What do you know about Greece? It’s an ancient country with a lot of history, traditions and wonderful people. And here’s a list of 25 Interesting facts about Greece. Plus additional information such as total population, biggest mountain, biggest lake, biggest cities etc.
Further down in the article you can also read some fun facts about Greece and of course some facts about Ancient Greece as well.
To make this even more fun, I want to challenge you. How many of these Greece facts did you know beforehand? Share your result in the comment section at the end of the article. I’m sure there are plenty of facts that you probably didn’t know about!
1. Greece is often considered to be the world’s first democracy
The Athenian Democracy was a system dating back to the fifth century B.C. It was a system of direct democracy, where citizens with voting-rights voted directly on legislation and executive bills. However, participation at this point was not open to all residents.
To vote, you had to be an adult and male citizen. So in other words, foreigners, women, and slaves had no votes.
2. One of the sunniest countries in the world
Did you know that the whole country has more than 250 days of sun on average? That’s more than 3000 sunny hours per year. Some islands even see around 300 days of sun per year!
3. Greek Food is world famous and delicious
4. 98% of the total population are ethnic greeks
So, almost everyone in Greece is an ethnic Greek, and the rest of the population are minorities, mainly from Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, and F.Y.R.O.M.
5. There are more than 2000 islands
That’s a lot of islands, but only 170 of them are populated. The other islands are uninhabited.
6. 40% of the total population of Greece reside in its capital Athens
While tourists mostly think of the Greek islands, most Greeks actually live in the capital or Thessaloniki, which is the second-largest city in Greece. 40% of the total population lives in Athens. Some of them also work on the islands during the summer, but many of them live in Athens.
7. Ikaria is one of the world’s blue zones where people have the longest lifespans
Do you want to live a long and healthy life? Then you should head to Ikaria and learn from the best. Ikaria is what the scientists call a “blue zone” where people have the longest lifespans in the world.
In total there are 5 of them, and Ikaria is one of the 5 Blue Zones worldwide.
8. Grandparents usually live with their children’s family until they die
Children usually stay with their families until they marry, and their grandparents usually live with the family of their children until they die. There are very few retirement homes in the country, and generally, you keep the family close.
9. At traditional Greek weddings everyone dance and throw plates
While this is more of a traditional thing, it still occurs, and it’s not only something you see in movies like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”.
10. There are more tourists in Greece than Greeks during summer
Did you know that the amount of tourists is more than double the amount of Greeks during the summer? It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
11. Greece has one of the richest varieties of wildlife in Europe
Home to 116 species of mammals, 18 species of amphibians, 59 species of reptiles, 240 species of bird, and species 107 of fish. Among these animals are the Monk Seal, the Loggerhead Sea turtle, and many more.
12. The Most Sexually Active Nation in the World
Reports claim that Greeks have sex on average 164 times a year, which makes them the most sexually active nation in the world!
13. Greek Is the Oldest Written Language Still in Existence
The Greek language is unique and has continuously been used for more than 5000 years. This makes it the oldest written language still in existence, at least when you’re looking at archeological findings.
The Greek Language has also influenced the English language and other languages with several thousands of words. Try to learn a few Greek phrases before you visit. It will be much appreciated by the locals, especially the elderly.
14. Greece Isn’t Really the Country’s Name
In fact, the country’s real name is the Hellenic Republic, and also Hellas, which is the original word for Greece.
15. Alexander the Great was Greek
One of history’s greatest warriors and leaders of all time was Greek. Alexander the Great conquered land all the way from Greece to Asia. His achievements and conquests gave rise to the later Hellenistic period.
5 x Fun facts about Greece
- There are more than 4000 traditional dances around the country
- After giving a compliment, Greeks might make a puff of breath through pursed lips, as if spitting. This is meant to protect the person receiving the compliment from the “evil eye.”
- The saying “taking the bull by its horns” comes from the Greek myth of Hercules saving Crete from a raging bull by seizing its horns.
- Finding a coin in your slice of the New Year cake is believed to bring good luck.
- The first nude scene in European cinema history was in the Greek movie Daphnis and Chloe in 1931.
5 x Greece facts for kids
- Football is the national sport in Greece.
- Ancient Greek pottery was decorated with scenes of soldiers, gods or daily life.
- Greece is home to the loggerhead turtle and monk seal.
- It’s more common to celebrate name days instead of birthdays.
- There are wild dolphins swimming in the Greek waters.
General Greece Facts
Below is some general information such as total population, land area, biggest lake, highest mountain, and other general facts about Greece that might be interesting to know.
- Total Population: 11,142,911
- Highest Mountain: Mount Olympus – 2918 meters above the sea.
- Land area: 131 940 km²
- Biggest Lake: Lake Trichonida.
- National Day: 25th March.
- Government: Unitary parliamentary republic
- Primary Minister: Kyriakos Mitsotakis
- Currency: Euro.
- Official language: Greek.
- Member of EU: Yes.
- Member of Nato: Yes.
- National song: “Ýmnos eis tin Eleftherían”.
- Time zone: Eastern European Time (UTC+2) – Summer (DST) Eastern European Summer Time (UTC+3)
- Country Number/Prefix: +30.
- Capital: Athens.
Facts about Ancient Greece
- The Olympic Games originated in Ancient Greece.
- The Ancient Greeks invented the theatre
- Ancient Greeks believed that Mount Olympus was home to the gods
- Some of the greatest philosophers came from Ancient Greece
- The Odyssey is one of the world’s most famous books
- It’s believed the first Ancient Greek civilizations were formed nearly 4,000 years ago
- The majority of Ancient Greeks wore a piece of clothing called Chiton
- The Ancient Greeks held many festivals to honor the gods and goddesses.
- Just before the Olympics started, all city-states agreed to a temporary truce
- Aristarchus of Samos suggested that the planets orbit the sun already 3d century B.C.
- The word “music” comes from the Muses, goddesses of the arts in Greek mythology
The Greek Flag
If you’re looking for facts about Greece, it might also be interesting to know about the biggest cities.
Read More Articles about Greece
- 35 Reasons to Visit Greece at least once in your life
- My Favorite Photos from Skyros
- My Favorite Photos from Santorini
- 7 Reasons to Love Greece
- Greek Phrases and Words
How many of these facts about Greece did you know beforehand? Share your result in the comment section below!