Greece is a European country in the southern part of the continent. It consists of the mainland as well as thousands of islands. The country covers an area of 50,949 square kilometers and borders Turkey, Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria. Greece is a mountainous country with about 80% of its area called mountainous. Greece has a long coastline that stretches to 8,498 miles.
Climate of Greece
Most of the country has a Mediterranean climate. However, in some regions there are also microclimates due to their unique geography. Areas around the Pindus Mountains experience freezing cold winters with snow due to the proximity of high mountains. The northern part of the country experiences a continental climate with regions close to the north passing through a transitional climate from the Mediterranean and the mainland. The highest record temperatures were recorded in Tatoi and Elefsina, while the lowest temperatures were recorded in Ptolemaida.
Numerous islands of Greece make up 20% of the total land area of the country. Greece is made up of thousands of islands estimated to exceed 6,000 (although a more conservative number of 1,425 is often used). These islands are located in the Ionian Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea. The islands are usually grouped into groups, and the clusters are; the North Aegean islands (near the Turkish west coast) and the Cyclades (in the central part of the Aegean Sea). The other groups are the Dodecanese (between Turkey and Crete), the Argo-Saronic Islands (in the Saronic Gulf), the Ionian Islands (in the Ionian Sea) and the Sporades (near the coast of Evia).
A small percentage of the islands are inhabited, and are estimated to be between 166 and 227. The largest of the Greek islands is Crete, which covers an area of 3,206 square kilometers and a coastline of approximately 650 miles. Crete is also the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean after Cyprus, Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia. Crete is elongated in shape, stretching 160 miles from west to east and stretching 37 kilometers at its widest point. Several small islands surround Crete, and these are the island of Chrysi, the island of Paximadia, the island of Gramvousa and the islands of Dionysades. The second largest island in Greece is Evia, which covers an area of 1,422 square kilometers. The island is also long, 110 in length, but its width varies with the widest point of 31 miles. Evia is close to mainland Greece, the narrow strait of Euripus that separates them. The Missolonghi Lagoon has six main islands, namely Tourlida, Prokopanistos, Dolmas, Vasiladi, Aitoliko and Kleisova. There are also several islands within the Greek lakes, including Agio Achilleois and Vidronisi – both islands are located in Lake Mala Prespa.
Mountains of Greece
Another geographical feature for which Greece is famous are the mountains. Over 80% of the country’s surface is mountainous. There are many mountains in Greece, and they form a vast mountain range of the country. Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece, as its highest peak Mytikas rises 9,570 meters above sea level. The mountain lies in the Olympus chain. Mount Olympus has a prominent 7,726 feet, one of the highest in Europe. The range of Mount Olympus covers an area of 230 square kilometers. Palanka Pindus is the largest mountain range in the country and is located in the northern part of Greece. The Pindus range extends to 112 miles and has an average width of 35 miles. The highest peak of Pindus is Mount Smolikas, which is the second highest mountain in the country with 8652 meters. Mount Ida is the highest mountain on the island of Crete. The highest peak on the mountain, Timios Stavros, has a height and prominence of 8,057 feet, the highest point of any mountain in Greece.
Lakes of Greece
There are numerous lakes in Greece, most of which are natural. Lake Trichonida is the largest natural lake in the country, covering an area of 38.1 square miles. Lake Trinonida is located in the eastern region of Aetolia-Acarnania near the town of Agrinia. The length of the lake extends to a maximum of 12 miles and is at its deepest point 190 feet. Another lake on the mainland of Greece is the smaller Prespa Lake, a natural lake on the border between Albania and Greece. The smaller Prespa Lake covers an area of 18.1 square miles and has a maximum depth of 25 feet. The lake is known for its two small islands, Vidronisi and Agios Achilios. Another lake on the mainland of Greece is Lake Amvrakia, which is located in the western part of the country. Lake Amvrakia is a natural freshwater lake and has a maximum length of 8.7 miles and stretches 2.4 km at its widest point. The island of Crete has two natural lakes; Lake Voulismeni and Lake Kournas. There are also a number of artificial lakes in Greece, including: Lake Kerkini, Lake Doxa, Lake Stratos, Lake Marathon, Lake Polyfytos, Lake Ladon, Lake Kastraki, Lake Evinos, Lake Mornos and Lake Plastiras.
Rivers of Greece
Greece has numerous rivers that make up the country’s drainage system. Many rivers originate from the many mountain ranges that characterize the geography of the country. The Haliacmon River is the longest river in the country and flows 185 miles in Greece. However, the other two rivers are much longer than the Haliacmon; Maritsa and Vardar, but only a small part of the two rivers flows through Greece. Haliacmon originates from the Pindos Mountains and flows east until it empties into the Aegean Sea. The main tributaries of the river are Tripotamos, Grevenitikos, Pramoritsa, Venetikos and Gramos. Another significant river in Greece is the Alfeios, whose entire stretch flows into the country. The source of Alfeios is in the Peloponnese and flows 68 miles to the mouth of the Ionian Sea. Other major rivers in Greece are the Achelous River which is 137 miles long, the Peneios 134 miles long, the Cephissus, Olivos and Spercheios.
Environmental problems related to Greece
Greece is prone to earthquakes, forest fires, droughts and floods. In recent years, Greece, like many other countries, has faced the problem of increased air pollution from its industry, as well as millions of vehicles and water pollution.