Mainland Greece

Mainland Greece is located in Southeast Europe, situated on the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula. Albania is to the northwest, North Macedonia and Bulgaria are to the north, and Turkey is to the east.

The Aegean Sea lies east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea is to the west, and the Sea of Crete and the Mediterranean Sea to the south.

Map of Mainland Greece
Map of Mainland Greece

In addition to Athens in the south, the mainland has traditional villages, local culinary specialties, a slow pace of life, and a diversity of cultures.

These range from Greece’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki, to the mountains of the Macedonian region, and south to the Venetian port of Nafplio.

This large landmass was once filled with independent city-states like Ancient Corinth, each staggeringly wealthy, and each protecting its assets and its trade routes by means of citadels, Cyclopean walls, forts, and, during the Medieval period, castles.

Ancient Corinth with the Acrocorinth rising above it, Greece
Ancient Corinth with the Fortified Acrocorinth rising above it, Greece

But before these defensive structures, there were religious sanctuaries dedicated to the ancient Greek gods and even to earlier deities.

Some of these religious sanctuaries became famous throughout the world – Delphi, for example, because of the Oracle of Delphi, and Ancient Olympia because it was the birthplace of the Olympic Games.

The Peloponnese, in particular, is an archaeological treasure trove of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Many of the world-famous archaeological sites in mainland Greece were located in strategic locations such as on the top of mountains or between rivers.

That’s because mainland Greece is 80% mountains. This means that there are stunning drives and hikes you can take through the mountains.

The mountains of Meteora, Greece
The mountains of Meteora, Greece

The region of Epirus is home to the Vikos Gorge, one of the deepest canyons in the world, and in Thessaly is Meteora, a series of monasteries dramatically perched on top of towering rock formations.

And of course, this is Greece, so you know there will be perfect beaches for summertime holidays like in the Pelion peninsula.

The Greek mainland is not something that most tourists see if they are bound for the Greek Islands, but spending at least a week in mainland Greece is very exciting for lovers of history, culture, and food!

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