Greece is a country in Southern Europe, on the southernmost tip of the Balkan peninsula, with extensive coastlines and islands in the Aegean, Ionian, and Mediterranean Seas.
It is one of the world's most popular tourist destinations, ranking in the world's top 20 countries. Visitors are drawn to the country's beaches and reliable sunny summer weather, its nightlife, historical sites and natural beauty.
Architecture varies greatly from one region to the next depending on the local history. For example, neoclassical architecture is found in the cities of Ermoupolis and Nafplio, Ottoman-influenced buildings in Grevena and Kozani, whitewashed buildings in Cyclades Islands and pastel-colored baroque homes and churches on Corfu Island. Greece's terrain is just as varied: idyllic beaches, towering mountain ranges, wine-producing valleys, vast stretches of olive orchards in the south, and lush forests in the north.
National Public Holiday Days in Greece
New Year's Day - 1 Jan
Epiphany - 6 Jan
Shrove Monday (First day of Lent) - movable
Independence Day and The Annunciation - 25 Mar
Good Friday (Greek Orthodox Easter) - movable
Easter Sunday (Greek Orthodox Easter) - movable
Easter Monday (Greek Orthodox Easter) - movable
May Day / Labor Day - 1 May
Pentecost Monday - movable
Assumption of Our Lady - 15 Aug
World War II Day / "OHI (no) Day" - 28 Oct
Christmas - 25 Dec
Christmas next day - 26 Dec
In addition to nation-wide holidays and celebrations, many towns and regions have their own regional festivals commemorating various historical events, local patron saints.
Greek is the national official language and is the native tongue of the vast majority of the population, but the English speaking visitor will encounter no significant language problem. English is the most widely studied and understood foreign language in Greece, followed by French, Italian, and German. Basic knowledge of English can be expected from almost all personnel in the tourism industry and public transport services.
Greece has the Euro (EUR, €) as its sole currency along with the other countries that use this common European money. One euro is divided into 100 cents. While each official euro member issues its own coins with a unique obverse, the reverse, as well as all bank notes, look the same throughout the eurozone. Every coin is legal tender in any of the eurozone countries. The Euro replaced the Drachma in January 2002.
Greek cuisine is a Mediterranean cuisine, sharing numerous characteristics with other cuisines of the region. Contemporary Greek cookery makes wide use of olive oil, vegetables and herbs, grains and bread, wine, fish, and various meats, including lamb, poultry, rabbit and pork. Mezes is a collective name for a variety of small dishes, typically served with wines or ouzo or tsipouro. Orektiko is the name for appetizers and is often used as a reference to eating a first course of a cuisine other than Greek cuisine.