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Travel Guide - Greece

Published: Aug 14, 2004 - 04:57 AM

Greece is situated in southeast Europe on the Mediterranean. The mainland consists of the following regions: Central Greece, Peloponnese, Thessaly (east/central), Epirus (west), Macedonia (north/northwest) and Thrace (northwest). Euboea, the second largest of the Greek islands, lying to the east of the central region, is also considered to be part of the mainland region.
The Peloponnese peninsula is separated from the northern mainland by the Isthmus of Corinth. The northern mainland is dissected by high mountains (such as the Pindus) that extend southwards towards a landscape of fertile plains, pine-forested uplands and craggy, scrub-covered foothills. The islands account for one-fifth of the land area of the country. The majority are thickly clustered in the Aegean between the Greek and Turkish coasts. The Ionian Islands are the exception; they are scattered along the west coast in the Ionian Sea. The Aegean archipelago includes the Dodecanese, lying off the Turkish coast, of which Rhodes is the best known; the Northeast Aegean group, including Chios, Ikaria, Lemnos, Lesvos and Samos; the Sporades, off the central mainland; and the Cyclades, comprising 39 islands (of which only 24 are inhabited). Crete, the largest island, is not included in any formal grouping.

General Information

Area: 131,957 sq km (50,949 sq miles).

Population: 10,939,605 (2001).

Population Density: 82.9 per sq km.

Capital: Athens. Population: 772, 072 (1991).

Government: Republic. Head of State: President Konstantinos Stefanopoulos since 1995. Head of Government: Prime Minister Konstantinos Simitis since 1996.

Language: Greek (Ellenika). Most people connected with tourism and those of a younger generation will speak some English, French, German or Italian.

Religion: 97 per cent Greek Orthodox, with Muslim, Roman Catholic and Jewish minorities.

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

Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Round two-pin plugs are used.

Telephone: Telephone: IDD is available throughout the mainland and islands. The Greek telecommunication network supplier is Organismos Telepikinonion Ellados (OTE). Country code: 30, followed by (10) for Athens, (310) for Thessaloniki and (810) for Heraklion. Outgoing international code: 00.

Mobile telephone: GSM 900 and 1800 networks exist. Coverage is good around the major towns on the mainland and on many islands. Main operators include Cosmote (website: www.cosmote.gr), Stet Hellas (website: www.telestet.gr) and Vodafone (website: www.vodafone.gr).

Fax: Main post offices and large hotels have facilities.

Telegram: There are telegram facilities in main post offices and large hotels in all Greek cities and the major islands.

Internet: Internet cafes are available in the main cities, including Athens, Thessaloniki and the islands Crete, Kos, Mykonos, Rhodes and Skiathos. ISPs include Panafon, STET, Hellas Online (website: www.hol.gr) and Cosmote.

Post: All letters, postcards, newspapers and periodicals will automatically be sent by airmail. There are Poste Restante facilities at most post offices throughout the country. Advance notice is required at all Athens branches except for the central office at 180 Eolou Street. A passport must be shown on collection. Post office hours: Mon-Fri 0800-1400, Sat 0800-1330.

Press: There are 18 daily newspapers in Athens including Eleftheros Typos, Eleftherotypia and Ta Nea. Athens Daily Post and Athens News are both published daily in English.

Radio: BBC World Service (website: www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice) and Voice of America (website: www.voa.gov) can be received. From time to time the frequencies change and the most up-to-date can be found online.


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