As a popular travel destination in Europe, there are many fun facts about Greece that span centuries and can be reflected in some of the tourist hot spots. The country encompasses thousands of islands in the Mediterranean, Ionian, and Aegean Seas.
Greece is a naturally beautiful country beaming with a culture that dates back as far as modern civilization all the way up to the current day. You can imagine there are a lot of greek facts that keep visitors wanting to visit again and again.
Quick Statistics And Facts About Greece
- Capital Of Greece: Athens
- Population: 10.3 Million
- Land Size: 131,960 sq km (50,950 sq mi)
- Official Language: Greek
- Famous Food In Greece: Moussaka
- Where Is Greece: Southeast Europe
- What Is Greece Famous For: Beaches, Olives, Ancient History and more…
Most Amazing Fact About Greece
Greece Has Over 6,000 Islands
When people talk about Greece, the first thing any visitor will see is how beautiful it is there.
However, an important fact about Greece shows why this country is so unique. Greece is made up of more than 6,000 islands and is the sunniest place in the world. There are more than 300 days of sun every year!
This is an essential fact about Greece for summer chasers (I know many of you travelers are) to know!
Get ready to start planning your trip and see the 16,000 kilometers of coastline and the mountains that make up most of the islands in the archipelago.
Fun Facts About Greece
Besides being one of the most stunning places in the world, here are some more fun facts about Greece to inspire your next trip!
Greece’s Name Isn’t Actually Greece
A fun Greece fact is that the official name of Greece is the Hellenic Republic. Coming from the ancient Greek language, Greeks call themselves Hellenes and the country Hellas.
The Greek Flag Is A Symbol
Ever stop to think about symbolism in flags? Here is an interesting fact about Greece’s flag.
The nine stripes on the flag symbolize the nine syllables in the Greek motto–” “Eleftheria i Thanatos” or “Freedom or Death.” The cross is a symbol of the Greek Orthodox church.
The blue represents the sky and sea surrounding the country, and the white represents the country’s freedom.
Santorini Was Built In A Volcano’s Caldera
A super exciting fact about Greece that many visitors probably do not know.
Santorini is well known for its ocean views, but who knew the city is the only one in the world that is built into a volcano’s caldera.
Thankfully the volcano shouldn’t be erupting anytime soon (hopefully!).
Your Sponge Probably Comes from Greece
Greece is the leading producer of sea sponges. Most come from the island of Kalimnos.
Crete Is The Largest Greek Island
It is also the fifth-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and Greek mythology believes that it was the birthplace of Zeus!
Useful Facts About Greece For Travelers
Visit Over 10+ UNESCO World Heritage Sites Across the Country
In Greece, you will find ancient places such as the Acropolis in Athens, the Old Town of Corfu, or the Temple of Apollo, among many other impressive places.
UNESCO sites celebrate our collective world culture at significant sites, and the places in Greece are ones you can’t miss! This is one of those greek facts that explains why travelers keep coming back.
Athens Is The Oldest Capital City In Europe
One of the most intriguing Greece facts is that Athens is estimated to be at least 3,400 years old. Humans started to populate the city around the 17th century BCE.
That early civilization makes it the oldest capital city in Europe. That said, there are many interesting things to do and discover in Athens.
Pay Homage to the Patron of Athens, Athena
You must have wondered if there is any connection between Athens and Athena. Well, here is an interesting greek fact.
Greek mythology tells the story of the goddess Athena gifting the people of Athens olive trees. They returned the blessing by naming her their patron and naming the city after her. That’s probably why olives from Greece are so tasty.
She is also the goddess of war, wisdom, and strategy.
Eat Fresh Olives
That said, an interesting fact about Greece is that the country is the third-largest producer of olives in the world. This is just behind Spain and Italy.
With 120 million olive trees producing 2.2 million metric tons of olives annually, you won’t have to look far to find an olive to snack on.
Greece also produces the most varieties of olives globally and from some of the oldest trees–some olive groves that are still producing are from the 13th century!
Definitely one of the proudest facts of Greece.
Greece Is An Archeological Museums Paradise
It won’t be hard to find one! Explore the fun facts about Greece at one of the many museums throughout the country. Greece is home to more archeology museums than any other country in the world.
