23 Fun Facts About Greece To Impress Your Friends

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Greece has a little something for everyone, whether you want to party on a yacht, stay with a Greek family in a cozy bed and breakfast, or visit some of the best-preserved ruins in the ancient world.

These Greece facts will impress your friends (and maybe the locals) on your next trip to Greece!

1. Greece is Made Up of 6,000 Islands

Most people only know a few of the Greek islands such as Santorini and Mykonos, but Greece is comprised of a mainland and 6,000 islands along the Mediterranean sea.

Greece has the longest coastline in the Mediterranean basin because of all of these islands.

2. Greece is the Hellenic Republic

This could be a Greek History Jeopardy question! The official name for the country of Greece is the Hellenic Republic, which stems from the ancient Greek word “Hellas” which meant Greece.

The police force in Greece is called the Hellenic Police, so if you’re ever pulled over by the Hellenic Police you should definitely listen to their instructions!

3. Greece has 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

World Heritage sites are sites that are protected or preserved as they are considered an integral part of human cultural evolution or national historical significance. Greece boasts an impressive 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

A monastery in Greece on top of mountain

There are an additional 14 sites that are currently being considered to add to this list, so it may be updated in the future.

4. Greece has 4000 Traditional Dances

Ancient Greek dances are still being performed in modern-day Greece. Dance is an integral part of Grecian culture, and serves to bring people together.

Greece has over 4,000 traditional dances that are performed on holidays, name days, weddings, baptisms, and every other social occasion. Many Greek dances are known and popular outside of the country thanks to film and TV influences.

Some of the most popular Greek dances are:

  • Sirtaki
  • Hasapiko
  • Kalamatianos
  • Pentozali
  • Tsamiko
  • Ikariotikos
  • Zeibekiko

Most Greek dances are circular dances where dancers hold on to one another or a handkerchief. Children are taught to dance when they are quite young as part of Greek culture.

5. Greece 100 Archeological Museums

Ancient Greece is considered the seat of civilization. It has over 100 archeological museums, more than any other country in the world.

A greek museum

Some of the most popular museums are:

  • Acropolis Museum
  • National Archeological Museum
  • Museum of the Royal Tombs at Aigai
  • Museum of Prehistory
  • Archaeological Museum of Olympia
  • Archaeological Museum of Rhodes

6. Greece Has One of the Oldest Languages

The Greek language is considered the oldest recorded living language in the world and possibly one of the oldest spoken languages since ancient times.

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It is known to have been spoken since the 3rd millennium B.C. in the Balkan peninsula.

The Linear B clay tablet which was found in Messenia has written Greek on it. This tablet has been dated from 1450 to 1350 B.C. which makes it the oldest recorded language that is still “living” today.

7. Leave Your High Heels at Home

Many ancient sites in Greece do not allow high heel shoes to be worn because they can cause damage to the monuments. This ban was first introduced in 2009 and has been in force since then.

If you plan on visiting any of the ancient wonders of Greece, we recommend you wear tennis shoes instead so you aren’t turned away at the door!

8. Athens is the Oldest Capital in Europe

If you’re wanting to immerse yourself in history, there’s no better place than the city of Athens. As Europe’s oldest capital city, Athens has been around since 1400 B.C. and is famous for having several important historical places to visit including the Acropolis.

Photo of Athens with ancient buildings

The Acropolis of Athens is one of the most visited sites in the capital city and features the Parthenon which honors Athena, the Erechtheion which honors Poseidon and Athena, and the Propylaea which is a beautiful entrance and one of the most photographed sites in Greece.

9. The Yoyo was Invented in Greece

We can thank the Greek people for the awesomeness that is the Yo-Yo.

The yoyo is considered the second oldest of all the toys in the world (dolls come in first). They were first made 2,500 years ago and were carved from wood or made with terra cotta and painted with images of the Greek gods.

The world celebrates the yoyo on June 6th every year, so if you see a lot of people playing with yoyos on that day, you now know why!

10. Greece is Covered in Mountains

People typically don’t think of mountains when they think of the Greek islands, but over 80 percent of the country in Greece is mountainous terrain. In fact, Greece is considered one of the most mountainous countries in the world!

The highest mountain in Greece is Mount Olympus, which was said to be the home of the Gods. It is located along the Aegean sea and is one of Europe’s tallest peaks measuring 2,917 meters or 9,520 feet.

11. “Take a Bull By Its Horns” is a Saying from Greek Mythology

This saying hails back to the Greek myth of mighty Hercules saved Crete from the dangerous bull that was rampaging through the city by seizing its horns.

