Athens. Foreign press can be found in cities and popular islands.

Working Hours The Public services are opened from 08.00 to 14.00 from Monday to Friday. The private companies are opened from 09.00 till 17.00. The shops are opened Monday-Wednesday- Saturday from 09.00 to 15.00 and Tuesday-Thursday-Friday from 09.00 to 14.00 and 17.00 to 08.00. These shops’ working hours highly differ in the touristy areas, where some shops remain open all day long and sometimes until late at night.

Time GMT + 2 (GMT + 3 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October).

Climate - Weather Greece has a Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine, mild temperatures and a limited amount of rainfall. Due to the country's geographical position, its rugged relief and its distribution between the mainland and the sea, there is great variation in Greece's climate. In summer, the dry hot days are cooled by seasonal winds called the meltemi, while mountainous regions have generally lower temperatures. The winters are mild in lowland areas, with a minimum amount of snow and ice, yet, mountains are usually snow-covered. Moreover, a common phenomenon is the occurrence of different climactic conditions during the same season (for instance, mild heat in coastal areas and cool temperatures in mountainous regions).

Language Greek is the unique language of the country but most of the people connected to tourism and the younger generations currently use English at a good level and sometimes German, Italian or French.

Economy Greece is an agricultural country. 22% of the workforce is employed for agriculture, 27% in the industry sector and 50 % in the services. The sector of tourism, hotels, travel and shipping contribute the most to economy.

Religion 98% of the Greek population belongs to the Orthodox Church. The rest of the Greek population is Roman Catholic, Muslim and Jewish. Russia is the only other country with such a proportion of Orthodox. The Orthodox Church forms the third largest branch of Christianity.