Before booking your next getaway, learn 25 interesting facts about Greece that will make you want to pack your bags and head to the Mediterranean country. This summer, there has been one European destination on everyone’s mind. Greece. Known for its beaches, isles, culture, and ancient history, Greece offers so much to its visitors. But how well do you really know Greece?
Sure you may know many common fun facts about Greece including that is is one of the oldest countries or a thing or two about Greek mythology, but we are diving in to share the most interesting facts about Greece you need to know before your visit.
What is Greece known for?
From the population to ancient history, for centuries Greece has been one of the most popular and interesting countries in the world. The Greek culture and lifestyle are craved by international visitors who after experiencing just days in the coastal paradise, never want to leave. Learning these interesting facts about Greece and its history, food, culture, and more will make you want to visit the country, travel like a local, island hop from the mainland to Santorini to Milos and beyond, and give Greece a top spot on this year’s bucket list.
Ancient Greek History
Fun Fact 1: Ancient Greece refers to 700-480 B.C. It’s no surprise that Greece has one of the oldest and longest histories, but one of the biggest misconceptions is that the period most famous for architecture, art, and philosophy is the Archaic or Ancient Greek period. However, it was in fact the Classical Age (480-323 B.C.). Ancient Greece is responsible for advances in art, technology, and poetry. One of the most interesting facts about Greece’s Ancient Greek period is that it was during this time in which the city-state was invented.
Fun Fact 2: Athens, the capital of Greece, is Europe’s oldest capital. Athen’s origins date back as far as 3,400 years ago making it one of the oldest cities in the entire world.
Fun Fact 3: The first known democracy began in Athens around 500 B.C. This democracy allowed citizens to directly vote on laws.
Fun Fact 4: The first ancient Greek games were held in 776 B.C. in Olympia. The tradition of the games lasted until 393 A.D. and did not return until the first Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, in 1896.
Fun Fact 5: The two major Greek poems, the Odyssey and the Iliad by Homer were written during the ancient Greece period.
Greek Mythology & Architecture
Fun Fact 6: Greece has the most archeological museums in the world. Some of these museums include the most famous, Acropolis in Athens, The Archeological Museum of Rhodes, National Archeological Museum, and many more.
Fun Fact 7: Greece is home to 18 UNESCO World Heritage sites including the Acropolis, Mount Athos, Old Town of Corfu, and Medieval City of Rhodes. According to the official list, there are 14 locations that are currently pending consideration for becoming a Greek UNESCO World Heritage site.
Fun Fact 8: Greek mythology is still relevant in Greece today. There were twelve Olympic gods celebrated in Ancient Greece, including Zeus, leader of the Olympians, Hera, Zeus’s wife and sister, and Athena, goddess of wisdom, defense, and war. The famous Hercules, a son of Zeus, was not actually a Greek god but is still known as the greatest hero in Greek mythology.
Fun Fact 9: Athena defeated Poseidon to become the guardian of Athens. They each gave the city a gift, Athena an olive tree and Poseidon water in the form of a spring. The people of Athens thought the olive tree was much more useful as it could provide food, oil, and wood.
Fun Fact 10: Columns are very symbolic of Greek architecture. There are three main types of columns used to build Greek temples and structures. They are Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian.
Fun Fact 11: Greece has over 5,000 islands. These islands are spread throughout the Aegean Sea and are some of the most popular destinations to visit in the world. Only 200 of these islands are populated.
Fun Fact 12: Crete is the largest Greek Island. The entire island is 3218.548 square miles (8836 square kilometers) and has a population of over 630,000 people. In comparison, Halki is the smallest inhabited Greek island and is only 11 square miles (28 square kilometers).
Fun Fact 13: Greece has 85% of sunshine a year, meaning the country has 300 days of sunshine per year.
Fun Fact 14: Santorini Island is an active volcano. The last eruption recorded was in 1950. Santorini is also commonly known as the most popular Greek Island to visit.
Fun Fact 15: Many houses in the Greek isles are white-washed with blue doors and roofs. That color is believed to keep evil spirits away.
Greek Culture & Lifestyle
Fun Fact 16: Athens has the most theatrical stages in the world. More than New York’s Broadway or London’s West End. There are a total of 148 theatrical stages in Athens.
Fun Fact 17: 98% of Greece’s population are ethnic Greeks. 40% of the entire population resides in the capital city, Athens.
Fun Fact 18: Ikaria is one of the five blue zones in the world. Blue zones were founded by Dan Buettner. The concept of a blue zone is based on people living longer and happier lives based on the average lifespan of the population in the area is one of the longest in the world.
Fun Fact 19: There are over 4,000 official traditional dances throughout Greece.
Fun Fact 20: Greek grandparents usually live with their children’s family until they pass away. There are very few retirement homes in Greece, so grandparents will live with the family of their children for the rest of their lives.
Fun Fact 21: A typical meal in ancient Greece always included bread, olives, and wine.
Fun Fact 22: Lunch is called “mesimeriano” and it is the most important meal of the day in Greece.
Fun Fact 23: The famous term, the “Mediterranean Diet” is based on food patterns that originated in Crete, Greece. It’s impossible not to eat well when visiting this island in Greece. And the country as a whole. The Mediterranean Diet includes vegetables, olive oil, nuts fish, grains, and a low intake of red meat.
Fun Fact 24: Wine making in Greece has been a tradition for 4,000 years. There are over 600 wineries in Greece.
Fun Fact 25: Olive oil is a staple thanks to the thousands of olive trees in the country. Greece is known to be the country with the most olive oil consumption per capita in the world.
Bonus Fun Fact: Greece officially reopened for tourism on June 15 and began allowing international travelers on July 1st.
What new things did you learn about Greece? Now that you know the most interesting facts about Greece, it’s time to pack your bags and explore the beautiful Mediterranean destination. Start by booking one of Greece’s most affordable hotels and vacation rentals on CuddlyNest.
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