Forming the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula, Greece extends between the Aegean Sea to the east and the Ionian Sea to the west. There are numerous islands, large and small, on all sides of the mainland that belong to Greece. Emerging between 2500 and 1500 years BC, Europe's first advanced civilisations (the Minoan on Crete and the Mycenean on the mainland) are Greek in origin. Democracy, Western philosophy, literature and mathematic principles also have their roots here. Rising out of the Aegean, on the west side of the mainland, Mount Olympus (2971m / 9570ft) is the country's biggest mountain and provides an excellent objective for a 1-week trekking holiday. Over 250 kilometres long, Crete is the biggest of Greece's islands in Greece and lies in the southern part of the Aegean Sea. It is a mountainous island with lots of potential for walking holidays. Far from the popular tourist areas, it is the White Mountains (or Lefka Ori) in the west that offer the wildest experience, with classic walks through the Samari Gorge and up to the high point of the range at remote Pachnes.


The country of Greece is located in southern Europe, on the southern end of the Balkan peninsula. Greece is surrounded on the north by Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia and Albania; to the west by the Ionian Sea; to the south by the Mediterranean Sea and to the east by the Aegean Sea and Turkey. It is the only EU country that doesn’t share a land frontier with another member. The country consists of a large mainland; the Peloponnese, a peninsula connected to the southern tip of the mainland by the Isthmus of Corinth; and around 3000 islands, including Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, the Dodecanese and the Cyclades. Greece has 15000 kilometres (9300 miles) of coastline. 80% of Greece is mountainous, and the country is one of the most mountainous countries of Europe. The Pindus, a chain of mountains lies across the center of the country in a northwest-to-southeast direction, with a maximum elevation of 2637 metres. Extensions of the same mountain range stretch across the Peloponnese and underwater across the Aegean, forming many of the Aegean islands including Crete, and joining with the Taurus Mountains of southern Turkey. Central and Western Greece contain high and steep peaks dissected by many canyons and other karstic landscapes, including the Meteora and the Vikos Gorges - the latter being one of the largest of the world and the second deepest after the Grand Canyon, plunging vertically for more than 1100 meters. Mount Olympus is the highest point of Greece and the fourth highest in relative topographical prominence in Europe rising to 2919 metres above sea level. The Rhodope Mountains form the border between Greece and Bulgaria; that area is covered with vast and thick forests. Plains also are found in Eastern Thessaly, in central Macedonia and in Thrace. Western Greece contains lakes and wetlands.

Time Zone

The time in Greece is GMT +2 hours.

Vaccinations (country)

You should attend your own doctor and dentist for a check-up. No special vaccinations are required for Greece. UK residents should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before travelling. The EHIC is normally valid for three to five years and covers any medical treatment that becomes necessary during your trip, because of either illness or an accident. The card gives access to state-provided medical treatment only, and you'll be treated on the same basis as an 'insured' person living in the country you're visiting. Remember, this might not cover all the things you'd expect to get free of charge from the NHS in the UK. You may have to make a contribution to the cost of your care. You can obtain an EHIC from the Department of Health by phone, online, or at the post office.

Additional Sources/Information

Greece. Lonely Planet.
Greece. Rough Guides Travel Guide.
Mountains of Greece. Cicerone Press. Tim Salmon

Mount Olympus - Hiking Map (Anavasi) 1:25,000
Crete - Harms Verlag: Scale. 1:100,000.

Lonely Planet -
Rough Guides -