Greece is bordered in the north to Albania, Bulgaria and Macedonia and in the east to Turkey. West of the mainland lies the Ionian Sea, the Mediterranean to the south and to the east lies the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara. The Greek islands are scattered over the Aegean and Ionoische Sea . The best known Greek islands are: Corfu, Crete, Rhodes, Kos, Lesbos and the Cycladic groups.
Greece is surrounded by seas and wherever you are, you are never further than 60 miles of sea. The total area is 50,944 square miles. Greece consists of thirteen departments and one autonomous area, Mount Athos, with the capital Karyes. Greece is a parliamentary republic, the head of state is the President of the Republic, he is elected by the Parliament. The current President of Greece is Karolos Papoulias.
Because of the ravages of history, only a minor assortment of ancient Greek art has survived, most frequently in the form of sculpture and architecture and minor arts, like coin design, pottery, painting, jewel making and gem engraving.
Ancient Greek architecture is best known for its temples and theaters. In Byzantine architecture you often see a Greek cross layout and style of the Byzantine capital one column and a central dome surrounded by several smaller domes. The Temple of Hephaestus in Athens is the best-preserved of all ancient Greek temples.
Famous Greek philosophers are Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, their work had much influence on the Western and Middle Eastern civilizations. In medicine, doctors still take the Hippocratic oath, he has established and is still considered the most important foundation of medicine as a science.
In the very divers Greek cuisine is the meze well known, this is a collective term for several small dishes, usually served with wine or aniseed-flavored liqueurs such as homemade tsipouro or ouzo. Also very popular Gyros: on a vertical spit turned roasted meat, served with garnishes of tomato and onion on pita bread with tzatziki sauce. In various regions throughout Greece, a large number of different cheeses made, the most famous is feta.
The Greek Islands are more popular with tourists than mainland Greece, but this also has many beautiful nature and culture to offer. Athens has many attractions such as Acropolis, ancient Sparta and Olympia, or enjoy wandering among the shops and terraces of Monastiraki and Plaka. In the winter months you can go skiing on the mainland. Nature on the mainland is still unspoilt, there are still wild bears, wolves, flamingos and various types of vultures. Crete is the largest and most famous Greek island. To the east is a real palm tree forest with a beautiful sandy beach, called Vai. It is rich in history and has many monuments and sites such as Knossos and Frangkokastello. With its warm climate, even in the winter months 16 degrees and about 4 hours sunshine a day, is it an excellent year round destination. Rhodes has beautiful beaches in the south. In the woods you’ll find hidden waterfalls and if you’re lucky, you’ll see Rhodes protected deer. Rhodes has been declared a UNESCO world cultural heritage monument.
Travelers with British, Norwegian, Icelandic or EU nationals need only a valid passport to be admitted to Greece. Travelers with Canadian, Australian, American, New Zealand and other not EU countries get an arrival and departure stamp in their passports. They can stay up to 90 days as tourists in the country.