Greece is situated in southeast Europe on the Mediterranean. The
mainland consists of the following regions: Central Greece, Peloponnese,
Thessaly (east/central), Epirus (west), Macedonia (north/northwest)
and Thrace (northwest). Euboea, the second largest of the Greek
islands, lying to the east of the central region, is also considered
to be part of the mainland region.
The Peloponnese peninsula is separated from the northern mainland
by the Isthmus of Corinth. The northern mainland is dissected by
high mountains (such as the Pindus) that extend southwards towards
a landscape of fertile plains, pine-forested uplands and craggy,
scrub-covered foothills. The islands account for one-fifth of the
land area of the country.
The majority are thickly clustered in the Aegean between the Greek
and Turkish coasts. The Ionian Islands are the exception; they are
scattered along the west coast in the Ionian Sea.
The Aegean archipelago includes the Dodecanese, lying off the Turkish
coast, of which Rhodes is the best known; the Northeast Aegean group,
including Lemnos, Lesvos, Chios, Samos and Ikaria; the Sporades,
off the central mainland; and the Cyclades, comprising 39 islands
(of which only 24 are inhabited). Crete, the largest island, is
not included in any formal grouping.
Greece has a warm Mediterranean climate. In summer, dry hot days
are often relieved by stiff breezes, especially in the north and
Athens can be stiflingly hot, so visitors should allow time to acclimatise.
The evenings are cool. Winters are mild in the south but much colder
in the north. November to March is the rainy season.