Considering Greece is where major archeological finds such as Delphi and Olympia have been uncovered, this is probably not such a surprising fact on Greece.
Wear Sensible Shoes Only
A sillier fun fact about Greece is that it is against Greek law to wear high heels when you go on a tour of ancient sites.
Not that you would want to–the flooring and pavement of these ancient sites would make wearing heels very dangerous!
See the Diverse Wildlife
One of the more happy facts about Greece is that since most of the Greek islands are not populated with humans, the animals native to Greece have been able to thrive.
Some species of animals can only be found in the Greek archipelago. And if you’re into bird watching, visit in the winter to see more than 100,000 birds migrate to the Greek wetlands.
Visit The Set Of “Mamma Mia!”
Scenes of Mamma Mia were filmed in Greece. If you’re a movie buff and love the movies “Mamma Mia” and “Mamma Mia 2”, you can visit Skiathos and Skopelos and dance to ABBA all day!
There Is A Reason Flights To Mykonos Are Cheaper In The Winter
Mykonos is a beautiful and heavily visited part of Greece… when the weather is nice.
Once the temperature drops around November, the winds pick up, making visits to the island not so pleasant.
Try to visit once it gets warmer out, around April!
Greek Culture Facts
Be Careful When You Wave
Greeks find it offensive when you wave at them, palm facing out and fingers spread. If you want to wave at a Greek, make sure your fingers stay closed!
Don’t “Cheers,” Exclaim “Gia Mas”
Translated loosely into “my party,” gia mas is what you cheer while drinking the Greek national drink ouzo.
Use this greek fact to your advantage and make the locals love you when drinking together.
Greek Dancing Is a Long And Storied Tradition
There are more than 4,000 traditional Greek dances that have been recorded and taught across generations.
There are plenty of traditional dance halls and bars that will teach you some Greek dance moves while you’re on vacation.
Easter Is The Biggest Holiday Of The Year
Another fun fact about Greeks is that they are very proud of their religion.
A week after other Christians celebrate Easter, Greek Easter is known as being a large party full of festivities and families coming together to celebrate the life of Jesus.
Historical Facts About Greece
The Olympics Started In Greece
It is believed that the first-ever Olympic games started in 776 BCE to honor Zeus. The games were held every four years, and athletes were completely naked! They would compete in events like chariot racing or wrestling.
The Origins Of Marathon In Greece
It’s a very Greek thing to do!
It is believed that the 26.2 marathon was invented in Greece! It was in homage to a messenger that ran the distance from Marathon to Athens, carrying a message that the Greeks had defeated the Persians.
After his run, the messenger is said to have collapsed and perished, which thankfully doesn’t happen at most marathons today.
Cleopatra Was Actually Greek
One of the more shocking facts of Greece — Although the last true Pharaoh of Egypt, Cleopatra’s family origin is actually Greek. Didn’t see that coming, did you?
Fun Greek Facts
After learning more about the country of Greece and Greek facts, you may be wondering about those that call this beautiful place home.
Here are some facts about Greeks that will make you even more excited to visit!
More Tourists Visit Greece Than There Are Greek Citizens Living In Greece
Greece has a population of approximately 10 million. However, more than 17 million people visit the different islands every year.
It is one of the few countries where the tourist population nearly doubles the country’s actual population.
And you, dear traveler, are contributing to this stunning fact about Greece.
Greek Is One Of The Oldest Languages Still In Use
Greek is probably one of the oldest languages still in use in the modern world. It is believed to have been used continuously for the last 5,000 years.
Many Greeks Carry Around An Evil Eye
You will see evil eye jewelry all around these days, but a Greek fact is that they take the symbol very seriously.
Many Greeks will carry around an evil eye to protect them from any curses another person may throw at them.
Greeks Get Two Birthdays Every Year
Well, kind of. Many Greeks are named after saints, and religion plays a big part in Greek culture.
Greeks celebrate their own birthdays every year, but they will also be celebrated on the Name Day of the saint they are named after.
LEARN MORE ABOUT EUROPE
Discover More Interesting Facts About Greece
These are just some of the fascinating and fun facts of Greece. This is definitely a destination to visit, particularly for the sun and beach lovers. That said, the country also has a lot of history, culture and famous landmarks to discover.