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A greek statue with man and bull

In modern times this metaphor is used to describe facing an unpleasant task or situation head-on in order to tackle it.

12. Greece has 2 Pink Sand Beaches

Beautiful pink sand beaches are a dream for vacationers and Instagram influencers alike. Greece has 2 pink sand beaches on the island of Crete.

Both Elfaonisi and Balos are famous for long stretches of pink sand with a stunning backdrop of turquoise water. 5 Star resorts are plentiful in Crete as it is one of the more popular Grecian islands and has a total of 3 airports.

13. Greece Doesn’t Celebrate Birthdays

It is far more common to celebrate name days instead of birthdays in Greece. This is why many people seem to share the same name, and everyone with a particular name is given a celebration on that day.

This works out great if you’re into party hopping and can afford multiple presents!

14. Greece has a Beach for Goats

In the town of Marathounda on Symi island, you will find Marathounda Beach which is full of free-roaming goats. Goats greatly outnumber the people in the town, so if you wanted to take a selfie with a goat, or do some goat yoga, this is the place!

Boats on a beach in Greece

As the island is full of goats, the locals offer many traditional goat dishes at taverns such as katsikaki. This roasted goat dish is a popular Greek food accompanied by a variety of vegetable and starch choices and costs only 8 or 9 Euros per plate.

15. Greek Government is the Bedrock of Democracy

Considered the birthplace of Democracy, Athens operated under the world’s first official democracy in the 5th century B.C.E.

The ancient ideas and systems of self-governance have had a profound impact on the establishment of democratic republics around the world.

Of course, only free men were allowed to vote in Athens, whereas in most modern democracies, all adults are able to vote.

16. Greece is the Home of Feta Cheese

A Greek Salad without Feta is not worth ordering. Luckily for salads everywhere, Feta cheese was invented in Greece thousands of years ago.

Feta means “slice” literally, but most people know it as “brine cheese” because it is stored in a brine solution while it ages. While Feta is known throughout the world today and used in many global cuisines, Feta is officially recognized by the European Union as originating from Greece.

17. Greece has A Surprising Number of People

If you want to party it up in Greece, there will be plenty of people to meet! The population of Greece as of the census in 2020 is 10.4 million people.

Most of the Greek population lives in the capital of Athens.

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18. We Enjoy The Olympic Games Today Because of Greece

Ancient Greece created the first Olympic Games 3,000 years ago. In modern times, Greece has hosted the Olympic Games in Athens twice, and have participated in every summer Olympics since the games were re-established in 1896.

Woman lighting olympic torch in Greece

The Olympic Torch is always lit in Olympia months before the start of the games, kicking off the Olympic relay. The relay ends when the torch lights the Olympic cauldron signaling the start of the Olympic Games during the opening ceremony.

19. Alexander the Great was from Greece!

Most people associate Alexander the Great with Asia, but he was in fact from the Greek island of Pella in central Macedonia and was born there in 356 B.C.

His parents were the King and Queen, though legend has it that Zeus was his biological father. Too bad DNA tests weren’t around then!

20. Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen

Greece is the ultimate place to work on your tan. Greece gets 250 days of sunshine every year and is known for having non-stop sun in the summer months.

This is why Greece is one of the most popular destinations for people looking to return home from vacation with a golden glow.

21. Greece Once Had 2,000 City-States

Ancient Greece had around 2,000 City-States. The most popular were Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Thebes, Rhodes, and Elis.

These city-states are often referenced in ancient works of literature and romanticized but in actuality, they were centers of commerce, similar to a town or city today.

Today, Greece has zero city-states though you can still visit the sites where many of these city-states once existed.

22. The Olive Branch is a Greek Symbol of Peace

Branches from Olive trees are considered a symbol of peace in Greek culture. The olive tree is a species that can live for more than 1,000 years and has existed in Greece for over 6,000 years.

Greek symbols of olive branch

Olive branches were offered to public officials to speak with them and offered to the Gods during prayer.

23. Greece is Known for Olive Oil

Greece is known for having some of the best olive oil in the world because of the climate in which it grows. In Greece, olive oil is only made from green olives, and extra virgin olive oil made in Greece is up to 90% pure.

Forego buying that postcard and bring back some authentic olive oil as a souvenir instead.


Christina loves to travel and recently moved from America to Austria to experience everything Europe has to offer. Her passion for travel is rivaled only by her love of writing. Armed with her English degree, she funds her travels writing for several websites including MyCountryFacts!

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