Cruising in Greece


Greece achieved independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1829. During the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, it gradually added neighboring islands and territories, most with Greek-speaking populations. In World War II, Greece was first invaded by Italy (1940) and subsequently occupied by Germany (1941-44); fighting endured in a protracted civil war between supporters of the king and Communist rebels.

Following the latter's defeat in 1949, Greece joined NATO in 1952. A military dictatorship, which in 1967 suspended many political liberties and forced the king to flee the country, lasted seven years. The 1974 democratic elections and a referendum created a parliamentary republic and abolished the monarchy. Greece joined the European Community or EC in 1981 (which became the EU in 1992); it became the 12th member of the euro zone in 2001.

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Location: Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and Turkey
Geographic coordinates: 39 00 N, 22 00 E
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 131,940 sq km
Land: 130,800 sq km
Water: 1,140 sq km
Land boundaries: total: 1,228 km
Border countries: Albania 282 km, Bulgaria 494 km, Turkey 206 km, Macedonia 246 km


13,676 km

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 12 nm
Continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation


Temperate; mild, wet winters; hot, dry summers


Mostly mountains with ranges extending into the sea as peninsulas or chains of islands

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
Highest point: Mount Olympus 2,917 m


Greece has a capitalist economy with the public sector accounting for about 40% of GDP and with per capita GDP at least 75% of the leading euro-zone economies. Tourism provides 15% of GDP. Immigrants make up nearly one-fifth of the work force, mainly in menial jobs. Greece is a major beneficiary of EU aid, equal to about 3.3% of annual GDP. The Greek economy grew by about 4.0% for the between 2003 and 2005, largely because of an investment boom and infrastructure upgrades for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

Economic growth slowed to about 3% in 2005. Greece has not met the EU's Growth and Stability Pact budget deficit criteria of 3% of GDP since 2000. Public debt, inflation, and unemployment are above the euro-zone average. To overcome these challenges, the Greek Government is expected to continue cutting government spending, reducing the size of the public sector, and reforming the labor and pension systems.


Airports: 82 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 67
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 15
Heliports: 8 (2005)
Pipelines: gas 1,166 km; oil 94 km (2004)
Railways: total: 2,571 km (764 km electrified)
Roadways: total: 116,470 km


6 km; Corinth Canal (6 km) crosses the Isthmus of Corinth; shortens sea voyage by 325 km (2006)

Merchant marine

Total: 813 ships (1000 GRT or over) 30,656,860 GRT/52,298,434 DWT
By type: bulk carrier 272, cargo 61, chemical tanker 42, combination ore/oil 1, container 44, liquefied gas 4, passenger 12, passenger/cargo 120, petroleum tanker 239, roll on/roll off 17, specialized tanker 1
Foreign-owned: 21 (Belgium 11, Chile 1, Sweden 1, UK 8)
Registered in other countries: 2,338 (The Bahamas 217, Barbados 11, Belgium 4, Bermuda 1, Cambodia 7, Cayman Islands 22, Comoros 8, Cyprus 352, Denmark 1, Dominica 3, Egypt 6, French Southern and Antarctic Lands 2, Georgia 5, Gibraltar 9, Honduras 3, Hong Kong 28, India 1, Isle of Man 43, Italy 6, Jamaica 5, North Korea 1, Lebanon 2, Liberia 229, Malta 515, Marshall Islands 179, Panama 536, Philippines 7, Portugal 4, Russia 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 84, Sao Tome and Principe 1, Singapore 8, Slovakia 5, Syria 1, UAE 2, UK 7, US 3, Uruguay 1, Vanuatu 1, Venezuela 2, unknown 15) (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Agioitheodoroi, Aspropyrgos, Irakleion, Pachi, Peiraiefs, Thessaloniki


Greece and Turkey continue discussions to resolve their complex maritime, air, territorial, and boundary disputes in the Aegean Sea; Cyprus question with Turkey; Greece rejects the use of the name Macedonia or Republic of Macedonia

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Albania - Algeria - Bulgaria - Croatia - Cyprus - Egypt - France - Georgia - Gibraltar - Greece - Israel - Italy - Lebanon - Libya - Malta - Monaco - Morocco - Romania - Serbia and Montenegro - Slovenia - Spain - Syria - Tunisia - Turkey - Ukraine

Further Reading

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