The Geography Of Greece

A large amount of islands fall within the territory of Greece.
A large amount of islands fall within the territory of Greece.

Greece is an European country located in the southern part of the continent. It is made up of a mainland as well as thousands of islands. The country covers an area of 50,949 square miles and is bordered by Turkey, Albania, Macedonia, and Bulgaria. Greece is a mountainous country with about 80% of its territory being characterized as mountainous. Greece has a long coastline which stretches 8,498 miles.

Climate Of Greece

Most of the country has a Mediterranean climate. However, there are also microclimates in some regions due to their respective unique geography. Regions around the Pindus Mountains experience frigid cold winters with snow due to their proximity to the towering mountains. The northern part of the country experiences a continental climate with regions near the north going through a transitional Mediterranean-continental climate. The record highest temperatures in the country were recorded in Tatoi and Elefsina while the record lowest temperatures were recorded in Ptolemaida.

Islands Of Greece

The numerous islands of Greece make up for 20% of the total land area of the country. Greece is made up of thousands of islands which are estimated to number about 6,000 (however, a more conservative figure of 1,425 is frequently used). These islands are situated in the Ionian Sea, the Mediterranean Sea as well as the Aegean Sea. The islands are usually grouped into clusters, and the clusters are; the North Aegean islands (situated near the Turkish west coast), and the Cyclades (located in the central region of the Aegean Sea). Other clusters are the Dodecanese (found between Turkey and Crete), the Argo-Saronic islands (situated on the Saronic Gulf), the Ionian islands (located in the Ionian Sea) and the Sporades (located near coastal Euboea).

A small percentage of the islands are inhabited, and these are estimated to be between 166 and 227 in number. The largest of the islands of Greece is Crete which occupies an area of 3,206 square miles and a coastline of about 650 miles. Crete is also the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea behind Cyprus, Sicily, Corsica, and Sardinia. Crete is elongated in shape and stretches 160 miles from west to east and spans 37 miles at its widest point. Some small islands surround Crete, and these include Chrysi Island, Paximadia Island, Gramvousa Island and the Dionysades islands. The second largest island in Greece is Euboea which covers an area of 1,422 square miles. The island is also elongated and is 110 miles in length, but its breadth varies with its widest point being 31 miles. Euboea lies close to mainland Greece with the narrow Euripus Strait separating the two. The Missolonghi Lagoon has six major islands, and these are Tourlida, Prokopanistos, Dolmas, Vasiladi, Aitoliko, and Kleisova. There are also few islands located within the Greece’s lakes including Agio Achilleois and Vidronisi - both islands are situated inside the Small Prespa Lake.

Mountains Of Greece

Another geographical feature that Greece is famed for is its mountains. About 80% of the country’s land area is mountainous. Greece is home to many mountains, and these make up the vast mountain ranges of the country. Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece as its highest peak Mytikas rises 9,570 feet above sea level. The mountain is situated in the Olympus Range. Mount Olympus has a prominence of 7,726 feet, one of the highest in Europe. Mount Olympus has a circumference of 93 miles and covers an area of 230 square miles. The Pindus Range is the country’s largest mountain range and is located in the northern part of Greece. The Pindus Range stretches for about 112 miles and has an average width of 35 miles. The highest peak in the Pindus is Mount Smolikas which has an elevation of 8,652 feet and is the second highest mountain in the country. Mount Ida is the highest mountain on the island of Crete. The mountain’s highest peak, Timios Stavros has an elevation and prominence of 8,057 feet, the highest prominence of any mountain in Greece.

Lakes Of Greece

There are numerous lakes within Greece with the vast majority of them being natural lakes. Lake Trichonida is the largest natural lake in the country and occupies an area of 38.1 square miles. Lake Trinonida is situated in the eastern region of Aetolia-Acarnania near the city of Agrinio. The lake’ length stretches a maximum 12 miles and is 190 feet at its deepest part. Another lake in mainland Greece is the Smaller Prespa Lake which is a natural lake located on the Albania-Greece border. The Smaller Prespa Lake covers an area of 18.1 square miles and has a maximum depth of 25 feet. The lake is notable for its two small islands which are Vidronisi and Agios Achilios. Another lake situated in mainland Greece is Lake Amvrakia which is situated in the western region of the country. Lake Amvrakia is a natural freshwater lake and has a maximum length of 8.7 miles and stretches 2.4 miles at its widest part. The island of Crete has two natural lakes; Lake Voulismeni and Lake Kournas. There are also numerous artificial lakes in Greece which include; Kerkini Lake, Doxa Lake, Stratos Lake, Marathon Lake, Polyfytos Lake, Ladon Lake, Kastraki Lake, Evinos Lake, Mornos Lake and the Plastiras Lake.

Rivers Of Greece

Greece has numerous rivers that make up the country’s drainage system. Many of the rivers originate from the many mountain ranges that characterize the country’s geography. The Haliacmon River is the longest river in the country and flows 185 miles in Greece. However, two other rivers are considerably longer than the Haliacmon; Maritsa and Vardar but only a small part of the two rivers flow through Greece. The Haliacmon originates in the Pindus Mountains and flows eastwards until it drains into the Aegean Sea. The river’s main tributaries are Tripotamos, Grevenitikos, Pramoritsa, Venetikos, and Gramos. Another notable river in Greece is Alfeios whose entire course flows in the country. The Alfeios has its source in Peloponnese and flows for 68 miles to its mouth in the Ionian Sea. The other main rivers in Greece are the Achelous River which is 137 miles long, the Peneios which has a length of 134 miles, the Cephissus, the Olivos and the Spercheios.

Environmental Issues Associated With Greece

Greece is prone to earthquakes, wildfires, droughts, and floods. In recent years, like many other countries, Greece has been grappling with the problem of increased air pollution emanating from its industries as well as millions of vehicles, and water pollution.


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